ABC Family, Adaption, Cassandra Clare, christinesrant, Entertainment, Fantasy, Freeform, Literature, Paranormal Fantasy, paranormal romance, Rant, Review, Shadowhunters, Television, The Mortal Instruments, TV, TV-series, urban fantasy, USA, YA, Young Adult

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.

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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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christinesrant, community, Cop show, corruption, Drea de Matteo, Entertainment, Family, Feminism, Jennifer Lopez, NBC, Ray Liotta, Review, Shades of Blue, Television, TV, TV-series, USA

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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animation, Children, Children movie, christinesrant, Disney, Entertainment, Fantasy, Feminism, Movies, Review, Tinker Bell

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.

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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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christinesrant, Discrimination, Entertainment, Feminism, gender, Prejudice, sexism, Television, TV, TV-series, Women empowerment

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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Adaptation, christinesrant, Entertainment, Fantasy, Feminism, sexism, TV, TV-series, Werewolf, Women empowerment

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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christinesrant, Doctor Who, Entertainment, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Television, TV-series

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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christinesrant, Entertainment, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, Television, The New Golden Era Formula, TV-series

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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