A regular feature on the Galactic Suburbia podcast
is "Culture Consumed", where they outline and discuss the things they've been watching, reading and listening to of late. I really like the format, so here's what I've been consuming lately.
I don't really do podcasts much, but I love Galactic Suburbia, which ranges widely from fandom to general Australian pop culture from a local feminist perspective that works hard at intersectionality. There is also cake.
I also don't really listen to albums per se, let alone Beyoncé albums -- I usually find her work very hit and miss, most of the misses being ballads. But Lemonade
really is outstanding. For one thing, there's a coherent narrative, which I don't find in many albums, and it all comes together in "Formation" at the end.
Speaking of coherent narratives: Hamilton
. I didn't much like it on a first listen -- I think I got as far as "You'll Be Back" -- but I gave it a second go because I was intrigued by all the discussion. Listening to it with the Genius annotations open was great -- but it took the entrance of George Washington to make me fall in love. Turns out I just quit one song too soon on my first attempt.
I have a lot of Issues with its portrayal of women, which I think is a lot less feminist than people give it credit for, but I sure do love it a lot.
Spinning off from there, I've also been listening to a lot of the '80s and '90s hip hop that inspired Hamilton
, and from there I keep falling down a TLC/Salt 'n' Pepa spiral, which inevitably leads back to Destiny's Child, Beyoncé and Lemonade
It's Hugo's season, and once again, the shortlists are a clusterfuck of right wing trolls. The novels aren't so bad this time, but I may nope out of Best Related Work all together, not only because I'm a bit disappointed that Companion Piece
didn't make it, but I'm absolutely heartsick that we don't get to lose to Letters to Tiptree
But once again, I'm going to read as many of the finalists as I can, review them on No Award
, and vote according to merit. I just finished Seveneves
, and I'm struggling to come up with a coherent way to talk about it on NA. I might just do the post in three acts: one's really slow, the other is quite interesting until everything suddenly happens offscreen and we hear about it later, and the third is a review of a completely different book all together.
My reward for finishing Seveneves
is Star Wars: Bloodline
by Claudia Gray. It's very good, but what I'm really interested in with regard to the post-OT timeline is Ben Organa Solo and his descent into darkness. Sorry, Tumblr, but I have a serious weakness for characters who grow up in the shadow of their family legacies and either deal with that or fail spectacularly, so the only way Kylo Ren could be more awesome in my eyes is if he was Han and Leia's daughter instead of their son.
Also read lately:
- Vol 1 of Archie 2015, the "reboot" with art by Fiona Staples. I was pretty cynical when I heard this was happening, but it's really good -- I think because it takes the whole Riverdale format seriously, and isn't setting out to be a Dark and Gritty Version. It's still a comic you could give to your kids. And the art and writing are just good, to the point where I may actually have to get the Jughead title as well. (I realised that Mark Waid has written a bunch of stuff I've enjoyed over the years, so I should pay more attention to him.)
- The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks -- another YA/Middle Grade graphic novel, set in a city that has been invaded and colonised so many times, it's original inhabitants no longer have a name for it. This wears its Avatar inspiration overtly -- not only does it have a blurb from Bryan Konietzco, but the cover uses the AtLA font -- but it's a worthy successor. For one thing, unlike a lot of AtLA-inspired works, it's not about white people.
- The Murder of Mary Russell by Laurie R King -- I sort of fell out of love with this series after Locked Rooms pulled its punches and then God of the Hive looked at all the foreshadowing and set-up of the previous book and went, "Nah, actually I'll ignore all of that and be disappointing and racist instead." But this was outstanding, and I really wish it had come out ten years ago, when I had the fannish drive and energy to really do something with it, fic-wise. It's a massive retcon of not just the previous Russell novels, but also the Doyle canon, and nearly everything about it delighted me. Even the flashbacks to 19th century Australia were great, and I usually find gaping errors in that sort of thing.
On the insistence of nonelvis
, I've been watching The Americans
. They were right: it's very, very good. It's sort of my Mad Men
, in that every episode features a style of clothing or hair that I've seen on pictures of my mother.
It turns out that America is suddenly doing really good historicals set in the last few decades. Well, not "suddenly", I suppose Mad Men
proved it could be done, and then it was just a matter of time until it inspired some really good shows. Between seasons of The Americans
, I've watched Show Me A Hero
(set in the '80s and '90s, about the court-mandated desegregation of Yonkers) and The People v OJ Simpson
, which I started expecting hilarity, and ended having actual feelings about the Kardashians?
Then my MacBook's logicboard exploded, so for about ten days, I was confined to what I could watch via streaming services. Which was fine, it was just in time to binge watch season 2 of Janet King
via ABC iView. I quite liked season 2 -- I thought it was better plotted than season 1, and despite the Dead Lesbian Trope that drives it, it also gives us Marta Dusseldorp dealing with trauma by wearing a lot of tank tops, and also a plot about a woman seeking justice for her murdered wife.
I was less impressed that the final episode reveals that the murderer is ( spoilers )
, which doesn't really affect the plot or motivations, it's just a means to a fake-out. That could have been done differently, guys.
Stuff I watch week to week:
Elementary's season 4 was a mixed bag, and I have some issues with the finale, but it left me shipping ( spoilers )
And Orphan Black's season 4 is great so far, pulling back from the labyrinthine conspiracies of season 3, but still dealing with repercussions from last year's plotlines. ( More spoilers )