I can now call it - 11 seasons in and Supernatural just had its best season. Not a single terrible ep in the entire run and several of my all-time favorites, including the finale, which had everything I wanted and a couple things I didn't know I wanted but now totally do, in particular a potentially major game-changer that I did not see coming. [Spoiler (click to open)]There was a casting spoiler that Samantha Smith might be in the episode, but we were assuming ghost, not that after 11 years Mary Winchester would return from the dead...!
(Not to mention, Dean doesn't actually kill a female this season. And given the various character introductions, and how the finale passed the Bechdel test twice, they really do seem to be trying to turn over a new leaf...)
Also I totally called it!
Plus, you know:
I feel sorry for the kids growing up on this. Anyone who sees SU as one of their first formative TV shows is going to have far too high standards to enjoy most adult TV - they'll be expecting thoughtful, consistent world building, with coherent character development and nuanced conflicts with satisfying resolution. It's setting them up for a lifetime of entertainment disappointment (or else, gnine and the bro argue, it will lead to a demand for better TV writing...)
Seriously though, great stuff, and I love how much pleasure the show takes in being a kid's cartoon, in telling its story in that format.
( A couple spoilery thoughts - I went into the show mostly cold and absolutely loved the reveals, so I"d recommend not reading if you might watch in the future.Collapse )
The other problem with the fic is that I'm out of step with a large part of the fandom - and particularly with the Dean-fan side of the fandom. I adore Sam, I really do (especially the character he's become - he's developed quite a lot over the seasons, more than Dean, in compelling ways. And Jared Padalecki is made of adorable and has gotten a lot better as an actor.) But while Gnine is a Sam-fan, Dean was always my favorite and apparently always will be. Even if I spend large chunks of the show wanting him smacked...that's part of his charm. I do love the assholes. And that always puts me in an odd place in a character-fandom, as I'm often inclined to side against my favorite - I'll take Sam's side over Dean, or Thor's side over Loki. This doesn't seem like a contradiction to me, because it's still all about my favorite, just from another angle...
But more than that, I don't fit with the Dean-fan side because I'm not, as it turns out, a Destiel shipper. ( Which is weird because I love Castiel...Collapse )
So, any recs for gen SPN fic?
The problem - or, maybe not the problem, because in a way it's a strength as much as a weakness? - the thing about Supernatural is that it has maybe the tightest character focus of any show. Which makes it an all-or-nothing proposition, at least for me, when it comes to fanning. Because if you buy into the basic conceit, that the Winchester brothers and their relationship is the most important thing in the show's universe and the reason to watch, then it's one of the most fannishly satisfying series ever made, bringing the angst and melodrama and smarm and love like no other TV I've ever seen. Even Starsky & Hutch, while it might beat out SPN on pure physical h/c (and not by that much), can't measure up to the emotional revelations and mutual sacrifice of brothers both figuratively and literally selling their souls for one another.
( More nattering, no s11 spoilers, cut because I can feel most of my remaining flist rolling their eyes and sighingCollapse )
...Also, the real-life factor doesn't help. Way back in first season Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles said that they hit it off from the start and were becoming great friends and all, bonding the way casts often do, and that was sweet, and translated well to the fraternal chemistry of their characters. Eleven years on when they still say they're best friends, and their wives are best friends, and they talk about how their kids play together - in the same preschool, as JA moved cross-country to live within a mile of JP...I am not into RPF, at all, but they make it hard! Possibly worse because I'm not slashing them at all (their families are far too cute), but the friendshipping is harder to resist when as far as I can tell it's 'canon'...
So we're getting a season 12. And after our
( Spoilers for season 11 so far; anything beyond already-aired eps is pure speculationCollapse )
That's not the surprising thing, if you know us. For all the many flaws that eventually drove us from the show, SPN has some of the most blatantly fanservicey h/c and angst ever put on TV. And Jensen Ackles is still a pretty, pretty man. So we decided to do a speed-watch, fast-forwarding through anything that wasn't Dean & Sam being stupidly codependent, or meta comedy, or the less irritating Castiel and Crowley storylines because I have a thing for angels and demons and even if SPN repeatedly fails to deliver the goods there, it's got just enough for me to keep trying. And for the most part it was what we expected, and we've been having fun, where 'fun' is fifty percent mockery and fifty percent shameful fangirl indulgence.
Then we reached the current season - eleven for those counting, because CW doesn't know when to quit - and were in for a shock. Because, at least as of last week's ep, season 11 is actually...um...good. No, really. Like, it's not the best thing on TV; but if you liked the first couple seasons of the show, you'd probably enjoy it now. Not only that, but it's explicitly dealing with some of the things that made the show so bad to begin with.
( Some spoilers, if you care for details. Also a little squee.Collapse )
So yeah, eleven season on, I'm back into Supernatural, actually looking forward to more. Did not see this coming...(now if only there were some fic that wasn't AU...) And honestly, if you're looking for something to watch and ever enjoyed the show way back when, it's worth checking this season out.
* The primary reason being this vid (which was extra hilarious to us because our 21-month-old housemate is obsessed with "Shake It Off", to the tune of asking for it several times a day, such that we all have it memorized.) Once we saw it, we kind of had to know what was going on. If you were ever a fan of SPN past s4 you should see it - technically it's massively spoilery for s9-10, but in practice most of it doesn't make sense unless you actually watch said seasons, which I wouldn't especially recommend, so. Also Osric Chau really needs to be cast on a better show for me to watch.
Star Wars is one of my first and core fandoms, it's got a bunch of tropes that I honestly don't know if I loved them all along and Star Wars was the first place I saw them, or I love them because I imprinted on Star Wars. (I'm talking about the original trilogy here of course, the movies I still have mostly memorized - if not to the extent I had as a kid, in which my sibs and I once recited the entirety of Empire Strikes Back during a long car ride.)
As for the latest outing - I've been wary about it, but I still had to go opening night. And...
( Spoilers!Collapse )
My general thoughts so far align with sholio's in that I'm enjoying the show but wish its crimefighting to interpersonal interaction ratio tipped way more toward the latter. (Arrow and its ilk have spoiled me for that...) But this ep finally delivered on the interpersonal goods and they were so delicious, just about worth the wait. The crying, oh, boys...how are you going to work through this?
...There is this issue that I kind of think Foggy should just go and make better friends, because oh my god Matt is terrible. It's not keeping the vigilante business secret, but the whole superpowers thing, when those superpowers are as invasive as Matt's can be, with his lie-detection, and how much he can actually 'see' - Foggy's sense of betrayal is so justified. And Foggy is a great guy, he could make new friends!
On the other hand, as their whole backstory makes abundantly clear, Foggy is, not just Matt's best and only friend, but pretty much his only human connection, period (especially since he's driven Claire away, and even then she barely knew him, she only got glimpses of his human side.) Matt loses Foggy, and he puts on the mask and never takes it off and is dead in a month. Maybe two if he's lucky, which he is never. (Matt Murdock is such a baby elephant, he can't do anything right. I still love the fight in the second ep in which he's falling over as much as the guys he's punching out ahahah Matt you suck. And then he nearly gets taken out by a ninja. A ninja! In New York! With no mutant turtles in sight! Superheroes, never change.)
(Also, I don't really slash Foggy/Matt but I really hope the fic exists that their first meeting in the dorm room, when Foggy remarks on how good-looking Matt is and then says because it'll attract girls, that Foggy is actually bi and backpedaled because he noticed Matt's reaction to his line. And Matt would perceive Foggy's attraction of course and as a good Catholic boy it would've bothered him, except he's in college now and is not going to be an asshole like that, though it'll take him a lot longer to acknowledge his own feelings...there must be fic like that. Right? Right? Fandom don't fail me.)
Meanwhile poor Karen is going to get back to the office, see the sign in the trash and not know what the hell is going on. I suspect Foggy is going to avoid her. Otherwise he's just going to tell her everything, I can't see him keeping this secret. Or else things will go to hell before she sees anything, and ahhh I wanna know what happens next!
--I admit, I'm mostly invested in the plot only insofar as its personal impact on the characters, like, Kingpin, whatever, he's weird but I don't find him that compelling. And I'm annoyed if Vanessa's whole purpose was to be fridged here, she was given enough story that I was really hoping there was going to be more to her than that.
Looking forward to watching more tomorrow~!
...Though gnine and I are freaking out the brother because we keep going, "Oh, this is so much more cheerful than Jessica Jones!" (...but it is!)
( More review, minor spoilersCollapse ) Flawless entertainment, four stars, would recommend to everyone!
Was in a particularly good mood for it because on naye's recommendation we've been watching the anime Space Brothers, which feels like it could be in the same universe (except there's no Japanese astronaut on Mars, but maybe Mutta was on an earlier mission!) I also recommend that to anyone interested in space exploration, or who'd like a story about someone in their thirties going ahead and pursuing their crazy childhood dreams - it's a slice-of-life anime about a salaryman who loses his job and enters the astronaut application and training program, following his younger brother who stayed committed to their childhood ambitions and is already a successful astronaut. (I admit, the running theme of being an older sibling surpassed by their younger sibs as adults plays very close to my heart, and it's not someone there's a lot of fiction about. And Mutta and Hibito have one of the most normal and healthy sibling relationships I've seen in anime or most other fiction, they're close but not dependent, competitive but loving even if they're both bad at staying in touch.)
The show is set in the near future and the space and technology details are meticulously researched; they consulted with NASA and it even featured the first voice acting ever done in space (a Japanese astronaut recorded a few lines on the ISS for the show.) It has that particular sort of pacing that most eps feel, if not slow then sedate, sweet and low on drama, and yet just enough happens that it's hard to stop watching - you get so wrapped up in the characters' lives that you want to know what happens next. And occasionally it will get unexpectedly intense. We've been burning through episodes and I'm going to be sad when it's over (onto JoJo's next, I suppose~)
Check 'em out! Sadaharu is especially adorable. :)
From the Ground Up (157104 words) by Xparrot
Fandom: Welcome to Night Vale
Rating: Teen And Up Audiences
Warnings: Creator Chose Not To Use Archive Warnings
Relationships: Carlos/Cecil Palmer
Characters: Carlos (Welcome to Night Vale), Dana (Welcome to Night Vale), Original Strex Characters, Kevin (Welcome to Night Vale), Cecil Palmer
Additional Tags: Drama, Angst, Drugs, Dystopia, Strexcorp, Present Tense, Memory Alteration, Canon Divergence
"The colloquial name is bloodstone," says the man from StrexCorp's Acquisitions division. "Heard of them?"
Carlos shakes his head. "No, but I'm not a minerologist. Are you certain this wasn't intended for the geology department?"
Carlos is a loyal company employee, who has never been to any place called Night Vale and never met anyone named Cecil…which doesn’t explain the mysterious woman appearing in his lab, or these dreams he’s started having…
( a bit of rambling on the writing of it, mostly for my own recordCollapse ) ...Actually, according to my stats, I've written more words for WTNV than any other fandom (the majority in this fic.) Wow, how'd that happen? (Don't kill me, gnine! *hides*)
Now it's time for the regular sit-here-and-compulsively-check-email-fo
--I got a comment! They liked it! \o/
In the end I can't honestly recommend it, though I really enjoyed a lot of it. The concept (adapted from a seinen manga I might have to look up) is compelling - two orphan boys witness the murder of their teacher/foster mother and vow to get revenge; twenty years later, one of the boys has become a police detective, the other is a rising yakuza lieutenant, and they're still working together towards their vengeance. The plot spirals out from there into government conspiracies, secret agendas, and conflicting loyalties; the story has more turns than a Boston street, constantly leaving you guessing who's on what side and what's really going on. The violently codependent bond between the two main guys, with the added identity porn of their shared secrets, is pure fan catnip and milked for all its worth as only a drama can - it's often campy and cheesy and always over the top, but man do they deliver on the angst and h/c. Also I've finally gained an appreciation for Oguri Shun - never quite got the appeal before but apparently all it took was putting him in a pair of cool glasses and three-piece yakuza suits (and then repeatedly shooting him and beating him bloody. Mmm yeah Japan knows fangirls.)
...Then there was the end. ( Massive spoilers for the series finale; general content warnings that would be spoilery to specify.Collapse )
The first is Ore Monogatari!! aka My Love Story!! aka the cutest cute that has ever cutely cuted. This anime should come with a sugar warning for diabetics. It's a shoujo about a high school boy who is the polar opposite of the attractive shoujo hero, both in his colossal manly body and face, and his straightforward personality. Due to his looks, he's never had a girlfriend; they all fall for his bishounen best friend. Then one day he helps out a girl, and you can guess where the story goes from there. Except whatever you're imagining, it's cuter than that. It's a fun, sappy, quietly silly show focusing equally on Takeo, his best friend, and his girlfriend, and the relationship developing between them (don't worry, it's not a love triangle; not a threesome either, but equally about friendship as romance), and most of the stories are basically about which one of the three can be the sweetest (spoilers: it's all of them.)
Also the brother (who not-so-secretly enjoys school shoujo comedies) was honestly wondering about the gender of the mangaka - the writer is female, it turns out, but we guess she might have teenagers, because she captures a particular sort of low-key teen boy friendship in a way that felt very true to him.
If you like Ore Monogatari, I'd also recommend last year's Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun/Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun, which has similar character dynamics, though is a lot goofier, more a straight comedy, bordering on parody - of the gentle and loving sort; if you're a shoujo fan I wouldn't miss it. Both are up on Crunchyroll.
The second is Ansatsu Kyoushitsu/Assassination Classroom, which has to be seen to be believed, but I'll try to explain why (and the summary is going to sound more spoilery than it really is - the basic idea is laid out in the first five minutes of the show - but if you want to watch it cold, go ahead, do it, you won't regret it. Provided you have a tolerance for certain shounen tropes, crack, and crack played straight(ish). And a basic grasp of Japanese schooling would help. But seriously, this show is amazing, I fell for it so much harder than I was prepared for.)
So Assassination Classroom is yet another take on that educational classic, the class of troubled teens getting an unusual new teacher who turns their lives around, à la GTO, Gokusen, etc. The twist - and it's a doozy - is that this teacher is a super-powered tentacle monster who blew up most of the moon and is going to do the same to the Earth in a year...unless this class of plucky young junior high students can assassinate him first.
This is quite the challenge, as he can move at Mach 20 (and the brother is thrilled by how cleverly and accurately his superspeed works), he's immune to most weapons, and also he's the best teacher the kids have ever had.
On the other hand, if they can kill him, they get a ten-billion yen reward from the grateful nations of the world. And (hopefully?) save the planet.
And if you're thinking this sounds completely absurd - absolutely yes! and yet the series makes it work. It's crack played straight - not realistically, and it's not a dark series; half the time it's a comedy and it keeps hitting the expected hopeful and triumphant chords of kids overcoming adversity with the help of a few adults who really care. But the emotional tension is all over the place and off-kilter from the tropes it's deploying, and that's deliberately and effectively done, often hilariously, occasionally disturbing. The kids are all the standard types of failures and delinquents, but they're well-sketched and lovable and you can't help but cheer them on...even when you're not quite sure you should.
(As a bonus Sugita Tomokazu is playing the PE teacher/special forces agent teaching the kids assassination skills and becoming way more attached to his students than he should be, considering the stakes. I apparently have a thing for Sugita-voiced characters who should never in a million years be mentors for kids and yet end up mentoring the hell out of them, though otherwise Karasuma-sensei is a 180 from Gintoki.)
The end of the season falls down a bit in how it goes more overtly action-shounen; but there's another season coming next year and I can't wait for it. Not the least of which because there are so many questions about the whole scenario, and it's offered enough hints to imply answers may come. In the meantime you can watch the first season on Hulu. And then come here and talk to me about it, because yes, so many questions!! (I'm debating whether or not to read the manga or be patient...)
I was going to write a long rambling thing here on how B5 remains one of my favorite shows ever, but then I got sidetracked watching bloopers on youtube, and, well...out of everything I love, Londo and G'Kar are still and always the best thing in the show. Their performances are simultaneously completely over the top and yet spine-tinglingly nuanced; they have lines that give you chills, or reduce you to tears of hysterical laughter. And whenever they're together that impact is squared, the characters' relationship is so complicated, and the actors have so much chemistry...
...and then you have this outtake, and just, I can't even. "Great Maker, your eye...I have smuggled in some Wheat Thins for you. Wait, wait--and a banana!"
( Spoilers for all the games, including DLC, plus a few fan theoriesCollapse )
Gnine and I have done some other things, last week we went to Age of Ultron and Furious 7, but while I enjoyed both and have some thoughts I might get down later, my fannish heart is definitely still taken with ME.
(And whyyyyyyyyy are there no space operas on TV now? I miss them more than ever! If only it were possible to adapt ME...it has to be a game, it wouldn't be the same any other way, but there's several non-gamers I'd love to show it to. They could at least do a mini-series set in the same universe, the First Contact war with the turians, perhaps?)