Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Television! Teacher, mother, secret lover.

Yes, that's a quote from The Simpsons up there. I found it appropriate. Now, this won't be a negative post. Well, it will be in a sense but I'm not ranting by any means. I'm simply sharing some thoughts I've had recently.

On television shows, the writers seem to be focused on making an important issue they tackle as real as it can be. That's fine, it's good even, but it seems as though it is the only thing they think they can do. They never seem to consider, "How about we show this differently in our made-up world where everything else is unlike the real world." What I'm talking about is when a show tackles a story about, say... cancer or the gay community, to start with two separate examples. One specific example I want to start with first is The L Word's 'Dana'. She had breast cancer and the show runner killed her off because "Women do die from breast cancer and I felt it was important to show that, especially with a character everyone loves so much." What she failed to understand is that we're all aware women die from breast cancer, we're well aware many people die from all sorts of cancer. (What she also failed to understand is that killing off a fan-favorite doesn't bode well for your show.) To address my point re: this issue though, how about showing the process of fighting cancer year after year? I personally think that'd make a bigger impact. I mean, if you really wanted to "remind" the audience of the possibility of someone losing their battle, then introduce a new character Dana could have befriended and ultimately lost along the way. There's a lot more available there story-wise; there are three big stories I can think of off the top of my head, actually.

As for my other example, I've decided to use a different topic instead because of a show I've been watching lately. Degrassi has a transgender character, which is impressive considering I can only think of one other show that has done this, but I am frankly scared for this character. The show has a tendency to kill off someone every other year and I fear they may go the more realistic route with him eventually. By 'more realistic' I mean that half of transgender people attempt suicide (this Degrassi character has inflicted pain) and many are raped/murdered. I've been wondering lately if it'd be best for the show to create a better, more accepting environment instead. Mind you, only the 3 bullies (who pick on everyone for anything at all) have bothered 'Adam', while everyone else is very accepting of him. But why not create a story to have at least 2 of them reconsider their views? It may not seem realistic to most people, but I think it'd be much more beneficial to the audience. I mean, even with how well the show's been addressing this, I've seen a few forum posts and video blogs on YouTube of viewers still saying things like "Well, Fiona won't be with Adam because Adam's actually a girl and Fiona's not into girls that way." Even after an entire season of episodes, including one almost completely devoted to Adam's story - showing Adam will not accept being referred to as a female by anyone and when changing to "Gracie" for his step-mom, he started hurting himself again - viewers are still not accepting it themselves even though they claim to "not have an issue with Adam". Some of them still refer to the character as Adam/Gracie or he/she. Mind you, it's a lesser amount than one would expect, especially with a big teen audience that are most likely learning about trans people for the first time. The show really has positively informed many about this topic, which is wonderful. It could do even more with handling Adam's story in the way I mentioned, especially if they were to have Fiona remain interested in Adam after finding out he is transgender. To those unfamiliar with her character, her choosing to stay with Adam would definitely fit the character as she has quite a handful of issues herself and doesn't judge anyone for theirs. It's curious to me why half of the fans assume she won't, though, but I think that may be a general assumption of their own and not one of Fiona.

I do know it's important to show these very real situations that people go through in their lives, but again, sometimes I wonder if it's just as important to create a "less realistic" community of characters that are entirely accepting. I just feel that the only way people are going to start changing, or even re-considering their views, is if they witness little to no negative behavior. None of us are born close-minded and ignorant. And true, bringing up these issues even with the best representation is never going to change every person's views, but I think it'd help a large percentage to one day help us get certain laws passed without heavy resistance. Think of it as tv adapting a sort of zero tolerance policy, if you will.

Am I completely off-base here?

To sum up, I just wish television programs would mix things up a little. As I mentioned before, I find it so odd they make up these fake places with occasionally over-the-top situations, but then any sort of real issue has to be dealt with in the most "realistic" and dramatic way. I feel like they could say so much more by tackling these stories differently, in a more positive light. If you don't think you can create an interesting story out of something like that, then your characters are clearly not at all interesting on their own. Here's where shows could learn a thing or two from AMC's Mad Men.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A decent amount of work but still plenty of play.

For the past several months, I've become a bit of a "gamer". I'm very much a beginner, though. I quit Mass Effect 2 only a few hours [if that] into the game because I happened upon a mission that I found myself struggling to beat. I had to destroy these huge robots before they destroyed all of the crates I was sent to retrieve. I clearly have advanced in my gaming skills since then (ME2 was the first game I played after getting my Xbox360) because I played that mission again last week and beat it in 1 minute. We can definitely chalk my first failure up to not paying close enough attention to the game.

Video games sure have come a long way since I last played them about a decade ago. Though, admittedly I played the games I see today's gamers scoff at and do everything to avoid, sports games and whatnot. That is, unless they're exceptionally well done, because serious gamers do appreciate hard work from developers. Before picking up my Xbox360, I researched video games thoroughly, finding out what's the most critically-acclaimed and most played. The one thing that separates video games from other forms of media is that the best games end up being the best sellers. Sure, sometimes a really good tv show or film gets proper recognition, but 90% of the time they don't. 90% may be generous, actually. Anyway - I had no idea how involved I was going to have to be with the games I started picking up, particularly ME2. I read about the individual experience and all, but I guess I still didn't think much of it.

I found myself aggravated when nearing the end of the game because my character was in a state I wasn't too pleased with: I lost the loyalty of Miranda (face and voice provided by the lovely Yvonne Strahovski) after an argument was had between her and another crew member and I didn't finish 2 other teammates' loyalty missions properly. The latter was due to my being foolish. Ah well, next time! Regardless of my failures, I was still excited about the end of the game. Which was surprisingly easy. Easier than most of the levels, actually, but unfortunately more tedious as well. I won't go into detail to avoid spoiling anyone who has yet to play or even purchase the game.

On that note - there are a few amazing games coming out in the next couple months I'm very much wanting to get my hands on, namely Fable III, Medal of Honor, and Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood. I figure I'll wait on Call of Duty: Black Ops since I still haven't played Modern Warfare 2, will be busy with the other new releases, and I certainly have plenty of other games to finish; I have started all the games I have purchased this past year, but I haven't gotten too far in most of them.

What I've found from my 8 months of gaming is that I prefer shooters/action-adventure and action role-playing games. Games like Fallout and The Elder Scrolls are where I fail, which is unfortunate because they are interesting gaming experiences. I think what I might do is sell my games that are pure role-players and trade for the ones I can play, then maybe in a year or two when I've excelled as a gamer, I can try them again. I mean, I beat those robots that [7 months ago] killed me just as fast as I ended up killing them last week. Metal bastards...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

On the street where you live...

221B Baker Street

BBC's new show from Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss premiered 2 weeks ago to favorable reviews. (Except for this guy. Someone should really help him with getting that stick out of his ass.) If you enjoy Moffat's and Gatiss' Doctor Who episodes, you are likely to enjoy this as well. I know I did. A lot. Sherlock is stylish, clever and witty, much like Who, but it definitely has its own little quirks and overall feel to separate itself from the other. Not to mention it is about Sherlock Holmes and not the Doctor. Benedict Cumberbatch is a pitch perfect Sherlock (with proper eye color, to boot!) and Martin Freeman's Watson is just wonderful. I know what you're asking, though... "But do they play off each other well?" They most certainly do, my friend! And naturally, bromance permeates the scripts.

Unfortunately for fans, there are only 3 episodes in this season and the second aired this past weekend. Word has it the show will be returning for another round, but not until late 2011 from the looks of it. Alas, these episodes do run 90 minutes so it's not unlike a British half-hour comedy that normally gets 12 episodes, or similarly, a British drama that gets 6 hour-long episodes a season.

Regardless, consider this a definite recommendation. And here's to hoping the dvd set won't be too expensive! (Yeah, right.)

p.s. I would apologize for my absence but I don't think anyone really missed me. Not looking for pity, mind you. I just recognize the fact that people don't really know about this blog. Yet! I'm a glass half-full gal. And I'm also not bothering with an apology because my absence was due to family matters. I do intend on keeping up with this blog as I have previously stated here. :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ladies and gentlemen...

I introduce you to my new favorite summer show, Covert Affairs.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Doctor Why?

I am completely smitten with the latest series of Doctor Who. Not only did I look forward to a new episode every weekend, but I'm finding myself re-watching the episodes. Not only that, I want to re-watch all of the episodes. But... can anyone tell me why?

Is it Matt Smith's stellar performance as the new Doctor? Maybe it's because of the intelligent and sassy Amy Pond, played by Karen Gillan. Or is it because of Steven Moffat taking over the series? Then again, maybe it's Rory. Wonderful, lovely Rory.

Why is it I am so taken by it?

Years ago, starting with the reboot of the series, I watched Christopher Exccleston's run as the 9th Doctor. I enjoyed it but I didn't find myself a fan at the end. But I caught up in time (more or less) to watch the 2nd season with Tennant as the 10th Doctor; I actually only caught the Christmas episode and the first of the next season. I think I actually found myself less fond of it. So, I decided I would revisit the series at a later time. Hoping that in a year or two, my tastes would change a bit and it would be more to my liking.

Several months ago, during New year's weekend, I caught a network running a marathon of the series. If I wasn't sleeping I was watching the show. Still wasn't thoroughly enjoying it, but watching it all the time definitely helped in a kind of "acquired taste" way.

So what made me tune in for this new season? You tell me. I figured I was caught up enough and didn't really care to try to catch what I missed during the marathon, and I figured it wasn't necessary anyway. Matt Smith and Karen Gillan looked like a great pair and I had found that the episodes I saw of Steven Moffat's were ones I was most impressed with. I will certainly be using Netflix's Instant Watch to see the ones of his that I missed. And no doubt I'll be revisiting this series as a whole at least once. It's a long wait until the Christmas special.

So what is it? Is it Moffat's writing? The actors? Maybe it's the plot that carried throughout each episode. And if the season finale was any indication, that story isn't over. Anyway, whatever it is, I hope they keep it up because I love being a fan of this show.

Friday, July 2, 2010

ECHO! (Echo) (echo)

..... Hi. *waves to the one person that watches this blog*

I've been MIA. I know, I know. But I intend to do something about that.

I really thought I'd have things to talk about, at least every week. But apparently not. So I've decided that I'll choose something I'm attached to and whether or not it is new, I will post about it.

Hm, that came out a bit confusing-like. Words right order with sentence me make.

The first post should be up this weekend. And hopefully another won't come too long after. But until then, I leave you with this.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Attend the tale of...

This won't be a very articulate post. I'm mostly here to get out some of my feelings on the hatred I see for Tim Burton's adaptation of Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. I won't get into specifics of comparing the two because that's actually what I'm trying to avoid with the point I'm making. If you'd like to discuss a certain aspect just for the heck of it, then leave a comment and I'd be more than happy to oblige. I love talking about a good musical. :) But for now, I just want to get into why I feel some fans of the original stage show are too wrapped up in the original to enjoy a well-made film and one of the best movie adaptations of a stage musical. We all know that is not an easy feat!

The main complaint I often see is about the lack of joy in the scene where Depp and Carter perform "A Little Priest", which brings Act I to a close. I personally would have despised watching the movie's characters laughing and dancing all kooky-like. And I don't think that proves the point that it was therefore not carried out properly in the film. There are plenty of comedians/people who present humor in a flat/dry manner. Maybe it's not to a lot of fans' liking to be presented in a way that's not identical to the stage show, but critics and new viewers alike who weren't familiar with the original didn't seem to have an issue with it. It's not a bad way to present it. You may not personally like it, what with everyone having personal tastes and whatnot, but it doesn't make it any less appropriate.

Actually, I'd like to make a brief comment about that. The first time I watched the stage show, I was actually quite surprised to see Sweeney enjoying himself in such a "big" way, laughing hysterically and dancing about with Mrs. Lovett. I always felt that came out of nowhere. Sure, he's ecstatic to finally get his revenge and finds Lovett's suggestion darkly humorous. But I never made an issue of it with musical fans, because I just assumed it needed to be big for the stage. Fans of musicals learn to let go of that restricted access to one's emotions. If it needs to be big for the last row to see the emotion via arms outstretched, then that is what they're going to get, and the first row might feel as though it was overkill.

Burton's version isn't suppose to be a definitive movie version of the stage musical. It's a film adaptation of a stage musical. Key word: ADAPT. This is what artists do; They are inspired by something and then they put their spin on it. Anyone who doesn't is lazy and uninspired, really not much of an artist at all. Can we please look at the A Little Night Music movie adaptation? Someone tried to put the musical as is on film. Actually, what was worse was they made it appear MORE staged. Let us now recall when some people, critics and audience members alike, picked on Joss Whedon's Buffy because they claimed the show relied on his quirky dialogue. He then made "Hush" to challenge himself. The episode (only 2% spoken dialogue) turned out brilliantly, earned him an Emmy nomination, but was his style of humor still there? Absolutely. Even without words, it still rang true to Joss' humor. So you only have yourself to blame if you were familiar with both Burton's films and the stage musical. Directors are hired to get their specific style stamped on a film [or a television show]. The most sought after directors all have a definitive style. Take note of all the ones who seem to put out movies every year, they all cover a specified genre [or two], do they not? Burton is the most theatrical and he does dark films well, and I truly believe that no other director would have made a better film. Though, I would love to see Joss Whedon attempt Sweeney Todd as he has expressed an interest in doing so. When asked what musicals he'd want to adapt onto film, he even said he loved Burton's adaptation, but that he would personally do things a little differently, assumingly shifting the focus on another aspect of the show. We know Joss can do the fun/quirky and incorporate melodrama easily, but he'd probably let go of other aspects. Namely the horror - and that is, after-all, WHY Sondheim set out to do the show - to scare people. Ever think about that Sondheim geeks? (No offense meant, I am a proud Sondheim geek.) But before all that, Joss needs to learn how to be a movie director. He's not too good at that, yet. I'm a huge Joss Whedon fan and I definitely recognize he is no movie director. Serenity worked well enough because he simply went for a more spiffy/mature look from the way he directed his tv show.

Lastly, I know plenty of people who loved the film and then watched they original version because they assumed as much it'd be a different experience simply because they were aware that it was an adaptation. After doing so, they didn't compare the two and try to sort out which was superior. They loved that they were different in tone and appreciated them both for what they were.

I'm not trying to say people who despise Burton's version are wrong. That'd be ridiculous of me to claim. But I don't care for the lack of respect for a well-made film. It makes me scratch my head a bit to see so much hate considering the film was critically acclaimed. Some of the critics weren't familiar with the musical and others were well aware of it and even fans. Actually, more were familiar with it as critics are usually very cultured in most aspects. Do I think some Sondheim fans are just a bit too snobby about it? Absolutely. lol Sorry. But you know it's true. If you can't recognize a well-made film and would rather focus on the lack of laughing in a scene or the omission of your favorite song, well... there you are. Burton made a film because that is what he does. And yes, it was partially to feed an obsession of his. HIS. Not yours.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Are you there, God? It's me, a Lost fan.

Something became very clear to me tonight. This something is regarding the expectations of Lost fans.

Right this moment, I have no doubt people are thinking, "Okay, that's how Smokey was made. Fine. But WHAT made Smokey? Why is it made up of what it's made up of?"

They want the answer and will no doubt be disappointed if they don't get it and many more like it. We apparently have learned all that we will about the numbers and most don't seems satisfied with it. But why not? I mean, what explanation could be given as to why they all show up? My theory is that we have learned why they show up, simply because they need to. All these separate realities have our Losties coming together eventually, and like the people themselves, the numbers show up. What other reason should there be?

Would I like every detail? Not really.

Not... NOT REALLY???

Well, if we got all the answers that we wanted, then what will we be left with after its over? Besides the show clearly relating to life, [something none of us fully comprehend] the creators/writers want the show to leave a lasting impression. They want it to remain with us after its last pop to black. (Or white? Maybe pink?) Would any of you really revoke your Fan Membership Card if you don't get every answer? Have you not been coming back week after week, knowing not much more than you ever did? Yeah... you sure did, you masochist!

Besides, we have gotten a lot of answers. For example: OMGWTFPOLARBEAR!? And the first season finale cliffhanger - what's in the hatch? We eventually discovered who was responsible for these things being on the island. Furthermore, we found out more regarding the hatch tonight. People discovered the energy in 23 A.D. How is this not making Lost fans pull a Joey Russo?

You know, I had my fair share of days I wanted to pull out my hair, and that's when I began researching and discussing the show with others. You really start to realize just how complex everything is and you also see a lot that you missed. You see things you hadn't given a second thought. You start to appreciate it all. There is so much they've told us!

As for Smokey's origin, WHICH WE SAW! Pretty exciting, no? Do we need to know anymore than what we were shown? My opinion is that we don't and probably won't. I bet some of you feel differently. In life, do we know what's behind it all? I mean, THAT is what Lost fans want the answer to, ultimately. Heck, it's the answer all humans want the answer to. (No doubt it's why the writers chose "42" as a number in the set.) Something made us, made this entire universe possible - made it all work. No one knows for certain what it is. Here's where faith comes in for many. Hence it being a big player in Lost as well. But just because the writers created this fictional world within our world, it doesn't mean they have to know what's going on behind the curtain. I mean, how could they really explain Smokey or the island? If they were to get all science-y, we'd just roll our eyes. You know we would.

We were given quite a bit of insight tonight. No, they weren't straight answers like The Whispers and MIB impersonating Jack's dad. But why would some of you want that anyway? All you did was complain about them. Then you get not so clear answers and you complain some more. If the Doctor (Who?) ever comes for you, I'd turn down his request for you as his companion. He wouldn't care much for your time-traveling inquiries. You'll both be better off.

This is all in good fun, of course. I just personally feel fans should lighten up. This show involves a moving island that can heal people. What answers will be satisfying? The craftiness of this series has made some of its viewers far too critical. The show doesn't take itself too seriously and neither should you. Don't like the answers you're getting? Find a way back to season one and whine about it to Jack. ;)

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Wait! My friends need to suck on those frogs!

I tend to pick up a new show every couple months, if not sooner. Avatar: The Last Airbender is my latest find, and no question about it - a new favorite. I looked into it because a friend of mine recently had done just that and when nearing the end of the series, she announced it was now her second favorite show, booting Firefly to #3. (If you're curious, her #1 is Doctor Who.)

To be honest, it did take me some time to get on board with the show. The use of goofy sound effects when someone makes a face or is hit on the head made it difficult for me to enjoy. This may not be the case for others, but it hindered my ability to take it seriously. Nevertheless, I saw how much potential the show had and how well it dealt with every aspect of its story. The characters had depth from the very beginning - even Sokka, the character you'd assume to remain the annoying sibling who had it in for the unlikely hero and got himself into trouble. In the first episode, we may not take to his stubborn nature and slight ignorance, but at the same time we see that he clearly cares for the well-being of his sister (Katara) and their tribe.

That and many other aspects/qualities made me want to check out the next episode. Every character, no matter their purpose, had a story and developed as every character in a story should.

A new Collector's set of Book 1/Season 1 is being released on June 22nd. No doubt to coincide with M. Night Shyamalan's live-action adaptation, The Last Airbender, arriving in theatres the following week.

As if it wasn't obvious - I highly recommend Avatar: The Last Airbender. It has wonderful characters, each with their own purpose and hardships. The plot is inspired, wonderfully executed, and realistic consequences of war are carried out. A great score accompanies lovely, and occasionally frightening, imagery. And lastly, it is FUN. Just as Hank Green vlogged recently: fun is important! Aang would certainly agree.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Please, Hello.

Fresh meat here.

Not as fresh as you'd like, though.

I often blog/discuss my fandoms and all things entertainment, but this is my first foray into unprotected and unlimited blogging. I have a LiveJournal where I briefly mention, well, anything I'd like. But lately I've felt the need to have a place on the internet where I can discuss, ponder or vent. And better yet, with a... wider audience? Maybe not.

But please excuse my lack of knowledge in these areas, especially the writing portion of the blog. I never took classes in entertainment or writing. My knowledge is from watching/reading/listening to too much of it. And I daresay that I know what I'm talking about. Occasionally. Hey, at least I'm honest, right?

Well, the picture used above (it's linked to the artist) pretty much sums up my general interests. Anything geeky, inventive, fun and last but certainly not least... the Broadway.

Again, I've just found myself holding in all these opinions, or trying to get them out in 140 characters or less on Twitter right after an episode of television. And naturally, Twitter is a place where one is easily misunderstood.

So here I am.

I apologize for the cheesy blog title. I really couldn't be bothered to try to think of anything more inventive. I was singing "A Little Priest" in my head, took note of "what a charming notion". But 1) I have a friend with the username charmingnotion. And 2) I thought I might sound as though I have an ego to claim my notions are charming. Then I started thinking about how I'd have to make the name a bit catchy [and brief] as an address, so naturally the possibility of having it rhyme came to mind. Motion was an obvious choice. And while one definition of the word certainly doesn't fit, another does. Kind of. So, I had it! Then I embraced my lameness and added the bit after the colon. I might end up taking that out. Especially if I am mocked because of it. Really, let me know. I'm the kind of person who'd rather be told I have a piece of food in my teeth, rather than being the person who is surrounded by idiots who assume it's better to not say anything because it might embarrass me. Getting a piece of food stuck in your teeth isn't embarrassing. You know what is? WALKING AROUND ALL DAMN DAY WITH FOOD STUCK IN YOUR TEETH.

Well, I briefly mentioned a couple big fandoms of mine and then vented a tad just there. If I do say so myself, this first post was a smashing success!

- Gina