Adaption, christinesrant, Entertainment, Review, Sci-fi, Science Fiction, space opera, Syfy, Television, The Expanse, TV, TV-series

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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Bipolar disorder, christinesrant, Entertainment, Feminism, gender, gender identity, Mental disorders, Mental Health, Mental Health issues, Mental Illness, Prejudice, Rant, Television, TV, TV-series

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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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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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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Christianity, christinesrant, Entertainment, Faith, Genre, Religion, Sci-fi, Television, TV-series, USA

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, 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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christinesrant, Entertainment, Genre, Literary genre, Literature, Movie genre, Movies, TV-series, Uncategorized

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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