lizbee: A simple painting of a maroon squid (Random: SQUID!!!)

Watching:

Season 6 of Game of Thrones, which benefits enormously from overtaking the books. Suddenly stalled character arcs are moving again! Dany gets to do more than be a bit out of her depth (and Emilia Clarke gets to do more than look pensive)! More Diana Rigg! The Braavosi equivalent of "The Ember Island Players"!

Significant spoilers )As a palate cleanser, I then watched the three episodes of House that featured Lin-Manuel Miranda. I moved on from that series early in season 3, but such is the nature of the series that I had no trouble at all picking it up in season 6. (Shocking spoilers: beneath his gruff exterior, House cares a lot. I know, I know, it's news to me, too.)

Season 6 opens with House in a psychiatric hospital, and LMM is his roommate, a Puerto Rican rapper with bi-polar disorder. It's full of ableist cliches and also regular cliches, but LMM is a delightful human being in any situation, and Andre Braugher plays the guy in charge, so if you squint a bit, it looks like a really odd episode of Brooklyn 99.

Next: Stranger Things, followed, I think, by a Gravity Falls rewatch.

Reading:

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child -- but you knew that. I'm still having a lot of feelings. It's a problem.

(It turns out that if you post a couple of times about Draco Malfoy to Tumblr, you start being followed by ... hunk blogs? Tumblrs dedicated to male models? I feel bad for them, I am absolutely the last person they should be following.)

Then I started reading American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century by Harold Blum, but it wasn't enough to overcome my MASSIVE BOOK HANGOVER, so I turned to Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.

(There are currently no plans to bring Cursed Child to Australia, but there are pretty close ties between the producers and the Australian theatre industry -- yes, I just googled -- so I feel like I should start putting money aside to buy tickets as soon as it's announced.)

Other things, not actually culture:

I've almost finished the quilt top I've been working on for the last few months -- my very first quilt that's just for me! It's a lap blanket for the couch. At my current speed, it will probably be finished by the end of summer.

I seem to have hayfever for the very first time in my life -- although it's winter, Melbourne has apparently been inundated by pollens from all over the place, and a lot of people have developed hayfever for the first time. I DON'T CARE FOR IT. I'm itchy all the time, my previously well-managed dermatitis is off the charts. I could go out and buy antihistamines, but I know there's a box around here ... somewhere. So I'm stubbornly suffering while I look for it. 

(Also, I kind of overspent this fortnight, so I'm on a really tight budget until I get paid on Wednesday. I'm not regretting my Cursed Child impulse purchase, mind, but I am quite itchy, and I'm running out of tissues fast.)

lizbee: (TV: The Americans)
Spoilery thoughts. )

Next: to start my rewatch of Babylon 5 while I wait for season 4 to finish so I can binge that.
lizbee: (TV: Janet King)
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.

Listening


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.

Reading

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.

Watching

On the insistence of [personal profile] nonelvis and [personal profile] sorryforlaughing , 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 )

Updates

Jan. 30th, 2013 11:47 am
lizbee: Freema Agyeman in brightly coloured '80s regalia, winking (TV: Larissa Loughlin)
Work: returned yesterday.  I was assigned a job labelled as "assault/affray/serious bodily harm", which I took to mean that my run of sex offences was over.  NOPE!  It was mislabelled.  I'm not sorry I have Wednesdays off.

Arm: healing!  I mean, that's how I interpret the nagging itch.  Most of the redness has gone, too. 

Ankle: sore!  I think I overdid it yesterday.  For one thing, we control our audio with foot pedals, and it turns out I'm strongly right-footed.  And, yes, it's the right ankle that's sprained.  Even so, it's not unbearable.

Ovaries: HAH!  I HAVEN'T COMPLAINED ABOUT THESE YET!  I've had nagging pains in my right side since before Christmas, which at first I put down to some kind of phantom gallbladder syndrome, but I finally went to the doctor last week, and he poked and I yelped, and apparently it's probably something in the ovary department.  His money's on a cyst.  At least, unlike a surprising number of my friends, I made it through my US trip without an ovary literally exploding. 

White Lotus fic: remember how I was crowing that my prompt was exactly what I wanted to write?  Yeah, not so much.  I have 1014 words, none of which relate to the specific prompt except in terms of the pairing, but I'm sure I can fix that before it's due on, um, this weekend. 

TV:  Parks & Recreation is so amazing, you guys.  Well, not the first season.  I had a dream last night that I went back to watch the first season, and it was brilliant.  Then I woke up and remembered how terrible the pilot was.  But seasons 2-5 of Parks & Rec are so amazing, you guys.  The Carrie Diaries is less amazing, what with the post-pilot episodes so far being a bit generic, but I think it has the capacity to improve.  If not, at least it's a chance to admire Freema Agyeman in a series of improbable and terrible outfits.  Finally, Breaking Bad is quite brilliant, although I'm quite mystified by all the people who say Walt crosses the line in season 4 or 5.  Were they not paying attention to the attempted marital rape in the season 2 premiere?  Anyway, I'm convinced that, however the timeline works out, Walter White is actually the son of Pete Campbell and Peggy Olsen that was given up for adoption.  Turns out that Pete's sense of white, male, middle class American entitlement with a seething underscore of potential violence is genetic. 

Books: Are pretty great.  I just finished For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund, a retelling of Persuasion set in a dystopian (or, more accurately, post-dystopian) New Zealand.  With steampunk elements.  It was quite excellent, and well worth the trouble I went to in order to get a copy.  (For some reason, I could buy a prequel novella from the Kindle store, but not the actual novel.  In the end, I had to buy a hardback edition from The Strand in New York.)  Now, naturally, I'm reading Persuasion again.  Turns out I own three copies.  This seems reasonable.
lizbee: (Random: Freema in close up)
Losers in Space by John Barnes: YA SF.  In the interests of having more content on my blog, I posted my fairly substantial response there.

The Carrie Diaries: CW TV series.  I was originally planning to skip all the bits that didn't have Freema Agyeman, but I got sucked into the story and wound up being unexpectedly charmed.  I've never watched more than a few minutes of Sex in the City, but this has the makings of a clever little show that stands on its own.  At the pilot stage it has some terrible lines (although Carrie's tedious voiceovers are more forgivable coming from a 16 year old than a grown woman), but also a lot of heart, and a solid cast.  (I was amused to see that Carrie's 14 year old sister, whom I'd dismissed as too mature and tall for the role, is in fact played by a 15 year old actress.)  Apparently the CW is hoping it will fill the void left by Gossip Girl, but so far it's way too nice for that.  And, I note, has a more diverse cast than Sex in the City and Girls combined.

And yes, Freema was lovely.  I don't think she's ever played a character as flighty and flirty as this before, but she does it well.  Although there are a few shots where her faint crows feet are visible, which made me cheer a little, because it's not often you get to see that kind of thing at all, but it seemed a bit odd in a character who declares that people are old when they turn 25.  But hey, it's set in 1984, a generation before Botox, and I can easily see Larissa as a person who latches onto very young, impressionable people and uses them to distract the world from her age. 

Elementary: I can't believe how this show has crept up on me.  It's gone from "Is Elementary on this week?" to "WHEN IS IT ON?  I NEED TO KNOW.  I CAN'T WAIT TWO WEEKS FOR THE NEXT EPISODE, CBS!"  So that's nice.  Unexpected for a procedural, but then, the emotional story of Sherlock and Joan coming to respect and like each other is serialised, and now that we have the characters established, the plots are getting a little bit meatier.  Sometimes they even verge on making sense!  Well done, team!

I have to say, though, with Watson established as a baseball fan, and all the soccer stuff last week, I really hope there's an episode where all investigations come to a halt because Holmes has to watch The Ashes.
lizbee: Mid-shot of Lin Beifong tilting her head thoughtfully. (LoK: Lin (head tilt))
This week, at the behest of [profile] suburbannoir, I started watching Breaking Bad.  (We have a thing where I watch one of her favourite shows, she watches one of mine, etc.  Last year I watched The Wire for her, and she watched Babylon 5 for me.  SHUT UP, THEY ARE TOTALLY COMPARABLE.)

Anyway, I'm only four episodes in, but it's the internet, I've seen pictures from future seasons and whatnot, and I already know that Skyler is the very worst character in the history of storytelling (on account of how she's a woman, and has opinions, and expects to be treated with respect, as far as I can tell), and according to The Guardian, the whole show shamefully appropriates the drug culture of people of colour (and only PoC) and turns it into a white middle class fantasy, and worse, isn't even an accurate depiction of the meth industry! 

(Which I can vouch for.  I've transcribed cases involving meth cooks and users, and either way, the transcript tends to come out looking like this:

SUSPECT:   ...(INAUDIBLE)... fuckin' ...(INAUDIBLE)... cuntin' ...(INAUDIBLE)... fuck - - -

And let me tell you, I am SHOCKED and APPALLED that television, of all media, would enhance the truth.)

The actual point, however, of this post is this:

Photobucket


Yep. Good luck getting that one out of your head!  And don't do meth.  It's legit nasty.
lizbee: (Random: Freema in close up)
I'm a bit embarrassed to find myself looking forward to The Carrie Diaries, especially since it has a projected lifespan of about three episodes and I've never seen Sex in the City, but YA/coming of age + Freema is a pretty winning combination for me.



Also, just based on this, I have a feeling there's going to be some age-inappropriate Larisa/Carrie shipping, and I'm down with that.

In other news, every single year I forget that in hot weather, my desktop makes a noise like a helicopter. It's the fan. It's a problem. Like, when you can't hear a song or video over the sound of your computer fan? Annoying and probably bad for the machine as a whole!
lizbee: (Default)
This Australian teen soap (spoilers: it's set at a dance school!) is SO MUCH BETTER than it has any right to be! It starts out all, "Oh, the main character is kind of wide-eyed and innocent and the buttmonkey of the world, and there's a rebel and a mean girl and a non-threatening boy and one character of colour from the wrong side of the tracks with a criminal past!"

And now I have one episode of the first season left, and it's all, "The non-threatening boy is freaked out by having a crush on the boy from the wrong side of the tracks, and what if this means he's gay, and what if he loses his best friend, and they have to work it out together, and meanwhile the three main female characters have their own separate storylines about self-determination and obligations to family and self!"

Seriously, I kind of want to smush the show up into a great big hug. Not least because, without ever being preachy or didactic, it portrays really positive behaviour modelling. For example, when the mean girl comes back from her inevitable brush with an eating disorder, her dance partner (and love interest, because he also likes girls), the non-threatening boy, feels responsible for not saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaving her, and is over-compensating by being the food police. And finally she says, "Stop that. It's not helping. And you can't take responsibility for my choice to starve myself." AND THEN HE TOTALLY RESPECTS HER BOUNDARY! WITHOUT BEING GUILT-TRIP GUY! IT SHOULDN'T BE THIS EXCITING, BUT IT IS.

And meanwhile, wide-eyed new girl protagonist manages to kiss all the boys, and struggles with maintaining her integrity and finally stops making a fool of herself (although no one forgets those times she did).

And the storylines about helping underprivileged kids THROUGH DANCE ... well, they improved.

Oh, show, you are kind of OTT and I side-eye your depiction of Sydney's geography, and also the last time I looked at Sydney Harbour it was full of jellyfish so I'm not convinced by the scenes of joyous youth throwing themselves into that particular body of water, and if I drank every time there was a loving shot of the Sydney Harbour Bridge I'd be dead by now. And also I've developed a Pavlovian response (*snerk*) to your love theme, on account of how you used it for every pairing, plus some rehearsal scenes. But you're actually pretty great.
lizbee: (TV: Dean)
Three seasons of jokes at the expense of Glee come together for an all-singing Christmas finale.  I swear, if this show doesn't come back from hiatus ... you know what?  I actually agree with the AV Club; this is a hiatus, not a cancellation.  Although I am kind of amused that, judging by his Twitter, the only thing Dan Harmon hates more than Glee now is NBC.  He hates his network like Steven Moffat hates straightforward plots.

Spoilers think it's someone's birthday. )

On an unrelated, but equally joyful note, we had so many tech problems at work today that I wrote 750 words of my [community profile] white_lotus fic.  GO TEAM LIZ!
lizbee: A simple painting of a maroon squid (Random: SQUID!!!)
So last season was pretty great, in that it started out pretending to be a srs bsns drama and then CAST OF THE SHACKLES OF DIGNITY and embraced THE CRACK.  Which was nice.  Only this season, it has amped up into FULL SPARKLY TEXT CAPSLOCK LEVEL MELODRAMA, and I'm not sure my poor nerves can take it.  I'm not saying that I had a stress dream about Matthew and Mary, but in amongst a whole lot of other things, including that time we all belatedly realised that River Song's first appearance was actually in Star Trek Voyager, because such is the power of the Moff, apparently, there was some stress.

Spoilers up to episode ... whatever it was that just aired. )
lizbee: (Random: Oscar)
But regular spoiler etiquette should apply to Downton Abbey as much as any other TV show. Livetweeting, posting spoilery screencaps or transcripts of scenes outside of a cut: these are not cool things to do.
lizbee: (Mad Men: Peggy and Joan)
I was going to come up with some kind of post expressing my feelings about the end of The Hour, but Abigail Nussbaum saved me the trouble by reaching into my brain and expressing them for me.  And much more coherently than I would have done!
lizbee: (Random: WTF stamp)
Picking up my laptop mid-episode 5 to say... )

[profile] suburbannoir: "I really miss the days when Betty Draper would just throw up in a car."

"I am not a child."

WHAT EVEN IS THIS DIALOGUE?!

The Hour

Jul. 31st, 2011 07:23 pm
lizbee: (Mad Men: Betty and Joan)
I was pretty excited for The Hour when I first heard about it. A BBC drama set in the '50s? The British answer to Mad Men? Starring Romola Garai? SIGN ME UP.

So far, [profile] suburbannoir and I have watched two episodes, and we've been disappointed.

Spoilers. )
lizbee: (Avatar: NAKED TIME!)
My summary at [community profile] au_bigbang is up waiting for an art claim. If, you know, you're interested.

*eyedart*

Avatar meme, day 8: favourite quote.

...well, that's a challenge. The series is eminently quotable. I could go with a funny quote, or a touching and bittersweet quote. Or something about tea.

Or I could go with ... you know. )

In other news, I have watched a season and a half of Arrested Development in thirteen days.

It started because of Arrested Westeros, which I followed even though I'd never watched the series (why? I DON'T KNOW! IT SEEMED LIKE A GOOD IDEA AT THE TIME, I'M SURE!) which of course got me wanting to see it all in context.

Then, somewhere around the second episode of the Avatar finale (House o'Squid is halfway through! We're stretching it out so it won't be over too soon!), possibly around the time [personal profile] piecesofalice was remarking on the need for rehearsals for Ozai's, erm, job title upgrade, coupled with the fact that he obviously didn't bother telling Azula what he had planned for her -- yes, it was around that moment that [profile] suburbannoir said, "Liz, you really need to watch Arrested Development and then make Arrested Avatar."

So, um, I did.

And I am.

Only I also got sucked into AD for its own sake. I'm not usually into sitcoms, especially sitcoms based on unlikable people being embarrassing. But it just sucked me in. Maybe because the reality is so heightened ("I may have committed some light treason.") or because it's just funny.

Although I am having trouble with Mae Whitman (a) not being a cartoon character and (b) being identical to my sister.

On the upside, a season and a half in, and I only just remembered that I hate Michael Cera! Fine work, show, fine work.
lizbee: (Random: lush (Lalla))
Two things [personal profile] baggers and I appreciate very much: British historical dramas about aristocratic types in the first decades of the 20th century and ugly cardigans.

Upstairs Downstairs was full of both, and has thus won a place in our hearts.

We were afraid, at first, that it wouldn't measure up to Downton Abbey for lulz, for how could anything hope to compete with a series that had Maggie Smith locked in a battle to the death with Penelope Wilton (actual death not guaranteed) and Irish socialist chauffeurs. But we were won over by Keeley Hawes doing her usual Posh 'n' Brittle routine, Eileen Atkins and her monkey, and gratuitous Wallis Simpson.

(Note to fannish types: the Duke of Kent was actually IRL bisexual, so, y'know, you could totally write HRH/Sir Hallam. If, you know, you wanted. No, nevermind, I know no one's interested in the goings on between powerful aristocratic men who spend a lot of time in evening dress.)

Also, the trailer suggests the presence of the British Union of Fascists, which suggests Oswald Mosley, which suggests Diana Mitford Guiness Mosley, and the House o'Squid has always felt there was a lot of material there just begging for the BBC treatment.

But most importantly, there were many ugly cardigans. Here, we have selected a few highlights. Cardigans ahoy! )
lizbee: (TV: Cameron (guns))
I'm off sick from work because I hate some bad ham yesterday. INDULGE ME.

Day 01 - A show that never should have been canceled

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

It was a toss-up between this and The Middleman, but The Middleman is sort of perfect in its tiny, self-contained run, whereas SCC ended on a game-changing cliffhanger.

In my cynical moments, I think that Sarah Connor was cancelled because it was a sci-fi/action series that was not sufficiently exploitative of its women. Which is not to say it did not make full use of the massive combined sexiness of Lena Headey, Summer Glau, Stephanie Jacobson, Shirley Manson etc, but it lacked that crucial element of underlying misogyny that makes a show successful.

Also, you know, it was quite expensive, did not break the plot down into tiny, bite-sized chunks for the hard of thinking, and dedicated three episodes in the middle of the season to exploring its main character's psyche. On Fox. Clearly it was doomed to failure.

I'm glad we got what we did, which was (among other things) a branch of the Terminator franchise that deliberately cut itself off from the post-Cameron movies and embraced the potential for alternate universes inherent in the series concept. But I do wish that cliffhanger had some resolution. And that someone would write fic where Amy Pond meets Catherine Weaver. For they are both strange Scottish gingers, aside from the bit where one is actually a liquid metal robot from the future.
lizbee: (Default)
This was so awesome, I couldn't even come up with a funny cut-line! )

With Trek out of the way, I watched more Ashes to Ashes (...Gene is maybe growing on me?  Like a mould?), and half of "The Empty Child".  Verdict, five years later: the script is amazing.  Billie's accent is terrible.  But the reason I only watched half was because I'd reached TV saturation point for the night, even though Blackout left me in the mood for more time travelling-Blitz shenanigans.

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