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09 April 2006 @ 10:37 pm
MultiFandom Post--My Thoughts  
Okay, so while I have been working on my thesis, I've been in need of a lot of background noise. This noise has taken on the form of TV. Here I will discuss my thoughts and impressions on recent episodes I have watched of shows on the air and off. Included in this post: Smallville, Dr. Who, The X-Files, and Farscape. Stargate SG-1 will not be included this time. That will likely get its own post when I finish up watching Season 6 this week.


Smallville

Okay, so I missed this past week's episode *sigh* because of baseball, but I heard it was soo good. It's too bad Hypnotic couldn't have been.

I hated this episode. I was all excited that Brainiac was going to be in it, but then the episode wasn't really about him or Lex at all. It was about yet another girl after Clark. Getting old...

Granted there were some funny moments. I think that Lois and Chloe always shine. Lex and Lana have great chemistry. But as much as I think TW is hot, I can do without seeing Clark with no clothes all the time.

And what was with Lana and Clark again? I thought they had already broken up for the upteenth time? And now they are back together? Just to break up again? They need to either have Clark with Lana until the show ends and then break it off, or they need to just stop them having a relationship altogether. Because this back and forth nonsense just makes them look bad. And it's always the girl that looks worse.


Dr. Who

Okay, I caught the pilot and while hearing the theme song brought me found memories of being freaked out as a child, the pilot didn't grab me. I don't know. I mean, I know the show is supposed to be weird, but I always saw it as weird outlandish scary not weird outlandish tacky. So, I gave the second episode a try and that was slightly better but still did nothing for me. However, the third episode--the one with the dead people--that is how I remember Doctor Who. Crazy, weird, but still a little creepy. I really enjoyed that episode and how it tangled in with history. Maybe because I am such a history buff. Unfortunately, I haven't seen any other episodes because of my limits on TV


The X-Files

I do have access to a DVD player, though, and so I can watch the DVD's for stuff that has nothing to do with the TV. *pets computer*

So, I popped in this ep from season 3 of The X-Files. I hadn't seen it in forever. As I was watching it, I was thinking, okay this is waaaay cornier than I remembered. I always loved this episode. But as I continued to watch, I suddenly remembered all the little nuances in the episode. It is a carefully crafted work, with parallels and meaning everywhere you look. The reveal is slow--it builds and builds until you reach the end. Plus, you get insight into how people view each other by the conflicting stories being told by people. By the end, you don't know what is true or what is not true, in typical X-Files fashion, but somewhere the tone shifts from funny and wild to sad and poignant. The quote on my sidebar captures the end mood beautifully and to this day I think it is one of the most moving scenes in the series.


Farscape

Phew, well...as I said the other day I am not entirely sold on this show. It has gotten better as the episodes build on each other. But I am hoping for it gel soon. While I admit there are some enjoyable aspects of it, overall I find this shows lacks heart, soul, and that spark of humanity that is a signifier of most scifi.

I am not talking about the "otherness" feel. Lots of shows can have a distinct feel of other, whether scifi or fantasy. I would say shows like Farscape have a definite alien feel, while shows like Stargate SG-1 have a more familiar feel. But the point of scifi is to take something fantastic and make it a reflection of the human condition. I find that, so far, Farscape fails to capture this feel in its totality.

On an individual episode basis, this is not always so. Episodes like They've Got a Secret is a perfect example of how the show is capable of capturing the human condition even through its otherness.

The Premiere was cliche-ridden, as was the premise. Crais is almost as laughable as Apophis (SG-1). I liked Aeryn here and would have liked the show to explore more of this Aeryn. Aeryn, for me, in the episodes I have watched, has had a characterization that has flopped all over the place. She's not very consistently written and it bugs me. She's this strong, hard capable woman who is extremely insecure and vunerable undereath that hard exterior, but often the delivery is stunted. I get this impression that it's not in CB's delivery itself, but in the way her character is written, almost as if the writers weren't sure who she really was. (I recently had a conversation with Isa that somewhat supports my theory here.) Meanwhile, I found that John was somehwat relatable in the first couple of episodes before slipping into this character that kept reminding us everything was foreign, but didn't feel it. Barage after barage of pop culture references was a service to the audience and did not always fit well into the character. Sometimes, it worked and paid off. Other times, it seemed forced. It's bad when Zhaan and D'Argo are easier to relate to than John, the human. Though, he had some great moments that showcased his humanity, too, which I will get to. But I digress...Overall, it didn't make for a bad episode, but it wasn't the strongest pilot I'd ever seen.

I, ET was an improvement. Turning around the us vs them theme has been done before, but it's always a good story to play with. This is still one of the eps that I enjoyed most so far.

A lot of the next few eps sort of blended together for me, so more viewing would be necessary for me to comment on them. I do recall Back and Back and Back to the Future. Even though I didn't care for the alien chick, I enjoyed the concept from this episode. The same goes for Thank God It's Friday...Again. PK Tech Girl bored me.

By this point, I found that Zhaan was a very interesting character and I adored D'Argo. I still adore D'Argo. I find he's one of the best most consistently written character throughout the eps I've seen so far.

That Old Black Magic annoyed me. DNA Mad Scientist was beautiful in showing how desperate and cruel (ex-prisoners) can be, and provided some nice bonding between Pilot and Aeryn. They've Got a Secret is by far my favorite so far, with its layers of emotion. This is followed by Rhapsody in Blue where we get into a lot of psychological bending and mind games.This is one of those eps where I could feel and relate to Crichton.

Most of The Flax annoyed me, though the near end with Aeryn and Critchon was beautiful. I loved the scene where John is dead and running out of time to be revived and Aeryn abandons her work to save him, even though by doing so she dooms herself. That scene was crafted extremely well, music and tone--everything. D'Argo was great as always and Rygel wasn't annoying. And I actually enjoyed Jeremiah Critchon for the fact that John finally snapped after being stuck in foreignness for so long.

So...as of this point, I see some shining examples of a really good show, but lost in a mix of uncertainty and lack of soul. Now, this is the first season and the show might not have found its stride yet. I haven't seen any more eps beyond the ones that I have named and everyone under the sun has told me the end of season one is where things pick up. Maybe my opinion will change for the better or for the worst. But this is how I see it so far.

Good show, but not the best. Like most shows, struggling to find its voice as of season one. We'll see if it pays off in the end :)

 
 
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Beautiful Fucked up Mess: Mulder and Scully OTPvvalflovver on April 10th, 2006 04:21 am (UTC)
"Then, there are those who care not about extraterrestrials, searching for meaning in other human beings. Rare or lucky are those who find it. For although we may not be alone in the universe, in our own separate ways, on this planet, we are all... alone."

yeah, I like that quote too. :)
Working for the Mandroid: Adorkablemoonshayde on April 10th, 2006 04:22 am (UTC)
It's just so moving :) Sad, but moving.
Autumn Dandelion: X-Files - Innocent Mulderautumndandelion on April 10th, 2006 06:07 am (UTC)
This is one of my favourite quotes in the series. Now I'm wanting to see this episode again! I'm doing the chronological thing right now though, so I'll have to wait.

That episode does have its corny moments, but that classic X-Filian confusion is at its best here!

= D
Beautiful Fucked up Mess: can i touch them?vvalflovver on April 10th, 2006 11:07 am (UTC)
I am SO doing that whole chronological thing too! I've made it to Season 2.. Dod Kalm... eww I always hated that one. I think thats the one where they get old and stuff. I suppose it has some good bonding moments but it totally sucks to have them look all old like that.
Autumn Dandelionautumndandelion on April 10th, 2006 03:25 pm (UTC)
Dod Kalm is one of my favourites.

= D

I'm only on season one. I'd been wanting to buy the DVD box sets forever, but they always sold for over $100. I finally got seasons one and two for fourty bucks each! That's what inspired my going through the whole series again. I do have the old video box sets and most episodes taped off the TV, but fast-forwarding and rewinding through videos is a pain. I'm too spoiled by DVDs now.
Beautiful Fucked up Mess: Gillian/mevvalflovver on April 10th, 2006 05:49 pm (UTC)
oh umm.. *ahem* whoops. lol well I guess i'll just have to watch it. maybe it will grow on me. lol. I'll let ya know.
I'm kinda slow at getting through the seasons unfortunately, so you'll prolly catch up. I'm making my boyfriend watch them, and we dont have too much time to get together and do things like that in college too often. *sigh* I wish college wasn't so much work!
Wow! 40 bucks each?!!?! Where? I need seasons 4, 5, 7, and 8 to complete my collection. so if you see any good deals on those let me know!
yeah, I have some of 8 and all of 9 on video tape but fastforwarding sucks.
Autumn Dandelionautumndandelion on April 11th, 2006 03:54 am (UTC)
I'm alternating between X-Files and the two Stargates, so I don't think I'll be catching up.

= D

X-Files is $40 at Target. I haven't seen them anywhere else for that cheap.
Beautiful Fucked up Messvvalflovver on April 11th, 2006 04:00 pm (UTC)
thankyou! *runs to target*
Working for the Mandroid: Scullymoonshayde on April 10th, 2006 12:37 pm (UTC)
I am trying to do the chronlogical thing but I was too tempted ;)
Autumn Dandelionautumndandelion on April 10th, 2006 03:26 pm (UTC)
LOL! I may end up jumping around later, but it's too early at this point for that.
Beautiful Fucked up Mess: Mulder and Scully OTPvvalflovver on April 10th, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
yeah, i was almost tempted the other day. What stops me though is that I want to see the whole thing from start to end to pick up on things that i missed by skipping around before.
I actually figured out the other day that I had never seen the episode "Fresh Bones" in season 2. I was amazed.
Having my Boyfriend watch it with me is also helping to discourage the jumping aroundness.
I keep going into too much detail about the Bounty Hunter though when he asks questions. lol.
telepresencetelepresence on April 10th, 2006 12:25 pm (UTC)
Your reaction to Farscape thus far is fascinating to me. Like everyone else, I get different things from different shows, and different shows have different strengths. Some have good plotting, others good acting, others good special effects or good action, others pretty, pretty people, some convey a special feeling of girttiness, others humor, others romance, etc etc. I've watched at least a few shows that have featured one of these qualities and little to nothing else. :p

In the case of Farscape, if I had to describe it to someone who'd never seen the show, I would have put ideas like "heart and soul and the spark of humanity" as being one of the show's strengths.

In the same vein, it gives me pause that you found PK Tech Girl boring. It tends to be a fan favorite, and I thought that was one of the best early episodes for insight into Aeryn, John, Rygel, the idea that these are people with pasts and regrets, an inner emotional life, etc.

I really look forward to watching people work their way through shows after the first wave or the contemporary wave of fandom has already gone past, possibly with the perspective of later shows, etc. You get used to a sort of fannish consensus on things, and then someone comes along and sees it with very different eyes. (I say this as a Stargate viewer who views the show in a wat that's neither Jack, nor Daniel, nor Team centric manner, which seems to put me in the minority of people who are otherwise big fans of the show)
telepresencetelepresence on April 10th, 2006 12:26 pm (UTC)
I'm also just starting to watch Numb3rs, and apparently seeing it somewhat differently than the fans I've encountered so far. I can't wait till I start watching House, some day. :)
Working for the Mandroid: Boredmoonshayde on April 10th, 2006 12:36 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I still can't really say why I disliked PK Tech Girl so much. It just didn't grab me.

What's great is that people can come to shows in different ways. In fact, I often tend to be put off by a show until I want to watch it. I rarely, if ever, watch a show as it begins. I am known to join shows late in the game.

SG-1, for example, I started to watch during season seven. I watched the majority of the episodes prior to the fan experience and formed a lot of my own opinions before I was influenced by anyone else. I enjoyed myself more then before I got into the fandom. However, now I can't really say which views are solely mine and which have been shaped by the fandom at large. I have certain characters I like more than others and I do very much love the team, but as long as an episode is well written and comes together in a way that reflects the heart of the show, who has the spotlight doesn't really matter to me.

With Farscape, I haven't finished watching the first season, so perhaps my opinion will change. Also, if someone is raving about something--like my flist does--I am more inclined to be extra critical. I only like things on my terms and don't like to be told what I will or won't like. In the end, it's my decision.

Strangely enough, I liked Jeremiah Crichton where most people hated that episode. And my fave is still They've Got a Secret because I found it moving. I also loved the dynamic between Zhaan and John in Rhapsody in Blue. And that scene between Aeryn and John in The Flax.

But for me, overall it still lacks this special something, that relatable quality that would want me to invest in John.

pellucid: Mulder crazypellucid on April 10th, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC)
"Jose Chung's From Outer Space"!!!!!! *flails* That episode is a perfect example of why TFX is such a brilliant show!!!

And we've already chatted about Farscape, though it's cool to see your thoughts formulated more as an overall evaluation here. I've very interested to see what you'll think of the rest of the season.
aurora_novarum: Farscapeaurora_novarum on December 19th, 2009 08:46 pm (UTC)
I'm finally watching them! Whoo hoo! I agree with what you say about John. I think that's been my problem when not seeing the shows in order. At least I've gotten over some of my Rygel distaste. Heh.

I disagree with you about PK Tech girl, but that's because I really like Gilena. And I related with her and Aeryn. I'm surprised how much I'm enjoying Aeryn as a character. She's so standoffish, and I may have Vala prejudice I was unaware of.

I still love Zhaan mostest of all.