erinptah: Madoka and Homura (madoka)
Madoka Magica features a ton of references and/or obvious influences from other magical-girl series. This bit, I would lay good odds, is a Doctor Who reference.

Here's some production art of the Seal of Rassilon:

Seal of Rassilon

Here's Homura with her shield:

Homura and shield

And here they are side-by-side. Either someone on the Madoka design team was a Who fan, or that's a heck of a coincidence. (The Coincidence of Rassilon, perhaps.)

Seal and shield
erinptah: (Default)
Watched the last episode of this season live when it aired, had so many thoughts that I had to go back and rewatch/liveblog, just to make sure I got them all in order.

Spoilers ahoy!

'I was secretly on your side all along, you silly sausage.' )
erinptah: (Default)

(1) Sign this petition to have the United States recognize the KKK as a domestic terrorism organization. (It is shameful that we haven't done this already.)

(2) Do a few of these things suggested by the Brady Campaign. They're fighting the good fight against the US's gun problem, against a coalition of weapons dealers who are hell-bent on making it easier to sell things.

(3) Pick up the facts about the death of Sandra Bland, who was jailed for three days because she failed to signal a lane change and then found mysteriously dead in her cell. Be horrified. Look for local protests. If you're in the Massachusetts area, there's one in Boston this Tuesday.

(4) Read this essay, written from experience, about how medical care is frequently icky and uncomfortable. And don't let people demonize Planned Parenthood on the grounds that, in the process of providing medical care, they do things that are icky and uncomfortable.

(5) Ask your representative to co-sponsor the Save Oak Flat Act. An eleventh-hour addition to the end of a "must-pass" military spending bill traded 2400 acres of Arizona federal land to a foreign mining corporation -- including a sacred site for local Apache tribe members. Because why would the US waste an opportunity to screw over Native Americans for profit?

(6) On a brighter note, celebrate that workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation is officially illegal across the country. Not even because of a new law -- but because the EEOC ruled that it falls under the jurisdiction of the 1964 Civil Rights Act! (Because you can't discriminate based on sex, and we're finally acknowledging that that's what's happening if you'd fire a woman for dating a woman, but wouldn't fire a man for the same reason.)

(7) All of the above is US-based stuff, so here's something that's hopefully doable anywhere: browse the free-to-download section on the Big Finish website, and help yourself to whatever looks good.
erinptah: There is only one ship on Doctor Who. (doctor who)
New teaser for the next season of Doctor Who...and I'm kinda discouraged.

It was encouraging to see Twelve getting an older-looking body, with a style reminiscent of some of the earlier Doctors. But partly because I was hoping it was a hint that they were going to take a more old-fashioned approach to the writing, too. Ditch the "every season gets a narrower and narrower focus on the Doctor himself and his personal importance" trend along with the "every Doctor gets younger" one.

More aliens and mysteries and diplomatic shenanigans and adventures, please! Less of the Doctor navel-gazing and fretting about whether he is a Good Person. There's only so much you can do with that, and by this point I assure you it has all been done.
erinptah: Madoka and Homura (madoka)
FFA has officially moved to DW, and [community profile] fail_fandomanon is racing along like gangbusters, with some posts filling up in less than 48 hours. It's both exciting and intimidating.

Last couple of links from old LJ posts:

Discrimination-flip stories: what makes a good one? Or, "how to explore alternate and reversed power distribution without falling into Save The Pearls territory?" (Apart from "don't suck as much as that book did.")

The perennial "yes, Virginia, there is bullying and abuse committed in the name of social justice" thread. Lots of links and sources.

And on to DW!

"Describe your canon in the most unappealing way possible." And its follow-up: "Describe your OTP in the most unappealing way possible." Some of them don't really hit the mark (in that they sound intriguing anyway), but it's a fun guessing game the whole way through.

"Hey meme, what do you call your grandparents?" Regional variations, lingustic and cultural variations, variants that reflect the history of that specific family, and a few out-of-nowhere improvisations.

Related: advice for naming characters from different cultures. Language-specific advice from anons who are Finnish, Russian, German, and more.

"Run a quote through the N+7 machine." Tony Stark: gentlewoman, billionaire, playpen, phone. (Also, T.S. Eliot: "I will show you federation in a handlebar of dustsheet.")

Favorites of the Doctors Who. For a lot of people it's "whichever one I'm watching at the moment."

Madoka Magica: Rebellion Story discussion. (Separately, I posted some long and detailed Rebellion Story reactions over on [community profile] frillsofjustice.)

On a nice feel-good end-note: ways in which FFA has made your life better. Heartwarming and thoughtful by turns.
erinptah: There is only one ship on Doctor Who. (doctor who)
Twelfth Doctor announced!

On the one hand...yeah, it's another white guy. In spite of the fact that the promo stuff was carefully and visibly gender-neutral, so it's not like TPTB in general are in denial that they have options. (Moffat's specific dickishness notwithstanding.) And according to Neil Gaiman, at least one black actor was offered the part, but turned it down. Progress inches along in the background.

On the other hand, he's apparently the oldest person to be cast in the part since William Hartnell! He really does look like a Classic Who Doctor, too, at least to me. Hopefully it'll shake up some things we've seen in the New Who dynamic, particularly the "hot young romantic hero that all the lovely ladies have to fall for" trope.

A few more stray Who links:

"For those New Whovians who don’t have time for Classic Who: A short summary of each Doctor." Accurate.

Data from the Doctor Who fic archive A Teaspoon And An Open Mind: what gets written, what gets reviewed.

The plans to build yourself a TARDIS cabinet! I want one. No, scratch that, I want lots.
erinptah: There is only one ship on Doctor Who. (doctor who)
Last night I dreamed my computer was stolen. Was fine the instant I woke up and realized it hadn't been real, but while it was ongoing it was terrifying. (The thought of so many WIPs lost forever...)

The last time I had a really bad dream was after watching Dollhouse's "Epitaph One". Makes sense. Losing your memories and losing things you wouldn't be able to reconstruct without perfect memory are of a kind :/

And speaking of TV, some things I've watched more recently...

 

Glee

Finally managed to kick it.

The episode that did it was the one where Ryder opens up to his teammates about his childhood molestation, and everything about it is badly handled or not resolved or not even addressed, and it just hit me that, wow, this show is never again going to tackle anything in a way I want to watch. Will keep up with canon via the Autostraddle recaps for the sake of reading fic (some of which is actually worthwhile!), and that's it.

 

Elementary

This show is really pretty good.

I enjoyed the BBC's Sherlock, mostly (and I still haven't seen The Blind Banker, which probably helps), but Elementary has been offering up a lot less flash for a lot more substance.

 

Doctor Who

Speaking of flash and no substance! Most of this season has been depressingly thin. Lots of dramatic speeches, very little of the action and effort that makes those speeches earned. Lots of talking up the Great Mystery of What's Going On With Clara, taking up time that could be used to investigate the mystery, or to develop Clara as a character who's engaging in her own right beyond being an object of unusual time phenomenon. An episode with a ton of running around in the depths of the TARDIS where we get one or two cool scenes...and then a lot of generic scary being-chased-around-by-monsters.

And then came The Crimson Horror, and it was more fantastic than it had any right to be. Humor! Action! Jenny being fantastic. Strax being adorable. ("Horse! You have failed in your mission!") A good old-fashioned megalomaniac of a villain. Teamwork! A mystery where the clues came together in meaningful ways, without leaving things hanging to be un-addressed for the next couple of seasons (are we ever going to find out why the TARDIS exploded?). Plus that one poor proper Victorian dude fainting every couple of scenes.

Granted, Clara doesn't have much to do besides be in trouble, get rescued, and inspire a couple more people to ask about the Great Mystery, but in such a team-heavy episode (with lots of other female characters having significant and well-written interactions, no less), it's forgivable.

[ETA: No, wait, I completely forgot! Clara did get a moment of awesome. Things needed to be broken, and the Doctor was all "I have my sonic screwdriver!" and Clara was all "yeah, well, I have a chair." Spoiler alert: the chair worked.]

Can we have a Vastra/Jenny spinoff yet? And can all the episodes be like this? Please?

 

Game of Thrones

For the most part I have no idea what's going on in this show. I just watch for a handful of characters being awesome. Particularly Dany.

 

Black Rock Shooter

I have no idea what's going on in this show either, but in this case there's a chance I might actually put it together.

It's gripping and dramatic and visually stunning, and I'm going to be a solid fan whether it comes together at the end or not. (Though hopefully it will.)

More detailed reviewing here.
erinptah: A map. (writing)
Details taken from the SJA companion magazine, found on Tumblr:

The one where Mr. Smith is put in a human body and flirts with Carla

The one that's being partially repurposed into a Who episode, featuring Rani Doing Journalism

The one where Sarah Jane is part of (another) ancient prophecy, Jo Grant discovers it via Doing Archaeology, and Sky pulls a Tinkerbell Jesus

Miscellaneous other concepts that never got expanded for production

I really dislike what they were planning for Sky, and will be sticking with the fanon theories for that one. And really, poor Sarah Jane, how many ancient prophecies about her does one woman need? I'm torn about whether I like their idea of a Torchwood crossover, or whether I'm glad that scenario will be left to fic writers. On the plus side, the Mr. Smith thing could have been fun, another callback to Jo would have been awesome, and ACE. WE COULD HAVE HAD ACE.

What does everyone else think?
erinptah: (disney)
New Sailor Moon anime to be released summer 2013! Simultaneous worldwide streaming! Plot to be more directly manga-based!

Photos of politicians and news-type figures as they were in high school. Some of them are downright eerie. You look at teenage Dick Cheney or Joe Liberman's face and go "whoa there, you seem weirdly old for your age, because I'm used to seeing those exact features with jowls."

This may or may not be the new SM series' theme song. (Not with that music video, obviously.) The OP and ED will be sung by that group, at any rate.

Vastra and Jenny spotted on the set of Doctor Who for season 7. Mmm, reptilian lesbian Victorians.

But seriously folks. Sailor Moon in modern-day animation quality. Sailor Moon with CG-enabled action sequences. Dare we hope they'll have the budget to do attacks in visual context instead of as stock footage? Will we finally get Sailor Saturn's transformation sequence? How about anime versions of Artemis and Diana's human forms? At the top of my personal wishlist is ALL OF SHADOW GALACTICA. ALL OF THEM. Also, some kind of Uranus/Neptune kiss. Also but honestly whatever they deliver will make me dissolve into a pile of sparkles and glee.

Have some bonus flail from FFA.

Aaaaagh you guys this is magic. MAGIC.
erinptah: Madoka and Homura (madoka)
Every time I hear more about the Arkh Project, I wish I had the ovaries to market But I'm A Cat Person as a triumph against oppression, to which every donation is a blow struck For Great Social Justice.

...the rest of this post is basically a tl;dr version of the above.

Explanation and complaints about the Arkh Project )

Further pontificating about BICP. )

Final note: FFA had a thread in which people talked about how they would redo Arkh if given the chance. Some respondents try to fix specific issues, in the gameplay or the worldbuilding; others describe a completely different game they would like someone to make instead. Either way, it's good reading.
erinptah: (waldo-carmen)
Questions from [personal profile] sarcasticsra, who was doing a meme about them...

1) Is there a different frame of mind you need to be in to work on a comic as opposed to writing a fic?

Definitely. There's a rhythm to comics; you need a punch line, or, if it's a serious sequence, some kind of dramatic/cliffhanger-y moment -- something to pull the reader on to the next page. It's especially pronounced in a three- or four-panel strip. Fics have an overall shape in terms of Freytag's pyramid, and in long fics it also applies to individual chapters, but the pattern doesn't get as fine-grained as that constant, strip-by-strip heartbeat.

Continued under the cut. )
erinptah: (Integra)
Two of the missing old-school Doctor Who episodes have been found! It's like an early Christmas present.

A four-part discussion with Terry Pratchett and Dr. Jacqueline Simpson on folklore.

Daily Show writer Jo Miller talks to Darbi Worley and TDS co-creator Lizz Winnstead talk about being a "comedy writer and known possessor of a vagina." This came out shortly after the infamous Jezebel article, and I'm surprised it didn't make the rounds at the time. It goes into more detail about the inner workings of TDS, in general and as they relate to gender and sexism, than pretty much anything else I've seen since. And it's certainly the longest discussion from people who can bring the authority of their own experiences to the table.

Video of Kaoru Mori doing sketches, including Emma and Amiru (Otoyomegatari). I marvel at this woman's ability to pick up a marker and just go. No sketching, no guidelines, just perfectly proportioned curves with every stroke. Watching the characters take shape is just beautiful.

A massive collection of vintage comics! From the 1900s through about the '40s (so beware occasional racist caricatures). I recognized a few from various anthologies I've bought; the rest are new, ranging from banal to gorgeous to clever to just plain weird.

Some highlights: Betsy Bouncer and Her Doll is brutally bizarre. Lucy And Sophie Say Goodbye has only one joke, but could just as easily have been titled Lucy And Sophie Make Out. Dear Little Katy is unnervingly chibi-esque slapstick. There's only a tiny slice of Flapper Fanny; the cute sisterly dynamics make me want a whole lot more.

"Pretty Girl" strips: Betty, Carrie.

Ella Cinders, a charming jazz-era soap opera that starts as a modernized (for its day) Cinderella story and takes on a life of its own. I tore through the entirety of what was there, full of the sort of ups-and-downs and melodrama that Little Orphan Annie perfected; the strip continued for several decades after.

I'm still reading through these, and will link more good ones as I find them!
erinptah: (Default)
Stargate: So basically, it's in Sam's contract that she gets a boyfriend from every species, right? (Except the Asgard, where it's all about the Jack/Thor.) Seriously though, I seem to be OT4ing on the leads. If anyone can point me to good poly!team!fic, I would be all over that.

Doctor Who: The last episode was a resounding chorus of Not Sucking. It went back to the trend of gently snarking on stupid things Ten did; it had awesome cute-fun family dynamics; it went a long way to redeeming the previous few episodes, and I'm looking forward to the finale again.

Desperate Housewives: Yes, I'm still watching. It's the last season, so I may as well see it through to the end. Besides, while the overall plot is meh so far, the premiere had a lot of amazingly funny moments. Looking forward to more.

Thundercats: About time I wrote up a proper reaction to this, isn't it? Especially since they seem to have finished the first arc of episodes.

Cut for length )
erinptah: (Integra)
I think my favorite part of Good Hair is when a scientist, a charming old white guy who seems to have stepped right out of a caricature, explains the properties of sodium hydroxide complete with a chemistry-class demonstration of what it does to aluminum cans. (After four hours of exposure: eats right through the can.)

Chris Rock: "You know black women put this on their hair, right?"
Nice White-Guy Scientist: *boggles* "Why would anyone do that?"

It's just such a perfect summation of this whole vast cultural gulf, distilled into two lines of dialogue. A playwright couldn't have captured it better.

***

I didn't think this was going to be possible, but after the last few episodes, I think I'm burning out on Moffat's Who faster than I did RTD's Who.

Cut for spoilers of recent episodes )

So...yeah. My A Lot Of Feelings, let me show you them.

***

Heartcatch Precure was underwhelming in just about all ways.

It had some good ideas, but they weren't followed through enough and ended up drowned in a sea of genericness and formula-following. (Didn't help that the mascots were mostly insufferable, and sparkly weapons are a lot less cool when they look like they were (a) designed with the plastic toy version in mind first and foremost and (b) modeled on electric toothbrushes.)

Cut for spoilers for everything )

BRB, off to watch some Cardcaptor Sakura as a palate-cleanser.
erinptah: (waldo-carmen)
1. The season finale of House.

What is even going on with this series.

I think by this point I'm mostly watching out of inertia. And to keep up with Polite Dissent's reviews of the medicine.


2. United States of Tara.

Didn't get renewed for a fourth season. (But they renewed Nurse Jackie? Oh, come on.) At least word on the Internet is they won't be leaving us with a huge cliffhanger...still, it'll be missed.


3. Evangelion.

Only in targeted chunks, for purposes of keeping up with the Shadowjack recaps -- there's a lot, even in terms of simple visual things, that I flat-out didn't catch because I had no framework for figuring out what was relevant.

I keep wanting to cut the episodes into vids to incredibly inappropriate and/or misleading songs. Mostly the cheerful, upbeat, shounen-fighting-spirit types. Imagine the Asuka vid for Bon Jovi's "Have A Nice Day." Or the Rei vid to Katy Perry's "Firework." (That one would be worth it solely for the visuals to "Boom, boom, boom / Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon.")

I also keep getting random ideas for the epic Colbert/Eva fusion. Not enough to hang a full story on, just enough to turn into the occasional macro:

You said you wanted to be best friends forever. This is why I insisted on a trial period.


4. Doctor Who.

What is even going on with this series.

Season has been very meh so far. (Except The Doctor's Wife, which gets all the prizes for taking a concept that could have been mishandled in several million possible ways and handling it exactly right.) And then that last episode...which was a nonstop barrage of alternating "oh, wow, that is surprisingly awesome" and "what."

I'm still trying to work out how much I'm on board with, and how much to (as all Who fans must, eventually) quietly leave out of my personal head!canon. One thing I'll say for the RTD era: this was easier to work out when the universe-bending revelations were all crammed into the last episode or three of the season.


5. The Jaquie Brown Diaries.

An obscure New Zealand comedy whose heroine is basically a genderswapped "Stephen". I don't mean in terms of general character type; I mean, she works in TV news, declares herself to be archenemies with anyone who appears to be stealing her spotlight, makes things happen solely by warping reality with her outrageous ego, and builds a fandom out of people who just can't look away...even though that same ego gets her into constant trouble, from which her more reasonable and moderate friends (whom she will throw over at the drop of a hat) have to bail her out.

I like her. There were a lot of points during the run of the series where I wondered if Jaquie had crossed the line from entertaining to irritating...then wondered if I would draw the same line for "Stephen". And by the time I was finished fretting over the possible double standard, she had done something entertaining again.


6. The episode of Captain Planet that dealt with AIDS.

No, seriously. (Season 3, episode 11, "A Formula for Hate.")

They don't beat around the bush about it, either. A high school basketball star turns out to be HIV+, and while the bad guys are gloating about how they'll use it to spread fear and hate (which is sort of related to pollution, I guess?), the kid's doctor is saying things like "Yeah, you could have gotten this from sharing needles while using drugs, or unprotected sex, or that blood transfusion you had a couple years ago, when they weren't being screened." And at least one insinuation that's about gay sex if you know what to look for.

On Captain freakin' Planet.

BRB, having hope for the future of our country.
erinptah: (Kitten)
This is a topic I've been pondering a lot recently. It's probably a natural result of following a bunch of Issue-based fandom comms, rec lists, and fests...but honestly, what spurred the post was a bunch of summaries that looked intriguing and thoughtful, leading into fics that were just bad. Cringe-inducingly, hair-tearingly bad.

Issuefic at its worst is didactic, boring, and with cookie-cutter characterization thanks to everything being subsumed by the goal of Making A Point, which is handled with about as much subtlety as a whack-a-mole mallet. (I could go on.)

But for the most part, I don't think writers set out to lecture. They just set out to write Non Faily Fic about some srs bsns subject or another, and try too hard. And there are a whole lot of srs bsns subjects that I would love more Non Faily But Also Non Sucky Fic about.

So here's my list of goals to aim for and pitfalls to avoid while writing Fic About Issues. They're not necessarily things I've always written well, but they're the things I know I like to read.

Do's, don't's, and oh for pete's sake's )
erinptah: (sailor planet attack)
Differences between the Madoka televised episodes and the DVD versions. (Scroll down a bit, there are a ton of screenshots. DVD versions on top, TV versions on the bottom.) A lot of the new artwork is clearly superior, especially when they go and redraw the characters. On the other hand, there are several that aren't necessarily better, just...different. (At least, that's how it looks from the stills. Maybe you have to see them in motion.)

Doctors Who pay tribute to Sarah Jane. And for some lovely tributes of the Doctors themselves, The Twelve Doctors of Christmas, a holiday-timed (if not particularly holiday-themed) series of essays.

Mysterious structures on the Moon - weird, pretty, interesting hooks for Sailor Moon fics.

Cracked explains the factors that drive down quality of Hollywood movies.

Larry Wilmore brings the awesome at the Congressional Correspondents' Dinner.

...and speaking of black guys I know of through The Daily Show, the ever-delightful Neil deGrasse Tyson pontificates on Stupid Design: all the reasons the universe is really not set up for us. (Warning for some disturbing stillborn photos.)

Kristen Schaal/Rich Blomquist porn, as written by the subjects. There is time travel. It's delightfully ridiculous.

Geeks get the best wedding cakes. Gondor! Zombie invasion! Steampunk! TARDIS! Bonus: spot the Colbert lurking in there.

Just learned that Olivia has a defunct YouTube channel! Most of the content is funny; most of the comments, regardless of the content, involve slavering over her breasts. Sigh.
erinptah: (sailor planet attack)
So [personal profile] melannen made this awesome post on specific kinds of poly relationships that sci-fi/fantasy has given us. In particular, the concept of sedoretu both complicates and simplifies a whole lot of my shipping preferences.

I just spent four hours lying in bed not sleeping (oh insomnia, how I don't love you), which left a lot of time for working out how my favorite pairings, triads, and variously poly arrangements would be restructured under this system. Caveat: all I know about sedoretu is what's explained in those two links (seriously, go read them; they're short enough that it's not worth me re-summarizing here), so if there are subtleties or extra requirements I'm missing, oh well. If I do find out that's the case, I'll come back and edit. Maybe.

***

Hellsing )

***

Sailor Moon )

***

Fake News )

***

Everything Else )
erinptah: (Maggie)
I think I've put a finger on one of my narrative anti-kinks. For lack of a shorter name, let's call it Drama And/Or Angst In Which None Of The Characters Are Likable.

It's easy to avoid when people are in conflict and one side is clearly The Heroes -- your basic Joseph Campbell monomyth, and/or football game featuring the Packers. (Go cheeseheads!) It gets more complicated when the hero starts doing morally questionable things, but often you can understand where they're coming from, even if you disagree. Or at least, you can see how their Issues are distorting their worldview, and feel for them. The Ninth Doctor did that a lot; Ten too, less effectively.

On the far end of that scale, I think, is what you usually get from "Stephen". He can be flat-out abusive over something ridiculously petty...but he's so ridiculous about it that you still kind of want to pat him on the head and say, yes, I know, it is horribly unfair that the Starbucks under one side of your desk closed, so now you have to go all the way to the other side if you want a latte.

Fights in which neither side is Wrong are also fun, where you're not so much cheering for a single viewpoint as hoping that all parties can get together and work something out, or at least find a tenable balance. Desperate Housewives does this all the time, putting two people with clashing viewpoints on a collision course over some issue, then just letting them bounce off each other as they frantically try to avoid the horror of a heart-to-heart talk.

The problem comes when you have nothing to cheer for at all. Death Note avoided this for me by having such complicated schemes and machinations that it distracted you from the increasing lack of characters worth caring about. Both the Tenth Doctor and BtVS pushed it a lot in their later seasons, with too many moments of "yes, I know the bad guys are evil, but the heroes are being such dicks right now."

And at least those had their epic fantasy/sci-fi/adventure goings-on to keep up the interest. Worst of all is when you have a completely mundane or domestic setting, with characters fighting over something stupid or petty or "completely fixable if you would just do Simple Thing X and stop angsting about it." And it's not cute or funny, but played completely straight, as if the reader is supposed to be tormented on behalf of at least one of these people, when the narrative has given you no reason to be anything more than annoyed with both.

The whole setup is my anti-emo-porn. Not only do I avoid it when I can, but if I end up reading some by accident, it leaves me grouchy and irritated until well afterward.

Is there a shorter term for this scenario? A trope name, maybe? I feel like there should be. I can't be the only person who gets this put off by it.

On a semi-related note, is "descriptions of drug use" a narrative kink for some people? I've come across a few fics recently that go into minute detail about things like a couple of characters smoking pot, which to me is about as interesting as a step-by-step description of somebody loading a dishwasher. But these are written with the kind of loving detail usually reserved for, well, sex scenes. Is it a "you had to have been there" kind of thing, or (as with porn) are there people who enjoy these scenes for their own sake, and I'm just not one of them?

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