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Legends of Tomorrow. Heroes of TV today.

DC’s Legends of Tomorrow is what you get when superheroes has gone prime time.

It is the new original story (for TV) on CW about a gang of superheroes and villains teaming up together to fight a common enemy. And the bunch has a better fit than The Avengers.

There is a Legends of Tomorrow comic but it supposedly has nothing to do with the TV show.

legendsCW is no virgin when it comes to superheroes, as both the gritty drama Arrow and the more light-hearted and sometimes insane and silly The Flash has both run successfully for a couple a years. And let us not forget about Smallville (2001-2011). We are talking about 10 seasons of Superman here. A real blast from the past.

I am a superhero fan. I have seen all of the recent superhero movies. Some I did not like very much (read what I think about The Avengers: Age of Ultron) and some, like Ant-man I really enjoyed.

I am also not a newbie when it comes to superhero TV. Arrow, The Flash, Smallville, Supergirl (CBS), Agent Carter (ABC), Agents of Shield (ABC), Jessica Jones (Netflix), Daredevil (Netflix), Gotham (FOX), I am not missing anything.

So what about Legends of Tomorrow?

The superhero genre usually means human melodrama mixed with super talent(s), i.e. cool special effects. And I prefer more of the latter. But there needs to be a story there. Arrow almost lost me when the drama got too much air time (read why here) but The Flash got me back.

LoT takes some of the most colorful characters from Arrow and The Flash and give them an insane scifi playground; a couple of bad guys, some flying lovers, two geniuses, a black guy and Rory from Doctor Who.

Superheroes and time travel.

People, what’s not to love?!

The creators and writers are having fun making this shit up!
I am talking Doctor Who and Star Wars spoofs aplenty.

Laserguns, time masters, Cronos the Bounty Hunter, spaceship AI.

But best of all, you know you have the ultimate super villain when you meet the 4000 year old Vandal Savage (Casper Crump). You just know what to expect with a name like that. And it delievers.

It is genuinly funny, fast paste with special effects and explosions out your ass. And when the team goes to Norway in 1975, I am sold.

Firestorm (the excellent Victor Garber as Dr. Martin Stein and Franz Drameh), the Atom (Brandon Routh as Ray Palmer (he actually played Superman in the really shitty Superman Returns movie from 2006), White Canary (Caity Lotz as Sara Lance), Hawkgirl (Ciara Reneè) and Hawkman (Falk Hentschel), Heat Wave (Dominic Purcell) and Captain Cold (Wenthworth Miller) have all appeared on one or both Arrow and The Flash. Now with team captain Rip Hunter (Arthur Darvill), they are ready for new adventures.

So am I.

Christine

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The Black Female Cop and the Case of the Uncontrollable White Male.

I am hoarding TV shows and while this makes me seem friendless, lazy and pathetic, it gives me great joy and even some deep frustrations, but mostly it gives me food for thought.

So not that sad actually.

When watching so many TV shows simultaneously you start seeing connections between them. Even when there is none. But that is a medical condition and not the subject of this rant.

Lately TV shows combine police investigations with sci fi and/or supernatural threats. Most of them even turning to the fantastic when working cases. It is quite the trend!

Multiple reality checks vs sci fi/fantasy.
Badge vs evil, sort off.

Wearing said badge is usually a very competent female Afro-American police officer. What most of them have in common; a white male bringing chaos into their world.

Men who rely on their gut feeling, magic and even crime.
Men with a mission.
With secrets.

Men who need protection.
From themselves, but mostly from others.

Should I tread lightly now, you say?
Being a white middle-aged middleclass woman.

I will jump right in then.

Firstly, worth mentioning when taking on this trope, is Detective Joss Carter (Taraji P. Henson) in CBSPerson of Interest (2011-), the show that least rely on supernatural stuff but is very much a science fiction mystery show.

PERSON OF INTERESTDetective Carter is a confident single mom and an excellent detective. She is in control of both her work and personal life; although you could say, she is somewhat boring. No romantic entanglements, no shady business, but manages to balance her work and family duties like a pro.

Enter the ex-assassin John Reese (played by Jim Caviezel).

Some would claim that Reese is not chaotic at all and right they are, he is a total neat freak but he is still a chaotic part of Carters life. First, he is a suspect then an ally, a partner and a friend. Somewhat stupidly he ends up being a unfulfilled romantic connection. All while he tries to do good by doing a little bit bad.

Person of Interest season 1 trailer

Following along this path almost exactly is Fox’ show Minority Report (2015-)  based on the movie from 2002 with the same name.

Minority-Report-PosterMegan Good plays Detective Lara Vega, solving murders 10 years after the Precrime ended. She is a remarkable and very capable detective. Never needed any help doing her job before. She even manages to handle her ex being her boss.

Until Dash (Dashiell Parker).

A half shy, half-autistic precog living in a milk jar for six years played by Stark Sands, who sees the crimes before they happen but has no clue whom the victim is or the guilty party.

Dash desperately wants to help. In addition, hide from whoever is looking for him and the other precogs. To disrupt Vega’s life even more, his visions comes with an unsettling timing. And they spend equal time trying to cover up their workings from exes, police and powers to be. His criminal brother Arthur Watson (played by Nick Zano helps out, to keep the chaos rolling.

Minority Report season 1 trailer

Sleepyhollow-poster1780’s Ichabod Crane (by Tom Mison) stirs up trouble (first) in 2013 (and ongoing) for police Lt. Abbie Mills (Nichole Baherie) in FoxSleepy Hollow.

To be fair, she was already gifted/cursed as a Witness as a child but this has never been a problem in her adulthood. She does have a crazy and criminal sister who did not handle what had happened to them that well.

Like all the others, Mills is very capable, on her way to become FBI but a couple of resurrections, one headless horseman and an evil witchy wife later, her life is in shambles. I say she handles it all very well.

Sleepy Hollow season 1 trailer

Also worth mentioning, although only support cast member, is the lovely but disgraced State Trooper Amanda Fisher (Jill Marie Jones) in StarzAsh vs Evil Dead (2015-) hit TV show.

We know Ash (Bruce Campbell) from the previous comedy horror movies to be cheesy, resourceful and unlucky. And Fisher needs to get to him before anything more evil happens. She is however not immune to his charms. With fatal consequences.

Ash vs Evil Dead season 1 trailer

Disruptive white men have not only been a black woman’s problem. White women have also had their share of uncontrollable white male partners.

FBI Special Agent Olivia Dunham (played by Anna Torv) in FoxFringe (2008-2013) collaborates with criminal Peter Bishop (by Joshua Jackson)  and his crazy father, Dr. Walter Bishop (by John Noble).

Fringe season 1 trailer

US Secret Service Agent Myka Bering (Joanne Kelly) in Syfy’s Warehouse 13 (2009-2014) is a by-the-book agent. She has an eidetic memory and is all about details. A rising star that suddenly finds herself stuck with the recovering alcoholic and rule bender agent Pete Lattimer (Eddie McClintock) with a knack for vibes.

Warehouse season 1 trailer

In the new CBS show Limitless (2015-) based on the movie Limitless (2011) Agent Rebecca Harris (Jennifer Carpenter) has her share of trouble containing Brian Finch (Jake McDorman).

Limitless season 1 trailer

x-files-exclusiveFinally, but not forgetting Agent Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson). She iconized the trope in The X-files (originally aired 1993-2002, new mini-series in 2016), keeping control on Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) was a full time job. It is also one of the most anticipated new season of a sci fi show EVER. And the first episode delievers. Especially when it comes to Mulder’s usual lift off and Scully carefully bringing him down and back to reality.

I am still amazed how fucked up their communication is, and yet we still watch it. Mulder never explains anything, but rambles on about THIS thing (never pronouncing what the specific this IS) being the most important bit about IT (?) and that they have to whistleblow it. Scully always shutting him down but never makes him actually explain it. She never asks why or what he is talking about. Either she is a Mulder mind reader or she does not care at all. Watch trailer for the new mini-series underneath.

Christine

 

 

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Shadowhunters. Unfinished Business.

Shadowhunters is the brand new TV adaption of YA author Cassandra Clare’s bestselling series The Mortal Instruments (paranormal romance/urban fantasy).

In the US it airs on ABC Family, now named Freeform (Netflix for the rest of us), which sadly is the only interesting thing about the show.

0428a0de-6fcd-4fed-8427-81718906bd88

First off, I have read the books. They are okay. Perhaps a tad cliché for my taste but then again, I am no young adult anymore.

I have even seen the movie from 2013.  It was bearable. Mostly because of the casting.

Now somebody has been unfortunate enough to be responsible for Shadowhunters the TV show. So please, whoever is in charge, put an end to this travesty.

It is not imperfect. It is total GARBAGE.

I am actually not that concerned of the changes in the cast. Like so many fans.

I like Lily Collins but not a fan of her as Clary Fray in the movie. Therefore, I welcomed Katherin McNamara, except for the fact that she sucks at acting.

I do not even care that Luke is black. Tokenism or not.

Jamie Campbell Bower was never Jace to me. I always pictured him like Alex Pettyfer, when he still had is golden locks.

I can even tolerate the new high tech X-men base that is the no-longer gothic Institute.

The only one that actually can act is Alan Van Sprang. I am certain he can give the oomph that is Valentin Morgenstern. I loved him as Sir Francis Bryan in The Tudors and as King Henry II in Reign, but the writers do not bother explaining or give time to the antagonistic Circle or Valentin. Hell, they do not even bother about Shadowhunters that much.

What they do care about is showing of model perfect, beautiful people.

Mannequins.

Locked in selfie mode.

Look at the official teaser (all the way down, at the end of the rant).

If you think it looks weird, low budget and unfinished, this is also how the rest of the show looks like.

I am talking plastic swords with LED- lighting and ill-fitted supermarket cat eye contacts.

Hey, it is cheaper than CGI!

You know what will save even more money? Let’s not actually show the fight scenes! Just hint at it. Cheaper than paying a fight choreographer.

In my research for this rant (yes I actually do work at it) I found what creator Clare herself says about the show.

Clare states on her homepage (and seriously, it is really all her, high lights and all): “Please understand that I have nothing to do with the decision to make a television show instead of more movies. I have nothing to do with any casting or recasting decisions. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THE WRITING OF THE SHOW OR ITS PLOT. […]“.

I rest my case.

Christine

 

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Shades of Blue. Not Worth the Bribe?

Shades of Blue is a brand new cop show from NBC starring a Latina pop singer, one sober Drea de Matteo, a multiform support cast and haven’t-aged-a-day-since-the-80’s Ray Liotta.

First off, we are introduced to a bruised and crying Jennifer Lopez breaking down in front of her webcam.

We get that e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is falling apart too slowly to realize and too quickly to see it coming.

I must admit, Lopez is a better actress than I give her credit for.

2 weeks earlier, NYPD Deshades_of_blue_postertective Harlee Santos’ (Lopez) rookie partner Michael Loman (played by Dayo Okeniyi), straight outta the Academy, makes an epic mistake.

He kicks down the door and shoots a suspect only to find that the gunshot he heard was from a video game the perp was playing, no gun in sight.

With absolutely no time-out, Santos rearrange the crime scene and their story, so it matches a how-not-to-be-fired-on-the-second-day-script. Because the perp was a bad guy. No doubt about it.

She even shoots her poor rookie partner in the vest. Without warning him, and she is somewhat cold and eerily calm while doing all of this.

This is not her first rodeo.

When asked later why she did not warn him, she answers, “Cause you would have flinched. And I’m not that good a shot.” Okay, then. That makes it alright, I guess.

And even when she meets her teenage daughter and banters her, she still seems emotionless.

But it does not feel limited to Lopez’ acting. I actually believe she is this cold.

The first time she is even remotely emotional is when the rookie seeks her out, telling her that he wants to come clean when talking with Internal Affairs. He even suggests keeping her part out of it all.

Her reaction is to rant on how HER daughter is HIS daughter because the badge makes them family, and that she saved him today and that he need to save her tomorrow.

Her boss Lt. Wozniak (Liotta) is of course in on it all. They all are. Santos and a bunch of colleagues meets in the cold unit in a backroom somewhere, getting their dirty money. Mr. Lt. Police Boss is in charge.

Okay, so she has money problems. Her daughter’s school is too expensive. However, her boss is there for her. He is taking care of it all. Just like family should.

Enter the FBI.
And trouble.

Because corruption is still corruption. Even if it makes a good and safe family, and it has cleaned up the neighborhood.

Santos needs to choose between her family and her dirty cop family. And I am guessing this will fuel the drama and suspense of this show.

Liotta is marvelous as a loving father figure gone psychotic dirty cop. The rest is kinda meh.

I enjoy the 80’s flare and Lopez is actually not that bad. I like her character (before the FBI). Here’s hoping she keeps her cool and not fret out. Keep the suspense and less drama.

There is also something about the weird tension between Santos and FBI agent Robert Stahl (played by Warren Cole) I find musing.

I think I will give it a few more episodes.

Christine

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Tinker Bell. Rebel of the Disney World.

I finally came around to checking out the story of Tinker Bell, a Disney original story made into a whole franchise somehow overlooked by the masses, at least by young adults and grownups without children.

This is perhaps because these movies are considered spin offs of the Peter Pan movie from 1953, and therefore considered not as good. But mostly because they tend to speak to a younger audience than your average Disney blockbuster.

It is also why I have not seen them before. I admit it. I am a blockbuster whore.

With absolutely no expectations at all, I sat down to watch the first instalment (from 2008) of the young girl movie franchise. ‘Cause let’s face it. It is a girly movie.

The curvaceous Tink appeared first in the play Peter Pan from 1904 and in the novelization Peter and Wendy from 1911. Her popularity exploded with the Disney-animation from ‘53.

I was born in the early 80’s, so my entire childhood and young adult life was Disneyfied. Yup, that is in fact something! Some might claim my life still is.

Fucking princesses everywhere.

So I was really interested in seeing what young girls learn from Disney now a days.

tinkerbelldvdcover

Like The Hunger Games, Divergent and every fucking YA book and movie franchise out there, the fairy society Pixie Hollow is divided into factions. Everybody got their own little group (selected in a magicky kind of choosing) they belong to. And don’t you dare step outside your group.

From the beginning I was thinking; Hell yeh, Tinker Bell! You go girl!

She is a tinker, a creator, a discoverer. She is in with the geek lot, where being smart and creative is the way to go. She faces every challenge head on with enthusiasm only surpassed by one Miss H. Granger on house-elves rights. And from the very beginning, she fights the restrictions.

Tinking is her talent, but she does not stop there. She is a dreamer.

She is headstrong, hotheaded and somewhat rude (the term little tinker is actually used as a term of endearment for a cheeky young child) but all she wants is to go to the Mainland with the other fairies. But she is a tinker and tinkers does not go to the Mainland.

So she goes out of her way to try to learn the other fairy talents, bending every rule there is, and she fucks up BIG TIME. She is trying to prove too much. She is a little too creative.

And she ultimately destroys everything. She has a meltdown and shortly gives up, totally heartbroken.

After talking to a friend, she discovers that she is proud of who she is, and should honor her tinking abilities and not try to be like everybody else.

She needs to fix what she has destroyed and finally manages to tink her way to the Mainland.

You show them, Tink!

Ultimately, Disney tells us that we have a destiny, a talent we will excel in. On the negative side, we do not have free will and the possibility to learn a new talent do not exist. But if you are smart and strong-willed enough, you can use your talent to explore and shed said restrictions.

I am swaying to and fro on this one.

But in the end, the movie is free from (really?) romantic entanglements and Tink does not want or try to change because she is in love. She does not change per se but becomes more aware of both the positive (creation) and negative (destruction) sides of her talent.

At the end, she is still a headstrong, hotheaded girl that still dreams about impossible things.

Impossible made possible when you know how to tink.

Christine

 

 

 

 

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The Expanse. Expanding in the Right Direction.

OMFG!

I am having trouble finding words to describe exactly how excited I am about The Expanse!

A picture is worth a thousand words, so here I am. All fired up!

Alert French Bulldog running forwards

This space opera could be the next big thing since Battlestar Galactica (2004-2009)!

It seems to be the answer to all my prayers. If I prayed. Which I do not. But if I did, I would pray for something like this.

I am a huge scifi fan and there has been a serious lack in the space-opera-on-TV since BG.

I love TV shows like Star Trek (any of them), Farscape (1994-2004), and Babylon 5 (1994—1998) etc. Although not space operas per se, not even these scifi shows have worthy successors.

I have been mildly interested in the deteriorating Falling Skies (2011-2015) and the more bearable Defiance (2013-2015).

I even tried Dark Matter (2015-), but it did not hook me. DM is scheduled for a season two, so I might pick it up again, but it is not likely to happen anytime soon.

I gave Killjoys (2015-) a try. A choice I do not regret. If you are into fun-loving, high-tech, guns blazing, and adventurous scifi, you will not regret watching it! Season two is already scheduled.

Now I crave something more complex with depth.

The Expanse is a serious contestant in winning me over, as the scifi slut I am.  Four episodes in, it promises a lot and I am certainly intrigued. Belly up and all.

It is bas1484233348223075652ed on a series of novels called The Expanse by James S. A. Corey. There is actually a duo hiding behind the pen name, Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck. The first one in the series is Leviathan Wakes from 2011, so it is relative new. They have released five novels and counting.

More delightful, the Syfy channel is responsible for this bowl of goodness.

It is about time that the channel sheds its lame, low production escapist B-movie status. The channel did give us cheesy movies like Sharktopus (2010) and Sharknado (2013). And, yet again give us pompous space opera dramas like they did with BG.

Honestly, the trailer is kinda meh. After watching the first four episodes (of 10 total), I do not feel it represents the show fairly. So I beg you, see episode one instead.

The first episodes paints a big picture with broad strokes, introducing a well of characters and plotlines with little information to go on. Characters die at a rapid rate and I am guessing blindly who will be the remaining main cast.

Three characters stands out though.

Police detective Joe Miller, played by Thomas Jane (Punisher from the movie with the same name and Ray Drecker from Hung) is on a missing woman assignment while his home world Ceres erupts into chaos.

Chrisjen Avasarala, a United Nations executive played by Shohreh Agdashloo (Stefania Vaduva Popescu from Grimm) is trying to prevent war between Earth and Mars.

Ship Officer Jim Holden, played by Steven Strait (D’Leh from 10,000 BC and the forever hunky Warren Peace in Sky High) quickly finds himself and crew sole survivors of an attack, with failing air supply and the enemy close by.

Action, drama, survival, terrorists, space travel, technobabble, mystery, political thrills, secrets, military strategies, culture clashes, tech noir, explosions, conspiracies, you name it!

A 13- episode second season is already scheduled to air early 2017.

I cannot wait!

 

Christine

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And Then There Were None. Above and Beyond.

We have just left Christmas celebrations behind us. A holiday full of jolly nostalgia and hard core glitter use.

I must admit, I am not that into Christmas traditions. Christmas will be upon us anyway, I say.

So without seeming too grinchy or scroogey I really do not see the appeal of watching the movie Love Actually (2003)  more than once. The rest of the TV schedule (at least in Norway) is full of crap B-, C-, and D-movies not worth your while, and the A-listers keeps running and running, staling for every channel you switch on to.

But the holidays is a perfect time to catch up on movies, TV series and shows!

I especially like to indulge in mini-series because they often fit perfectly into my holiday schedule. Short and effective stories with high production value and the best part, you do not have to wait a year for the next season!

So while everyone else was watching and talking about Making a Murderer (2015) (I was saving it for the new year’s celebrations), I was thrilled when I found the new TV adaption of Agatha Christie’s murder mystery And Then There Were None (2015). Perhaps more known as Ten Little Indians.

First class British crime and costume drama from BBC One.

Oh, Holy Night.
Jackpot!

First published in 1939, the novel is recognized as Christie’s masterwork, and has been adapted many times on screen, TV and the stage.

The story is as simple as it is meticulous.

MV5BMzRlMzU0MTgtOGYyMC00MjExLTgwN2QtNWU2M2EwOWM4Y2M0XkEyXkFqcGdeQXVyMTExNDQ2MTI@._V1_SY317_CR1,0,214,317_AL_It is Saw set in 1939 without traps and all the gore. And without the possibility of making it out alive.

The mysterious Mr and Mrs Owen invites eight strangers to a secluded Soldier Island. Greeted by the butler and cook when arriving, it is quickly revealed neither they nor any of the guests have actually met the Owens, and that their hosts are nowhere to be seen.

Completely alone on the island, they are interrupted after eating dinner by a recording that reveals that all ten of them have been complicit in the deaths of others but has managed to escape notice and/or prosecution.

Ten artfully crafted table pieces and an American children’s rhyme (Ten little Indians) are also important pieces in the continuing story where the characters are killed off one by one. Until there are none left.

I was thrilled!

The cast is excellent with many familiar faces such as: Toby Stephens (Captain Flint from Black Sails), Burn Gorman (Owen Harper from Torchwood and Major Hewlett from TURN), Noah Taylor (as some of you may know as Locke from Game of Thrones, but who cares about GoT right?).

Miranda Richardson (Rita Skeeter from Harry Potter), Anna Maxwell Martin (Elizabeth Darcy from Death Comes to Pemberley  and Mary Shelley from the new and very promising TV series The Frankenstein Chronicles).

Aiden Turner (mostly known as Kili from The Hobbit-trilogy, but for me he will always be Mitchell from Being Human (UK)).

Douglas Booth (Pip from Great Expectations and as Mr. Bingley from the upcoming Pride and Prejudice and Zombies), and (at least for me) the more unknown Maeve Dermody.

And, to top this smorgasbord of, the ever-so cool Charles Dance and Sam Neill, with too much goodness on their filmographies to single out just a few.

It is beautifully crafted TV. And when I got over the cucumber castle in the intro, this three-part series is a total delight!

A must see for crime and costume fans!

Did I just birth a new term?

I can live with that.

Christine

 

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Homeland. Making a Home Run.

TV show Homeland (2011-) is interesting for many reasons.

Carrie Mathison (portrayed by Claire Danes) is a strong female lead. She is actually one of the most complex female characters I have seen on TV.

All while not being stereotyped as the sexy female skimpy outfit hooker agent (Yup, an older rant here).

That and the sensitive portrayal of Bipolar Disorder make Homeland a series to watch.

I know the show has been criticized for its stereotyping of Muslims (originally based on the Israeli series Hatufim/Prisoner of War  (on my to-watch list)), and for fear of exhausting the story. Both equally legitimate but not the focus of this rant.

Before watching it, I was afraid that the show was only a copy of 24, but what do I know? I have not seen 24. And probably never will.

I am glad I gave Homeland a chance.

I am impressed by the portrayal of Bipolar Disorder in the first season. Somebody knows what they are writing about!

It is off course simplified. It needs to be, to tell the story.
And the story is not about bipolar disorder, mental illness or awareness at all.

Claire Danes is perfect for this role. I have personally been a fan since My So-Called Life (1994-95) but feels she has made some weird choices during her career. Now, as Carrie, I feel she is right at home, playing on her strengths as an actress.

Her subtleties, wide range of emotions and expressions are executed perfectly. Carrie is intense and somewhat unpleasant.

Her strengths are also her weaknesses. I would actually go so far as to say that she is excellent at her job, not in spite of, but because she is Bipolar.

Claire makes her believable and watchable.

Carrie is pushy, confrontational and ambitious without becoming bitchy.

Her highs and lows intricately played out; from incoherent, maniacally chaotic to her dark and silent meltdown feels raw and real.

Carrie is flawed but never flat.

Christine

 

If you have questions about Bipolar Disorder or other mental health issues, please contact your national and/or local mental health organizations and clinics.

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How Many Crazy People Do You Need? A Box set.

Did somebody loose the key to the loony bin?

It seems like every show on TV these recent years consists of one or several crazy people. Usually solving things.

Some of them are known to us as Superheroes. As if that makes everything alright! Sorry, this rant is not about supes. Or is it?

I am not here to put labels, but as one who wants awareness, I am curious about how mental health issues are expressed or implied on mainstream TV-shows. What is this interest in the psychotic yet helpful?

Why is it almost always connected to behaving as a douchebag?
Does mental illness/high intelligence give a free pass to behave as a dick?

Is it just another bad boy (needs saving) trope, a fixation on the Eccentric, or just another tribute to the Genius?

Or are they in fact the new superheroes, their issues often described as talents and gifts in an almost supernatural sense. A common man hero, sort of. More common than the common man becoming a superhero, that is.

Or is it a poorly concealed, yet bogus pat on the shoulder to all fighters out there, living, enduring or barely holding on.

Cue: Heroes by Alesso ft. Tove Lo.

Some of the shows are following this trend head on. I have made a compilation rant of them. I might have missed some. I might have ignored some.

House M.D. (2004-2012)
Honestly, I have not seen enough of this show to say anything meaningful about it. But then again, there might not be any meaning to it at all. I have however seen enough to make highly astute guesses. Because lets be honest, every episode is the same one.

House is being an asshole but occasionally he shows a couple of seconds of remorse or goodwill. Enough to like him, or at least accept his bullshit. Not to forget; he saves life!

His superpower: He can medic-babble for 40 minutes.

Dexter (2006-2013)
I saw perhaps half of the first season back in 2006 so I am really just shooting blanks here.

As I remembered it, it was no confusion to the fact that Dexter is mental, but he was not an unsocial jerk. He just could not stop killing (bad) people. How people would sit through this for seven years is beyond me.

His superpower: a never ending supply of duct tape and plastic wrapping.

Monk (2002-2009)
Adrian Monk is the human personification of OCD, complete with 312 fears and phobias. The show is comedic in its form but portrayed with so much love you are compelled to see his beauty.

His superpower: Did I mention he has 312 fears? It is a miracle he gets out of bed in the morning!

Bones (2005-)
It is implied that forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan has Asperger’s.

I have only seen an episode here and there, but I get the impression that she comes of as a strong female lead in spite of her challenges. Flawed but lovable.

Bones superpower: When she points a finger out in the air, a three-dimensional graph or other medical image pops up, showing someone’s insides.

Homeland (2011-)
Carrie Mathison is another strong female lead on TV. I am immensely impressed by the portray of bipolar disorder in the first season of Homeland.

Carrie is very good at what she does, but her strengths are also her weaknesses. It deserves a better mention than just a paragraph in a compilation rant, so I am writing a whole post on her, but this is all I got for now.

Her superpower: A never-ending supply of highlight markers in different colors.

Perception (2012-2015)
This investigating duo consists of a flat Rachael Leigh Cook and a scrubby heterosexual Will  from Will&Grace, complete with flannels and a 3-day beard.

His mental health problems are first referred to as visions, incidents, then goes on to be called conditions, schizophrenic hallucinations and finally recognized as Paranoid Schizophrenia.

Not a good show. However, portraying the different phases of his illnesses is very good although oversimplified.

Superpower: His hallucinations are just as smart as him.

Elementary (2012-)
This show  tries to remake Sherlock (Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) in a more modern version. By moving him to the US, giving him some AA advice and a female Watson. Not to forget, a female Moriarty. You know you are witnessing post-modern stuff when half the characters change their gender. It is however, worth watching because of the cast.

Sherlock’s superpower: Animal companion: Clyde the turtle.

The Following (2013-2015)
A change from the other shows, The Following does not have a psycho investigator. Ryan Hardy might suffer from different disorders he self-medicates with alcohol and self-sacrifice, but it is this shows antagonist Joe Carroll that is the crackpot. Although I believe his followers must be even crazier because this cult leader is as charismatic as a wall-to-wall carpet.

Why someone would follow this man, and why people would watch this, is still an enigma to me. Perhaps that is Carroll’s superpower.

The Blacklist (2013-)
Yet another crime/drama/mystery worth mentioning. Reddington is leading agents around in a maze, not sure when he will turn on them or not. Is he psychotic, desperate, fatherly or only out for revenge? Is he an intuitive genius or has he staged everything from the beginning?

Reddingtons superpower: No one beats him at party planning.

Scorpion (2014-)
If one genius is not lovable enough, why would you bring in some more? Now we have a whole band of them. Are they mental or just unpleasant? This is a relative new instalment of the “crazy and obnoxious helping the happy (?) untalented”. This show lost me just a couple of episodes in.

Superpower: Instant WiFi access.

The Bridge (2013-)
This one is on my to-watch-list. In fact, all of the versions are on it. You have the Swedish/Danish original Broen, the US version The Bridge at the border to Mexico, and the UK version The Tunnel between UK and France.

Sonya Cross (US) seems like a flawed and strong female protagonist. I have read somewhere that she is supposed to have Asperger’s but it is never explained during the show. Anyway, I am looking forward to checking this one out.

Hannibal (2013-2015)
This is also on my-to-watch-list, but is it yet another version of the crazy leading the blind?

It is based on the novel Red Dragon (Thomas Harris, 1981) about our favorite cannibal Hannibal Lecter. What is not to love?

Christine

If you have questions about mental health issues, please contact your national and/or local mental health organizations and clinics.

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christinesrant, Entertainment, Genre, Marvel, Movie genre, Movies, Rant, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Superhero, The Avengers

The Avengers. Age of Boredom.

I was not expecting much except be entertained by The Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015).

No breakthroughs. No innovative methods for soul searching. No deep touchy feely stuff.

Just good fun popcorn kind of time.
With a lot of CGI.

Alas, I have not been entertained by Marvel since the first Iron Man movie (2008).

Is it me or is the whole Marvel Superhero franchise becoming crappier by the minute?

Sorry, the franchise is not getting crappier. It is actually thriving and rightly so. Each movie installment however is a whole ‘nother matter.

Yup, they are milking it. Everybody can agree and accept this (they are not alone!). The difference now from the earlier installments is that they kind of count their chickens before the eggs hatch. Meaning every movie feels like a 2-hour trailer for the next one. Nothing more.

Alternatively, that half the movie story wise was discarded in the last production stages. Cause the movie does not make any sense. At all. What so ever.

The public’s negative opinion of the Avengers drives the heroes into hiding. How dare they save the world by destroying it!

This permeates the whole movie but perhaps more in the beginning, implying it as one of the main storylines.

Both you and I know the Avengers does not fix things from behind a desk. Already we have a pending conflict. An interesting one, at that.

Because we all know they (the heroes) are going to fuck it up. Stark and Banner fulfills that prophecy pretty quickly.

What happens to this conflict?
Nothing. Absolutely fucking nothing!

Not once is this brought up after its initial introduction.
No angry public. As if it wasn’t an issue.

But it was. The fucking Avengers went into hiding because of it!

Looking past the obvious shitty logic of the movie, the usually witty exchanges seemed stale. At one point, it seemed like everyone was tired of their own dialogue. You and me both!

Stark is doing his own thing. As always.

Captain America disagrees a lot with Stark. And can never have romantic relationships with anyone since Peggy Carter has become her own thing on TV.

Thor has absolutely nothing invested in this movie. He is the character in the background apologizing to everyone for stepping into the other’s scenes, seemingly awaiting his own movie franchise update. Okay, he did two things. He verbally showed off his very boring human girlfriend, and at one point took his shirt off and waded waist deep in a pool. Sexily.

Banner is more Whiney-Hulk than usual.

Who the fuck is Barton/Hawekey again?

Once the only female (movie) Avenger and alibi, Black Widow is in love with the Hulk, only seeing his beastly power and soft heart.

We have seen this before, folks. Belle from Beauty and the Beast has the same problem, and just like another Bella (Twilight) Black Widow has to put up with a gloomy and (self) destructive boyfriend.

It is easy to say that Black Widow is just as cool, powerful and sexy as her male companions are. She even gets to fight men! Sometimes.

Then they (who ever the fuck is in charge) go and screw this up. BIG TIME.

And this did it for me. The point of no return.

Black Widow breaks down emotionally feeling incomplete as a woman because she does not have children. Worse, she cannot have any.

Worser (if it is good enough for Shakespeare, it is good enough for me!) still, the spy/assassin training camp took this away from her. To make her a more effective agent.

As if pushing a child out your hooha would erase 15-20 years of brainwashing and extreme fitness training.

I am not buying this bullshit.

I am not even going to mention that Ultron actually is really cool as a bad guy.

Christine

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Covert Affairs. Not So Covertly Discrimination Against Women.

My first reaction to Covert Affairs was this:

I have now finished the 1st season and let me be clear; I am horrified!

Annie Walker, a young sexy female CIA trainee is handpicked and fast-tracked suddenly finding herself Operative.

This could have been a funny twist on the sexy female agent trope. Perhaps that was what they were going for but let me tell you why and how they fail. Miserably.

Introduced as a pretty tomboy, Annie quickly evolves into Action Junkie Barbie.

When called in by a (male) CIA/military trainee officer, she awkwardly blabbers on admitting to sleeping with her taekwondo instructor. Which btw, is not against the rules. She has already checked.

In a couple of seconds, she is transformed into a geeky-girl-next-door type who knows how to google.

The CIA clears her after interviewing her with a series of questions about her sex life. We now know her beach relationship with ex Ben Mercer ended ugly, she is fluent in six languages and she likes to wear outrageous cleavages. It is a good thing her breast barely manages an A-cup or it would be boobies all over the place!

She comes off as a man-eater as we see her flirt with Conrad, a man she just met on the steps of her new CIA home. Who, in all honesty, is flirting with her.

Her awkwardness is yet again apparent when she tries to walk through security without her passkey. Switching her from sexy confident to silly and girly.

Here lays the secret to what I hoped this show would be like.

Already we have seen Annie as confident, silly, headstrong, naïve, determined, awkward, sexual, weak, smart, emotional and strong. Not completely one-dimensional.

It gives me hope.
However, there are signs I do not like.

Her commanding officer points out that she is the best driver of any women the CIA academy (?) ever have had. WTF?!

And, Conrad is goading her to make the no-passkey mistake.

The bureau needs Annie because she can pass as a hooker. Seemingly, as the only other woman in this department, Annie’s female boss gives her this assignment. As if that makes everything all right!

Her boss is another example of the sexist craftsmanship of the writers. She cannot trust her unfaithful husband, and continues to interrupt his business meetings throughout the entire season trying to shame him in front of others. Resulting in high bitch levels herself.

Auggie, a blind agent now acting as the geeky IT guy and obviously the romantic lead in this show, he cannot judge her by her looks. He has instead perfected the skill of listening to how other men talk to women to find out if they are sexy or not.

Back to Annie.

She flirts wherever she goes. It is her secret weapon but is seriously rattled when finding that her contact guy is an ugly middle-aged man, and she frowns at the ordinary looking man her sister sets her up with. Not giving it a chance in hell.

Instead of CIA mentoring her so she slowly gets better at what she does, everybody seems to be goading her and then laughs or yells at her for not doing her job well. Her ex being the only actual reason she is there.

She screams like a girl, cannot walk in those high-heeled Louboutins as if her life depended on it, and is manipulated by everyone around her.

At one point, her ex and her new loverboy bickers about how to best keep her safe, while she is there. Doing nothing.

Every episode ends with her being rescued by a man. She tries to fight but is defeated every fucking time.

In the second episode, just to be certain we get how womanly weak she is, she is equipped with a panic/rape alarm and pepper spray. Emphasizing her (gender) as a victim.

When Annie’s only female to look up to, her boss, gets the career opportunity of taking her husband’s job, making her the highest-ranking woman in the history of the CIA and do an amazing job at it.

In spite of all her confrontations with her husband, she turns the offer down willing to fight with him (instead of against) keeping their marriage true.

Is this actually an accurate portrait of a working woman in the patriarchy? Especially working in a male-oriented workplace?

Because when ex Mercer romantically asks Annie to change her ticket the next day, all I hear is, “Please sacrifice everything for me! As a man I cannot, but you are only a woman. You can.”

Christine

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Bitten. A Showdog Through and Through.

Bitten is a crap show. I am surprised by the news of a second season, starting January 2015.

The werewolf setup is simple.

Elena is bitten by a big dog when visiting her fiancé Clayton Danvers (her former boss at the University) at his home estate. Alas, it was not a dog.

Against all odds (!), she survives which means she is the only female werewolf in the world. ‘Cause girly were-pooches cannot handle the change. They die.

They (writers and production) try hard to make her the hero. Molested as a child, she has this whole rape-revenge thing going on. Unfortunately, she is an uninteresting character played by Laura Vandervoort, a non-awe-inspiring actress.

Sure, she is a surviving bitch who does her own fighting and demands a lot of sex but she does not come out of it empowered. The rest of the time, she just comes off as lame. Very sexual, but still lame.

To no-ones’ surprise, werewolves are either born or bitten. Organized in one Pack with a Pack Master and a set of rules spread around the world. Secrecy the number one rule.

Individual wolves (Mutts) live outside the Pack either by choice, lack of knowledge or by Packs decision, and are therefore the sworn enemy of the Pack.

Born werewolves (males only) always has a pooch for a father and a human mother. They usually grow into their hairiness during early puberty. However, if bitten the change is immediately.

When a baby boy is born, Fido is supposed to kidnap the baby and raise it within the pack, which means raising it among men only. Now, this I find refreshing!

The pack members’ masculinity is quite, eh, feminine. They really are just soft cuddly puppies really.

And stereotypical.
Strong, muscular, healthy, protective and brutal when necessary.

Men of integrity.

There is a lot of hugs, kisses and different displays of physical affection, even love, between them. They ugly-cry when Antonio dies, snot and all.

They are comfortable with their own, and each other’s nudity.

They always gather around the kitchen table for huge meals. A table also used when members are wounded/dying, so it is constantly covered with either food or blood.

Clayton is the irrational one. Acting out every emotions whether it is love, happiness, anger or destruction in a pair of jeans and flannels. He is their best fighter (with a mean streak), introverted, moody, scruffy, pushy and protective. He craves Elena. Going against everything, just because he wants her. Willing to sacrifice himself. A typical male hero, that is. But he is smart too. He is a professor at the Department of Anthropology.

Clayton tears up on multiple occasions, after interrupted moments with Elena, when begging Elena to come back and save him from his rampaging. And, ultimately when Elena puts their former engagement ring back on his finger comforting him that there will be no more sacrifices.

Jeremy is the conflicted father figure. His own father threw him in a lake as a puppy with a rock around his neck. He is the law, love and soul of the pack. He has saved/adopted/taken responsibility for everyone in the Pack at one point. He is artistic too. His paintings displayed around the house.

Antonio and Nick, actual father and son (i.e. kidnapper and victim) are business types dressed in suits. They have a loving relationship. Nick is comfortable with both sexes in bed, sometimes together. He is Elena’s favorite shopping stand-in and generally a metrosexual man.

Logan is the outsider in the pack. Raised by his mother he had a painful upbringing. So much that he became a psychologist. Or, is it that he is the only African-American member in the pack? Complete with an African-American girlfriend. Now an expectant father, he decides to run and hide his family from the Pack.

Clayton is not the only one craving Elena. He is getting competition from the Mutts, now organized.

Since she is the only bitch that can give them beautiful and true puppies, her status is skyrocketing.

The Mutts worship her as The Mother/The Goddess/The Bitch. An archaic patriarchal enjoyment of women. As a baby making machine.

The Pack equally needs Elena but recognized as Clayton’s (somewhat unwilling) partner, it is a non-issue.

It is however clear that Packmaster Jeremy is weak (as a man and as a leader) because he is not using her full potential when he chooses not to rape her.

Am I going to watch season two?

Nope.

Christine

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The Importance of Being Pregnant.

Stories have a correlation to the world we are living in. They are man-made. There is nothing natural about stories.

Shortly after 9/11 a bunch of mainstream Hollywood movies best described as revenge movies came on the scene. No one explicitly taking on the subject of course, it was too early to do that.

We have struggled for a long time now with an enormous amount of post-apocalyptic movies and TV-shows. It does not seem to fade away.

Not so strange when crisis after crisis has had the world in turmoil this last decade. Economic collapses, political and environmental disasters. You name it!

Post-apocalyptic themes and zombies usually follows vampires, a leech that not so strangely correlates with economic changes in society.

I am not kidding. You can google it.

What comes after the post- apocalypse?

Babies, is the right answer!

We need something stabilizing. We need society to move one. We need the family to stay together and we need hope. Nothing says hope like a baby.

I do hope this fad is short-lived.

The last time we had a wave of pregnancies was during the mid-90 to mid-2000 and every drama/comedy in mainstream cinema had at least one pregnant woman or unprepared parents in it.

TV science fiction is now picking up the torch, expecting and bursting with babies.

Extant combines pregnancy with alien intrusion. As if it was not hard enough, Halle Berry need to struggle with aliens, a husband on a mission and Roboboy too.

This show tries hard at many things. Thankfully, they have money enough for visual effects, good actors and a solid production.

Perhaps it would be a better show if they had not done both the ‘alien pregnancy conspiracy’ plot at the same time as the ‘Roboboy is just like human boys’ plot.

The Lottery  is seriously taking the subject of pregnancy, or the lack of, straight on. This show has potential.

I know. It is just another way to say they fucked it up.

It was supposed to be Children of Men  for TV but perhaps they got too afraid it would look like a copycat? Children of Men was good on as many levels as this show is bad.

Okay, you had a beautiful baby. Can we please move on now?

Christine

 

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Doctor Who. An Apple a Day.

This is a difficult rant to write but the necessity has become alarming.

My Whovian affinity began with me accidentally watching part of an episode at a friends’ house. Tennant was the Doctor. I admit, I remember it as a bit embarrassing.

However, one thing was clear.

The Doctor might be in almost every scene but the show is not about him.

Awkward, there was still something there. Enough for me to want to check out more.

I wanted to part-take. I liked the whole space and time concept, although wibbly wobbly timey wimey.

Before I jumped on the new series bandwagon, I decided to watch the old stuff first.

It took me a year to go through it all.
From 1963 up until 89, including the movie from 1996.

I was hooked.

Early on, my theory about the Doctor was confirmed.

His part in the story became clearer through each regeneration. The Doctor is as much a character as the Tardis is. The story was not about him.

The new instalment changed this.

Doctor Who needed to follow the New Golden Era Formula for TV series. Which means an emphasis on character driven plots (hooks) at the expense of story driven ones.

He became the main character.
He became a man.

He is not.
He is an alien.

We needed him to fulfill the (epic) hero role. Complete with romance and everything. With the ugly and embarrassing affair of Rose and the 10th Doctor as the result.

The Doctor is not supposed to be a romantic hero.

He is a tool. A device.

I do not want to figure him out, or know more about him because there is no unresolved mystery there.

He is simply the Doctor.

Doctor Who?

Exactly.

Christine

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The New Golden Era Formula. (Or, How to Watch the Same Shit. Repeatedly.)

People speak of the New Golden Era for TV.

Well, it has a backside.

You do not need to watch many TV shows before that numbing feeling that you have seen this before comes creeping along.

I have two problems with TV mystery/sci fi dramas today:
A) The Formula itself.
B) The character driven story.

A) The Golden Formula is basic = 1) Solve one (story) plot per episode. 2) Solve one arc plot per season. Usually 22 episodes.

Only 3-4 episodes connects directly to the arc plot, so a season contains mostly of one-offs. Usually, there is at least 2×2 episodes that follows the ‘to be continued’ rule, either around mid-season and/or season finale.

B) It is completed with character driven plot (character hooks) instead of story hooks. It is no longer the story that keeps us coming back for more. It is the characters.

You can’t have one without the other, you say?
Start making good story hooks then!

Every episode begins with up to 5 minutes of character development, a tiny bit of information gathered through lines or actions.

It then continues to easily solving the story. Which is the same one, only changing the backdrop, character name and the actors that play them. In some cases, not even that.

In the last minutes of each episode, we are again treated to some tiny bit of character info, only enough to keep us hanging on (hook), tuning into the next episode.

Rinse.
Repeat.

I have touched the subject earlier, as in my rant on Arrow and in the plea about Intruders.

This New Golden Era Formula has become more obvious with the current binge-watching epidemic. You can actually time the scenes and hooks in every episode!

Advertisements must take some of the blame. A show needs hooks before going to break, usually 2-3 times during a 40-45 minute episode, but ads cannot take the blame for character driven plots.

I clearly see who is at fault.

It is J. J. Abrams.

Alias  (2001-2006) is the show that stands out to me as the one first perfecting this formula.

It is a rollercoaster of hooks and plot twists heavily character driven. Sidney solves the same case every episode, the only change is with which wig. It is her relationships, her friends, her parents and employers, all summed up as ever-changing allies and enemies that moves the story forward. One minute at a time.

In 2004, Lost added flashbacks to the mix. A narrative device I now only think of as the Mother of all Evil.

The only way to escape boredom is if you find the characters interesting, lovable or not. If sucked in, you are trapped in a maze of hope.

Will they fall in love? Will he ever trust again? What happened to make him so cold-hearted? Which is all questions about the character.

Person of Interest (2011-) comes highly recommended by fans but it follows the Formula to the point of it being ridiculous. Sorry folks, Reese and Finch are just not that interesting for me to get an addiction. #StillNotAFan

However, in the shadows of the Formulistic Maze there is hope lurking.

Shows like The Lottery  and The Strain, had they only been better!

I firmly believe that the successes (critical acclaim) of shows like Fargo, The Leftovers, True Detective and (not surprisingly) Intruders, partly is because they dare to break free of the Formula.

Christine

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Fantasy and God. Part 2: Book of Insight.

The Leftovers  final episode came and went with a lot less fuss than I expected.

From the first episode there was this massive built up frenzy from fans, critics and hostiles. Mostly from frustrated fans looking for answers.

Surprised by my own reaction while I watched The Leftovers, it spurred not only reflection on my part but also writing a blog entry on fantasy genre and God where I raise the question of the sudden appearance of God everywhere in (new) fantasy fiction.

More surprised, I had so much nothing to say that one entry was not enough. That is why you are reading part two.

Rich conservative Christian individuals/organizations/churches/ congregations/cults/whatever they call themselves, are no virgins to media production.

They have their own radio and TV channels. Hell, they have even conquered the Internet! Streamlining their message, teaching people to be good Christians. All over the world.

Now however, it seems they are getting their hands dirty by putting their hard-earned dollars into mainstream media production, funding a more hidden message. Making the Christian God a natural part of everything.

You sense I am not a fan.
You sense right.

There is nothing natural about God.

And, nothing natural about my reaction to The Leftovers.

It shook my soul. My skepticism went haywire, casting me out into total chaos, ending up as an emotional ball of unresolved anger.

Why?

The Guilty Remnants (GR).

Every time the story lingers on these white clad, chain-smoking and silent folks, my stomach hurt. They anger me.

They make me uncomfortable. They scare me because the only thing I know about them, leaving the last two episodes out of it, is that they leave everyone and everything behind (although still part of the society) swears to silence, wears only white and chain-smokes.

Their mission is to make people remember.

Up until the final episode, it is unclear what people are supposed to remember. Making it universal. Whatever you have regrets about becomes what you should remember.

Up to a point, they only stalk people.

Soon they move on to breaking into people’s homes stealing photos and clothes. Leaving family and friends of those raptured with less to remember them by.

It is an effective way to piss people off. I am not the only one reacting badly to the GR and I am not even part of that world!

In the final episode, they top their weirdness by placing human-sized dolls looking like those raptured in their own clothes in the exact same situation they were raptured from.

At the same time, I am not that outraged anymore. Because now I have a clearer picture of who they are and what they want.

The more I know, they crazier they get, the calmer I stay.

Which made me think.

Christine

 

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christinesrant, Discrimination, Entertainment, Prejudice, Propaganda, Racial discrimination, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Television, TV-series, USA

The Last Ship. Fire In The Hole!

OMFG!
I do not know how or where to start this rant.

At first, The Last Ship looks cool.

A post- apocalyptic pandemic scenario and a US Navy guided missile destroyer.

Straight of I get a Battlestar Galactica feel. A hint of old school sci-fi, like with real sets and everything.

In addition, there is a present and an imminent danger.
Not in a far future. Furthermore, it is on our earth. No parallel worlds. No aliens.

Oh Gosh, I am getting my hopes up!

Not 12 minutes into the episode, the Russians attack.

Ah, I see.
A nostalgic nudge to 80’s and 90’s action movies with American number one favorite enemy Russia. I am cool with that.

From there on EVERYTHING about this show goes horribly wrong.

Half way through episode 2 I am getting increasingly uncomfortable as our heroes searches Guantanamo Bay for supplies.

Freed because of the virus, Al-Qaida prisoners rule this playground hell-bent on killing everyone although the virus is killing everybody anyway.

So not to be confused with our heroes, Al-Qaida is dressed in their standardized uniform complete with orange neckties, afghan turbans and beards.

It is as if they never left the Afghan mountains.
They are even accompanied by an exotic soundtrack.

Do the US and their military need a pat on the shoulder?
Here represented by the Navy. The finest of the whitest. Yeah, I am talking about their iconic white ceremonial uniform.

Is their reputation THAT tarnished?
‘Cause in my mouth this tastes awfully like propaganda.

Russia is the enemy throughout the season. Thank goodness, we have evolved though!

Our hero captain speaks Russian.

In addition to reading books.
About Russian military captains.

However, there is no Russia anymore. Only forces operating on their own authority according to what is left of the US Government holding out in a bunker underground, hanging on the US of A is still standing strong!

Although it is in shambles.
Just like Russia.

But in control.
Unlike Russia.

The ongoing threat by the Russians and the one from the Al-Qaida is only the beginning.

Meet El Toro. The drug lord type living it easy in the Nicaraguan jungle he calls his own.

He molests young girls, preferably right before they hit puberty. He is surrounded by jungle music with sounds of monkeys and bongo drums.

So to best get that jungle vibe.

Still not convinced this show is crap?

Every military person on board is understandably American. Therefore, we need an intelligent alibi.

Thankfully, the scientists guesting the destroyer are British. The man is however a traitor.

He does not speak much in the beginning. When he does, it is with the Russians. Therefore, you accept his stone cold nature without blinking while the female scientist runs around all emotional.

To top it off, he has red hair and bad acne scars across his face for goodness sake!

Of course, he is bad.

I mean British.

To complete this work of crap, the Asian-American engineering guy does not stop reading while eating and one of the two Afro-American guys you get to know, is the first to die. On an away mission of all things.

Christine

 

 

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christinesrant, Entertainment, Horror, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Television, TV-series

Intruders. A Plea from the most Abject of Fans.

After watching the first episode of Intruders, I instantly tweeted about it. I was excited!

A few episodes into it, I find myself becoming more and more a fan but at the same time increasingly frightened that it is a relationship not worth investing in.

This is my plea to BBC America.

Please, please do not fuck Intruders  up.

It might be the best sci-fi/mystery thing out there!
On this side of LOST, anyway.

Please keep it within the 90’s feel that was established in the first episode.

Within american gothic fiction.

With acclaimed TV-series like Twin Peaks,  X-Files  and the rightly named but perhaps to early forgotten TV-series American Gothic.

Do not screw it up by regurgitating LOST.

I beg of you!

True Detective successfully walked down the winding road towards an american gothic feel. The viewers stayed true through the madness.

Do not hide anything in fear of us not wanting to watch the next episode.

We are not children.

We know the monsters are real.

We do not need them explained.
Or psychoanalysed.

Keep it simple, mysterious, dark, gritty, surreal, personal. And relish in the darkness.

But most of all keep us clued-in.

If I even feel a faint whiff of LOST  (wow, I really DO have a problem with it. Read more here) during this series, I will walk away.

To never return.

Christine

 

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Orphan Black. Kicking Nature’s Ass.

The Canadian TV-series Orphan Black has taken audiences and a bunch of critics with storm. It is renewed for a third season airing in 2015.

I admit I was sceptic in the beginning.

As I watched episode two and onwards I got over the Ringer copycat thing and started to really enjoy the clone story. It is nothing like Ringer, you just need to get past the first episode.

The first season is okay. Some cool tweaks but the genius part is solemnly Tatiana Maslany’s  fault. The second season is much like the first one, not introducing enough clones though.

The abbreviated summary full of spoilers is this: There are these clones, right. In the beginning they do not know but through hula hoops of coincidents, true detectiving and a suicide, they or at least some of them discover each other and their true origin.

Which is the same gene pool.
Perhaps even an international adoption agency. The details are a little bit blurry about that.

The clones played by Maslany only look alike. Which is not THAT difficult since the same actress plays them all.

Their personalities however are very different. Due to their upbringing.

Classic Nurture vs. Nature.

The interesting part is that their differences does not stop at simple personality traits but also in their sexual identity and orientation. Including one being a lesbian and one a transgendered/transsexual male.

Are you born heterosexual or is that a choice? Choice, in this case being a very complicated concept.

I do get why pro-gay right activists still cling to the “I (They) am (are) born this way” argument although I find it archaic. Their demands on equal rights not diminished by it not being their nature.

Although it is more likely that it is a combination of the two and not versus, this show has made a stand. At least made a statement.

It is enough for me to find it refreshing.

Christine

 

 

 

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Mom. The Perfect Family.

I am a huge fan of the family sitcoms like Raising Hope and Modern Family.

They both portrait family as a non-homogeneous group of individuals defined by their good and their bad qualities. Not perfect families.

Of the two I recommend Raising Hope.

It is a highly non-functioning family portrayed with so much love and kindness that the Pritchett/Tucker-Pritchett/Dunphy-alliance, although both gay and multicultural, comes out as just petty.

Although both MF and RH is a tad goodie two-shoes, it seems that a “in your face” type of humor is seeping through many new comedies lately.

Humor so explicit it is only comparable to the cumshot in porn.
2 Broke Girls  is an example.

I am no prude. I enjoy 2BG immensely!

Then I saw an episode of the sitcom Mom.

I never found Anna Faris funny in the Scary Movie franchise.
Which I also did not like. Must be all the poop jokes.

However, I respect Allison Janney  immensely.

Where 2BG mostly joke about sex, Mom joke about fucking up life with drugs and alcohol but mostly fucking up your children’s life for the same reasons.

It is somewhat trashy. I can handle that.

Between the three generations portrayed, there is so much psychological and emotional abuse, and child neglect; it just gives me an iffy taste in the mouth.

I did not laugh through the whole season. I was uncomfortable all the way.

Then it strikes me.

Perhaps this is exactly why this show is worth watching?

It is honest.

It portrays flawed and somewhat broken females struggling to redeem themselves as individuals, as women, mothers and as a family.

Most importantly, they do it without judgment.

Christine

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Fantasy and God. Part 1: Book of Pretence

Some would claim that the Bible is the most successful fantasy story ever written. Some would say the Bible is Truth. Nothing but the Truth.

The fantasy genre often contain some type of religion, being polytheism, monotheism, or any theism of you choosing. Usually made up especially for that story.

However, using ideas and iconography from established philosophies and religions is usually not put-upon.

The Chronicles of Narnia without C. S. Lewis’ Christian belief could perhaps be a story, but permeated with it as it is, it would also be a very short and nonsensical one. Aslan would perhaps not suffer so much though.

The new trend is using Christianity unashamed.

For years, you could enjoy demons and even angels without questioning if God is real or not.

Hell used to be a place where bad things happens repeatedly, with freeway gates shuffling living and dead back and forth. With or without Lucifer’s blessings.

Lucifer might not even be a part of it. When he was, he did it without longing for God’s approval because God did not need to exist in the story.

Now it seems we need to have God smack in the middle. We cannot have demons and angels without it being a fight where God is a main player, although missing from the picture.

Dominion is an example. Supernatural has become another one. Unfortunately.

As I have said, I have no problem swallowing the angel stuff in both these stories without God. They are fantasy stories after all.

Why the sudden need for God?

Christine

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Undateable. The Three Episodes Curse.

I am back from my holiday hiatus!

Personally it has been an especially busy summer. So many seasons to catch up with. So many new TV-shows and series.
It has been crazy!

While I was checking out new stuff, I suddenly had an epiphany.

I am stricken with the Three Episodes Curse.

I am a firm believer of trying things before I judge them unworthy.
Usually applied food wise but it did make sense to expand the use.

Anyway, I check out many shows each season, meaning I actually watch pilots and not just read about them. Some I of course throw off the boat after reading the show’s title. I am not a masochist.

I do, however, pride myself doing an honest effort of exploring new stuff. To the point of it becoming an OCD.

However, I must never EVER watch the third episode if I am not sure where I stand after episode two.

Watch episode Three and I have invested enough time and energy to be hooked by faulty plotlines, cheesy dialogue, crappy characters and a laugh track.

To not become a hoarder of TV-shows I need to nip it in the bud and stop watching after episode two.

I am usually good at it. Practice makes perfect, you know.

However, I admit I do fail sometimes.

Now I am stuck with Justin and Danny’s awkward bromance in Undateable.

Christine

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Vikings. The Real Housewives of Scandinavia.

A friend requested a rant about the hit TV-show Vikings.
To be honest, it was a difficult rant to write for many reasons.

The Canadian TV-channel History has done a good job with the show. No horns on their helmets. Or wings.

Oh, Hollywood, how you have mislead generations!

Which makes me willing to forgive them almost everything else at this point. I should know. I am Norwegian.

However, the request was a rant so; here is two things that irritate me about the show.

Why are they so dirty all the time?

Vikings were very fond of cleanliness. Supposedly, they were the clean freaks at the time. Washing their face every morning and bathing once a week, when the rest of Europe thought it okay to wash once a year. Combs and different grooming tools for men and for women are very common findings.

So yeah, a battle can be messy and bloody, but they did not wallow in the gore longer than necessary.

Why the nuclear family?

My biggest problem with the show is the portrayal of family, its structure and morals. It is very similar to the nuclear family, but the nuclear family is a modern concept. Vikings lived their life in big family groups consisting of multiple families often with some blood ties to each other, and their servants.

Does Lagertha react so violently to Lothbrok’s suggestion that Princess Aslaug pregnant with his child, could join them out of love or power? Her place seem secure. She has given him a son. And, she has Lothbrok by the balls. But then again, Aslaug is a Princess.

Lothbrok explains to Lagertha that it is his child and that he have to take care of it. Why?

In addition, what is this talk about ex-wives and boyfriends?
Why, oh why?

Princess Aslaug now “married” to Lothbrok (we did not see it, did we?) is full of jealousy when telling him off for flirting with a thrall/slave girl in the longhouse. “Oh, you think it strange for a pregnant woman to want her husband to be supportive and kind?” she demands.

Poor Lothbrok!

He seem surrounded by women with ideas and concepts of a modern kind.

How very astute of them.

Christine

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Glee. And Woe.

The death of a beloved character is sometimes painful enough, but the death of a main cast member can be, and sorry for the pun, fatal for a TV-show.

I admit it; Glee is one of my guilty pleasures.

A stereotypical high school themed TV-series famous for its annoying cover versions and mash-ups, aggravatingly nutty characters, disturbingly surreal plots, exasperatingly great voices and vexingly flashy choreography.
Among others.

A little bit about the third episode “The Quarterback”, where everybody gets to say goodbye to Finn, i.e. Corey Monteith. “Seasons of Love” set the pace. The whole gang performed the song from Rent, a musical not afraid to dwell on dark and sad events, yet successfully celebrating life and love. Doing it honestly, heartfelt and endearing.

I am not going to dig into the sadness and awkwardness of this episode. It seems everybody already has. Wallowed in the sadness, that is.

I am much more interested in the lack of sadness outside this particular episode.

It is unnerving.

First off, nobody mentions Finn at all in the first two episodes.
Corey died during the summer and the first episode aired in September, so I guess some changes was needed in the post production.

Finn is non-existent in both episode 1 and 2, except for a fraction of a second in the first, when Rachel looks at a photo of the original club members on her mobile phone.

Episode 4 starts with a recap, done famously as always. Rachel as Funny Girl, Kurt’s band, Sue as principle, Bree the bitch, Nurse Penny, and true love. They all get mention. Finn, his death or anything from the previous episode, is not.

After the recap, you would think that they would take things slow, gradually bringing normality back. Instead they treat us to an upbeat “A Katy or a Gaga” episode.

Trust me; I am a fan of both. However, it just feels wrong.

It does not end there.

The whole season (especially up to episode 11) is chemically free of Finn. As if he never died. Actually, as if he never existed.

Suddenly we have the Nationals, where they milk his death for all it is worth, calling it Finn’s legacy. Thankfully, Ian Brennan did not let them win.

From now on Finn is still gone yet part of Glee, and their life. In a more natural (as natural as this series is willing to let it be) way.

What Glee try to teach us most of all is that Music is Therapy.
Cast and crew wants to celebrate his life in episode 3, but they fail. Then there is too much celebration, as life goes on (at one point there is even hand puppets) during the first half of the season.

Making me think that Music is Denial.

Christine

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True Blood. Dead Through.

It is not long before True Blood season 7 fires up its engines and takes off. We are talking DAYS.

It is in this celebratory moment, I ask myself:
What the fudge happened to True Blood season 6?
Fudge yeah, I am using a grandma Stackhouse proofed swear word!

Is it the production? The writers?

Is it me?

The acting, lighting, sets, make up, plotlines, sex, they all sucked.
BIG TIME.

And not in that oversized hunky, sweaty, sexy, southern sucky way we all have learned to love as TB.

Praise Charlaine Harris, I loved the Southern Vampire Mysteries novels. I became a fan girl from the very first page. Although, I never did get the Bill hang up.

Anywho, I have read the novels. Some multiple times with the same result. It only makes me love them more.

I have read the ending. I know who stays alive, dies, and lives dead forever. However, I thought Harris hurried the love story in the end. Ultimately, I can only say that I am as satisfied as far as a junkie can be, now that it is over.

Moreover, I love TB. I love the fact that TB created its own storyline.  It is, or more was, surprisingly good and hot blooded on its own.

I love that they did not kill Lafayette. The one thing I actually miss in the books.

However, I am not any closer to finding out what happened to TB season 6.

TB storyline has changed so much from the novels; I cannot say where they should have taken it. However, the season 6 story is not crap. It is poorly executed.

It is the first time I am not looking forward to next season. Which is also the last one.

Do I dread it? Yes.
Will I watch it? Yes.

By the way, did I mention earlier on that Alan Ball left the show after season 5?

Christine

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The Lie I cannot live with. And the One I can.

Sometimes when I really enjoy a movie or a TV-series, I browse the message boards and reviews on IMDb. I know I should not but sometime funny stuff appear.

Sometimes not.

Finished with season 3 of Miranda, a sit-com by and with Miranda Hart, an English comedian and actress, I boldly went through its message boards.

One of the reviews ticked me off.

The review starts off very nicely with its title: “Excellent comedy” but it all goes down from there and after the second sentence I am not bothered reading the rest.

“pythonman-1” (from Belgium apparently) states:
“To tell the truth, there are not many female comedians that can make me laugh. This is not a sexist opinion, it is just not my type of humor.”

Of course, it is a sexist opinion.

You would not emphasize the FEMALE part or the IT IS NOT MY TYPE OF HUMOR part if it were not sexist. Sexist opinions is the definition of gender discrimination.

You might not have meant it that way.

Sod it. I do not care.

According to what you just stated, you do not enjoy the one and almighty humor of women, the one that all women have in common but that, lucky for you Miranda sways away from so you could get yourself a little laugh.

So, to the lie I can live with.

I am assuming you are a man.
Good luck finding a girlfriend that can make you laugh.

Christine

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Tolkien did not invent fantasy but he may have ruined it.

I heard somewhere that Tolkien is to epic fantasy what Jimi Hendrix is to rock music. Now, I love rock music and I call myself a Hendrix fan.

I like fantasy but strangely enough, I am not that into Tolkien.

It might be me.
Seriously, I can be at fault here.

Epic Fantasy (also known as High Fantasy) has become commercially successful. It is recycled endlessly; movies, TV-series, novels, games. You cannot escape it.

Ultimately, you cannot escape Tolkien.

Tolkien did not invent elves, goblins and dwarves. However, his vision of them has almost replaced their origin.

It has also left a curse behind. The curse of staying true to the traditions of epic fantasy, unwilling to bring something new to it.

Why does nobody accuse Tolkien of stealing material?
Not that I want to go into a discussion on Originality.
I am just saying.

At the same time, modern fantasy (after Tolkien) and its complexities and moral ambivalence has more in common with the grittier and darker fantasy genre (Low Fantasy) than that of Tolkien. He is much more a ‘black and white – and nothing in between’ type.

He is also a bit of a prude.

Modern fantasy is therefore more in the traditions of the pulpy weird fantasy from the US, beginning in the 1920s and 30s with its amorality, nudity, violence and gore. I.e. novelists such as Robert E. Howard (Conan the Barbarian) and Fritz Leiber (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser) at the front.

Where am I at fault?

Is it a highbrow issue? I usually go for the underdog.
Is it a popular notion? I like what I like. Going against the flow as a default setting.

Does it simply come down to what I like?

In that case, I like my fantasy personal, dark, dirty and naked.

Christine

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Arrow. Deviating from the Path.

Springtime means busy days for a TV addict like me.

These days several series and shows are rounded off. Some just for the summer and some for forever.

On this occasion, I have written a letter (SMS or PM for you younger kidz) to one of my darlings.

Dear Arrow

I am so sorry.
It has been a nice ride but I am no longer interested in you. It is just too much drama.

It is not me. It is all on you.

I cannot take any more of the Island, Laurel’s sniveling, Thea’s petulance, Roy’s sulking, not to forget all of Moira’s choices.

And what is wrong with Caity’s chin anyway?

I got tired of flashbacks mid-season 2 of Lost. It is almost 10 years of overuse and abuse of a very effective narrative device.

Oliver, Diggle and Felicity are what makes this a difficult decision. I like them, even love them and I really want to see what happens to them next.

However, I cannot longer stand the relentless nagging.

I am breaking up with you.

Christine

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SPOILERS. The New Disease.

What is up with the fear of spoilers? Spoilerphobia, as it is known as.

I can no longer talk to friends about all the cool things I have watched lately, of fear of spoiling. Actually, that is not true. I cannot tell others about it, because they stop me mid-sentence shouting: SPOILERALERT!

How am I ever to convince people to watch my favorite shows without telling them something about it? Or even change my facebook status or tweet when there is something cool happening on TV?

It is as if spoilers somehow diminishes the quality.
People are robbed of the full experience.
An outrage!

I have watched and read both spoiled and unspoiled plots. I find that spoiling does not necessary lesser the value. I still enjoy it. While knowing.

Then again, I do not necessary live by the shock value of plots. Dialogues and characters drive me more.

By the way, who still gets shocked anyway? Usually, it has been done before so it is no longer WHAT that interests me, but HOW.

My point is, people compare the spoiled moment with the unspoiled one, which frankly cannot be done. You do not know how you would have enjoyed it unspoiled, if it already is spoiled. However, I bet you stubbornly would conclude that an unspoiled moment always is better.

I start to feel a little nosophobic myself.

Christine

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Eurovision 2014. Join Us by Standing Out.

BeardedChristine

Sometimes we are all bearded ladies.

Dare to be different.

Christine

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Black Sails. In Rough Waters.

I am following up my last post “The Musketeers. All for one and I am all for it”, with a rant on Black Sails, a pirate TV-series from Starz.

You have been warned.

Black Sails is a dramatic adventure TV-series intended as a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island (1881).

Although fictional, the novel is blamed for most of popular and wrong perceptions of pirates. It does indeed contain references to historical pirates such as William Kidd and Blackbeard, but because of the high level of fiction, it is recognized as an adventure novel, not as historical.

Back to BS (a very fitting abbreviation).
My question to you: How could they ruin it?

Where is the swashbuckling? Where is the sass?
Actually, where is the adventure?

BS tries very hard to be historical realistic but it comes out in the other end as sappy drama. I have been more entertained by watching paint dry.

I mean, it took them five episodes to get on the fucking water!

They conflict pretense of realism with adventure making it a pretentious work of shit.

They do know it is fiction, right?
Why do they fuck with fantasy, making it look like reality when reality is fucked up enough?

I do not think I will bother with a season two, and will instead hopefully optimistic wait for Crossbones with John Malkovich.

As they say, smooth seas do not make skillful sailors.

Christine

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The Musketeers. One for all and I am all for it.

Visual representation of historical settings, characters and events mixed with a pinch of fiction, makes a troublesome yet delightful storytelling. Just look at shows like Vikings and Black Sails.

The Musketeers is a historical-action TV-drama based on the characters from Alexandre Dumas’s historical novel The Three Musketeers (1844).

Fun fact 1: The Musketeers of the Guard were indeed a military branch (created mid-1600 and disbanded early 1700) by King Louis XIII of France. They were light cavalry equipped with muskets, which was a “new” combination. Shooting from horseback became an important military strategy for many reasons. However, the Musketeers were not as portrayed in Dumas’s novel, the royal family’s personal bodyguard.

Fun fact 2: The Musketeers was open to lower classes of French nobility. Their prominent fighting spirit is considered real since excelling their task, was the only way for social advancement. Interestingly enough, they are known as musketeers rightfully because of the muskets, but they are more famous for their sword fighting, i.e. swashbuckling.

Fun fact 3: Cardinal Richelieu (yep, real too but perhaps not as sinister but then again he could have been worse) did indeed create his own unit of bodyguards and the bitter rivalry between the two units are in fact true.

Dumas based his novel on Memoirs of Mister d’Artagnan (originally a much longer and french’ier title) from 1700. D’Artagnan is a historical person but Dumas’s version of him is more famous.

The Musketeers is much less an adaptation of the novel as it is a tribute to every swashbuckling movie ever made. A celebration of lovers and drunkards!

Successfully, I may add.

 Christine

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