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Tag Archives: television

Supergirl and the strangeness of fans


Time to interrupt a huge series of Star Trek let’s plays.

By now, most of you have seen the incredible Supergirl trailer for the new show that’s appearing on CBS.  Wait, you haven’t?  Let’s rectify that, right now.

Now I’ll give you a minute to calm down from the sheer awesome of that trailer.

On the downside of things, Supergirl has received a lot of flack for looking like the Black Widow SNL parody.  Being closer to a rom com than an actual superhero movie.  But I’ll be honest, I think that’s refreshing.  It’s nice to see a superhero movie or television series that isn’t all grim and grit and darkness and angst.  Though, we’re talking Supergirl here, I’m sure that’ll come around as the story tells itself.

Kara, or Supergirl, is a bubbly, happy, wonderful person who wants desperately to be a hero like her cousin.  Which is a great thing to see.  I mean who wouldn’t wanna walk in Superman’s footsteps.  And Kara has the powers to go with it.

I like the look of this show right away, because it seems bright and colourful and very up beat and positive.  I’ll admit, I was a Green Arrow fan for decades, but I never really got into Arrow.  Especially after how Helena Bertinelli/Huntress was trashed in the series.

But many fans are already complaining about this chipper attitude of Supergirl.  So what, I say.  There needs to be a superhero who looks forward to saving people.  Who doesn’t find it a duty or responsibility, or some burden that’s foisted upon them.  It’s refreshing to have a show like this, and I hope it goes far because we need more television just like this one.

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Posted by on May 15, 2015 in Fun, randomness

 

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Wars vs Trek


I often get asked why the hell do you like Star Trek as opposed to Star Wars.  Probably any Trekker or Trekkie will know the reason or have good reasons of their own, and I don’t hate Star Wars.  Let me just say that right off.  Star Wars has a really good story and an over arching concept that tells an interesting and rather epic story.  Star Trek, on the other hand, has developed a huge backstory and history surrounding the place where Starfleet comes from and where each of the alien species comes from.  But for me, Star Trek has something which is a lot closer to home.

Whereas Star Wars takes place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (and keep in mind, galaxy is big so it’s not taking place in the Milky Way Galaxy, but another galaxy billions of light years away), Star Trek takes place in our galaxy, with our planet as a focal point.  It’s our future, not a past that takes place somewhere else.  So for me, Star Trek means hope for our future.  This is the kind of thing that Gene Roddenbarry had strived to create.  A utopian Earth, but still lots of exploring and issues to deal with in the rest of the galaxy.

We got to see that with the original series, Next Gen, DS9, and Voyager.  We even get to see that in Enterprise, and even though it’s ancient history for the other series, its still our future.  It is still something to look forward to.

While I like some escapism in my fiction, I still like to be reminded that there will always be some future filled with hope.  That’s why I’m not big on dystopian fiction.  I like to think our future is going to be alright and we’re going to get over the things that plague us like racism, sexism and classism.  I’d like to think that those who claim themselves to be anti-anything (from SJW to feminism to black to anything else that impedes progress) will one day die out and their backwards, barbaric and outdated beliefs can be left behind.

Star Trek doesn’t look to the past.  It looks to the future.  For me, that future is filled with hope.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2015 in Fun, Life, randomness

 

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2014: In Review – Representation


2014 has been a mixed bag when it comes to representation.  By that, I’m talking about the representation of visible minorities and those who have different sexual orientations.  I say it’s a mixed bag due to the fact that it hasn’t been exactly the best year for such things.

We’ve been fortunate to have a lot of really good authors, both up and coming and some long time authors, make big strides in writing books and putting characters into them that do represent people of colour, women of colour, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.  So we’ve got a good representation there.  But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

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Books, while good, aren’t visual catching.  Comic books, Television and movies, on the other hand, are pretty in your face when it comes to representation.  And this year has been pretty whitewashed, male, and heterosexual.  In other words, the same bland crap we’ve received all the time in the medium.  There have been strides, however.  The excellent tumblr blog DC Women Kicking Ass has gone out of it’s way to showcase good comics (not just from DC) that not only feature women, but a diverse range of women.  Storm came out this year, Ms Marvel had a great run this year, doulby good considering the book is about a Pakistani American teenager.  Captain Marvel, and others.  Marvel Comics has done well with their stable, but that doesn’t mean there’s still some flaws there.  It took them a while to finally announce a female lead movie in Captain Marvel, but the fanbase is still waiting on one for Black Widow.  And it hasn’t been sunshine and rainbows for female lead books, there’s been some cancellations, such as the Fearless Defneders, for example.

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Meanwhile, the Distinguished Competition hasn’t been doing much better.  Trying to follow in Marvel’s footsteps, they’ve announced a great deal of movies that are forthcoming with Wonder Woman being in the mix.  How it’s going to turn out is unknown at this point in time.  But at the comic book level, things haven’t been doing so well.  Female lead books aren’t doing well.  One of the best written books is being cancelled after a hack kneed decision of making sure superheroes don’t lead happy lives was announced.  Batwoman won’t get married, and to add insult to injury, the current writing team (who replaced the original writing team) decided a kidnapping and rape would have been a great story arch to the series.  There’s also the Huntress, both Wayne and Bertinelli.  Helena Wayne was essentially stuffed in a refridgerator, and Helena Bertinelli is hardly recognizable as the daughter of a mob boss anymore.  One good light is that the Secret Six is back, written by the pre-52 creator Gail Simone.

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Outside of the big two, there’s been other promising titles, such as Bitch Planet written by Kelly Sue Deconnick.  So, there’s some progress, but it’s painfully slow.  Here’s hoping 2015 picks up the pace a bit.

This is a screen capture from Dreamworks Prince of Egypt.  Which was a superior film than Exodus: Gods and Kings.

This is a screen capture from Dreamworks Prince of Egypt. Which was a superior film than Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Movies haven’t exactly been great either.  The biggest disappointment was Exodus: Gods and Kings, where every character is portrayed by a white person which is strange for a region that is predominantly filled with brown skinned people.  And to those who say that white Europeans were traveling around, think again.  It was Middle Eastern and South East Asian people (Arabic, North African, Pakistani and East Indian) who developed the Silk Road.   The movie didn’t do well at all at the box office, and one comment said it all.  For people of colour, don’t think of Exodus: Gods and Kings as a missed opportunity but as a bullet dodged.

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It isn’t all bad, though.  We’ve had a lot of really great discussions and education with people who have been working hard to turn the old stereotypes on their heads.  Laverna Cox and Janet Mock, along with Laura Jane Grace have been really working hard to show that transgender people are just everyday ordinary people.  And that there is a huge difference that comes up in interviews with transgender people as opposed to cisgender people.  There’s differences in the interviews with gay and lesbian people than there is with hetero people.

And there year did come to a close with a picture perfect ending.

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The Nick cartoon, Legend of Korra ended on a bang of a hote, as the finale for Book four showed something incredible.  For the first time in a kids cartoon (in recent memory, at least, and completely visible), Korra walked off into the sunset (spirit portal) with Asami, marking a same sex relationship.  This was confirmed by series co-creator Bryan Konietzko:

You can celebrate it, embrace it, accept it, get over it, or whatever you feel the need to do, but there is no denying it. That is the official story. We received some wonderful press in the wake of the series finale at the end of last week, and just about every piece I read got it right: Korra and Asami fell in love. Were they friends? Yes, and they still are, but they also grew to have romantic feelings for each other.

The only downside to all of this, is that it’s taken so long.  We’re almost at 2015, and we’re still fighting to have proper representation in books, comics, movies, and television.  We made some gains, but there was an equal number of failures and fumbled balls.  Hopefully, 2015 will see more major wins as far as representation goes.

 
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Posted by on December 29, 2014 in Fun, Life, randomness

 

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Annie Oakley was a gunslinger


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Born Phoeby Anne Mosey on August 13, 1860, became an incredible target shooter and an expert marksman.  Her talent was so good that she toured as a part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.  Because of her showmanship and her ability to handle a gun, she became known as the very first women in the United States to be known as a superstar.  Oakley also was variously known as “Miss Annie Oakley”, “Little Sure Shot”, “Watanya Cicilla”, “Phoebe Anne Oakley”, “Mrs. Annie Oakley”, “Mrs. Annie Butler” and “Mrs. Frank Butler”.

But Annie was a gunslinger, a gun fighter, just as good as any man was, if not better.  This was proven when she won a contest against Frank Butler who bet a Cincinnati hotel owner he could out shoot any fancy shooter.  Annie, only fifteen years old at the time, did so with ease.  It wasn’t long after that Butler began courting Annie, and they were married in 1876 (it should be noted, Annie was only 16 years old, and that’s kind of creepy by today’s standards).

Annie Oakley wasn’t the only woman to wield a gun and be branded a trick shooter.  Martha Jane Canary, who wasn’t involved in a traveling wild west show, became known as Calamity Jane.

calamity jane

Jane’s bigger claim to fame was he claim of being an acquaintance of Wild Bill Hickok.  But she was a professional scout and frontierswoman, and helped Wild Bill fight against the Indians.  While many may have heard stories of a brutal nature, Jane is said to have been best known for her kindness and compassion, especially to the sick and needy.

While Jane was older than Annie Oakley, Jane’s exploits didn’t begin until Annie began her life in the showman’s circuits in the east.  Jane was already in Wyoming and South Dakota by this time.

The point is, we often hear stories of women like Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane and the first thought is that they are trick shooters.  When in fact, they do exactly the same thing that men are already doing (in Annie’s case, even better).  These two aren’t the only gunslingers of their kind; Belle Starr, Pearl Hart, Harriette Tubman, Kitty Leroy, and Sally Scull just to name a few (to read more about some of these women, click here).

For the longest time, the only gunslingers that were taken seriously were men.  This was even reflected in the media we consumed.  From books to television to movies (and even radio serial series) gunslingers, or the heroes of the story were always men and the women were there only to be saved or the love interest.  It`s taken a very long time, and there`s still a great deal of resistance, to portray women as gunfighters in their own right.

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The Quick and the Dead starred Sharon Stone as `The Lady” and she co-produced the movie that came out in 1995.  The premise was a reversal of the old story of the gunfighter who would roll into town looking for the man who shot his family.  Instead of it being the lone gunman it was a woman who lost her family as a child, and came back seeking revenge in a contest of quick draw between combatants in a lawless town.

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Bandidas starred Salma Hayek and Penelope Cruz as two Mexican women who sought revenge against a cruel gunman who worked for a New York bank (played by Dwight Yoakam).  The gunman used intimidation and murder to get his way to have a rail line built through farmer’s lands.  Hayek and Cruz’s characters go onto a series of bank robberies to thwart the efforts of this gunslinger.

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True Grit that came out in 2010, is based on the novel of the same name, written by Charles Portis in 1968.  The book was adapted to film in 1969 and starred John Wayne.  The 2010 version includes Hailee Steinfeld, Jeff Bridges, Matt Damon, Josh Brolin and Barry Pepper.  The story is another about revenge, where Mattie Ross hires the assistance of Marshal Rooster Cogburn in hunting down the man who killed her father.  Mattie is an intelligent and even stubborn young woman who tries to dictate the hunt for the killer.

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This CBC series is being released shortly in October of this year.  Strange Empire is a story who’s heroes are women.  Set in the 1860s along the Alberta-Montana border, three women set to act out revenge when the men in their town are all killed and the women forced into whoring.  It stars Cara Gee, Melissa Farman and Tattiawna Jones.

The trope of revenge is used in each of these examples, but it’s a familiar one when it comes to westerns.  The difference is that when the trope is used it’s used for men who want revenge against a cutthroat gunfighter.  It takes on a different light when it’s women who are the ones seeking revenge.  Often when it’s women thrust into the roll of a gunfighter seeking revenge, it’s treated more like a comedy (such as the feel from Bandidas) than an actual drama.  This idea needs to change.

Women are just as capable of seeking revenge as men are.  They are just as adapt at gunfighting as men.

Annie Oakley wasn’t a trick shooter.  She was a gunfighter.

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2014 in Fun, randomness

 

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Here it is… again


Wherein I talk about Wonder Woman… again

It’s short, but I need to be clear on this.

We have 300, a story that takes place in Ancient Greece, about 300 Spartans who stand against the Persian Army.  We have Thor, about a Norse god who joins a team of human super heroes.

But we can’t have Wonder Woman be an Amazon princess, a figure pulled directly from Greek myth, because people won’t get that?  That it’s easier to believe if she’s an alien?

I just need to be clear about that.

Ya know what…

Marvel needs to reboot the Spider franchise in a different way.  Instead of bringing back a third incarnation of Spider-man, they need to say “Screw it! Peter and M.J. are married and they have a girl who lives in the same universe as Tony Stark and Steve Rogers and Bruce Banner and Black Widow”.  Then they should release Spider-Girl, have Tobey McGuire as the older, father figure, Kirsten Dunst as M.J. and they could be the parents of a young May Parker who inherits her father’s spider abilities.  She dons a costume, calls herself Spider-Girl, and eventually joins the Avengers.

So, why are we still struggling

Why, exactly, is it so difficult to get multiple women into a movie franchise?  I’m side eyeing Star Wars with this one.  Granted, it is J. J. Abrams, and his Star Trek run was pretty sexist.  And to be honest, not in anyway reminiscent of the old Star Trek series.  So does that mean the upcoming Star Wars is gonna be equally in aspect to what Abrams did with the other Star Franchise?

But this is something that’s not just confined to the realm of sci fi.  Lord of the Rings, for example (and the prequel, The Hobbit) had a lot of dudes walking around doing dude things.  Admittedly, Peter Jackson did have more screen time for two of the female characters in the first trilogy.  And he basically had to create one for the Hobbit.

I’m still not sure as to why we need to take baby steps when it comes to representation in movies.  This goes for race, sexual orientation, gender, and so on.  But seriously, we shouldn’t have to take baby steps.  Because the ones who’d complain just need to get over it and move out of the 17th Century.

 
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Posted by on April 30, 2014 in randomness

 

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Easily distracted


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I’ve done it thousands of times.  I’ll say “I’m gonna do this thing this weekend”.  To which I’ll end up completely distracted, and never get the thing done that I wanted to get done.

Fortunately, none of these things I want to get done are rather pressing.  They’re more things I’d like to do, but just don’t feel like it at the time.  And a little later, I end up not really knowing why I wanted to do it in the first place.

A prime example of this sometimes is going online to play a video game, like Guild Wars 2, because I want that particular thing that is available, but I need to do some stuff with my character.  I’ll be honest, I’ve got three level 80 characters in the game.  I have finished the story arch missions with one of them, though I haven’t finished the story arch dungeons.  But there’s stuff like neat armour that you can buy with some of the in game currency, or legendary weapons to craft, or maxing out the two crafting skills a character can get.

But then I get distracted by something like QI on Youtube, and the next you know it, I’ve spent six hours listening about weird facts of the world.  Maybe it’s the dulcet tones of Stephen Fry (or it could Alan Davis, not sure on that).

QI isn’t the only thing which I’ll get distracted with.  Admittedly, though, it’s a lot of British television that does distract me.  Most of it being these mindless quiz like shows, like QI or The Big Fat Quiz of the Year, or Nevermind The Buzzcocks.  I heard Alice Cooper hosted an episode of NTB and had to watch it.  Any time Noel Fielding or Russel Brand show up on TBFQ, I have to watch it.  I heard that Reggie D. Hunter was on one of those shows and immediately my reaction is “screw cleaning the kitchen sink, I have to watch this”.

I’ve tried just sitting and letting the feeling pass, but sitting there often involves watching Youtube, which invariably leads me to QI.  At least, with these diversions, I end up with small tid bits of trivia that I can use in my writing.

Like the fact that the popular hat of the wild west was actually a Bowler hat (also called the Tall Derby Hat), not a stetson.

HoleintheWallGang

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2013 in Fun, randomness

 

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The Way I See It – People of Colour In Fantasy Fiction


I kinda went off on a tangent about the recent crap in fandoms regarding the appearance of a person of colour for the role of Lancelot, and using POC in fantasy in general (spoiler: there’s nothing wrong with it, so stop complaining).  Also like to apologize for the grainy quality of the video, it appears I need to get a better quality webcam. Also, sorry, didn’t add links. I’m also quiet because it’s 10:00 at night and I don’t want to be a dick to my neighbours.

 
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Posted by on October 11, 2012 in randomness, Rants, video

 

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