Let’s Watch Some New Trailers

So we got some new trailers this week for TV series and movies I’m especially interested in. Here, in no particular order beyond me just liking them, are the trailers for some junk!

And remember:

Rooting Issa Rae GIF

The Wheel of Time

I am not a high fantasy fan, especially. I sort of like Fantasy but I mostly avoid these types of fantasies because Eurocentric fantasies kind of bore me. Its complicated, and I’m really picky. I greatly enjoyed the LOTR movies, and I will very likely watch Amazon’s new show about it, but I have not watched things like The Witcher, and have no intention of doing so. I’m intrigued here because the trailer makes it look very woman-centered, and its a Fantasy series that remembers that women of color actually exist, and sometime we want to see ourselves doing magic and stuff, in a fantasy series.

So yeah, I do know about this particular series, although I have never read it, and have no particular desire to read it. If I like the TV show, I may check out the books, and the trailer looks interesting. Please do not write to me trying to convince me how great it is. It probably is, and I know its really popular among fantasy fans, but I kinda have an aversion to a lot of the stuff.

The Matrix 4: Resurrections Teaser Trailers/Official Trailer

So yeah, I was a bit confused because every time I saw one of these trailers, it had different images and dialogue mentioned, so I was inclined to believe the trailers were not real trailers. Apparently this was done on purpose. Earlier this week, I posted only one of the trailers here, and I took it down, because I wanted to post all of the trailers here now.

Its hard to believe that this franchise is like twenty plus years old! I remember when I saw the first trailer. I had heard of the Wachowskis, because I had seen their movie, Bound, but I didn’t think much of it. It was just something I watched. I had no idea what to expect from The Matrix (well, I knew it was SciFi and computer related) because that first trailer was awesome, but baffling. Think about any one of Christopher Nolan’s trailers, for example. I remember walking out of the theater and having to seriously readjust to reality, because watching it was sort of like having an out of body experience. I hope to repeat that experience with this movie. I am terribly excited for this movie which comes out just in time for my birthday!

No Time to Die

Yes, I’m excited for the Black female character in this movie. No she is not the new James Bond. No she’s not the only reason I’m going to watch this, but she is a big part of the reason. She simply has the designation of 007, since James left the organization, or something. 007 is a title that can be passed to any agent, but expect white fanboys to act a whole-ass fool when this movie is finally released anyway. becasue that’s the shit they do! Acting like shits on social media, every time a PoC gets a job in a movie, is pretty much all they got at this point, and this is our life now. Can you tell, I am very, very, very, very tired of idiotic angry, obtuse white men on social media (Yeah, you guys aren’t stupid.You’re okay.) Okay, lets move on…

I’m not a huge Bond fan, btw. I like some of the movies okay, but for me they’re apart of the Fantasy/Action film genre like the Mission Impossible and John Wick films. I do not sit around arguing with people about who the best Bond girl, or villain, or James Bond is the best. I’m not that emotionally invested, although I understand that some people really love the franchise. I do like Daniel Craig, and I liked him before the Bond films and just followed him over here, so I’m watching the movies mostly because he’s in them, even though he has all of the acting chops of a two by four when he’s portraying this character. I cant make heads or tails of the plot, but it all looks really serious.

MoonFall

This is one of those major disaster movies that get released from time to time. The last movie I watched that was remotely like this, was the Korean produced Ashfall, but I was not especially impressed by it, even though it starred one of my future dream husbands, Don Lee. I don’t think Don Lee is in this movie, but it still looks pretty interesting.

Midnight Mass

I’m not sure what to make of this series, but it all looks quite mysterious, and I am intrigued. Imma check it out.

Mass

This movie looks really intense, and now I’m curious because I’ve always wondered about how people have conversations like this, when someone’s family has hurt your family. Also, I like Jason Isaacs.

Copshop

I like Gerard Butler because 300 was cool, but I do not like Frank Grillo. I don’t know why. I just don’t. Nevertheless, I will probably watch this rather generic looking Crime/ Action/Thriller becasue I like Crime Action Thrillers, and check them out whenever I can. (Bonus points if the movie is made in anywhere in Asia.) I love a good Gun-Fu movie.

Old Henry

its been a while since I’ve seen a good Western and this looks like the typical, Unforgiven/Logan/ Shane – “retired gunman gets back into the fray” type plot, which I never seem to get tired of. I also now a big fan of Tim Blake nelson from the Watchmen series. I am not a huge fan of Stephen Dorfff, but he looks really good here.

Star Wars: Visions

I don’t usually talk about anime on here. Its not that I dislike anime. I love the imagination behind so much of it, and many of the drawing styles are a lot of fun and very beautiful. I’m just really, really, picky about the anime I watch, and my tastes to others would appear to be all over the place. I pretty much stick to the mature stuff but I have and did watch stuff like Astroboy, Star Blazers, Akira, and Ghost in the Shell, but if it has any very young looking, big breasted, and squeaky voiced girls in it, then I’m probably out! I’m also not a fan of any of the other Star Wars animated series. I haven’t watched a single one of them, and have no intention of doing so, but I will watch this. Why? Because this is an anthology of anime artists reinterpreting the Star Wars universe to fit a Japanese aesthetic, and I really enjoyed it when they did this for Batman: Gotham Knight, and because Batman Ninja was the shit! So yeah, I love this trailer and it looks like fun.

Disney plus is making so many good shows, that I finally took the plunge and subscribed, even though I told myself I wasn’t subscribing to any more streaming services. So far, I’ve racked up about 50.00 in streaming services, and I’m okay with that amount, because it’s still a helluva lot less than cable ever was.

Cowboy Bebop

I have watched a limited number of episodes of the anime series, which were just enough to determine that the series (and the movie) was a lot of fun, so I’m looking forward to this live action version. I don’t know all the references here, as I usually do not memorize episode names and stuff, but I do know the characters, and generally like them. I’m not so much interested in the faithful rendition of the look of the anime, as I am in the correct feel of the movie. And hey, its John Cho in an Action movie, so I’m here for it!

State of Dis-Union: What’ I’m Watching

I know this post doesn’t seem Halloween related, but I’m posting it here anyway, otherwise I’ll forget what I wanted to write. Besides, I can (and I most definitely will) post about scary movies all year round! I like to, from time to time, give my readers a heads up, on what I’m watching, but not currently talking about.

Lovecraft Country

Fire Hbo GIF by Lovecraft Country - Find & Share on GIPHY

As a general rule, I don’t really spend a lot of time talking about shows and movies that everyone else in America is talking about, which is the reason I have not discussed Lovecraft Country, which just aired it’s season finale last Sunday. I really enjoyed the entire season, and hope there will be more, but there are a bajillion critiques and reviews, all over Youtube, and in writing. If y’all want I can post some links to a lot of the themes and Historical plot points of the show, which was dense with meaning, and y’all know I love shows like that. As a librarian, I am a firm proponent of the idea, that sometimes, people don’t know enough to know what questions to ask.

https://www.insider.com/lovecraft-country-historical-references-details-you-missed-2020-8

https://www.newsweek.com/lovecraft-country-ending-explained-season-finale-episode-10-full-circle-s01e10-1×10-1540186

But I also read some really good critiques of the shows negative themes, like its abuse and mistreatment of gay, lesbian, and transgender characters, and its use of colorism, with the darker skinned characters being constantly associated with self hatred, and violence. The show needs some work, and if it gets a second season, I hope the show writers have learned from this criticism, and the mistakes they made this season. More importantly though, I want them to treat their lgbtq characters a lot better. Enlightenment for Black women does not need to come at their expense.

That said though, this show really spoke to Black women on a level that few shows bother to do in their attempts to be universal, but there’s enough density in it, that almost anyone can find something in it that resonated with them. My absolute favorite episode of the entire series is “I Am” , and in case none of the reviews mention it, because none of the ones I read did this, the title “I Am” isn’t just that the lead character in this episode, a woman named Hippolyta, is called to name herself, but its a callback to the words of God, to Moses, when he was speaking to Moses through the Burning Bush in the desert. I’m an atheist/ agnostic, but I do know my Bible stories, and there were a lot of these callbacks throughout the season. At some point, I’m going to write a review of this particular episode, so I can cover all the issues in it.

Star Trek Discovery

Speaking of shows that resonate with Black women (and most other women, too), I also watched the season three premiere of Star trek Discovery, and I greatly enjoyed it, but I had questions, like who had time to braid Michael’s hair, because its kinda weird seeing Box Braids in the future. In fact, its so unusual that I don’t know how to feel about that. For y’all who don’t know this, wearing your hair in its natural state, as I do, is a source of great discussion among Black women, especially the whole process of caring for it. For some of us, it can take as long as a whole day to just to wash our hair correctly, while for others, it can take only a few hours. It’s a very involved process just to braid it. I’ve worn box braids, and it took, at the shortest, eight or so hours, just to get it to look like that, although I’m sure the actress herself is probably just wearing a wig.

Anyway, I liked the episode a lot and I especially like the newest addition to the show, Cleveland Booker. He’s handsome, he’s got superpowers, and he is one of the few Black men featured on the show, and I like the chemistry I see between him and Michael. I love that the show has made her a well rounded character, we get to see her laugh more in this episode than we have in the previous two seasons, and that they have changed the venue of the show to some 1000 years into the future.

commander burnham | Tumblr

Michael after travelling through the wormhole into the future, has lost track of the Discovery, and crashed into Booker’s ship, who was being chased by some smugglers. They both land on the same planet and Michael set out to check his status. Booker is a smuggler (for a very good reason) and initially wants nothing to do with Michael, but they have to team up, because he’s the only person she has met, and she has nowhere to go. She spends a not insignificant amount of time punching Booker in the face until they reach an understanding.

It turns out that she is a true relic of the past, as Starfleet and the Federation no longer exist, because of something called The Burn, that happened about two hundred years before her arrival ,and involved the destruction of all the dilithium crystals that are used to power Starfleet’s ships. She ends up accompanying Booker on his adventures, though. I have to admit, this episode did bring the feels, by the end, and I loved the technology that I saw being used, but I get attached to characters first. If the characters don’t captivate or fascinate me, I’m probably not going to get invested in the show. I’m looking forward to getting to know all the new characters (and a few old ones), this coming season.

The show will be getting some non-binary and transgender characters this season, which I’m looking forward to. Star Trek has had non-binary characters before, but this will be a recurring character, which is a first for all of Trek. There’s also a spinoff show about Captain Pike, starring Anson Mount. For those who don’t know, Pike was Captain of the Enterprise before Kirk, and we sort of know some of his backstory, but he was the Captain for quite a while, so there’s plenty of stories left to tell about him, and I’m looking forward to that because, well… Anson is pretty hot, and there’s a new version of Spock which I like too.

Love and Monsters

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I just finished watching Love and Monsters starring Dylan somethin’ or other from Teen Wolf. I mean, I like the guy just fine, but for the life of me I can never remember his last name, and I want to keep calling him Dylan McDermott, but keep realizing that’s a whole notha actor!. The movie was enjoyable and funny, and not too deep. I liked the monsters, and wish I’d gotten to see more of them. There was also a surprise appearance from Michael Rooker, who is his usual hilarious self.

Dylan’s character gets separated from his girlfriend after aliens attack the planet, and his parents get stepped on by a giant bug, because for some reason, the alien attack mutated all the Earth’s invertebrates and reptiles. The largest ones end up being taken out by the world’s different militaries, but that still leaves plenty of midsize ones, like the giant frog-thing seen in the trailer, and some type of gigantic ant queen, that moves underground like a shark, and something called a Rambler which is pretty huge to me, but probably didn’t even register on the military’s radar, as they seemed more concerned with the Kaiju sized monsters. This is one of those found family stories, that I’m such a sucker for, with a pleasant little message in it about believing in oneself, and finding one’s place in the world.

Dylan’s character, ( I did not bother to learn his name at all), does find his girlfriend again, as she’s not very far away, maybe several days, so he decides to go to her. Along the way, he meets Rooker’s character, who is with a very funny and charming little girl who attaches herself to him, and teaches him how to use a crossbow, and a dog named Boy, (see, I learned the dog’s name, which shows you my priorities here),which is definitely a shout out to the nuclear, sci-fi horror movie, A Boy and His Dog. The movie is more comedy action than horror. Some of the monsters are a tiny bit scary, and yucky, but its a movie that’s chaste enough for kids to watch as there’s almost no gore. Its not a deep movie, but not every movie has to be deep, and I would watch it again, along with any sequels.

The Good Lord Bird

I watched the first episode of the Good Lord Bird, and it was okay. I expected it to be a bit zany, which is unusual for a series about slavery, Its about a white man who is crazy enough to think he can end slavery by simply shooting slave owners. Apparently, this was based on a real life person, who actually did do some of the things in the show, and did indeed have an interesting relationship with Frederick Douglas.

https://www.theverge.com/2020/10/9/21508420/the-good-lord-bird-tv-show-review-showtime

The series stars Ethan Hawke, looking unrecognizable, as John Brown, who was a virulent Abolitionist. Most of the episodes are narrated by a young Black ex-slave, named John Shackleford, who was then nicknamed Onion, after being mistaken for a girl. At first, I kind of bristled at the idea of yet another guy in a dress story, (and I’m pretty sure some Black male viewers will too), but at no point does John behave in a derogatorily feminine fashion, and he doesn’t tell people he’s not a girl, for what he thinks is a good reason. As a girl, he receives tokens of kindness and protections that a boy wouldn’t. At the very least, he would not be required to engage in violence, which he doesn’t seem to want to do.

The show is darkly humorous, mostly because of the misadventures Bird gets up to, and the things he says. On the other hand, I really do wish that white people would stop imagining Black people as slaves in historical narratives, because its getting more than a bit tired. We did other things than just be enslaved. There are a lot of other stroeis to tell about our past, although I noticed, (quite a few people noticed this), they never seem to want to tell the stories of actual slave uprisings, of which there were plenty, and you wonder why that is, exactly! I mean that there are a bunch of stories about slaves running away, or fighting one on one, but Hollywood can’t quite imagine a collection of Black people burning down the plantation, and killing the master, but will make, yet another, in a long line of movies about white people, apes, or robots, rebelling against some form of tyranny.

Helstrom

I tried watching Helstrom, a show based on a comic book, in the Marvel Universe, that’s now airing on Hulu. Its about two siblings who fight demons and deal with the paranormal. I’m not loving it. The show looks rather dark and murky, and I couldn’t get into the characters very much. The show is mostly relying on being scary, rather than having character. I’m going to give it another try though, because Supernatural will be coming to the end of its 15th season, in a few weeks, and I need a replacement.

Travels With My Father

I’ve been enjoying Jack Whitehall’s Travels with My Father, which is deeply hilarious. I like the relationship Jack has with his dad. He’s always trying to get his father out of his comfort zone, and sometimes his father resists and wins that fight, but at other times he gives in, and that’s when the show is at its funniest like when he talked his father into being a drag queen for a few hours and he dressed up as the Queen of England, and was perfect at it!

Also:

Things I still have not watched are the latest iteration of Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts, the School Nurse Files, which looks deeply, and I mean deeply, strange, about a school nurse who can see people emotions, in the forms of the various weird ectoplasmic creatures they leave behind. I tried watching Monsterland (Hulu) and couldn’t get into it, and Hulu’s Books of Blood, based on the book series, and short stories of Clive Barker, proved uninteresting to me.

There’s also a bunch of trailers that came out, and here are the most interesting ones, in my opinion:

Queen Sono

Queen Sono Still 1 - Netflix Publicity-h 2020

If y’all are looking for a black, female, James Bond, you loved the TV series Alias, can’t wait until the new 007 shows up in the next Bond film, and you’re still coming down after watching The Old Guard, then check out this title on Netflix, (out of Netflix Africa), about a Black female spy in Africa. I have not finished watching this, but I like what I’m seeing, the characters are cool enough, and the fight scenes aren’t bad. The production values are very good, (somebody spent some money on this), and the cinematography is lovely, (yeah I’ve seen a few of those laughably, but charmingly, bad Nigerian films), and its got a 91% on Rotten Tomatoes, which I don’t normally pay much attention to, but this intrigued me. To assuage those most concerned, yes, a season two will be coming soon.

Hailing from creator Kagiso Lediga, Queen Sono stars Pearl Thusi as a field agent in South Africa’s secretive Special Operations Group. Queen — that’s her name, not a title — is the daughter of a legendary South African revolutionary figure whose assassination was a pivotal moment in the transitional period after apartheid. SOG, which itself has pre-apartheid roots and probably isn’t exactly what it appears to be, sends agents throughout Africa on missions overseen by Miri (Chi Mhende), who I think is Queen’s cousin, and Dr. Sid (Sechaba Morojele), but the organization is mysterious enough that Queen can’t even tell her nearest and dearest what she does for a living. That means pretending to be an art dealer in interactions with her grandmother, Mazet (Abigail Kubeka), and platonic best friend, Will (Khathu Ramabulana), and yes, the in-the-dark chum named Will is just one of many places fans will notice narrative overlap with Alias.

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/review/queen-sono-review-1281706

Monster Hunter

I love monsters, but I am not a fan of the lead actress in this movie, Mila Jovovich, who I find deeply annoying, though some people seem to really like her. Actually, its complicated than that.The actress is an okay person, that I would love to have a beer with, but I just don’t like her acting. Unfortunately T.I. is also in this movie, he of the ignorance of female anatomy and the policing of his daughter’s virginity. Will I be able to enjoy the movie without thinking of that shit? Maybe if he gets killed off early…

That said, this looks like its right up my alley, as far as having monsters. I am vaguely familiar with the video game this is based on, from reading the game books, and the series, by Larry Correia, that the game is based on, (mostly because there were pictures of monsters in the game books.) I stopped reading the series after I found out that Larry Correia is a total asshole, because I couldn’t actually enjoy the books anymore, without thinking of the asshole who wrote them, not because of the series quality, which is okay. If you love the Monster Hunter series, good for you. I’m not asking you to stop enjoying them, because hey! its got some cool ass monsters, and that is to be appreciated, at least.

The 355

You can watch Queen Sono while you’re waiting for this movie to be released. If you love the Jason Bourne Trilogy, and The Old Guard, then here are some more bad-ass women, with Lupita Nyongo, as a technician, for the British government, in Uma Thurman’s old movie group, Femme Force Five, if you remember her dinner date dialogue from Pulp Fiction…

Archenemy

I’m looking forward to this one, not just because I have a soft spot for this particular actor, and down on their luck superheroes, but because it reminds me of a cross between He Never Died, and Jason Bourne.

I could do without the drug dealer stuff though, because of the near constant association of blackness with crime, drug gangs, and/or street thugs. We’ve had enough of that. Black people come in other flavors, and Hollywood needs to start telling genre stories about Black people that don’t just involve street criminals. Also, some people might not be too comfortable with the ‘White Savior” angle to this story. They could have just given superpowers to the black kid, but we already got a movie like that, called Sleight.

Jiu Jitsu

I know this movie is going to be ridiculous fusion of half a dozen genres, probably, because it stars Nicholas Cage, and there’s martial arts, and aliens involved. Those are all really good reasons to watch it, as far as I’m concerned.

Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Ma Rainey was a Blues musician during the 20s, and also an out lesbian, of which there were many, in the Blues genre. So any Black wlw looking for representation can check this out. Also, this is one of Chadwick Boseman’s final roles, so you Chadwick fans might want to see this too, and it has great music, so you Blues fans have something to look forward to. I’m not entirely sold on this, because I’m not a Blues fan, but I like Chadwick, and my mother loves both him and the Blues, so I will probably end up watching this with her, maybe. This would make a good double feature with Bessie.

The Spell

This movie is like a Black version of Misery. I probably will not watch this, because I don’t like the demonization, literally, of Voodoo, and Voudon, yet again, in Horror, but it looks intriguing enough for my Mom to watch it. White supremacy, and Christianity, has a nasty habit of villainizing most pagan religions, and treating them as if they were scary, and horrible ways to cause harm to people, when really a lot of them are just rather mundane, and so are the people practicing them.

But when we’re talking about religions practiced by primarily Black and Brown people, there are no good depictions of those. I mean European style pagan religions at least get heroic figures, in TV shows, as Hollywood moves a little bit away from demonized versions of Wiccan and Celtic religions, but that’s not the case with any of the religions practiced by Black people, and this just looks like one more.

For a more rounded and beneficial version of these types of religion check out Brown Girl Begins , on Hulu. This is loosely based on Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring, which is a futuristic tale of a young girl receiving special powers from her ancestral gods. I read everything else by Nalo Hopkinson, but for some reason, I didn’t get to this book.

His House

I haven’t seen this one yet. Its about an immigrant couple from the Sudan moving into a haunted council estate, and starring the actress who plays Ruby from Lovecraft Country, and will be coming to Netflix this week. This looks like a Black version of The Ring.

Bad Hair

The reviews for this movie are starting to come in. They’re a bit mixed, but overall, its been said the movie isn’t too bad, and worth a watch. I’m going to take a look at it, so we can talk about the influx of Black Horror movies we’ve been getting lately, which we owe to the success of movies like Get Out. Normally this isn’t the type of movie I would watch, but it stars a lot of actors I know, its set in the 90’s, and looks kind of fun, and I’m intrigued about just what exactly is happening in this trailer.

Accents in Movies: Depicting Class

In the 1991 Jonathan Demme film, Silence of the Lambs, Hannibal Lecter, in one of the film’s most cringeworthy scenes,  properly deduces that Clarice Starling is “poor white trash”. Working from his own collection of  stereotypes, the observation of her good bag, cheap shoes, and Appalachian mountains accent, he correctly guesses that she’s not more than one generation out of the coal mines. Clarice’s accent, as much as her womanhood, marks her as “other”.

Everything about her, from the opening running scene, in which she is ogled by a pair of classmates, to the elevator scene where the height differential between herself and her classmates makes her stand out, to the soft Southern accent, with which she replies to her supervisor, it is shown that Clarice does not belong there. Although later, Clarice uses her accent to gain the trust and compliance of a roomful of rural professionals, who are suspicious of her presence, as a woman in an all male environment, and as a member of the Federal government. She uses her accent to show that she is actually one of them, from the culture in which the idea of the Wise (or Conjure) Woman is important, and respected.

When you watch that scene again, take note of the strength of the accent, and her use of words. She says to the men, “We’ll take care of her. Just go on now. We’ll take care of her.” And they unquestioningly obey her request, much as they would, if their mothers, or grandmothers had said it. She has successfully conveyed to the men, that she is one of them, a member of their social class, who knows how these things are done.

Image result for clarice starling gifs/elevator

Clarice is a pretender to social class, which is a nice parallel to the film’s antagonist, Jame Gumb, who pretends at being a transgender woman. The only person who is not fooled by Clarice’s  pretense at urban sophistication, is  Lecter, who has a distinct, upper class, European accent, reminiscent of the Lithuanian nobility, from which he came. To  less discerning characters, like Chilton, or the room full of cops that she orders around, Clarice can pass as a member of the middle class. The moment she speaks, people assume she isn’t, but to someone like Lecter, her lack of breeding is clearly evident. Both her, and Gumb’s, (his is Southern Californian), accents mark them as outside the mainstream. Except for the three primary characters, Lecter, Gumb, and Starling, all of the other characters in the film, including Clarice’s Black roommate, played by Kasi Lemmons, all have the  Standard American accent.

The American Standard is the king of American accents, it is the default, so common it goes unnoticed, and the most well favored. It’s also called the Central Midwestern accent, used in places like Northeastern Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan to the far north, Iowa, New York, Rhode Island, and Connecticut, and is the accent most often heard from news anchors, public announcers, and even AI programs like Siri, and Alexa. There are other accents in those regions, that coexist along side it, but the American Standard is the one which is preferred.

 

https://www.stagemilk.com/american-accent-guide/

It is also somewhat of a constructed concept. What I mean by that is that nobody grew up in Standard America. The sound we’re talking about is what is called a prestige dialect. Most countries (and most languages) have a prestige dialect which is exactly what it sounds like: the speech sounds most commonly identified with status within a given society. Linguistically it’s not simply status but also clarity, intelligence, socioeconomic influence and general power. 

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Unlike Clarice, I have this privilege. I call this Accent Privilege, in the sense that my regular speaking voice doesn’t have an accent that is noticeably different from that of the mainstream, Midwestern accent. This happened by sheer luck. I just happened to be born into one of the regions where this is the most prevalent accent. People often judge others on how they speak, and if you have no noticeable accent,  that judgment is favorable most of the time. My accent marks me to others as being intelligent, educated, and/or middle class. My words are treated with either trust or suspicion, based on who I’m talking to. White people consider me “safe”, and are reassured by my ability to be clear and articulate, but I was often asked by my Black classmates, why I spoke like a white person, as the Midwestern accent is heavily associated with Whiteness. I did not grow up as a member of the middle class. Like Clarice Starling, I’m pretending to a social class I was not born into, but which people assumed I did, and my accent helped to sell it, because, like her, I’m barely one generation away from the cotton fields.

But I do also engage in what is known as “Code Switching”, where people from other cultures, or just different regions of the country, speak differently, in different spaces, often “switching” back and forth, between their normal speaking voice, and American Standard.  Why? Because many people are often uncomfortable with, and disrespectful, and suspicious of other languages, and vernacular English, like AAVE (African American Vernacular English). When I’m in my home, I speak the way my family speaks, and since the majority of them are from rural Mississippi, we speak AAVE, but I don’t speak at work that way. For one thing, my job involves answering phones, and a certain mode of professional speaking is required for that type of job. It would be considered “unprofessional”, and in the minds of some people, low class, for me to answer the business phone, as if I were at home. I don’t talk to my supervisors, the way I talk to my mother, for example, (and neither do most people, regardless of whether or not they have accents.

Now, when I’m talking about accents, for the purposes of this post, I mean the entirety of a person’s manner of speaking, including word usage, because only certain types of accents are associated with the use of certain types of words, for example, the use of the word, “y’all”.

 The mainstream Midwestern accent is the default accent used in almost all of American television, and movies. Having a Midwestern accent means a person gets treated as trustworthy, their words are given more weight,  given the benefit of the doubt,  assumed to be educated,  to have a good job,  and to be non-violent. In America, sounding like an American, means having  “no accent”, but that wasn’t always the case.

In the early part of the 20th century, the Mid-Atlantic accent was what was used, until it fell out of favor, in the fifties, for a more “natural” sounding speech pattern.

 

Of course this is an accent, too, in the same way that “White” is a race, but this “lack” of accent (just like whiteness) is so ubiquitous, that most people don’t  notice it.

The way someone pronounces their words, is used in movies and shows, not just to reinforce stereotypes, but as a  form of shorthand, to show a person’s character, and social class. Filmmakers use accents to show audiences that a character is good,  evil,  smart, gullible, suspicious, or trustworthy.  Turn on any American TV show, watch any movie, and chances are, those with Midwestern accents will be the majority of the characters, and probably  will be  the protagonists, heroes, or in positions of authority. They will also almost always be White.

You will not find  a lot of characters in mainstream media with deep Southern accents, Western twangs,  Texas Drawls, Valley Girl speech, Arabic, Southeast Indian, or Caribbean  accents, unless they are also shown as poor, incompetent, corrupt, or played for comic relief. In other words, characters never just have accents. There is always a reason for the accent, and some  point about that person is being made.

For example, the accent, in mainstream media, is used to indicate if someone is considered an American citizen. For the past twenty plus years, the Simpsons,  has had the running gag of an immigrant named Apu, a stereotypical character from India, who has  a strong accent,  is the father of a small multitude of babies, and runs a convenience store. This character is meant to be funny because of how he speaks, not necessarily because of anything he does, as his very existence in Springfield, (the setting of The Simpsons), is meant to be comedic. His accent also paints him as a perpetual foreigner. Asian Americans are especially susceptible to this stereotype, as no matter how many generations they’ve lived in America, they are often still assumed to be from somewhere else. And if they have an accent then doubly so.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perpetual_foreigner

The perpetual foreigner stereotype is a racialized form of nativist xenophobia in which naturalized and even native-born citizens (including families which have lived in the country for generations) are perceived as foreign because they belong to minority groups.

I spoke, in an earlier post, about the use of accents in the movies of the Coen Brothers, where everyone’s speech patterns and accents are used as indicators of people’s socio-economic status, the status they aspire to be, or simply framed as comedic.  In The Ladykillers, Tom Hanks broad Southern  accent is associated with television conmen, corrupt religious authority, and the Antebellum era of Georgia.  His accent gives the audience ideas about the  type of man he is. The audience doesn’t know he is a grifter and conman by his deeds. We know this by the long association, that has been made in mainstream media, between his accent, and untrustworthiness. All we  need is to hear is his caricature of a Southern accent, to understand that he is unreliable, and also that  the movie is meant to be a comedy.

 

In Raising Arizona, Hi, a criminal recidivist,  his two  best  friends, both prison escapees, and a murderous biker, all talk in what I call “downspeak”, where they talk as if they were  college educated, but with the Southern twang that is meant to indicate their social class, and criminal status. This is what I meant by the association of word use and accent. The humor comes from the incongruity of Hi, and his companions, using words not normally associated with their accents. Not only that, but Hi’s word use can also be seen as aspirational. He talks the way he wishes to be seen by others, which is smart, educated, middle-class, and therefore a reliable narrator, but we  laugh at the way Hi speaks, because his accent marks him as a member of the trailer park class, no matter what words he uses.

Accents are especially interesting  when it comes to Black characters. Blackness, throughout most of film history, has been  almost always associated with buffoonery, poverty, criminality, and a lack of education.  So  it is interesting that even though the largest population of Black people in the US, live in the South, Black people in Popular media, rarely have Southern, Californian, or even Texan accents, and those times when they have  a Southern accent, it represents childlike helplessness, that they have wisdom above their station, or in the case of Black women, that they are deeply religious.

In the 1986 movie, Crossroads, starring Ralph Macchio, and Joe Seneca, we can contrast Willie Brown’s poor, Mississippi Delta accent, with Eugene Martone’s middle-class, New York accent, something which Willie never lets Eugene forget throughout the film. They’re both musicians who specialize in playing the guitar, but one of them was born into poverty and plays the Blues, a style of music that is dismissed as “primitive” by Eugene’s music teachers, and the other was born in one of world’s most cosmopolitan cities, and plays Western European Classical music, which is sneered at by Willie, as not being “real music, that comes from the heart”. In this movie, it is Eugene who is out of place, as his accent is commented on by the other characters in the film, and marks him as being from a different socio-economic class.

The Northern Blaccent, where a person speaks AAVE, but speaks it with a Midwestern accent, is often representative of  the “thug”, or gang banger stereotype, and appears to be a universal Black accent,  not closely associated  with any particular region of the US, which means that no matter where the movie or show is set, the accents of Black characters in Popular media, tend to remain consistently Midwestern. Once again, this is not a hard and fast rule, as exceptions can be found, but it is a pattern, and the idea that Blackness alone, is so associated with criminality, violence, and unreliability, to such a degree, that none of those qualities need be further indicated by a strong accent, is disturbing.

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When a Black character speaks SAE (Standard American English) onscreen, without an accent, then it connotes all the same qualities that it does in the real world, respectability, and safety. A decade after the demise of the Mid-Atlantic accent, used by White actors, Black characters were still using it. The use of AAVE in movies and shows, did not reach full use by Black characters until the mid seventies, after which it became associated with Black youth culture, and the Blacksploitation movies of that era. The use of AAVE, in mainstream media, came about as a result of the resurgence in Black Pride, when young Black people dismissed respectability politics, in favor of more natural manners of speaking.

Actors like Sidney Poitier, and other actors during, and after, the Civil rights Era, had a distinct, clipped, educated,  Mid-Atlantic accent, which was meant to show that he was a fine, upstanding Black man, to be respected. The purpose of this manner of speaking was meant to counteract the “Coon” manner of speaking that had been heard in most mainstream films, featuring Black characters. His tone, and speech, are meant to convey authority. This was a man who could be liked and trusted, and  this was illustrated in the 1967 movie, In the Heat of the Night, in which a Black Philadelphia cop, Virgil Tibbs, is sent to a small town in Mississippi,  and works with the town sheriff to solve a murder.

Poitier’s voice is deep, firm, and commanding, because sometimes, the tone and timbre of a person’s voice are important, as well. In this scene, notice the difference in his voice, compared to that of the white sheriff, whose voice is of a higher register, and a more casual tone. The Sheriff’s accent is a soft Southern drawl, his tone holds just a touch of ambiguity, because while he is assured of his own authority, he is uncertain of Tibbs, but like the plot of every cop film of the 80s,  the two men begin  to respect each other, as they are forced to work together.

 

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In Hollywood films, the accent that receives the most negative depictions, outside of the Northern Blaccent, is the  Southern Twang. White people with Southern twangs from places  like Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, and the Appalachians, are often depicted in films as toothless, criminal, incestuous,  “rednecks”, “trailer trash”, and “hillbillies”. They are often shown as uneducated, overly religious, violent, poor, and gullible members of the lower classes, (they often populate Horror movies set in rural America, like The Texas Chainsaw massacre, and Deliverance, which is something I’ll be speaking about in a later post.) We are meant to laugh at them, disdain them, be afraid of them, or disgusted by them. The audience is almost never meant to think of such individuals as their equals. Contrast this attitude with that of earlier in the twentieth century, before television, when such people were often held up as admirable examples of Americans, who were the “salt of the Earth”. They weren’t respected, but at least were not blatantly denigrated in most media depictions of them. They were shown as ignorant, but level headed, uneducated, but sensible. Over time, with the advent of television, which was aimed at a middle class audience, the depiction of white poverty became almost entirely negative.

Also on The Simpsons, there is another recurring character named Cletus, The Slack Jawed Yokel, and his theme song and  vignettes are every stereotype of rural poverty, which pretty much sums up how this character is meant to be seen, but because this is a white character, no one thinks of it as being especially mean-spirited, despite the fact that the people writing the show, don’t share the socio-economic background of the character. We are meant to laugh at him, and his antics, not sympathize with him. (TBH, many of The Simpson’s recurring characters are  collections of various tropes.)

We can more clearly see this stereotyping at work, in the 1993 movie, Kalifornia, between  two couples who share almost nothing in common, beyond having white skin. The don’t share income levels, background, or education. Early and his girlfriend, Adele, both speak with a Twang which, outside of their dress and demeanor, indicates their low social and economic status, compared to Brian and Carrie, who speak with the “accentless” accents of the Midwest. Brian and Carrie are both urbane, educated, middle class, and look down on, and mock Adele and Early as “poor white trash”. When the two couples meet,  Carrie expresses reservations about Early and Adele, and finds them funny. Throughout the movie, she regularly expresses disgust, and embarrassment, for the couple’s mannerisms, speech, and lack of boundaries.

Early is a murderer, with a long criminal background, and  on parole, while he and Adele inhabit a trailer, they cannot afford. Adele, while sweet, and good-natured, is also  dimwitted,  gullible, and easily manipulated by Early, who is physically abusive towards her. Adele is  more open with her sexuality. She isn’t slut-shamed in the film, but her manner and dress is distinctly different from the cool, modestly dressed, and sexually aloof Carrie, who Early covets as being beyond his ability to acquire. Carrie’s hair, makeup, and clothing, all indicate that she is a member of the middle class, while Adele’s childlike hairstyles, and lack of makeup, indicate her lack of sophistication. This is actually pretty typical of Hollywood versions of White people with strong Southern accents, but there are at least two exceptions to this, as well.

 

The Texas Drawl, for example, which is commonly given to hyper-masculine, and  heroic White men, like John Wayne, and the Southern Belle, a white woman of at least middle class status, who is  depicted as either  a simpering, or  fiery, damsel in distress, like Scarlett O’Hara.

In genre movies that take place in Fantasy and Science Fiction settings, the Midwestern accent is still dominant, even if there is no reason why a story set in Medieval England, or Outer Space is filled with Midwestern American speaking people, outside of being the actors hired for those roles. Most of the lead characters in Game of Thrones have either staunch Midwestern, or upper class British accents, when there is no reason for such a class station to be alluded to at all, in such a setting. If the characters in a world based on Medieval European history, can have modern British and Midwestern accents, and not be argued as historically inaccurate, than why not any of the many twangs, drawls, Indigenous, Asian, or even Eastern European accents? Why are posh British accents always used to denote the upper classes and nobility even in fantasy settings?

In the Lord of the Rings movie franchise, Viggo Mortensen is a multilingual actor, of Danish heritage, who speaks with a pronounced American accent in the movie. Of all the accents he could have chosen to use, why use that one? The Hobbits all use a variety of English, and Midwestern accents, that are meant to sound casual, but are still “low class” English, or Midwestern standard (and sometimes both in the same character). Although the movies are shot in New Zealand, none of the primary actors have Kiwi accents, which for the Hobbits would be just as valid as the English and Midwestern accents they’re using.

All of the members of the nobility, for example, including the fantasy creatures, regardless of the region of Middle-Earth, or the culture they’re from, like the elves, and dwarves, have English accents. Now I do understand that many of these accents are the natural voices of the actors hired for the roles, but what is never taken into account by audiences is that, that too, is a choice the creators made. The creators of the movies took the time to have the actors speak invented languages, and they could have easily taken the time to make up accents, but chose not to, which probably means, just like the audience, they didn’t hear it either. They could have taken the time to use different accents, for different cultures, or regions of Middle Earth, but didn’t.

Contrast that decision with the accents used in the movie Black Panther. Yes, the accents are all over the place, but according to some of the countries referenced by dress and custom in the movie, the actors accents are not the real accents of any particular region, or tribe, and as a result, many Africans found the accents funny. The Wakandans do speak something like the real language called Xhosa. The bottom line is someone thought about how the characters should sound, and made a deliberate choice that all the members of the fictional nation of Wakanda, would have a certain accent, while it seems no particular thought was given to the accents of the characters from Lord of the Rings. The actors just all used their natural voices there.

When The TV series The Witcher was announced, there was a great deal of argument about adding people of color to the cast, saying that they didn’t belong in a story based in  Polish folklore, because that would not be “Historically Accurate”. This is an argument I’m getting especially tired of hearing,for stories set in Fantasy settings, that involve elves, dragons, and magic, especially since none of those same  people complained about any of the characters lack of Medieval Polish accents, or the lack of any of the languages of Poland. It’s not accurate for any of the characters to have either American or British accents, but no one complained about them. No one complained, because they are not meant to notice that the  “accentless” accent, of Midwestern America, is actually a very specific, and just as contrived,  accent, aimed at a specific audience the films.

Would we take any of these films as seriously as we do, if all the characters spoke like Cletus, from The Simpsons?

In Star Wars, most of the characters (even robots) have either British or Midwestern accents, as well, and there is no particular reason why no one has a Blaccent, or speaks like they’re from Georgia, Pakistan, or Indonesia, although in Science Fiction, this is changing, as in some of the films, most notably in Rogue One, the actors of color all kept their original accents, from places like Mexico (Diego Luna), and China (Donnie Yen).  At least part of the reason we don’t often hear other types of accents in genre films is those types of actors are rarely chosen for those roles,  the disrespect and mockery of accents outside of the Midwestern standard, and  the fact that British accents are the only accents that generally don’t receive mockery in American culture, (although men with such accents are sometimes coded as villainous gays.)

Asian accents on television and in movies are often subject to ridicule and satire. Starting with Mr. Yunioshi, in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, to Long Duk Dong, in Sixteen Candles, Hollywood has a long, and sordid, history of mocking Asian accents, often using White actors. Asian characters may be stereotyped as  smart, or  “model minorities” in comparison to Black characters, but they are still shown as being less American, through depictions of broken English, ignorance of American culture, and mock languages, like the sing-song noises directed at Asian Americans, even if they were born in America.

Any non-American accents will receive mockery though, no matter what the the race or culture. I’ve caught myself mocking the Australian accent of Steve Irwin, Michael Caine’s Cockney accent, or laughing at fake Irish and Scottish accents. All accents that are considered by mainstream media to be comedic, or just of the “lower classes”.

All this means is that all accents are unworthy, and that the only one that should be respected (or just never noticed at all) is the accentless accent of the Midwest. And let’s be absolutely honest, not even all Midwestern accents are considered equal. The Northern Midwest has its own distinct sound, and is often used in movies as a form of comedy relief.

Here, Amy Walker talks about some of the more common American regional accents.

 

Essentially, the Midwestern accent  is as  ubiquitous, and invisible as whiteness. It is an accent without an accent, it is everywhere, and because its so pervasive, no one can hear it.

Hi Everyone!

I am currently, like a lot of people, in a lockdown city, here in the US, due to the C- 19 pandemic, and I’m not working. Unfortunately, now is also the wrong fucking time to have either the flu, or allergies, both of which are currently kicking my ass, but I am otherwise okay. I live in a predominantly Black neighborhood and although we rarely panic about anything, yes, people are buying lots of toilet paper.

My Mom and I went shopping this weekend, and while there was a very mild air of excitement, kinda like what’s felt before a National holiday, most people were quite calm, and polite. I saw only one woman wearing a face mask, and one guy with rubber gloves. The handful of white People I saw had amassed lots of toilet paper, while the Black customers seemed like they were just buying food for their unexpectedly early, out of school children. Schools will be closed here to the end of the school year, but the kids are still going to be fed, because otherwise the school lunches, that were bought in advance would go to waste, so that’s good. Voting has been postponed til Summer, movie theaters are closed, and I have no idea when I’ll be back to work, although thankfully, I’m one of those people with fully paid leave.

I’m thinking of donating to people without paid leave, so if anyone knows any organizations that will do that, then please hit me up on Tumblr with the details.

I have no intention of talking about the pandemic on this blog, mostly because reliable information can be found everywhere else, and I really don’t have strong feelings about what’s happening. It is what it is, I’m gonna roll with whatever happens, and my white noise about it isn’t going to be helpful. I’m going to continue to post what’s in my queue, talk about movies and shows, and try to be entertaining, with an occasional deep thought.

American Gods Season One: A Murder of Gods

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This episode is a big fuck you to American politics, and its Ra-Ra Americana, Gun Loving, Make America Great Again, America is for White people aesthetic. That it puts a Black man right in the middle of all this is no accident. Outside of Mr. Nancy’s speech in episode three, this is one of the more politically blatant episodes this season, as Fuller usually tries to keep his social sensibilities clear, but a little more subtle.

In the opening scene, we meet the Mexican version of Jesus, as he shepherds a group of Mexican immigrants across the border. I thought this was a respectful depiction, even though I’m not a believer. Nevertheless, I know that these beliefs are important to someone, and should be treated with a certain amount of respect. One of the immigrants doesn’t know how to swim, nearly drowning while crossing a river, but is saved by Jesus. Even I had to admit to feeling a tiny bit of a thrill with the walking on water scene. That was kinda cool.

Everyone makes it to shore but they are fired upon by a group of White men wearing badges with the word Vulcan on them. This is Fuller’s open political statement of how immigrants who came here earlier like to set themselves against the immigrants who come after them. This was the primary theme of the movie Gangs of New York, with gangs of White people calling themselves Natives, fighting with the more recent Irish immigrants. The irony in this episode is that the Mexicans are the real Natives, as they were living in this country before White people got here.

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The very nature of Jesus is sacrifice, and is illustrated in this scene of him protecting his followers with his life.  Here you have two  old gods who are diametrically opposed to each other. One of them is symbolized by fire and violence, and the other by peace and water, but both of them are willing to make sacrifices. One of them does so for the benefit of others,  and the other does it only for himself. The followers of Vulcan are  older immigrants than the ones they’re killing that night, but nevertheless feel that they have staked a claim to American soil and don’t want to share it with any others, who came here later than them. They’re devoted to the idea of America, only their version bears no resemblance to what America actually is. The Mexican immigrants have a much clearer idea of what America is but their god isn’t as powerful as the one who has decided to profit from racism,  and xenophobia, and has a lot of guns. There is a reason Vulcan has to die at the end of this episode. He has been complicit in corruption the very nature of sacrifice.

Also, keep in mind that Vulcan is Roman in origin. So what you have here is also a reenactment of the Crucifixion, with the followers of a Roman god killing the followers of the Christian God.

Shadow and Wednesday are walking back to the motel, to retrieve their car, after their escape from the police station. Wednesday still has not noticed that Shadow is injured, as they discuss what happened at the station. Wednesday still refuses to tell Shadow what to think, insisting that Shadow make up his own mind about what’s happening. He insists that Shadow has to believe to understand,  but Shadow doesn’t want to go there. It’s just too much. Gods are actual real beings, and Wednesday is one of them!

Note that most of the events in tonight’s episode are made up of whole cloth by the writers. With the exception of some verbatim conversations and dialogue, none of the events, from Wednesday’s healing  session with Shadow, to the return of Salim, to Laura’s road trip with Sweeney, to Wednesday’s meeting with Vulcan, is in the book. Fuller’s general method, regarding adaptations, is to expand on the source material in ways that enhance and deepen the story. In the original narrative, almost the entire book is from Shadow’s point of view, but Fuller has changed things here to make the show, an ensemble piece, where we get to see different points of view.

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Shadow and Wednesday make it back to the motel, where Shadow confesses that he was visited by Laura. Wednesday claims to be surprised, but still gives no set answer to Shadow about her resurrection. He eventually pressures Shadow into leaving with him. When Wednesday looks in the rearview mirror, he can see Laura chasing after their car, and turns up the volume on the stereo, so Shadow can’t hear her. He is determined that the two of them stay far away from each other. Either he’s concerned that Lara would be a distraction from him, and he does not want to share Shadow’s attention, or he thinks that Laura is working for his enemies and trying to seduce Shadow to their side.

Notice that up to now, there has been no emphasis on weather phenomena during this episode. No transitioning from sky to sky, or shots of storm clouds, as in previous episodes. Instead we often get shots of sun and clear blue skies, along Laura’s road trip, and in Vulcan. I can’t help but think that must be on purpose. Whenever Shadow is holding his emotions in we often get shots of turbulent weather, but when he’s openly expressing what he’s feeling, the skies are often very calm and clear.

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Shadow isn’t your typical hyper masculine asshole, with a stiff upper lip. Nor is he weak. He won’t allow himself to be preyed upon, but fights only when he absolutely has to. I like that the show allows him to not only have feelings, but openly expresses them, and that this is never sided as a weakness. When he’s afraid, he’s allowed to say so. When he’s overwhelmed, we get to see it. We’ve spent the past two episodes watching him hanging on to reality by his fingernails, and that’s kind of refreshing. Shadow isn’t trying to be “Shaft of the Supernatural”, and I like that. He’s just some guy, thrown into extraordinary circumstances, trying to make sense of it all.

While we’re on the subject I want to address some concerns some people have shown about Shadow not interacting with any PoC in the show. I had the impression that Shadow’s lack of interaction with any other black people is meant to parallel his lack of interaction with normalcy, since he signed on to work with Wednesday.

Before Shadow met Wednesday he often operated in all white environments, so he  is used to navigating racial dynamics, while holding on to his sense of self. That’s not a problem for him. Shadow is always acutely aware of who he is,  and where his place is in American society.  Here,  he’s thrown into an environment,  where he’s the only regular human being. He has to renegotiate reality now, to encompass the idea that gods exist, the television will personally talk to you, dead people can walk, and trees can come to life, plus this entire ordeal has been incredibly violent towards him, as he has been attacked multiple times. So while he is very used  to navigating racial politics, navigating the world of gods is some brand new shit he’s got no experience with, and he’s barely holding onto what is real.

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Often in situations where black people are in a minority of two or three, you’ll see us touch base with each other, to reassure ourselves of our reality, to help each other emotionally navigate an all white environment. As an example of this, see the movie Get Out. Chris regularly touches base with his friend Rod, while trying to navigate an all white environment where he is questioning what’s happening to him, and his doubts are being dismissed by the White people around him, and the black people are not reliable either. Shadow is a player in two separate environments, one of them is whiteness, and the other is the supernatural. He is alone in both spheres, as there are no normal human beings for him to interact with, just as there are no PoC for him to touch base with.  I’d like to see him interact with some people of color, but Shadow doesn’t actually need to do that. He knows how to navigate the color line. He’s got that part down. It’s the world of the gods he’s having trouble with.

The only assurance he has of the reality he’s experiencing, is coming from beings he can’t trust, because none of them are human. Notice that Wednesday behaves exactly the same way about Shadow’s reactions to the supernatural as he does to all of the racial things Shadow has mentioned.  You could substitute just about any discussion they’ve had about the supernatural, with discussions that many blacks have had with whites about race. Wednesday uses deflection, derailment, defensiveness, obtuseness, and gas lighting,  to not tell Shadow what’s happening to him. Laura also does this in their brief conversation in the last episode.

Notice how the gods in Shadow’s presence all speak to one another. It’s obvious that none of them think themselves human, but absolutely none of them come right out and say to Shadow, “Hey! I’m the God of Media! Or I’m the God of Commerce! I’m the God of War!” Nobody speaks directly to him about a state of being, that they consider to be obvious. Except for Wednesday everyone makes the assumption that Shadow knows what’s going on. Its like one of those conversations where everyone knows everyone but you, and they keep referencing events you were never a part of, in  short hand, as if you had been there.

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And there are other parallels too. When Vulcan makes his remarks about the hanging,  Wednesday narcissistically makes Shadow’s pain and suffering about himself. White people will often make the pain and suffering of PoC about themselves. (Well okay, in this case, it’s actually true. Most of Shadow’s suffering is a direct consequence of knowing Wednesday, or is used to insult him.) Nevertheless,  this makes Wednesday an unreliable indicator of whether or not he is insane.

Without any normal humans to touch base with, to confirm what he’s been experiencing, Shadow begins to doubt reality, which is something that can  happen to PoC in all white environments, where there’s not another marginalized person to keep them grounded, or affirm something they just experienced. That Shadow has not interacted with any black people may be something that’s just as on purpose as his not interacting with regular humans. I think we’re supposed to see that Shadow is twice a fish out of water, navigating two, separate environments, only one of which he has mastered.

 

On the drive to their next assignment, Wednesday finally notices Shadow is bleeding profusely, and stops the car to check his wounds. It turns out that the creature that attacked Shadow at the police station is some type of forest god, named Mr. Wood, who used to be the spirit of the woods, but sacrificed his trees for greater power. Once again we have a story about a god sacrificing a part of himself for greater power, and a parallel of Vulcan’s story.  Mr. Wood  injected a tree root into Shadow’s wound when it attacked him, and Wednesday pulls it out. This scene is so touching and funny. I can’t have any idea what Wednesday is thinking in this scene, as he kisses Shadow on his forehead, and shushes him, like an indulgent uncle, but Shadow’s level of trust in him is interesting.
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Laura returns to the motel to find her car, but encounters Sweeney again. He makes all kinds of promises this evening. He tells her he knows someone who can resurrect her,  while name dropping Jesus Christ. While trying to steal an old taxi, with a toilet for a backseat, they are interrupted by Salim. I was really glad to see him again as this meeting between the three of them doesn’t happen anywhere in the book. Salim, overhearing that Sweeney is a leprechaun, asks if he knows where to find the Jinn who left him his taxi. Salim has been searching for him ever since, and Sweeny promises that he will tell Salim where to find the Jinn, if Salim drives  the three of them to Kentucky. Salim agrees, but doesn’t go to Kentucky.

 

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Meanwhile at the Vulcan weapons manufacturing plant one of the employees falls to his death in a vat of molten metal, to the incongruous tune of C’mon Get Happy, by The Partridge Family. They were like a white version of The Jackson Five, only with worse outfits. I know this because  I watched this show, religiously, when I was about 8. To say that I enjoyed it, would be too strong an expression. Most likely it was the only thing on TV in that time slot. Anyway this is a singularly horrific death, especially once you realize the guy has just been baked into the factory product: bullets.

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When Shadow and Wednesday reach Vulcan West Virginia (Yes, this is an actual place! I checked.) they find the townsfolk having a memorial for their fallen co-worker. Shadow becomes acutely aware that he is a man out-of-place, as the entire town is covered in flags, and everyone, from the smallest child to the oldest grandparent is carrying a gun. It’s so over the top ridiculous that it’s almost funny, except this is how some Americans actually believe we should all be living. I was uncomfortable on Shadow’s behalf, because this very much reminded me of Sundown Towns:

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At the memorial, which is really a celebration of the sacrifice to Vulcan, there’s a gun salute and Wednesday warns Shadow to stay in the vehicle. At first I thought he was warning Shadow to stay hidden, but unlike me, Shadow remembers what goes up, must come down, and he decides to sit it out, as Vulcan and Wednesday greet each other in the middle of the street. There’s a hailstorm of bullets, none of which ever touch either of the two gods.

On their road trip, Sweeney, Laura and Salim get to know each other. Salim figures out that Laura is dead, and takes it in stride. After all, he met a Jinn. I think Salim is very lonely, as  he never stops talking the whole time, while Sweeney snarks at the two of them from the back seat. Sweeney ending up in the back, when he insisted that Laura would be the one, is deeply hilarious to me, for some reason.

Salim proves to be a precious cinnamon roll of sweetness, while Sweeney is the exact opposite of all decency. Yes, I would love it if Laura ripped his lips off, whether he uses the “C” word or not, but we need Sweeney to be the “truth teller”. Every Bryan Fuller show has at least one of these, a character who tells the blunt-faced, unbridled truth to the other characters, no matter how much pain it causes, or who it hurts. Salim and Laura bond over their belief that their past is gone, and so are the family members  who were a part of it. When Laura has a chance to visit her family, she changes her mind. She and Salim both agree that they can, “Fuck those assholes!”

The three of them end up at the Crocodile Bar where Sweeney lost his coin. It’s like a horrible joke. A leprechaun, a zombie, and a Muslim walk into a bar…

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Wednesday and Shadow go  Vulcan’s home, where Vulcan keeps assuring Shadow that he’s safe, but Shadow ain’t buying it. He knows badness when he feels it, and insists that the two of them leave. His instincts are correct because things are not as they seem, especially when Vulcan alludes to events to which he was never a witness, like Shadow’s lynching. That was number one. Number two is when Vulcan refuses to drink the Soma that Wednesday brought as a gift, substituting his own instead. Notice that Wednesday tells Shadow that Soma is not  the drink for him. Soma is a drink only for gods.

 

Soma was a fermented juice drink which was believed to have been consumed by the Hindu gods and their ancient priests, the brahmanas, during rituals. Thought to be an elixir its consumption not only healed illness but also brought great riches. Soma is personified by the god of the same name who is also the god of sacrifices and who may, in some texts, be associated with the Moon.

Not only drunk by priests for its sacred nature it was also credited with uplifting qualities, giving the drinker a boost in energy and alertness. These effects meant that the drink has been considered divine since ancient times; a beverage which brought humans closer to the divine.

——-     http://www.ancient.eu/Soma/

Soma is also another word for “body” and may represent the physical body of humans, in a pagan parallel of the Christian Communion ritual.  Vulcan can’t drink the Soma that Wednesday brought, even though he promises to support Wednesday in his war. Vulcan  already made a deal with the new gods, who have set up this system of worship for him, in the town of the same name. He claims that every bullet fired from one of his weapons, is a sacrifice to him.

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Wednesday tasks Vulcan to make a sword for him that can kill a god, and he does so. It’s a gorgeous specimen, and I want one. (Never mind what I’d do with it! Smite my enemies! What else?) After Vulcan confesses that he betrayed Wednesday to the new gods, Wednesday, in one lightning swift move, cuts Vulcan’s  throat and tosses his body into  one of the vats. Shadow freaks the fuck out, which is an entirely appropriate response. We’ve seen Shadow unhinged from the first episode, but this is really the first time we’ve seen him totally lose his shit. It will be interesting to see how he behaves in the next two episodes.

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Wednesday expresses his complete contempt for not just Vulcan’s actions, but an entire setup that’s basically a shiny, automated, bloodless form of sacrifice, that gives nothing back to the people who worship him. Wednesday said this to Vulcan earlier, that the new gods take, and promise,  but do not give anything in return, and that the old gods at least did something for their worshipers, which makes them less corrupt.

Wednesday curses the entire enterprise by pissing into the vat. This is probably a pretty good idea of Bryan Fulelr’s sentiments, too.

Laura, Salim, and Sweeney are still heading West. They stop to see the sunrise as Salim says his morning prayers.

 

 On guns:

https://www.bustle.com/p/american-gods-statement-on-americas-gun-obsession-takes-no-prisoners-61502

http://www.refinery29.com/2017/06/157569/american-gods-vulcan-gun-culture-season-1-episode-6

http://io9.gizmodo.com/american-gods-vulcan-is-everything-that-scares-me-abou-1795761610

 

Midnight Texas

Based on Charlaine Harris series called conveniently Midnight Texas, this new show will be airing this Summer (July 25th) on NBC.

I have a distrust of network TV  as they seem to want the audience that goes along with SFF shows, (they want that geek cred), but are unwilling to stick with the shows long enough for fans to get a foothold, or they simply don’t invest in the shows and don’t care about them. (We’re looking at you Sleepy Hollow.)

Anyway this show looks pretty good, for what that’s worth. I’m reluctant to get attached to it because, like I said, network TV has a talent for fucking over fans of these types of shows. I love the diversity in the show, the black vampire, the angel, and also a witch. Some of these characters are holdovers from True Blood, a show I liked. I don’t expect this show to be like True Blood, though I respect the showrunner for Mr. Robot. I haven’t yet read the books but I plan to get to those before the show airs.

ABOUT THE SHOW

Welcome to a place where being normal is really quite strange. From the visionary director of “Mr. Robot” and based on the hit book series from the author behind HBO’s “True Blood” comes a journey into a remote Texas town where no one is who they seem. From vampires and witches to psychics and hit men, Midnight is a mysterious safe haven for those who are different. As the town members fight off outside pressures from rowdy biker gangs, ever-suspicious cops and their own dangerous pasts, they band together and form a strong and unlikely family.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tumblr Sundries

Just some random Tumblr stuff, I thought seemed interesting:

Laughing to keep from crying:

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*I would say this is fairly accurate and exactly describes my younger self. I’ve become a lot more tactful, and diplomatic, as I’ve gotten older.

10 Myths About Introverts

introvertunites:

Myth #1 – Introverts don’t like to talk.
This is not true. Introverts just don’t talk unless they have something to say. They hate small talk. Get an introvert talking about something they are interested in, and they won’t shut up for days.

Myth #2 – Introverts are shy.
Shyness has nothing to do with being an Introvert. Introverts are not necessarily afraid of people. What they need is a reason to interact. They don’t interact for the sake of interacting. If you want to talk to an Introvert, just start talking. Don’t worry about being polite.

Myth #3 – Introverts are rude.
Introverts often don’t see a reason for beating around the bush with social pleasantries. They want everyone to just be real and honest. Unfortunately, this is not acceptable in most settings, so Introverts can feel a lot of pressure to fit in, which they find exhausting.

Keep reading

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*This is a reference to that new space movie, I never had any intention of seeing, called Passengers. No, I’m not putting the trailer here. You would only get bored.

List of People I’d Much Rather Watch Fall in Love in Space than Jennifer Lawrence and Chris Pratt

claraandthesatellite:

tinydramatist:

darwinquark:

Gina Rodriguez and Oscar Isaac

Lupita Nyong’o and John Cho

Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Kate McKinnon

Zachary Quinto and Rami Malek

Aja Naomi King and Dev Patel

Constance Wu and Diego Luna

Feel free to add more, as I’d imagine it’s a long list.

Kat graham and rami malek

Zoe kravitz and Chadwick boseman

Chloe Bennett and John Boyega

Alfred Enoch and Steven Yeun

Riz Ahmed and Jessica Henwick

Rosario Dawson and Elodie Young

Jenna Coleman and Freema Agyeman

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*For some reason, I love these little alien/first contact headcanons people keep coming up with on Tumblr.

kedreeva:

aethersea:

sepulchritude:

on the topic of humans being the intergalactic “hold my beer” species: imagine an alien stepping onto a human starship and seeing a space roomba™ with a knife duct taped onto it, just wandering around the ship

it doesn’t have any special intelligence. it’s just a normal space roomba. there are other space roombas on the ship and they don’t have knives. it’s just this one. knife space roomba has full clearance to every room in the ship. occasionally crew members will be talking and then suddenly swear and clutch their ankle. knife space roomba putters off, leaving them to their mild stab wounds.

“what is the point?” asks the alien as another crew member casually steps over the knife-wielding robot. “is it to test your speed and agility?”

“no it doesn’t really go that fast,” replies the captain.

“does it teach you to stay ever-vigilant?”

“I mean I guess so but that’s more of a side effect.”

“does it weed out the weak? does it protect you from invaders? do repeated stabbings let your species heal more quickly in the future?”

“it doesn’t stab very hard, it gets us more than it gets our enemies, and no, but that sounds cool — someone write that down.”

“but then what is its purpose?”

“I don’t know,” the captain says, leaning down to give the space roomba an affectionate pat. “it just seemed cool”

this is the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard but I thought about it for five seconds and realized that if I were, say, a random communications officer onboard this ship and someone taped a knife to a roomba it would take maybe three weeks before even I was inordinately fond of Stabby. I would be proud of Stabby when I met up with my other spacefleet friends for space coffee, I would tell them about the time Stabby got the second mate in the ankle five seconds before the fleet admiral beamed on board and she swore in seven different languages in front of high command.

also by the fourth day Stabby would be in the ship’s log, he’d have little painted-on insignia, people would salute him as he went by, and someone would hook up a twitter account to tweet maniacal laughter and/or a truly terrible knock-knock joke every time he managed to nick someone.

Someone would almost positively attach a tiny camera and live stream Stabby’s adventures to a media account. Bets would be taken on who is next. Bets have to be ordered to stop being taken on who is next because it becomes a problem for multiple reasons. Bets are taken but quietly on who is next.

At some point someone realizes that they haven’t seen Stabby in a while, no one has seen Stabby in over a day. The cam is running but is completely dark. The ship basically stalls out as everyone stops what they are doing to search for their friend. The confused aliens don’t understand why this nonessential and kind of dangerous piece of equipment has got the entire ship in a fit of worry.

After almost two hours, someone thinks to check a little-used storage room in the belly of the ship. As soon as the door is open, Stabby rolls out and jabs their ankle and then whirls off down the hall about its business. Stabby followed someone in without being noticed, and got accidentally shut in. A ship wide announcement chastises everyone about looking before they shut doors.

“But the doors are automatic,” says the newest alien crewmate.

“I know,” says Kzil’tir. They’ve stopped asking. The explanation is always because humans.

Source: sepulchritude sci fi humans aliens star trek

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*Yeah, this sounds like me, alright!
introvertproblems: “If you can relate to an Introvert, Join the Introvert Nation ”

#1 – I will  start daydreaming at the drop of a pin, literally. I will daydream as soon as I’m sitting still. In the car, in the middle of a book, a TV show, really anywhere.

#2 – I dont talk slow. I never give anybody a chance to interrupt me, once i’ve gotten up to speed.

#3 – Yep! I usually just walk away, like “Well, I’m done, here!”

#4 – I’ve been there before. It is weird.

#5 – Yeah, I’m not broke. I’m just quiet. Jeez!

#6 – I got called snobby, and stuck up, all through Elementary and High School. Having perfect grades did not help this image.

#7 – I made the mistake of grocery shopping after work once. Never again!!!

#8 – My relatives are very ,very used to me doing this.

#10 – This is true. But I love knocking people back on their ass when I do finally say something.

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*Yes! I do this all the time. I generally like to remain non-judgmental, but I can’t help doing this with my co-workers, or close friends.

The quieter we are, the more we observe

I’ve always been quiet. I’ve always been an introvert. I think these qualities made me a good observer.

During conversations I only talk when I have something to say, I’m not a fan of small talk. This means that I spend a lot of time watching how people express themselves, observing their attitude. I know when they’re excited to talk to me, I know if a conversation is not gonna last long because they wanna leave asap even if they don’t say anything about it. Over the years, I started seeing the same patterns in different people, and I put the people that acted quite similarly in the same “mental bag”. (Of course, words were also an important factor.) This way I know who I can trust to keep a precious secret or who not to ask if I want a sincere answer.

This procedure is the only exception to the “don’t judge a book by its cover” rule I allow myself. I wonder if other people do something like this too.

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More stuff about Introverts. Please note ,these are not myths. We are incredibly attractive people!

10 Reasons Why Introverts Are Incredibly Attractive People

1. They’re Deep Thinkers

Introverts are notoriously ‘in their own head’ much of the time.  For most introverts, it’s a safe place to be.  Inside their heads, they engage in deep conversations, ruminate about life, the universe, and everything, and take the time to really reflect on all that’s going on in the world around them.  When an introvert speaks, it’s almost guaranteed that they have spent many hours thinking about the subject, forming their opinions, and carefully choosing the words they wish to use.

2. They Have More Intimate Connections

It takes something special for an introvert to bring you into their world.  When they do, you can bet that they believe you’re someone special.  By bringing down barriers, an introvert is letting you know they’re interested in connecting with you beyond a superficial level.  They’re displaying a level of intimacy and vulnerability that not many people get to see.

Keep reading

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*I watched this trailer three times. I still don’t know what the Hell is going on, but I’m unwilling to commit to seeing this. If you like Tom Cruise its got all the staple moments: 

Pecs – Check!

Running – Check!

Tom looking concerned – Check!

 

*OMG!!! Groot is so darling! I’m now prepared to give up some of my money to see this movie this Summer. Its amazing how Groots expression is an exact mirror of Tom’s in the above trailer, tho’.

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Lkeke35 Sidewalk Talk:

For some reason the people in my neighborhood hate to use the sidewalks, and seem to prefer walking in the street, sometimes right down the middle. There’s nothing wrong with the sidewalks as far as I can tell. I’ve inspected the sidewalks and they look quite lovely and smooth, with no obstructions, (since, every Summer, local construction crews dig them up, and remake them,  as a form of busywork, or therapy. I’m not sure which.)

Normally, I would find this sort of contrary behavior unobjectionable, except these pedestrians insist on pedestrianing in the middle of the street, where I’m trying to drive, and the local authorities frown on me gently nudging them out of the road with my vehicle. It’s also hard to gently nudge someone, with a Ford Escape, without them panicking. I could probably do that sort of thing using a Ford Escort or a Prius.

Forthcoming TV Shows

There are a number of television shows I’m looking forward to next year. Now in hindsight 2016 has been a fairly shitty year, except for TV, which is tearing it up with some very exciting series. I’m very much enjoying Legends of Tomorrow, which is much better in its second season. It got rid of the rather dodgy actress who played Hawkgirl, and replaced her with Vixen, with whom I’m very satisfied.

I’ve decided to try DCs other superhero shows and I’m liking them, although I do consider them to be rather light weight viewing. I still don’t like Arrow, though.

From Dusk Til Dawn also had a much better season than last year. It just aired its season finale  and I’m going to happily break that down for you guys by the end of this week.

American Horror Story just aired its finale episode which I’ve already reviewed. I feel like AHS had a great season this year, with a lot of depth, focus, and humor.

We got the truly wondrous Luke Cage, which I can’t even accurately review because my head is so crammed full of thoughts about it that I can’t straighten them out. I’m still processing this show, as I haven’t really had time to really think about it because:

Season 12 of Supernatural has just started to air and its very good. So far, its been very engaging, and funny, with some very well written side characters, and quite a number of feels.

And, I’m entirely caught up in the Westworld phenomena. Thankfully its only got two episodes left, after which I can take some time to think about something else and finish processing my thoughts and feels about it.

Then it’s back to watching and/or reviewing starting January 1st. There is such a wealth of good shows, and I have such a limited amount of time with which to review them, that I’m going to have to start farming out some reviews. So from now on, when I see a really great review of a show I’m watching, but don’t actually have time to review, I’m just going to leave a link or reblog.

Also, if you’re a person who writes long form TV reviews like these, please get in touch with me about linking , and reblogging your posts. I love a good, well thought-out, and logical review. No wanking or ‘ship wars, please. I don’t mind if you love a certain ship  but I’m not going to reblog about  ‘ships that erase PoC, canon LGBTQ characters, and women from their own narratives.

Okay, here’s what we have to look forward to:

*Sherlock (Jan.1)

Sherlock returns for its fourth season. I’m starting to get really tired of looking at Benedict Cumberbatch’s face. He’s a phenomenal actor, with one of the best voices I’ve ever heard on a screen, but he looks like a turtle that’s been squeezed too tightly, and  I think I have reached “Peak Cumberbatch”, at this point. Nevertheless, I may still watch this, because I actually enjoy the plots. (BBC)

*Beyond (Jan. 2)

This show looks like a cross between Kyle X and Teen Wolf, which isnt a bad thing. I’m looking for  a replacement teen show for Teen Wolf anyway, since its in its last season. (Freeform)

Shadowhunters (Jan. 2)

I’ve only ever watched a couple of episodes of Shadowhunters, but gifs of it keep showing up in my Tumblr feed, and I’ve liked those, so I’ll watch this. And Harry Shum, who was one of the fan contenders to play Danny Rand in Iron Fist, is in this and I do need to have some  Shum in my life, somehow. (Freeform)

Sleepy Hollow 

I won’t be watching  season four of this show and there’s no trailer as yet,  but if you don’t mind the complete wtf*ery of what happened  last season, you go right ahead .I’m gonna be a petty mf and not even post the airdate.

*Taboo (Jan.10)

I’m a huge Tom Hardy fan, often watching movies I would not normally think about just because he’s the star. Also, I just enjoy dark Historical mysteries and these trailers look gorgeous. (FX)

*Lemony Snicket (Jan.13)

I read a lot of Lemony Snicket books and enjoyed the Jim Carey version of this, so I will probably check this out. My favorite character is Violet, so I have to stan for my tiny baby. This trailer seems to capture some of the zaniness of the original film. (Netflix)

The Young Pope (Jan.15)

I really like Jude Law, but I probably won’t watch this, even if I find this kind of Catholic scandal type stuff, fascinating. I’m not Catholic, but I will watch dramatic histories about it. This looks well acted but I’m noping out. (HBO)

Six (Jan,18)

I don’t normally watch military type shows but this looks interesting. For some reason, I’m attracted to those Navy Seal non-fiction books, and this show looks suitably dramatic, so I may watch this. On the other hand, I don’t wanna see Black people being terrorized, so I may not make this a regular part of my viewing diet. (History)

*Frontier (Jan.20)

I’m always up for anything starring Jason Momoa. I have not yet reached Peak Momoa. (Netflix)

*The Magicians Jan.25)

I was a bit disappointed in the last season of this show because of the depictions of violence against its female characters, so I’m dubious about watching this new season. On the other hand, it looks gorgeous, and I hope its a better than the second book in the series on which this is based. Finishing that second book felt like working. (Syfy)

Riverdale (Jan.26)

I could not find a good trailer for this one. I try to stick to only one teen show per period, so I may not watch this, but this is the last season of Teen Wolf, and I might need something to replace that. The trailers don’t look very interesting but I could give it a try. (CW)

Black Sails (Jan.29)

I watched the first episodes of this and then stopped, but I have been following what’s happening through reviews.It still looks beautiful but I can make no promises about this show, other than I will watch the first episode and give it a chance. (Starz)

The Expanse (Feb. 8)

I only watched a few episodes of the first season, but I’ve since read that its a good show, so I’ll watch the first episodes of this second season. I don’t know if I’ll like it but I can try it. (Syfy)

Taken (Feb 27)

(NBC)

I’m a big Liam Neeson fan and I really liked the movies on which this show is based.

*Legion (Feb TBD)

This is a Marvel Superhero Joint, so I will watch it even though I’m not in the market for yet another show about a quirky, White, male hero. I do know who this character is in the comic books, though, so I’m going to check it out. (FX)

*Iron Fist (March 17)

I will watch this even though I’m disappointed that the creators didn’t choose an Asian American man to be Danny Rand. That kind of story would’ve had so much more depth, but depth isn’t Marvel’s strongest suit. I’m still not greatly impressed with the actor they chose either, but I promise to give him a chance. I’m mostly in it because I hope this show does for Colleen Wing, (who has been racebent to be Asian) what the Luke Cage series did for Misty Knight. (Netflix)

Into the Badlands (Spring TBD)

Well, duh! (AMC)

Wolf Creek

Image result for wolf creek tv series

So this week was the premiere of the new slasher series, Wolf Creek, which is based on the movie Wolf Creek, from 2005. It airs on the Pop Channel and is based on the true story behind the Backpack Murders that took place in New South Wales, during the 90’s. The actual killer is now serving  7 consecutive life terms.The show is filmed in Australia with a largely Australian and native supporting cast.

I’m not a fan of serial killer movies, or shows , but I decided to review this because I was curious.  This is one of my Mom’s favorite movies, even though she’s not a huge fan of serial killer movies, either. I’d watched the movie (and didn’t care for it), and wondered how the creators would turn that movie into a six part mini-series, without falling into the trap of making six hours of torture porn. I feel like the show is off to a promising start. I don’t have plans to watch the entire run, but I am intrigued, and I might.

This is largely due to the young actress who plays Eve. Eve is a former gymnast, who is on vacation with her family, after having gone through rehab for addiction to pain killers. The relationship between Eve and her father is a tense one, as he’s dealing with a lot of anger regarding her addiction, (warning for some amount of emotional abuse) but all of this doesn’t get much play because her entire family, (Mom, Dad, little brother) are murdered in the first ten minutes, before the opening credits, by Mick Taylor, who is played by John Jarratt, the actor from the film.

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When her younger brother gets attacked by an animal, Mick shoots it, and decides to hang with Eve’s family for the rest of the evening. He is a crude, but jovial man, who cracks jokes about murdering people, right before he murders people. When he makes a crude joke about Eve being on her period, she goes into the RV to listen to music and can’t hear her family being slaughtered, just outside.  I thought the murder of Eve’s family would play out a lot longer ,as we got to know them, but that doesn’t appear to be the show’s focus. You know its going to happen but Mick attacks them so suddenly that it still manages to be a surprise.

He shoots Eve too but she manages to survive. Now suffering from her wounds, and survivor’s guilt, she has dedicated herself to tracking down the man who killed her family. I found this intriguing because I went into this with a certain set of expectations, and the show managed to upturn those, from time to time. I thought for certain Eve would be blamed for the death of her family, and while the idea is brought up, its also quickly shot down.

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I also thought Eve’s  story wouldn’t be believed, but Sullivan Hill is the one cop in Australia who believes her, having kept track of several of Mick’s murders for some time. Sullivan is played by Dustin Clare and you may remember him from Strikeback and Spartacus. I don’t but then I consider Sullivan to be a rather bland character.

It’s obvious that all the character focus  is going to be on Eve, as Sullivan doesn’t make much of an impression, beyond being blandly handsome. No there is no sexual tension set up between these two, at least not on Eve’s part, although I think Sullivan is intrigued. Understanding what she is about to do after she steals one of his casefiles, he sets off in pursuit of the strongheaded girl.

I did ask myself what the Hell it is that Eve thinks she’s going to do when she catches up to Mick, but I’m not too worried about that now. She’s been shown to have some amount of grit and backbone, and the rest of the season will consist of a cat and mouse game being played between her and Mick.

I like that the show is  so female-centric. The story is entirely focused on Eve, and her point of view, so there’s an element of that “Final Girl” quality that I always thought was an interesting trope for such films. We spend very little time in Mick’s presence which is probably a good thing. He thinks he’s hilarious but the show never presents him as comedy relief, even if you laugh at some of the things he says. His good humor only serves to make him more terrifying, as he greatly enjoys killing, and is just doing all this for fun. There’s only so much of that type of mindset you want to be exposed to. (There’s even a Crocodile Dundee joke thrown in.) Both he and Eve appear to be about equal in intelligence and drive, so Eve winning this contest of wills is not necessarily a foregone conclusion.

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Despite all these things to recommend it, I would advise caution for those who are more sensitive. The show is exceptionally gory. At least for the first ten minutes, it does not stint in showing Mick killing Eve’s family, and  shows him shooting a child. So you may be happier skipping the first few minutes, after which the show calms down somewhat (but its still very bloody.)

I may actually watch next week’s episode which airs on Friday. It looks like a good substitute for The Exorcist, which is beginning to drag.

State of the Onion! Mini – Reviews

This has been a very busy week. I binged Luke Cage, and a bunch more television premieres aired this week. I couldn’t catch all of them but I did manage to catch the few that interested me, while keeping up with shows I already started. This weekend I watched:

Versailles: 

Image result for versailles tv show season 2

Everyone in this show, which chronicles Louis XIV’s move from the capitol of France in the 1600’s, has luxurious, long, well kept hair, which I find hard to believe. I’m not saying people back then didn’t have  luxurious hair, just  that it’s distracting, when everyone has the same hairstyle. I kept staring at it, wishing I could run my fingers through it. No one ever seems to get distressed enough to have hair that   is out of place. They also all have clear, gigantic, blue, or grey eyeballs, including the men. Eyes so big, they can probably see me watching this show. It’s  kinda creepy.

From time to time, I do get the strong urge to watch something that’s not about superheroes,  although Louis the XIV often gets treated like one, by his courtiers. There’s the usual courtly shenanigans , most of it centering around the specific relationships between the king and his wife, the king and his semi-openly gay, younger brother, and the king and his various mistresses, and followers. So far, this is just an introductory first and second episode and hasn’t gotten deeply into the wider political issues of that time period. I do prefer that type of plotline but one of the drawbacks is that the show comes across as   “Trailer Trash in 16th Century France” , with better clothing.

There are the usual kingly activities, like intrigue, hunting, torturing dungeon prisoners, and philandering, estate planning, childbirth, and medical arguments, along with lots of significant glancing. I watched these episodes twice, and I must be really worn out after binging Luke Cage, because I couldn’t make hide or hair of the plot of this show, other than the King has decided to move to the middle of no and where, as a means to control his courtiers, because he thinks they’re out to get him. The show seems to move from scene to scene in an arbitrary manner, and although I knew all the scenes were connected, I couldn’t seem to hold in my thoughts exactly what that connection was. Luckily there’s a metric ton of background videos about this show, so I watched those too, otherwise I wouldn’t even know this much. I’m sure the videos are available on YouTube but I’m not going to give you the link because I don’t want to aid and abet this type of television viewing. (I work in a library! Go check out some books!)

If you like intrigue and old French costumes, or The Tudors, (involving intrigue and old Italian costumes), this is a good tide-over until Vikings (which has intrigue and 10th century Scandinavian costumes) comes back on the air.

The Flash:

Image result for the flash season 3

This isn’t the first episode of The Flash I’ve ever seen but I’ve been told that its a really good show and I should try to watch it again. I stopped watching it because I didn’t think it was a show aimed at me, the mature (read more cynical) viewer. But I have watched a couple of episodes from last season and while still kinda corny, it is at heart, a very sweet show. Also, I told myself I was going to support more shows with WoC in them and I just want to stan for WestAllen.

So, I’m cautiously optimistic about liking it, after a tentative first date. I really started to get into the characters and started getting feelings for them. Last season Barry ended up in an alternate universe where Iris doesn’t know him, her kid brother, Wally, is The Flash, Cisco is the unsympathetic billionaire CEO of some kind of tech startup, Caitlin Snow is an Eye Doctor, and Iris’ dad is an alcoholic, who has an antagonistic relationship with his daughter, which is really sad because they had a great relationship in Barry’s old universe. On the other hand, the speedster that was about to kill his parents, Reverse Flash,  is locked up, and both Barry’s parents are still alive.

Unfortunately,  by altering the timeline he’s set in motion, the destruction of his current timeline is imminent. And since Barry wasn’t there, the universe put Wally in his place, and this somehow disrupted the West family, although Iris still seems pretty tight with Wally, neither of them ever mention their father.

It’s really fun  watching Barry navigate this new timeline. He meets Iris, and it’s really cute watching them flirt with each other, knowing their old relationship, and that no matter what the timeline, the two of them were meant to be together.

Wally spends most of the episode fighting someone called The Rival. You can tell he’s the villain because he’s wearing an evil black suit. When The Rival wounds Wally, Barry has to step in and defeat him instead, but the price for saving his parents lives’ might mean Wally’s death. Barry makes the tearful decision to let Reverse Flash kill his parents, and restore the original timeline.

Most of what I know about The Flash is from the comic books, and since I only read the team books, I pretty much only know anything about the speedsters of the DCU,  from reading The Justice League books. I liked the special effects and the show doesn’t seem as corny or juvenile as it did the first season, although yeah, it’s still a little corny. But it’s  fun corn, not cheesy corn, and unexpectedly emotional, since I genuinely like these characters. I think I’ll make a habit of watching this every week, even though there’s like 3 other shows on TV on that same night.

Ash vs. the Evil Dead: We’ll get to this show next week.

Westworld:

 Image result for westworld

I had a lot to say about this show, only some of which has to do with the actual plot, so I guess Westworld, and shows like it, will be getting it’s own post soon.

I actually enjoyed this show, and will be watching this every week, as it airs. It looks intriguing. It starts a little slow, as we ease into the idea that the robots are behaving oddly because of new programming their creators have uploaded to them. We spend a lot of the episode with a robot named Dorothy, and we start off with her handler attempting to assess whether or not she has become self aware. Fair warning:  there is an offscreen rape scene, along with threats of female violence. And yes, the show is violent. There’s lots of shooting and gore, as most of it is set in the artificially Wild West environment, created by an annoying British character, who is just an asshole. I hated him immediately and wondered when he’d be shot. The other characters appear to have been thinking something similar, as no one likes him.

Anthony Hopkins plays the quiet, somewhat meditative, creator of Westworld, in a real low key style. He created the first of the robots and is prone to hanging out and drinking whiskey with his original Wild Bill Hickok robot, in the firm’s basement, where all the retired, underused, robots are kept in cold storage. He seems intrigued by the idea that the robots are starting to access previous memories of the lives they were given. The show feels a little bit like Dark City, where you have people who may, or may not, be aware of who and what they are being manipulated by beings who think they’re greater than them. Only in this case the humans do it for entertainment.

Hopkins character has introduced a new program into the robots code called “reveries” and some of the robots react badly. Some of them have strokes, or freeze up, or go on unexpected shooting sprees, involving milk. Before that though, there were already some glitches in the system but not in Dorothy. In one scene her robot father finds an old photograph that a human left behind, and viewing it seems to corrupt his programming, somehow. Dorothy ,when she is asked by a little human boy, if she is “one of them”, just smiles as if she didn’t hear the question. And she probably didn’t. Dorothy dismisses anything that doesn’t line up with what she is programmed to think of her world.

One of the rules of Westworld is that guests, (humans) can never be hurt by hosts (robots), although the robots can and do harm each other, a lot. When you realize these violent scenarios are created by the annoying British dude, you hate him even more. He’s vaguely disgusting.  At first it wasn’t entirely clear to me who were the robots, and who were humans, but the show doesn’t draw that particular mystery out as, by the end of the episode, you know who is who.

Ed Harris plays the iconic role of the Man in Black, originally played by Yul Brynner. He is most indubitably a bad guy. I think he was uploaded with the new program as well, but when all the other robots are killed  in a massive shootout (so as to gather up their bodies, and recode them) he doesn’t get found. It’s disturbing watching him on the trail of something he doesn’t understand. He’s essentially seeking the “real world”, and looking for clues in the other robots. Since he has only interacted with, (and brutalized), other robots, the entire time we’ve seen him, I suspect that’s why he doesn’t get rounded up with all the others. It’s been hypothesized that he’s a guest, but I didn’t see it. I thought he was reprising Yul Brynner’s role, from the original film, and in that film, The Gunslinger is one of the robots. Apparently, I’m going to have to watch the episode again, if I’m going to figure this out.

This is another show where humans don’t come off looking so good. Not because of what they say but what they do. In a show like this, you’re going to witness robots that look, act, and react like people, being hurt or  brutalized. In one scene, inside Westworld,  a human couple laugh at the twitching body of a female robot, that one of them has just shot in the head. But how is this any different from us watching fake violence on Game of Thrones, or this show, just for entertainment? Did I find their behavior repugnant because the robots look and act like real people? Well so do people in movies, so I’m not sure exactly where my disdain for these particular humans comes from. Although maybe it’s because they committed the act themselves and found it funny. The robots can’t  escape being violated in the real world either, as one human woman takes the opportunity to kiss one of the female robots, when she gets left alone with her for even a minute.

This show asks the usual questions that get asked whenever anyone makes a movie about robot. I think its some kind of law. At the end of the episode, Dorothy does something that none of the robots are supposed to be able to do, which does not bode well for the humans on this show.

Aftermath: 

I still have not watched this. So maybe next week.

 

 

From Dusk Til Dawn – Overview

Image result for from dusk till dawn season 3

This season is proving to be much better than last season . We’ve been re-introduced to Scott, who thinks he’s a total badass, with a sword he got from somewhere, last season. Seth and Richie go to recruit him from the Rock band he’s playing in.  Scott’s sister, Kate, continues to be possessed by this season’s villain, Amaru. In the last episode she attacked a town full of people with locusts, and put some kind of tentacled demon glop in their water supply, which turned them into cannibals. Seth got infected, and then everybody got cured.

During all this, Kate kidnapped Richie, and awakened his dark side.  Now Seth, and the team he put together to save Richie, are being hunted in the Asylum where Kate first woke up, by Richie, of all people. Most of this episode consisted of people running around , or being trapped in, various parts of the facility, while snarking at each other.This team doesn’t even like each other. Seth keeps ordering everyone around as if he were in charge, but the rest, who are all vampires, take exception to his orders and then follow them anyway, which is deeply funny.

At any rate, Richie gets saved from Kate/Amaru after Seth, lovingly, sets him on fire, because extreme pain is the only way to free Amaru’s slaves, and Richie is a vampire, so he gon’ be aiight. Frankie however gets enslaved by Amaru and stakes the vampire who confessed her love to him. I still find that kinda icky because she’s a vampire, and he hates them, and isn’t he still married? This is  like the second, or third, woman that Amaru has killed, or caused to be killed, since the season began, and I wonder why Amaru, who is, ostensibly, female, hates women.

Tom Savini, from the original film, makes his debut in the show this season, playing some guy named The Eternal Hunter. He’s there to help Jake Busey’s character, (he’s the Sex Machine remake that Savini originally portrayed in the movie), to take down the demons that escaped from Xibalba ,when Carlos blew up the Titty Twister Saloon, last season.  Busey and  Savini are a match made in Heaven. I didn’t even know I wanted this pairing, but I would watch an entire show, of the two of them, just bitching at each other.

The action is awesome, and there’s lots of it. If you like Supernatural, you could give this a try. Its sillier, a little cheesier, and the action is definitely crazier, but its a lot of fun and has got some nice brotherly action scenes. It would be hilarious if the Geckos and Winchesters were to team up. I would watch the hell out of that and I’m enjoying this season a lot more, now that the Gecko bros. are back together, acting like an old married couple.

American Horror Story:

Image result for ahs roanoke

The action is flying fast and furious in the fourth chapter of season six, and has so far managed to remain on point. Last chapter, Cricket, who invaded Shelby and Matt’s life, made a deal with the real power behind Kathy Bates’ character, an old Celtic style witch, of some kind. She’s played by the nearly  unrecognizable Lady Gaga. So yeah, this parallels with the third season of AHS, called Coven, which introduced witches. It is now the season of the witch, people!

http://www.popsugar.com/entertainment/Lady-Gaga-Character-American-Horror-Story-Roanoke-42519689

In exchange for not harming the people in the house, the Cricket promised to give her Matt who, hypnotized by the witch, was found doing the nasty with her in the forest…by Shelby, who is, understandably, pissed off. Matt doesn’t remember any of it though. Mad  about what Matt did, Shelby pulls a dick move and calls the police. She has Lee arrested for Mason’s murder, and  kidnapping her own daughter.

Later Shelby is attacked by the Pigheaded Man, which I kinda cheered, because hey! dick move Shelby, but Dr. Cunninhgham, who had been living in the outdoor cellar, saves her from him.He gives them some more background information on the house, claiming he can help them.  The last family that resided there were all killed by The Butcher and their spirits also haunt the land. It seems as if once you die on the land, your spirit is trapped there forever, which is kind of defeating the purpose of the Butcher, who claims to want to clear the land of…well…people.

Anyway, Dr. Cunningham gets killed while trying to save Flora from a pack of ghosts she’s seen to be playing with. Its uncertain whether Flora is a ghost or real, though. Cunningham gets shot with arrows from, I suspect, The Butcher’s people, which is a pretty novel way to die in the modern age, I guess. They’re able to kill him because they have just entered some special cycle of the moon that allows them to become corporeal  for about six days.

Shelby and Matt run back to the house where they meet Cricket who tells them that he encountered Flora in the forest and met the original witch, who has the hots for Matt because she has “needs”, as Cricket put it. Matt has some backstory to tell too, even though he doesn’t remember sleeping with the witch, about what happened to the original Roanoke colony. Cricket also tells them their house sits on the actual site of Roanoke.

Tomasina the Butcher, and her followers invade the front yard, with Flora in tow. They’re about to kill the child before Cricket goes out to parlay for the child’s life, but gets captured instead. Priscilla, experiencing a pang of conscience, rescues her friend, and the two of them escape into the forest, but Shelby and Matt have to watch as Cricket is slowly disemboweled. And I was just starting to like him.

Bye, bye, Cricket.

I know one thing though, I’m not getting too attached to any of the characters this season. They only seem to last just long enough to impart disturbing information, and then be horribly killed. I’m still feeling kinda nauseated about the disemboweling and its been three days. The body count so far is pretty damn high for just four episodes and we still have two more to go. I’m not feeling too good about Matt and Shelby’s chances.

Here are some further fan theories about this season, which if  true, make this season kinda awesome, already:

http://www.vanityfair.com/hollywood/2016/10/american-horror-story-roanoke-episode-4-freakshow-mott-family-number-six

 

 

 

 

Lkeke’s Fall Lineup (TV)

Television

I will review the first episode of season three of The Strain this weekend. Hopefully it won’t turn into a hate-review and this season will be better put together than last season. There’s still going to be plenty of snarking on it though. I have never in my life hate-watched a show, but I really believed in the show, because its such a great idea and  the books were pretty good, and I kept hoping the show would get better.

It didn’t.

Last season had some truly awful plot points, characters, and whole episodes. I always go into these endeavors with a sense of optimism, though. I’ll try to do the same for this show as I do for all the other shows.

I will be reviewing as many of the new pilots as I can, and based on my reactions to those, I will add or subtract them to the list of weekly reviews, but my time is limited. I may not review one of your favorites. There are some shows that I’m definitely waiting to review, on a regular basis as soon as they return, like Into the Badlands (TBD/2017), and Shadowhunters, which looks silly and fun,  and The Magicians. I don’t think these will be released until next year. In the meantime, here is the list of shows I will definitely give weekly reviews for.

American Horror Story(9/14) – I have no idea what this season is about. Nobody does. The creators are keeping it a secret which is very frustrating to a lot of people who are used to knowing the entire plots of movies before they’re even released. I don’t mind the surprise, though. I do know that whatever the creators give us will be batshit crazy, so I’m expectant.

Luke Cage (9/30) – I’m so looking forward to this. it looks like its going to be fun. I will be watching for how the characters are treated, especially, the WoC, as Marvel doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to such things.I wonder if Iron Fist will get a mention, and if we’ll get to hear Luke’s catchphrase from the comic books.

Supernatural (10/13) – The show that never ends will be in its twelfth season.  Like I told you guys, I’m gonna be here to the end of the line.  I always go into every  new season with a positive outlook, and I’ll decide how I feel about a season when its over. As usual, my reviews will first be posted on https://samanddeanbrothersinarms.wordpress.com/      and then reblogged here.

The Walking Dead (10/23) – I’ve mostly avoided talking about this show all Summer. I feel really good about this season despite the presence of Negan and the absence of his victim, which I know is really gonna hurt, no matter who it is. I refuse to speculate as to who it will be.

I may or may not review From Dusk Til Dawn (9/6) and Aftermath (9/27) on the Syfy channel. Also coming up is the second season of Ash vs. The Evil Dead (10/2), which I may not review because I didn’t like how the one black woman in the entire show got treated in the narrative. I’m still pissed off about the writers fridging her  (in the   most horrible manner they could think of), just to provide some minor manpain for Ash.

There’s some intriguing new shows coming to the Syfy network , that I have no idea what to think about them, like Falling Water (10/13), and Channel Zero (9/27), which looks pretty scary and weird. I’ll review the pilots if I remember to program them into the DVR.

I still have not watched The Get Down on Netflix, and had no plans to watch Mr. Robot or Gomorrah.

 The pilots I’ll be reviewing are:

Atlanta (9/6) – this looks like a lot of fun. It has an all Black cast, and I’m casting around for a new comedy that’s as good as Black-ish and Brooklyn 99, and I like Donald Glover.

Pitch (/22) – I don’t normally watch anything that’s sports related outside of The Olympics. I definitely do not watch anything involving Baseball, but this looks so good, I’m getting kinda excited for it. I may never watch beyond the pilot but I hope it does well. Its about the first female pitcher in major league baseball, and she’s a black woman, so I hope the writers get the subjects of racism, misogyny, and feminism right.

Versailles (10/1) – I love historical shows about 17th and 18th century France. (Mostly because I love the clothes.) I’m going to check it out because its different from anything else I’m watching and will tide me over til Vikings (TBD/2017) is back on. I always have to watch at least one or two shows that totally don’t fit the aesthetic of anything else I’m watching. I like a little variety, sometimes.

Still Star Crossed (TBD/2017) – This is another historically themed show based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, and starring a large Black cast. It looks gorgeous, and I can’t wait to see it.  I just came off  of Coriolanus,  and Macbeth, on Amazon. I’m no expert, and generally not into romances, though. I don’t study the hell out of his plays, or recite them line by line, but I know enough to get by.

Aftermath (9/27) – SyFy needs to hype its new shows more. I barely paid attention to this one but from the trailer it looks interesting. I don’t know if I’m going to tune in on a week by week basis, because The Walking Dead is enough apocalyptic TV for anyone. But this looks like one of those End of the World Christian millenialist type deals and I’m not gonna get all het up about this if I’m also watching the Exorcist.

Channel Zero (9/27) – There’s a horrible looking tooth-monster in the trailer. That’s all I got because Syfy is trying real hard to be mysterious about the creepy shows its going to be airing this Fall. I’m okay with that approach. It just means I’ll tune in to find out what the hell was going on in the trailer.

Midnight Texas (TBD/2017) – From the writer of True Blood (Charlaine Harris) and it may even star a few characters who made cameos on there. This is on NBC, which brought us Hannibal, but I’m not getting my hopes up ,that the show is going to be too wild. I think Hannibal was maybe a fluke or something.

Westworld (10/2) – I generally try to avoid HBO’s shows as they tend to rely a great deal on female violation to titillate male viewers. I’ve already read a bad review of the pilot for Westworld. On the other hand, I enjoyed Deadwood,  Carnivale, and Oz, and  I have memories of the original movie. I want to know how it stacks up.

Mascots (Netflix 10/13) – This is a comedy from the creator of Best in Show,  which is one of my favorite mockumentary films. Its about the world of sports team mascots. I expect it to be as lowkey hilarious as the movies Christopher Guest writes.

Falling Water (10/13) – I got nothing! Looks intriguing. I know nothing about it. I’m not especially impressed by the trailer and that doesn’t bode well.

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (10/22) – I remember reading this book in High School. The trailer looks suitably zany and Frodo is starring in it, and I like him, so I’m going to check it out and see what’s up. There’s also a BBC version of this series, which I have not seen but the trailer looks as zany as this one.

The Crown (Netflix/TBD) – Another historical series on Netflix. I’m not especially impressed with this but I may watch it.

The Exorcist (9/23) – There’s no way this is as good as the original movie but I have to watch it to find out if that’s true.

There’s a bunch of returning shows that I will probably watch but only give a barebones review for. I prefer to leave such reviews up to those who’ve been more devoted to those shows than I have been. Nevertheless I am giddy about a few of the returning shows, like:

Teen Wolf (Season 6 -11/16)

Brooklyn 99 (Season 4 – 9/20)

Agents of Shield (9/20) 

Okay, lets try this again. I haven’t been watching this show because I dislike Chloe Bennett. She’s just highly annoying to me, for some reason, although I like everybody else, with my fave being Melinda, naturally. This season is helped by having one of my all-time favorite characters joining the show Ghostrider. I read these comics as a teen, and even watched those shitty movies, starring a totally miscast Nicholas Cage, for the special effects.

Legends of Tomorrow (Season 2 – 10/13)

I kinda like this show. I cant stand to watch most of the other superhero shows on the Cw but I get through this one just fine. I’m not devoted, but I am intrigued, mostly by Firestorm, whose comic I used to read the hell out of.

From Dusk Til Dawn (Season 3)

I missed some parts of season tweo but i watched enough to know what’s going on and to look forward to season three. This show still looks great but some of the acting is a little cheesy, and the plot is all over the place, by the middle of the season. Nevertheless, where else am I going to see lots of bad-ass, Mexican vampires.

Yeah…NO!

I have no intention of looking at these shows although some of you guys might get a kick out of them.

Conviction starring Hayley Atwell –  She’s a great actress but she’s made  the horrible choice of picking a bland lawyer show to star in next and I don’t watch those.

Lethal Weapon – I refuse to relive mediocre eighties action movies, in the form of mediocre television shows.

Sleepy Hollow – C’mon! You know why!

The DC superhero shows on the CW, I don’t dislike these shows exactly, but I’m never gonna be a Supergirl fan, I don’t care who is on that show. Arrow simply wasn’t compelling enough for me and The Flash felt like it was aimed at kids, although I really like the characters.

I like the look of Gotham and I hope its improved since the second season, when I last watched it, but it wasn’t compelling enough for me, even with the addition of Jada Smith.The show looks gorgeous but its stil la show with cops in it and I’m avoiding those right now.

Lucifer has some interesting looking characters, but I’m waiting for an especially compelling trailer or something becasue so far its just not capturing me, even though it stars DB Woodside, on of my fave Black actors.

Training Day seems like a grittier version of Lethal Weapon. I’m not watching any cop shows, so this one is out.

Van Helsing – I watched the pilot. I was thoroughly unimpressed. No.

Wolf Creek – I’m not sure how I feel about this one yet. Its one of those serial killer movies, so maybe no.

Next up Movies and Books to look forward to.

Headcanons on Tumblr

This is mostly people just making up their own stories and head canons on Tumblr. For me, this is one of the most fun things on there. Just like the last one I posted where people basically re-invented American magical systems, by extrapolating from JK Rowling’s misconceptions of American culture. (I’m going to revisit that again because I just love the idea of different magical systems being influenced by  cultural, environmental, and    geographical constraints.)

Plus, there’s some meta in here about LOTR and some critical essay type stuff, like this insistence (from men, btw) that women’s armor have titties, or flowers, or something on it to designate that a woman is in it. Why? Exactly what purpose is served by decorating the armor that way?

mathylibrarian:

bestnatesmithever:

kiokushitaka:

adrastuscomic:

iwoofjaneway:

“ It’s armor. On a woman. It doesn’t have to look feminine.”

If I ever don’t reblog this, it’s because I’m dead.

game devs take note

What a weird impulse. Why would you need it to look feminine? Or masculine? It’s armor to protect your body from death. Not dying should be gender neutral.

Not dying should be gender neutral

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Anonymous asked:

Can you tell me why Frodo is so important in lotr? Why can’t someone else, anyone else, carry the ring to mordor?

notbecauseofvictories answered:

but someone else could.

that’s the whole point of frodo—there is nothing special about him, he’s a hobbit, he’s short and likes stories, smokes pipeweed and makes mischief, he’s a young man like other young men, except for the singularly important fact that he is the one who volunteers. there is this terrible thing that must be done, the magnitude of which no one fully understands and can never understand before it is done, but frodo says me and frodo says I will.

(when boromir is thinking of how he can use the ring to defend gondor, when aragorn is thinking of how it brought down proud isildur, when elrond is holding council and gandalf is thinking of how twisted he would become, if he ever dared—)

but then there’s frodo, who desires nothing except what he has already left behind him, and says, I will take the Ring.

it is an offer made out of absolute innocence, utter sincerity. It is made without knowing what it will make of him—and frodo loses everything to the ring, he loses peace and himself and the shire, he loses the ability to be in the world. It’s cruel, the ring is cruel, it searches out every weakness you have and feeds on it, drinks you dry and fills you with its poison instead, the ring is so cruel.

and frodo picks it up willingly. for no other reason except that it has to be done.

(the ring warps boromir into a hopeless grasping dead thing, the power of the palantir turns denethor into an old man, jealous and suspicious, it bends even saruman, once the proudest of the istari, into a mechanised warlord, sitting in his fortress and bent over his perverse creations—all the best of intentions, laid waste)

but there’s a reason gollum exists in the narrative, which is to show—well, to show what frodo might have been. because even as frodo grows mistrustful and wearied, as the burden of this ring grows heavier and heavier, he is never gollum. he is gentle to gollum. he is afraid—god frodo is so afraid for 2/3 of these books he is so tired and afraid, but he keeps moving, he walks though it would pull him into the ground, because he asked for this, he said he would.

someone else could have carried the ring to mordor, I suppose. the idea of a martyr is not dependent on the particular flesh and blood person dying for some greater purpose. but such a thing has to be chosen, lifted onto your shoulders for the right reason, the truest reasons, and followed into the dark, though it would see you burnt through and bled out.

I will take the Ring, though I do not know the way.

Source: notbecauseofvictories

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More critiques of fandom racism, or as Stitchmedia likes to call it “Klandom.”

stitchmediamix

We’re never believed when we talk about racism in fandom and people are just so eager to silence us.

I’m on the “fandom racism” tag on tumblr because I occasionally do like to find new people to block when I see this blogger talking about the white women in fandom doing shipping olympics to justify not shipping Spider-Man with Zendaya!MJ.

Their next post in the tag comes from some anon fussing at them, accusing them of generalizing and blaming a “vocal minority” in the same anonymous message. (”hardly any white girls probably even care about spider-man” the anon said as if a majority of transformative fandom isn’t made up of white women and therefore, the spider-man fandom has a ton of white women in it)

Nevermind that people have been shitting on Zendaya since the second that the news dropped (and btw, it’s still not official news from Sony/Marvel).

Nevermind that the Thor fandom is now pretending that it cares about Jane Foster in order to excuse misogynoiristic complaints about Tessa Thompson playing Valkyrie and possibly playing Thor’s love interest.

Nevermind that every time a Black woman is cast as a white character, white men derride her appearance and white women dismiss her character and act as if she’s unworthy of being in a relationship with the white fave she’s undoubtedly cast opposite.

Nevermind that already I’ve seen female members of fandom talking about how “it’d be nice to have a Spider-Man movie where Mary Jane doesn’t have a love interest” (like Homecoming already doesn’t have that!!).

When we (fans of color and anti-racist allies) talk about the racist abuse we see directed towards, fans, actors, and racebent characters of color, the first thing we see is their outstretched hands demanding “proof” and acting like making up racism is like a thing people actually do.

It pisses me off so hard because right now, we’re getting it from two sides: members of “mainstream” fandom constantly crapping all over Black women as if it’s their job and (largely female) members of transformative fandom who’ve learned to couch their racism and hatred of women of color in social justice rhetoric so it looks like they’re fighting for us, not against us.

And even though you can look at Twitter, in tumblr tags, and google this shit, people are still like “I don’t see why you’re complaining, it’s not a big deal”.

Our anger is reactionary. We are reacting to endless racism aiimed towards fans, characters, and creators of color. If you sincerely believe that the right thing to do when faced with this reality is to demand proof and get mad when it’s given?

You can fuck right off.

text posts fandom ugh UGHUGH long post
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*Why Candice Patton is a total bad-ass!
finnnorgana pocketlass

attoseconds:

westallendiaries:

attoseconds:

Candice Patton as Iris West helped play a massive part in Kiersey and Zendaya being allowed to portray superhero love interests, and opened doors that would have been closed to them three years ago, when they wouldn’t have even been considered an OPTION.

Candice Patton as Iris West helped show execs that a WOC as a romantic lead is a smart decision. From their standpoint, it’s likely financial, but little black girls are going to be allowed to see themselves as the girl the hero loves, wants to be with, and get to see themselves being Important to the story.

One day, saltyass haters will realize that’s why Candice Patton as Iris West is needed, because she’s making a *difference* and one simple casting decision is shaking 50+ years of history for the better.

“Playing this role, I sometimes get blatant racism and the even more painful and complicated non-blatant racism. But, I gladly put on my armour each day and take it. I have to be strong and continue to deliver, because this is bigger than me. It’s not just about this role, its about the landscape of film and TV. It’s about the young girls coming after me. I need to make sure I was strong enough to keep that door open for them.” – Candice Patton

She’s honestly such an amazing human being and I love/respect/adore her SO MUCH.   Source: attoseconds

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*More explanations on the Zendaya freak-outs:

Zendaya as Mary Jane

brownstocking:

racebending:

jrashad51:

This can be taken multiple ways to me.

1. If everyone gets mad when people of color are played by white people, why can’t white people be angry when it’s done to them?

2. White people have taken roles from people of color for so long, it’s only right if we do the same to them.

3. It doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. Zendaya went through the same audition process as everyone else and she just happened to be the best one for the job.

I’m more in tuned with number 3.

1)  They can be angry, and they are.  Frequently when a role is racebent like the role of Mary Jane has been rumored to be, many white fans will express anger around it.  They are more than entitled to express their opinion about the media product and they know it.   Nothing stopped angry white people upset about racebent Johnny Storm from giving Michael B. Jordan crap about being cast in the role, for example.   The anger does make folks who do that look ignorant; however, because they have access to representation that the PoC they are complaining about lack.   White fans who are upset about a mixed race black actress playing MJ have access to representation through the main character and much of the supporting cast, representation through the writer, director, producers of the movie (and the white execs of Marvel Studios), and representation through countless other superhero movies–including three Spider-man movies with a white MJ.  Girls of color who consume superhero movies simply do not experience the same.    They can be angry, but it looks petty.

2)  What is happening here is not “the same.”   PoC being cast in racebent roles for supporting white characters (and having to receive racist flak for it) is not the same as white actors using raceface or whitewashing to score lead roles.

3)  We don’t really know what process resulted in Zendaya being cast, but her casting as a love interest for Peter Parker does matter because it makes a major social statement, and it is a form of media representation.

werd.

Also can we stop acting like Mary Jane has to be white? Not only is she a fictional character, but her only defining characteristics are red hair, lives in NY, grew up with Peter. That’s it. Despite the hype white people don’t have a lock on red hair. And Zendaya is the first Mary Jane cast for live action who does have that flirty personality that everyone associates with Mary Jane Watson.

Source: jrashad51

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*Along with Black Women in  movies Tropes:

stitchmediamix karnythia

Trope

abbiehollowdays:

Giving a black male character a black female love interest (the earlier in the series, the better), but either:

A. Only show her in flashbacks because she’s dead
B. Kill her off within a few episodes
C. Write her as being an irredeemable bitch who the BM character has already divorced/broken up with or will divorce/break up with soon.
D. Have her choose her career over the relationship.

That way writers have “proved” that he doesn’t hate black women (or hates one “with cause”). Then he’s free to experiment or fall in love with female characters of other races (especially white) and they never have to show him with a black female love interest again for the rest of the series.

Source: abbiehollowdays racism antiblackness misogynoir

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*I am absolutely loving this Arthurian explanation for why Finn is a Jedi. Finn is The Awakening that the movie talks about. There’s a lot of fandom that likes to villainize him and/or erase his presence, but they can’t erase the fact that this movie’s title is in reference to Finn, as much as it is to Rey. 

In my mind, the reason he loses his battle to Kylo is because it’s his first real lightsabers fight, and he was never trained to use that weapon. It’s the first time he’s ever seen, or held, a lightsaber. He doesn’t know the rules. He’s never had a Yoda, or been anybody’s Padawan.  He becomes uncertain about his intentions and focus, (he gets scared), and  is finding it increasingly difficult to keep his connection to the Force, (if he even knows what that feels like), that purity of purpose that made him accept the lightsaber in the first place. It’s as if, right in the middle of this fight, he experiences the terrifying magnitude of what he’s doing. (Omg! This the leader of The First Order! What the hell am I doing?!!)

One of the rules of using the Force is purity of purpose. Without that, it’s easy to fall to the Darkside, or lose one’s connection to it, and just as Yoda said, emotions cloud intentions. This is probably something that happens a lot  to  students of the Force, and I’ll wager that Finn probably doesn’t even know what that is, although, like Rey, he’s heard of it.

jawnbaeyega adagalore

luminousfinn:

Maz giving Finn the lightsaber is noticeable for many reasons, not least of which because it happens twice and for all the Arthurian parallels surrounding the scenes.

 

The first time takes place just after the destruction of the Hosnia system which is what makes Finn return to Han (and implicitly to the fight against the Dark Side). At this point none of them knows that they’re about to be attacked themselves by the First Order, not even Maz.

Despite this she immediately upon Finn’s return  takes him, Han and Chewie into the cellar where she keeps the lightsaber. When she takes it out of the chest Han recognizes it and asks where she got it, she brushes him off and focuses on Finn.

Why Finn? Last she saw him Finn made it clear that he was leaving. Hosnia’s destruction marked a tentative return, but so far it is tentative. And wouldn’t Han a man who might not be a paragon, but someone she’s know for years, make more sense?

Her words as she passes it are ambiguous. “Take it. Find your friend.” And do what exactly? Give it to her? Use it to protect her? What? Recall, no one but Maz and Rey herself knows that Rey can use the Force at this point. In fact Finn is never told this in TFA.

In assorted other things the fact that Han’s attention shifts off Maz and onto Finn the moment she tells him to take it, but before she stops talking is interesting. His intent gaze on Finn as he makes the choice to take the weapon is mirrored in the second “giving” by Maz.

Maz too is looking rather expectantly as Finn reaches out and takes the lightsaber from her. The music that has so far been playing softly in the background swells dramatically the moment Finn’s hand touches the saber and mixes with the diegetic sound of an approaching TIE fighter as Finn raises the lightsaber as a young Arthur might Excalibur. The scene ends in a dramatic boom as the castle is struck just as we see Finn look at the saber with a serious face.

It is noticeable that Finn is so entranced by the lightsaber that he doesn’t seem to hear the incoming TIE. Not long before at Niima Outpost he jumped at the first sound of it, but here he’s oblivious to the noise.

Now before I go on to the second “giving” I’m going to make a small detour around Arthurian myth.

Much have been made of the Arthurian parallels in TFA. Kylo Ren as a Mordred like figure. Luke as either a Merlin or a fallen Arthur himself and of course Rey pulling the Skywalker lightsaber out of the metaphorical stone. But the Arthurian parallels have been ignored where Finn is concerned, especially when it comes to the giving of the lightsaber/Excalibur, because in Arthurian myths there are two kinds of givings of that sword. One is Arthur pulling it out of the stone which declares himself the true king of Britain, in the other it is given to him by The Lady of the Lake.

In both versions Arthur starts out as a youth of unknown parentage grown up fostered by strangers, just as Finn is. In the second versions Arthur runs into Merlin, often portrayed as an older, wiser man. Depending on the version Arthur either asks Merlin for help or about his future, in either case Merlin takes him to The Lady of the Lake.

The Lady depending on the version of the tale is either a powerful magical being or a High Priestess of Avalon. She proceeds to ask the young Arthur several question and put him through a test which he fails, but she sees that though he is not perfect he has a good heart and a true spirit. Realizing this she bequeath him Excalibur, the sword of the true king and the mark of a hero.

Maz is in a quite literal sense The Lady of the Lake. She a powerful alien, strong in the Force who has made her home on a lake.

Her initial interactions with Finn runs parallel with The Lady’s testing of Arthur, complete with Finn “failing the test” by choosing to leave. But in deciding to return to the fight Finn proves to The Lady of the Lake that he’s heart and spirit is true and so she gives him Excalibur (the Skywalker lightsaber) to wield.

 

That she means for him to wield it and not just as a caretaker becomes clear in the second “giving”.

When they exit the now ruined castle the dark forces are upon them and battle is joined. Maz once more tells Finn to go find his friends.

This time Finn has no intention of leaving proving him once more worthy of Excalibur and this time Maz’s words are unambiguous, she intends, and always intended, for him to be a wielder of the blade, not just a carrier.As Finn again lifts the Skywalker lightsaber and this time ignites it, Maz look on with great expectancy clearly meant to mirror the audience. Will “Excalibur” accept Finn as its wielder? And will Finn accept the lightsaber as his?

At first we see doubt on Finn’s face, it’s an unfamiliar weapon and a Jedi’s weapon to boot. How can he wield this? But Maz believes he can and Finn is nothing if not up for whatever challenge life throws at him so he ignites it. The blade flashes to life in his hand, accepting him as a worthy wielder, and the moment it does Finn’s decision is also made. He may not be a Jedi (yet), but the sword is his.

 

tl;dr. There is a lot of Arthurian coding around Han (Merlin) bringing Finn (a young Arthur) to Maz (The Lady of the Lake), Maz testing him and in finding that he has a good and pure heart gives him the Skywalker lightsaber (Excalibur). The sword allowing itself to be ignited (drawn from the sheath) confirms Finn’s worthiness as its wielder.

Source: luminousfinn LISTEN THIS IS THE CONTENT FOR WHICH I AM HEREGOOD SHIT RIGHT HERE OK finn facts finn meta finn is force sensitiveboth rey and finn are gonna be jedi ok choke on THAT

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*This would make an excellent alternative to those War of the Worlds movies! Yeah, pretty much most of the wildlife of Australia is dangerous, from various sized birds, to insects, and forms of sea-life, like jellyfish, octopi, and stonefish. This explains why  Aussies are the way they are, I guess.

cumaeansibyl:

swaff-original:

ladyshinga:

beautytruthandstrangeness:

ellidfics:

tygermama:

myurbandream:

jabberwockypie:

skeletonmug:

artiestroke:

splintercellconviction:

giraffepoliceforce:

I really want a science fiction story where aliens come to invade earth and effortlessly wipe out humanity, only to be fought off by the wildlife.

They were expecting military resistance. They weren’t counting on bears.

Imagine coming to a hostile alien world and being attacked by a horde of creatures that can weigh up to 3 tons, run at 30 km/h (19 mph), and bite with a force of 8,100 newtons (1,800 lbf).

By the time you realise that they can traverse water, it’s too late. The surviving members of your unit manage to make it back by shedding their excess gear and running for their lives; the slower ones were crushed to death within minutes.

You later describe the creature to one of the humans you captured, wanting to know the name of the monstrosity that will haunt your nightmares for cycles to come.

The human smiles as it speaks a single word, slowly and distinctly, in its barbaric tongue.

Hippopotamus.”

This is giving me the biggest, creepiest grin I might have ever grinned

Imagine being the next crew to go down to earth and thinking “it’s fine, we got this. We have the weapons and equipment necessary to deal with bears and *shudders* hippopotamuses. We’ll be fine.”

And at first you are, you’ve learned how to dodge. You’ve learned where their territories are. You know how to defend yourself.

But then one night you are sleeping in your shelter. You’re in a tree covered temperate part of earth. It seems benign. There are been no sightings of the dreaded “hippos” around. Not even any bears. But there is a slight rustle of the undergrowth. You try and ignore it telling yourself it is just the wind.

Then you hear the rustle again. closer this time.

You peer out into the darkness but see nothing amongst the trees.

The rustle again and now you realise you can smell something. It’s musky and slightly foul. It’s the smell of an omen, a warning. But what of? Where is this smell coming from.

You sit up, but it’s too late. The foul smelling creature is on you. You are hit with 17kg of coarse fur and vicious bites. Long dark claws tear in to you and you are pinned down white the striped creature tries to bite your throat.

It takes some doing but you manage to wrestle free. Blood drips from your wounds and already they itch with the sign of infection. The creature has a bloodied snout, rust rad, mingling with the black and white hairs. It lets out a terrifying growl from the back of its throat and looks to attack again. It’s between you and your knife, so your only choice is to back away.

Eventually the creature gives up and snuffles off in to the undergrowth, down a hole near your shelter you hadn’t noticed before.

When you make it back to your base you once again consult the captive human.

“Badger.” they say, with a solemn nod.

One word: Moose

“Our vehicles are far superior to the local human models, in range, speed, armament, and any other metric you care to name! Nothing could possibly-”

BAMrumblerumblethumpcrash!!!

“That’s called a moose.”

“We should be free of the threat of the ‘moose’ here on our new floating accommodation”

*humans start sniggering*

“… they can swim, can’t they”

*humans start laughing louder*

….

*mid-winter*

‘I DON’T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED! K’T’SURKIK WENT OUTSIDE AND A MOUND OF SNOW ROSE UP AND ATE HIM’

“What is this ‘wolverine’ you speak of?”

Tell me the story of the unpleasantly surprised alien invaders and their captive human remnant, getting more smug the more the aliens fail at basic scouting…

I know we’re all talking the big smash-‘em-up type animals, but what about the little ones? Are aliens prepared for spiders? Mosquitoes? Fleas? Ticks? Even humans get sick or die from some of those, who knows what the fuck they’d do to an unprepared alien.

Nobody expects the mosquitoes

Turns out skunk spray is fatal to the aliens, whoops

Truthfully aliens would try to attack, land in Florida & get taken out by snakes, gators…you name it. Or they would land in Australia & the whole continent would attack. Imagine being the alien that doesn’t take a kangaroo seriously and gets beat the fuck up. Or the one that tries to approach an ostrich and gets kicked to death? They landed once, maybe twice & then they decided we breathe death & are surrounded by monsters.

Source: giraffepoliceforce
*I love this particular headcanon.
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*Who goes to a party to watch the TV show House Hunters? That’s just so many levels of wrong. Is that even considered a party? Can you be still be friends with someone who invites you to one of those?

karnythia antimana

went to a househunters-watching party over the weekend; here’s my impression of the show

thewinterotter:

idiopathicsmile:

VOICEOVER: She wants a historically accurate thirteenth century castle in the heart of bustling downtown L.A. He has his heart set on living in a small metallic orb that would float over a bottomless gorge, beyond space and time. Can this pair of newlyweds see eye to eye???

WIFE: The location is nice but I don’t know about these staircases…I just had my heart set on an escalator made of sand and artisan brie.

HUSBAND: Well it’s definitely not a small floating metallic orb.

REALTOR: That…would defy several laws of physics.

WIFE (squinting): Do you have anything that is simultaneously larger, cheaper, newer, and more historic?

REALTOR: Um.

WIFE: And I need a big kitchen. I love to cook!

(Cut to footage of the wife in her current kitchen, wearing an apron and surrounded by pots and pans. She is hitting a banana with a hammer. On the counter next to her is a pile of doll hair.)

HUSBAND: Yeah, get her a nice kitchen. Of course, I won’t be spending any time in there, ha ha! (His laugh is loud but his eyes are so empty. They are empty all the way back.)

WIFE: And I need a room for my shoes. That is simply non-negotiable.

HUSBAND: Also, if we can swing it with our budget, I’d love a finished basement where I can really unwind and stew in my toxic masculinity and repressed emotion. And hardwood floors.

WIFE: And hardwood floors.

HUSBAND AND WIFE IN EERIE UNISON: Hardwood. Floors. (somehow it sounds like way more than two voices, more like the collective whisper of an army)

REALTOR: Okay, I will certainly, um. See what I can do? Anyway, this next house, it’s a metallic orb hanging on a sturdy cord near a ravine—

WIFE: Well it’s definitely not a genuine thirteenth century castle—

HUSBAND AND WIFE: (stare at each other in open contempt)

REALTOR: Heyyy so why don’t we take a look inside?

This is the most accurate ever depiction of House Hunters but I’m still stuck on the idea that somebody somewhere thought a PARTY to watch HOUSE HUNTERS was a great idea like why do you hate yourselves.

Source: idiopathicsmile
Okay, I was working on my finalized list of shows to watch and review in the Fall, the next Hannibal review, Naka Choko, and a review of Brooklyn 99. Oh, and BBC is now showing the first season of Into The Badlands, from the beginning.
I just finished watching the finale of The British Baking Show, where I  cried for the winner, too, a young Indian woman named Nadiyah. She was awesome, and I was rooting for her, and I thought she wouldn’t win because there was a White guy in the contest, too. He was nice enough, and quite talented, but I didn’t want him to win, and he made some baking mistakes. But Nair came through, with a cake based on her Indian style wedding. It was gorgeous and I wanted some. She didn’t believe she’d  won either, at first. But it was lovely. Her husband and family were very supportive, and of course they got to eat all her practice work, so…
I like British reality shows better because there’s less bullshit talking, the contestants actually seem to get along ,and there’s less chatter just to hear oneself say something, and fill in space. The contestants just seemed like nice people in a contest, trying really hard. None of them were trying to play to the camera by trash talking their opponents, grandstanding, or letting their egos write checks they couldn’t cash, something I absolutely hate about American reality shows. They also came across as more intelligent but that might just be a British thing, in general.
TTFN!

 

 

Sleepy Hollow Analysis

This brilliant and beautiful analysis of Sleepy Hollow showed up in my feed again and I decided, if I didn’t want to lose it on my “Likes” page, I’d better save it here. It outlines why we cared so much about the future of this show, why we were so damn angry at what the showrunners chose to do with it, what went wrong, and  includes links to other reviews and critiques of the show. …

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Sleepy Hollow Analysis

This brilliant and beautiful analysis of Sleepy Hollow showed up in my feed again and I decided, if I didn’t want to lose it on my “Likes” page, I’d better save it here. It outlines why we cared so much about the future of this show, why we were so damn angry at what the showrunners chose to do with it, what went wrong, and  includes links to other reviews and critiques of the show. 

Post Mortem on Sleepy Hollow

Everyone is saying that the show had great potential, and that they screwed it up. But I haven’t seen anyone articulate what that potential was. Why was so resonant in season one? At this particular time, and in this particular climate?

I read the phrase “the chemistry between the two leads” and frankly that’s not enough for me. It’s not enough to explain what I saw in the show and why I am so mad. I deeply believe that the value of the fantasy/horror genre is how it lets us symbolically consider big issues of morality in ways that are fun.

American, this beautiful mess of a country, has a ton of moral thinking to do about race and history. Sleepy Hollow more than any show in decades, was perfectly set up to play with, and around, and through that tension. That was it’s potential. That is what we lost.

I’ve read some great things on Sleepy Hollow, the finale, and the death of Abbie Mills. These articles have all been explicit that the choice to kill and sideline Abbie was typical, uncreative, racist (consciously or not), and BAD FOR THE SHOW. Here are my favs:

http://blackgirlnerds.com/how-sleepy-hollow-single-handedly-destroyed-their-own-show/?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

http://www.thevisibilityproject.com/2015/05/05/i-want-great-things-for-nicole-beharie-sleepy-hollow-isnt-one-of-them/

http://bibliodaze.com/2016/04/abbiemillsdeservesbetter-how-fox-ruined-sleepy-hollow/

Now let’s talk about the big issues.

America has always been two things. A place for enlightened ideals about the equality of man, and the bloody driving heart of chattel slavery. Those are both huge. They are also utterly irreconcilable. Even as this country led the Age of Revolution that brought down kings throughout Europe, we built the North Atlantic Slave Trade. That deadly triangle put millions of people into bloodline based suffering that was harsher than any caste system in Europe at the time.

If you study American history at all, slavery is three quarters of it. The struggle for racial inclusion and equity is the rest. More than class, more than ideas, more than geography, race is the single focal point that encompasses all of American history. There is no part of this country that wasn’t molded, or counter-molded, without the presence of it. From the very beginning we argued about it. We didn’t stop arguing. We went to war over it. Then we had a second proxy cold war about it during the civil rights movement. We are still arguing about it today with Black Lives Matter.

This is the biggest question of Good vs. Evil in our country. It’s so big, and so devastating, that millions of Americans still have trouble fully admitting that slavery was evil. That it did not have any upside for the salves. There are also millions of people who see the sacrifice that ending racism demands, and flip the fuck out. They do not want to deal with that.

Doesn’t that sound like a kind of unending apocalypse? A biblical level moral threat? And historically a few people have always fought and given witness in order to redeem the rest of us from that evil we would rather ignore, or let fester, or maybe join/sell-out-too in order to maintain our privilege. The metaphor works for me.

I should probably take a moment to give my personal P.O.V. I’m white. I’m a lawyer. I am into the American mythology. I really, deeply, believe that a nation of laws is better than a nation of men. I have in actively carried around a pocket constitution, and a pocket declaration of independance. I have read the federalist papers. I have read more than one biography of John Adams. I am a patriot. I know enough about the history of patriots to understand that the best ones were all critics of their societies.

There was a moment in season one that was painfully familiar. Ichabod is singing the praises of Thomas Jefferson, and sneering at the political foe that accused him of sleeping with his slaves. That was me, in my younger and more innocent days. Irving and Abby give each other a good long side-eye and then enlighten him. That was also me. And Crane, bless him, learned better. I remember watching that scene and thinking “I can’t believe Fox, Fox!, is letting them get away with that.” See, I also live in the South. Where you still aren’t often allowed to talk about that stuff. Where discussing actually, provable, documented history, like it’s actual documented provable history, will get you hissed at. Then they’ll call you ungodly. (Look it just popped up again!  http://www.vox.com/2016/4/8/11389556/thomas-jefferson-sally-hemings-book )

Is it any wonder that Sleepy Hollow was such a tempest in a teapot?

I haven’t talked about Abbie yet. Sorry. I needed to set the stage. I needed to be able to say that the chemistry that existed between Abbie and Ichabod existed because she was black and accomplished and he was white and ignorant. The desire to smoosh them together, to make them work as partners, was more than a desire to see an attractive man with an attractive woman, it was a desire to reconcile the entire American experiment.

Think back to the images in their first meeting. Ichabod, an 18th century man, locked in a cage because he cannot understand the modern world. He’s idealistic, he’s educated, he’s utterly incompetent at modern reality, he cannot understand why he’s not in charge, why all the cretins around him treat him like he’s crazy and refuse to follow his orders. I’m pretty sure I just restated the analysis of trump voters.

Maybe just this one: http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/i-was-pastor-trump-supporters-heres-why-thousands-are-flocking-his-rallies.

Or this one:http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/cover_story/2016/03/how_donald_trump_happened_racism_against_barack_obama.html?wpsrc=sh_all_dt_tw_top

Or this one:http://www.salon.com/2016/03/14/the_payback_candidate_trumps_campaign_is_for_conservatives_seeking_revenge_on_everyone_they_think_disrespects_them/

So there is Ichabod waiting in his cage, and then Abbie shows up. A black woman. Not in a cage. Her freedom specifically addressed when Ichabod said the word “emancipated.”  She was someone he still saw in terms of slavery, but she was the one that literally held the keys to the modern world in her hand. (Of course, to screw with that, they shot it from his POV, so she looks like the one behind bars.)

Ichabod has to listen to her, he has to defer, before things start getting better for him. What is more real than that? Ichabod might have been the every-man (for a certain type of every-man) but Abbie was the arbiter, the judge, the leader. She was the character that decides what part of all that 18th century knowledge still matters, and what parts need to be chucked, like yesterday. And in season one at least, she judged from a place that was informed by her own personal morality and experiences. She was not all good and self-sacrificing. The unfairness she had experienced as a child, affected her. The central question was if she was going to reject Ichabod, and through him, symbolically at least, this whole American experiment.

Does any of that description make you uncomfortable? I hope so. Because that discomfort is what made the show so tense and riveting. Good horror works on our unconscious taboos. It materializes them, makes them literal, and once they are literal we are confronted with their grotesquerie. America, as a society, has rejected and oppressed black people from the beginning. The three fifths compromise is still in all those pocket constitutions.  But America, as a society, is also slowly, painfully, waking up to the fact that rejecting black people is unsustainable. It locks us out of the future. It ties us to evil. A not so secret demon that demands constant blood sacrifices. (Literally. Tamir Rice, Eric Harris,Walter Scott, Jonathan Ferrell, Sandra Bland, Samuel DuBose and Freddie Gray.) And whose hunger for destruction spills over and threatens everyone.

That’s what Sleepy Hollow had to work with. That’s what they stumbled into, and frankly I don’t think they could handle it. As a writer, I know that you can land in something topical accidentally. And I think that first round of folks just wrote what they thought was scary, a white man who is forced into depending on black people because he doesn’t understand the modern world. I don’t think they examined, in themselves, why those particular dynamics were so scary.

If you are white, like most of the Sleepy Hollow production team, and unconscious about that shit, you will inevitable try and move yourself to a more comfortable place. The process even has a name. It’s called white fragility.

So, when Sleepy Hollow did well, and production got crunched and probably even more unconscious, the production team moved themselves into stories that were more comfortable. Abbie’s power as arbiter and judge was sidelined. She was relied upon as a character who rejected nothing, who only sacrificed.  What little discussion of the founding fathers flaws there had been was dropped. After that first episode, nothing was said about the civil war. Nothing was said about the bulk of American history. Almost nothing was said about slavery even when Abbie went back in time.

And things could have been said. During the run of Sleepy Hollow we’ve had 12 Years a Slave, and Hamilton, and the new Birth of a Nation, and Underground. This isn’t just social justice plotting, it’s a thriving market. It’s also rich in all the tropes of horror. It’s everything you could need for a million different horror movies. Imagine how differently Season 2 could have played if Abraham or Henry approached Abbie at any point with this kind of offer:

Moloch is here, in America, in the 21st century because slavery brought him here. Ichabod’s great friends couldn’t fight him, because their sins were his fuel. So you could keep trying to help your partner’s romantic life, or you could let the whole thing burn. Let this America end. It’s cardinal sin is irredeemable. Let something new take its place. Join us, and you can even build it to your tastes.

Isn’t that tempting? If your white, isn’t that terrifying? Isn’t it real, despite all the layers of monsters and demons?  And isn’t it fun? And kampy, and hopeful too? Because nobody wants to listen to a lecture about this stuff head on. We want to all get together and slay the demon that lives on racism, and then make the improbable couple kiss. We want to love all of it. We want it to work out, history and the present to reconcile and make each other better.

Instead, we got monsters from Sumeria and ancient Greece.

Now with Abbie Mills dead, the chance for reconciliation is gone. That’s the potential that we lost.  Even when the show was at it’s worst, the mere presence of her dark skin was an indictment, a tension, a placeholder for the failings of the founding fathers. They got it wrong about her, about black people, so maybe none of their magical advice would work. At the very least it would all have to be updated. Abbie Mills as a black witness wasn’t just important because there aren’t enough women of color on TV. She was important because with this particular plot scenario information from the past must be both always necessary and always dubious. Abbie Mills, merely by existing in the frame with Ichabod crane, telegraphed that the founding fathers could have some major, and important, blind-spots.

It seems even that was intolerable.

So, History won. It didn’t compromise, it didn’t change. It didn’t admit it’s faults. It didn’t fall in love with Now. Ichabod did not offer up a part of his immortal soul to satisfy Pandora’s Box. He didn’t share the burden with Abbie. Then, to add insult, that cowardice was explained away as destiny. That’s not fun. That’s not challenging or exciting. It’s just bleak. It reduces rather than expands the story. The only thing I want to see now is Jenny Mills engaged in the long form assassination of Ichabod Crane.

And while this is just about character’s in a story, we all know, that it’s also something real. White people preferring to see black people lose everything then give up anything of themselves. That it’s something real that happens all the time. That it happened behind the scenes to Orlando Jones and then Nicole Baheri, when they were stripped of air-time and meaningful on screen stories and work.

Some of us might still be able to learn from the mistakes of history, but not Sleepy Hollow. It’s doomed.

Source:

Geeking Out About: Preacher

Geeking Out About: Preacher

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So, I am loving the Preacher pilot. In the interests of full disclosure, I did read a few of the graphic novels, off and on, back in the day, so I only remember bits and pieces of the books. I wasn’t exactly clear on what powers, if any, Preacher possessed, although I knew  there was a vampire involved in the story-line, and I was aware of the existence of “Arseface” which is what Cassidy, the…

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Geeking Out About: Preacher

So, I am loving the Preacher pilot. In the interests of full disclosure, I did read a few of the graphic novels, off and on, back in the day, so I only remember bits and pieces of the books. I wasn’t exactly clear on what powers, if any, Preacher possessed, although I knew  there was a vampire involved in the story-line, and I was aware of the existence of “Arseface” which is what Cassidy, the vampire, called an unfortunate young man with a shotgun hole in his face. Where the story went and what plot points were involved are lost to time and I have no plans, or time, to re-read the series.

At any rate, I like to avoid the books for TV shows sometimes, because my impression is very different, when I have no idea what’s been changed from the books, or know what’s going to happen to any of the characters. Its one of the reasons why I won’t read The Walking Dead series until the show is long off the air.

But I love this show! This show is totally batshit! Its not as crazy as True Blood, which is in a class all by itself, but Preacher is definitely in the top ten of shows that you cannot watch if you are high on something, or they will mess you up.

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Preacher has, hands down, one of the weirdest openings I have ever encountered for a western. Think Cowboys Vs Aliens.A strange glowing object heads towards Earth, specifically a church in Africa, were the light invades the body of the lone standing person, the Preacher, briefly gives him the superpower to command people’s actions, and then blows him up. (This is probably something like the Angels in Supernatural. If your’e not part of the Angelic bloodlines, you lack the ability to host a being so powerful, and you explode.) This creature, or force,  tries this in several places, always with the result that the inhabited person explodes.

These incidents are eventually investigated by two odd gentlemen who are either alien beings, Angels or MIBs. It is clear they are on the trail of the “Exploding Preacher-Creature”. (Its always churches, and always the preacher.)

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Next we go to Annville, Texas, where Preacher, aka Jesse Custer, is giving one of the most lackluster, non-fiery sermons I have ever heard anyone give (and I’ve been to Catholic church sermons.)  His heart is totally not in it. The handful of parishioners are bored, the air conditioning is broken, he drinks too much, so he’s  hungover, and he forgets his speeches. His organist, a single mother named Emily, is the only one who supports him. He’s considering quitting being a preacher and wonders why he ever came back to this po-dunk town.

At the church picnic, Preacher is approached by a little boy who asks him if he will hurt his Dad for him because he’s heard stories that Preacher used to do stuff, and his Dad keeps hurting his Mom, (this is Donnie and Betsy).Preacher witnesses, the boy’s father quietly twisting his wife’s arm at the picnic, but is still reluctant to get involved. He’s got some issues with violence which we will learn about in a little while.

Can I just point out, that as world weary as he seems, Dominic Cooper is till the sexiest Preacher on TV. Cooper is most famous as Howard Stark from the first Captain America movie and being an asshole  in Dracula Untold.

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We meet Cassidy on a plane above Texas. He gets into an altercation with some assassins. We know this because he asks one of them how they keep finding him, before stabbing one of them with a wine bottle, decanting  his blood into a  bottle of whiskey, and then jumping out of the plane, when he realizes he killed the pilot. He lands in an open field with his insides on his  outside, but seems more inconvenienced than in pain. He remedies his condition by attacking one of the nosy cows wandering near him. The next time we see him, he’s intact, and still drinking from what appears to be that same bottle of, I want to say, liquor, but its probably not.

Tulip gets the most explosive entrance. Literally! Played by Ruth Negga, she is getting many laudations for her role here, as she totally inhabits  it. We come upon her fighting for her life, in a car that’s zooming through a cornfield. She encounters two nosy kids after she emerges victoriously from the vehicle, and proceeds to teach them how to make a homemade bazooka, which she uses to blow up some helicopters, that had been following her  This is, without question, one of the most awesome character entrances ever filmed for TV, and I love Tulip already.

Tulip heads out to Annville, where Jesse is still reconsidering his job as a Preacher, but so far, has only mentioned it to Emily. Jesse meets with the local sheriff and counsels his son, Eugene, an unfortunate soul with a gunshot hole in his face, whom Cassidy later renames “Arseface”. He then counsels Betsy, who tells him she’s likes it when Donnie hurts her, but I very much suspect, and so does Jesse, that she is lying. Tulip shows up and hits Jesse up with a job offer but he turns her down , saying that he must follow his faith, and she ain’t it.

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Later that evening ,while contemplating his increasingly complicated present, Jesse gets set upon by Donnie, Betsy’s husband.  To show you what kind of character we are dealing with, Donnie is a Civil War re-enactor, for the losing  side, naturally.

This is where we get into the issue of why Jesse has been trying to avoid violent activity. He initially balks at fighting Donnie but Donnie insists, so Jesse kicks not just his ass, but the asses of his dimwitted friends too, and you can tell he absolutely loves it. Actually it’s the only time in the entire episode that we see Jesse smiling. Not only is he thoroughly  in his  element, but he wears a look of total peace on his face, that is kind of creepy. Of course, Cassidy admires this level of carnage, and the two of them form a bond  that can only be forged through shared ass-kickin’, and jail time.

After Emily bails him out of jail,  Jesse, regretting his actions in the bar (but not too much) , sits in the empty church, contemplating his future, when he is possessed by the alien entity. But he doesn’t explode. Instead he wakes up three days later, feeling refreshed, and tells Emily that he’s changed his mind about leaving the church.

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When one of Jesse’s parishioners, who has been bothering him for days about his travails with his mother, comes to Jesse for advice, Jesse tells the man to open his heart to her and tell her everything.The same advice he’s been giving the man for some time now, but this time it has a different effect. The man travels all the way to Florida to tell his mother what he thinks, and initially you think he might kill her, but he rips his own heart out instead,  and offers it to her.  Jesse’s possession, which he doesn’t really remember, has some unintended side effects, that he does not yet know about. Everything I’ve just recounted  is Jesse’s crazy as shit life when he doesn’t have superpowers. Lord help us, when he figures out he does.

And the MIBs are now on his trail, too…

So, for the rest of the season, I definitely expect wackiness to ensue.

Essentially, this show began  like most shows do, introducing the main characters around whom the storylines will revolve. All of their stories begin separately, but soon, everyone converges in Annville, where the story could go in any direction, really. So far, Seth Rogen, who has really been a huge champion of the show, has remained more or less faithful to the books, at least as far as the character names, and such. Tulip has been race-bent, but its a lovely change because, c’mon! who don”t like Ruth Negga? The creators even managed to choose the other actors to  look, more or less,  like their book versions.

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I like the main characters  so far. Jesse is gloomy but intriguing, Tulip is definitely going to bring the craziness factor, and Cassidy brings a  supernatural wild card element. There’s not a show on TV that can’t be improved by the random addition of a vampire.

I just want to give a shoutout to AMC. AMC (and HBO) has been tearing it up in the series department.   Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Fear the Walking Dead, Into the Badlands and now Preacher. AMC seems to have an uncanny ability to choose stories and then turn  them into  successful adaptations. Its the network against which all other ones are being compared at this point, with its uncanny ability to hit it out of the park with show after show. (Keep in mind, I have never shouted out to a television network before, not even the Syfy channel.)

I’m looking forward to Preacher joining my roster of  shows.

 

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