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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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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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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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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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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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, 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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Christianity, christinesrant, Entertainment, Faith, Genre, Television, TV-series

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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christinesrant, Entertainment, Television, TV-series, Uncategorized

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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Adaption, christinesrant, community, Entertainment, Literature, Television, TV-series

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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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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Adaptation, christinesrant, Entertainment, Television, TV-series

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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Adaptation, christinesrant, Entertainment, Literature, TV-series

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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Adaptation, christinesrant, Entertainment, Literature, TV-series

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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Feminism, Literature

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Feminists

I am a sucker for romance.

According to some feminists, romantic fiction brainwashes women into submission. Gratefully I am a feminist in the year 2014. Also known as a postmodern feminist. I enjoy romantic fiction for exactly what they are. Fiction.

Disappointed by Wuthering Heights (Emily Brontë, 1847) it was with low expectations that I opened my paperback edition of the classical Pride and Prejudice (P&P) by Jane Austen (1813).

The romantic plot in P&P is simple and classical. I am guessing you are like me, not reading romantic novels for ‘do they get each other in the end?’ part. *SPOILERALERT*

The story in P&P is okay. No surprises. No wow factor.

I always pictured Lizzy to be cheekier but Hollywood has perhaps misled me. I love Mr. Bennet. A patriarch and a feminist! I off course loath Mrs. Bennet and Lydia. Mr. Darcy does not rattle my bones. (Team Wickham, anyone?) To sway me in Darcy’s direction he should have been even more proud, more obnoxious, more hero. He should have simply been more.

We know Austen’s stories was (and still is) social commentaries highlighting the dependence of women on marriage to secure social standing and economic security. Lizzy fights for her right to marry out of love and not out of politics. I get the biting social commentaries. Thank the Goddess, her true love is filthy rich and able to not only secure her socially and economically, but improving her standing altogether!

Alas we come to the matter that is important (almost lost focus there for a moment), namely Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (PPZ) (Seth Grahame-Smith, 2009).

Is PPZ more feministic than the original, which now seems outdated? What has Grahame-Smith actually done with Austen’s story?

PPZ opens with the sentence: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.” Preaching to the choir, as it were. Zombies always want more. Never satisfied.

The original P&P says: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” How easy it would be for me to turn with my sisters and point out the true meaning of the swap of ‘man’ with ‘zombie’, ‘fortune’ with ‘brains’ and ‘more brains’ with ‘wife’. However, I will not succumb!

Other changes in PPZ explains the difference in social status between Mr. Darcy and Lizzy. It is because of their combat training. His family train in Japan while Lizzy and her sisters train in China. Karate vs Kung Fu, anyone?

Conclusively, the Bennet sisters are the same in both stories. They just have one more problem to deal with. Zombies. Fortunately, they are a highly trained militia, kicking ass. Lizzy does not need a man to protect her. She fights her own battles. Feminists rejoice!

I am not saying PPZ is a feminist masterpiece. With the use of zombies, the story becomes science fiction as well as romance (perhaps even more so). Science fiction is a perfect fictional tool to pose questions about social issues such as gender issues.

Austen was undoubtedly a (modern) feminist writer but the romantic wrapping is not up to date with present feminism. So conclusively, Grahame-Smith has written a postmodern feminist work not because Lizzy does her own fighting but because he throws zombies at her!

Sisters unite! For there is always more zombies to slay!

Christine

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