lizbee: (Star Trek: Kat's insignia)
Talking about Discovery, I've had it in the back of my mind to point out -- okay, complain -- that as much as I like Rebecca Romijn as Number One, she's significantly younger than Majel Barrett when she played the role.

Only ... I just checked. Barrett was 32 when "The Cage" was filmed. Romijn was 44/45 when season 2 of Disco filmed. (She's now 46.)

Likewise, I did complain about Mia Kirshner being too young to play Amanda, and in her early 40s, she is much too young to play the mother of Michael (29-30) and Spock (late 20s). But she is also just 13 years younger than Jane Wyatt was when "Journey to Babel" filmed, which isn't far off the "ten years before TOS" timeline.

(I figured they cast Amanda on the youthful side because her first appearance was in a flashback to Michael at about 22, and it's easier and cheaper to age a younger actor up than an older actor down. But Kirshner also looks a lot like Wyatt -- moreso than Winona Ryder, in my opinion -- and I kind of like that they aren't bothering to age her up or down. We mostly see her through her children's perspective, and to them, she's constant.)

Anyone who has watched Classic Doctor Who knows that -- for various reasons of lifestyle, experience, diet and access to skincare products -- people seemed to age faster in the sixties. And that's without getting into the relatively subtle plastic surgery options available now. But ALSO I am really, really bad at estimating people's ages, in any era.

(I've also realised it doesn't do to get too caught up in linking actor and character ages with Disco. Saru is about Michael's age; Doug Jones is in his late fifties. Tilly cannot be more than 23 at the absolute most; Mary Wiseman is in her thirties. Michelle Yeoh is two years older than Jason Isaacs, but Georgiou was at the Academy with Pike, and Anson Mount is ten years Yeoh's junior -- and it's easier to assume Yeoh is younger than Mount is older.)

(All this is only a problem if, say, you had headcanonned a timeline for who was at the Academy when, how they overlapped and how that impacted their relationships, and you're still coming to terms with having to throw it all away and start over.)

Meanwhile, separately, casting for the Picard series is still coming out, and people are going, "Oh my God, the majority of the cast are in their thirties, this is going to be a teen drama!" Turns out some fans really did think it was going to be TNG 2.0. 
lizbee: The Chippettes, looking at the camera and hugging (TV: Chippettes)
I'm into season 2, which means I can read the AV Club's recaps and -- maybe more importantly -- [personal profile] selenak's episode posts as I go.

I highly recommend [personal profile] selenak's TV writing, I've followed her for a really long time, and while I rarely disagree with her opinions, she's very good at articulating things I can only vaguely gesture at.)

So far, my take on TGW is that it's full of really interesting, complicated female characters, which makes the awfulness of the men, and the less interesting women, stick out like a sore thumb. Which is frustrating, but also possibly also one of the reasons I'm so engaged with it?  

Take Kalinda, for example -- I go back and forth over whether she's a badly written character or if Archie Panjabi is just not a very good actress, or if she was a good character in 2009 who has dated poorly. (I suspect it's a combination of all three, but I also like to fantasise about what it would be like if Kalinda was played by an actress who didn't lapse into an English accent every three words.)

On the other hand, Kalinda is still a million times more likeable than Will  "I'm meant to be the love interest but I'm only watchable when Alicia and  I are in separate scenes" Gardner or Blake "Literal black hole of charisma, bad writing and terrible acting, why is this even happening?" Calamar. He looks like his stubble was airbrushed onto his chin. I can't believe he gets the privilege of a squid-related surname. 

Basically, the only male regulars I don't hate are Peter and Eli. Probably because the writers seem to realise they're terrible people, which minimises the cognitive dissonance.

(Oh. And Cary. I don't hate Cary, I just keep shouting YOU'RE FIVE YEARS OLD at him. How is he a lawyer?  HE IS FIVE YEARS OLD.)

This may sound like a litany of complaints, but shouting at The Good Wife is half the fun. Here's an incomplete list of things I've shouted so far:
  • THIS IS NOT HOW THE LAW WORKS
  • YOU ARE ALL GOING TO BE DISBARRED
  • DIANE, WHILE YOU'RE BEING A SMUG LIBERAL, YOU'RE LESS THAN A DECADE AWAY FROM A TRUMP PRESIDENCY SO MAYBE TRY TO BE, YOU KNOW, LESS SMUG
  • KALINDA, WHAT IS YOUR ACCENT DOING???
  • ALICIA, I AM CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR WIG
  • PLEASE STOP TAUNTING THE JUDGE
  • I DO NOT BELIEVE THE ENTIRE COUNTRY WOULD BE THIS ENGAGED IN THE ELECTION FOR A LOCAL STATE'S ATTORNEY
  • OR WHAT AMOUNTS TO A PRETTY BLAND SEX SCANDAL
  • WHAT WAS THIS BRAVE WORLD OF *checks* 2010 WHEN MARK ZUCKERBERG WAS A FOLK HERO
  • CHRISTINE BARANSKI, YOU ARE AN ACCLAIMED, AWARD-WINNING ACTRESS, WHY ISN'T YOUR FOREHEAD MOVING?
(I'd forgotten one of the big problems with mainstream American dramas: there are inevitably periods where various actresses lose the ability to move their face. Baranski's seems to have gone back to normal, but I've been warned that Margulies' will become immobile in later seasons.)

Like I said, the shouting is half the fun. If Lockhart Gardner has a HR department -- and it should -- I  have to assume it spends a lot of time drinking and crying. 

But I am genuinely enjoying it -- the procedural side, with the legal stuff, is a mixture of interesting and ... not, but the political stuff (which apparently most people hated?) is my favourite so far. The stuff with Alicia's kids is fine, it mostly makes me think of the YA novel The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, and how that came so close to being good, but never quite clicked for me. That's how I feel about the teen subplots as well. 

But I'm intrigued by seeing the way society has changed in just ten years -- as much as some aspects of the story and the way it's told feel dated, you can see how this universe was strong enough to evolve into The Good Fight. But at the same time, I can't see how that evolution would be easy -- the whole series is steeped in a sort of self-satisfied "white people joking about living in a post-racial society but isn't it weird how many African American characters are disposable" attitude which really hasn't aged well. 

And the whole "loyal upper-middle-class political wife goes back to work after her husband is involved in a career-ending sex scandal"  is a weirdly universal story? Universal enough that there was a Korean adaptation in 2016, and a Japanese version earlier this year, anyway.

Of course, it's debatable whether those adaptations were actually good. My BFF watched the Japanese series, but cannot remember having any opinions or feelings about it at all -- and it only finished airing in March. And this Singaporean review of the Korean version makes it sound pretty bland.

It has me wondering if an Australian version would be possible -- and I think yes, but with some pretty key changes: we don't directly elect crown prosecutors, and there'd have to be a revolving cast of barristers to represent clients in court. Also there is just one firm in the country which employs its own investigators instead of outsourcing as required -- but I suspect the reality there was fudged to start with. 
lizbee: (Star Trek: Janeway)
...is that -- no spoilers -- at this point the show is catering to me, specifically, to such a degree that I won't even be surprised if the Red Angel turns out to be Kathryn Janeway.

I mean -- okay, this bit's spoilery )
lizbee: Speech bubble from NextWave: "Zomg. Boom." (Comics: ZOMG BOOM)
Spoilers, obvs. )
lizbee: (Star Trek: Georgiou (Section 31 apple))
I'm still putting together my thoughts on last week's Discovery, mostly because the story unfolded so differently from my expectations that I need some extra time to figure out how I felt about it. But I do have a crack theory... )

Reading

I'm halfway through The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal, which is one of those books I enjoy reading over lunch at work, but never feel compelled to pick up at any other time.

The plot: a meteor wipes out Washington DC and a big chunk of the east coast of North America in 1952, this is going to be an extinction-level event in the long term, so the space program goes from "maybe a satellite lauch?" to "we need to colonise Luna and Mars by the end of the century".

This is feminist hard SF, and although it feels a bit heavy handed to me, as the heroine learns important lessons about racism and intersectionality, it seems to read more subtle to people who haven't been following those discussions in SF publishing for years. My main criticism is that it has some of the worst sex scenes I have ever encountered in published fiction. They're not graphic, but ... there are rocket metaphors. It's unfortunate (and unsexy). Fortunately I was warned in advance, and could brace myself.

(Also, I've seen it being recommended as a good book for people who want f/f romance in their SF? I'm over 50% through, and if there are any queer characters at all, so far they haven't come out to the heroine. I truly hate when media is recommended for inclusiveness it doesn't actually have.)

Watching

I'm into season 3 of Bron | Broen, the original Swedish/Danish version of The Bridge. A lot of Scandinoir is driven by coincidence, and this is no exception, but I think it's my favourite entry in the genre that I've seen -- mostly because Saga Noren is such a great character. But she has a temporary boss in this season, who is basically the Dolores Umbridge of police captains, and I'm spending a lot of time silently shouting STOP TRYING TO MAKE SAGA ACT LIKE A NEUROTYPICAL PERSON at the screen.

("Dear Ask A Manager,

My temporary supervisor is determined to make me reconcile with my abusive mother, and tricked me into attending my father's funeral. Is this legal?")

I also watched the first episode of Russian Doll, and hated it a lot. It wasn't bad, I just hated the main character, and also every single other character except the cat. So that was easy to drop, and hopefully one day Netflix will stop telling me to keep watching it.

(I mentioned this on Twitter, and a stranger popped up to tell me I needed to give it a few more episodes before I dropped it. There is no faster way to make me angry than by recommending something I already know I'm not into (see also: Leverage, where I was initially bored and indifferent and now I actively hate it), so that earned them a nice, fast blocking.)
lizbee: (Default)
Here is a list of things I was mentally shouting at the screen during A Particular Scene of this episode...

Is this what TNG would have been like if Admiral Necheyev had been written like an actual person? )
lizbee: (Default)
I always feel a bit apologetic about my love for zines -- maybe I'm a Fake Zine Girl -- because I'm less into the punk/anarchist side of zine culture, and more into the arty and fannish side. On the other hand, I can't be the only one, because I walked into the Festival of the Photocopier on Saturday with $30 in small change, and spent it all in the first two rooms.

(This was a mistake. You need to look around, decide what you like, then buy. I know this! Why did I blow all my money on ... okay, I love every single thing I purchased and have no regrets, but still.)

Highlights (with links to other people's Instas where I can find them, because I did not take a single picture of my haul, and also I'm at work):
  • a zine by a Japanese-Australian woman, covering the Instagram and zine cliches of people who have spent a week in Japan and decided they're experts now
  • (spotted, but not purchased: three zines by people who spent a week in Japan and decided they're experts now)
  • The Mass Effect Fanzine (because I will always buy a fannish zine, but it does help if it's about media that I love)
  • (I elected not to buy the glossy Voltron shipper zines, because they were expensive and ... look, some things do need to go to the people who will appreciate them)
  • Tall Sad Girl And Short Punk Girl Are Friends, a queer YA novel in a dozen pages. You can read the full text here.
  • all the cat zines
  • ALL THE CAT ZINES
  • including volume 3 of Alex c Clark's Cats of Brunswick I Have Touched
I did a lot of other things over the weekend, but I also found time to finish a zine I started a few weeks ago, start and complete another one, and begin two more. 

lizbee: (Star Trek: Tilly (caffeinated & defiant))
Just throwing some half-formed thoughts at the wall before I shower...

Spoilers do not come with house dressing )
lizbee: (Avatar: SECRET TUNNEL!)
Me: I think Discovery deserves more credit for its storytelling choices, and the work it does telling new stories about characters and places we already know.

Also me: Spoilers for 2.03 )
lizbee: (Star Trek: Tilly and Michael)
I started writing up a Disco post, then realised I'd just end up repeating myself on my blog in a few days' time.

Suffice to say, the last couple of weeks have represented a very restrained, traditional type of Star Trek, which is not inherently bad, but I was concerned that Discovery is playing it safe in season 2, and consequently pulling back on some of the things that made me love season 1.

Fortunately, this week marks a return to TWISTS and TURNS and SHENANIGANS and QUESTIONABLE PACING DECISIONS, and that only describes two of the three-and-a-half plotlines.

Remember, the term "space opera" was derived from "soap opera". I AM DELIGHTED BY EVERYTHING THIS STUPID SHOW IS CHOOSING TO BE. 

Okay, well, I do have some notes. But that's half the fun.

Also the official website is selling Section 31 merch, and I don't need it, but I want it, and I'm also very ashamed of that. 


lizbee: (Star Trek: Michael (super competent))
I really didn't use enough disco references last season.

Spoilery rambling about season 2, episode 1: 'Brother' )

Right! That's my preliminary thoughts recorded, now I'm off to have breakfast -- I have a big day ahead.
Which is going to be ... unfun for me, because sometime during the night, the excruciating bunion pain that dominated my teenage years made a triumphant return. Seriously, it's a bad sign when you're dreaming about trying to rate your pain out of ten and being turned away as a drug seeker.

(After two paracetamol, it's down to a steady four when I'm not moving, but at some point during the night, it was too painful to have a blanket or anything else touching it. Which was nice.)
lizbee: (Star Trek: Kat and the Emperor)
Confirmed: Michelle Yeoh will be leading a Discovery spin-off focusing on Section 31.

Intriguingly, the showrunners are Bo Yeon Kim and Erika Lippoldt -- Kim is the first person of colour (and, I think, the first non-American? Definitely the first who is not from an Anglophone country) to run a Trek, and together they're the first young female showrunners. They seem like nice people; maybe more importantly, they wrote "Into the Forest I Go", which for me was one of the highlights of season one.

Incidentally, the Picard series notwithstanding, Yeoh is the oldest actor to lead a Trek series. And the hottest.

I'm about to finish my tea, switch off my computer and leave for Brisbane, but now that reveals are up, I can mention that I wrote "Rainfall" for the Cornwell Fanworks Challenge -- StarfleetBrat requested Kat talking to Amanda, set between "The War Without, The War Within" and "Will You Take My Hand", ie, BEFORE the happy ending. It was a great prompt, and I hope I did it justice.

Video games

Jan. 5th, 2019 08:52 am
lizbee: (Games: Chell (file))
It took about 45 hours of gameplay all up, but I finished Assassin's Creed: Origins on Thursday! (By comparison, Dragon Age: Inquisition took me about 300 hours -- the general estimate for most players was 150-200, but I'm a completionist, and I also died a lot.)

Impressions of AC:Or )

Now I'm replaying Dragon Age: Origins, this time as a dwarf noble/dual wielding rogue. Who would really like people to stop accusing her of crimes she didn't commit, and if the humans could stop assuming she is familiar with their weird worship of a lady they set on fire, that would be great, too.

(The advantage of the silent player character, I've realised, is that you can imagine her dialogue, which in this case is haughty and often mildly sarcastic.)

I have to say that, if anything, combat mechanics for DA:O are even worse on Xbox than on PC, although at least I'm not constantly sending my characters off to stand in places away from the action. Bioware definitely made some choices.

My plans this time around:
  • On my first playthrough, I recruited Wynn really, really late into the piece because my mage didn't go back to the circle, and I didn't even realise I had another party member to collect. This time, I'm gonna do the circle first.
  • Then I'm getting Shale. (Thank heavens the Stone Prisoner DLC is still available in the XBox store, and free. Life without Shale is not worth living.)
  • I'm honestly not sure I want to romance anyone. I love Alistair with all my heart, but I don't think my Warden is into humans. Zevran is too sleazy, and Leliana is too overawed (and also, my warden really has doubts about the whole Andraste-Maker thing; she is far too polite to express them, but, you know).
  • (I can't believe it took me this long to realise that Bioware did the "overawed female love interest who evolves into a ruthless, brilliant spymaster" thing twice with Leliana and Liara.)
lizbee: (Random: Daria hug)
It's difficult to articulate why I hate the entire concept of "hopepunk" and quite a lot of the works recommended under that label, because just thinking about it sends my shoulders up around my ears.

This is mostly thanks to my childhood and adolescence, and specifically my parents' friends.

TL;DR 'hope' and 'wholesomeness' are subjective and not everything needs to be commodified and labelled )
lizbee: (TV: The Americans)
My favourite non-Star Trek series of 2018 is Counterpart, the series starring JK Simmons as a mild mannered bureaucrat who comes face to face with his evil douchebag mirror universe parallel universe counterpart.

(I cannot recommend it highly enough -- the first episode has Not Enough Women, and I was really only continuing for Simmons, but then the second episode introduces ... her identity is a mild spoiler. Suffice to say, the lead female character, played by Olivia Williams, is one of the most complicated, ambiguous, ~~problematic female characters around. I plan to make DW icons at some point; in the meantime, I'm using The Americans' Elizabeth Jennings, who is not quite her spiritual sister, but they have a few things in common.)

Counterpart is set and partially filmed in Berlin, so it's often mentioned in the same breath as Berlin Station, a slightly older series -- three seasons so far -- set in the CIA's Berlin outpost. I watched the first episode last night. 

It's...

Okay, asking me to feel bad about CIA agents having all their dodgiest secrets leaked is a stretch. Ending the first episode with "The leaker isn't just a traitor! He's a murderer!" as the camera pans lovingly over the bloody body of a young woman is an even bigger stretch. Expecting me to put up with both those things, and the only female characters so far are strictly in supporting roles? No thank you. Apparently Ashley Judd joins in season 2, but ... ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.

On the other hand, the scenery is very pretty, and Richard Armitage is adequate. His accent's not amazing, but better than, say, David Tennant's. Maybe the show will get better? 
lizbee: (Default)
With the influx of new people, I'm seeing a lot of introductory posts on my reading page. Here's me:
  • Liz
  • Thirty-six years old
  • Apparently that makes me part of the "Oregon Trail generation", except I had never heard of that game before the 2000s
  • Active in online fandom since age 17
  • Oh God, that's nearly 20 years
  • I got an invite to my 20 year high school reunion last month
  • I'm so old
  • I used to have so much mercy
  • Me thinking about other people: "Thirty-six is really young!"
  • Thinking about myself: "SO OLD."
Anyway, here's some stuff I've read and watched lately.

TV, movies, podcasts, books ... a couple of books. )

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