jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (smokin' matt albie)
In my tags list, I have 14 tags that refer to specific "canons." Of those, 5 are reality shows, one is a book series, and the other 8 are scripted television shows. I'm going to talk now about a summer in which many of them ended, and others ended for me.

Six Feet Under and Buffy, two ends of the spectrum )

Ugly Betty, CSI, Studio 60, Veronica Mars, and oh, yeah, that book series I was reading )

So, what have we learned?

Lesson 4: Don't get involved in a serial narrative whose narrative priorities are different than yours--namely, character change/development and, if there are romances, a satisfying romance. The narrative will work to preserve its own priorities, and even if it threw a few crumbs to these other issues, it will jettison them all if it has to in order to preserve its priority, be it world building/philosophy or action/adventure or a kind of procedural "plot." In other words, be really, really careful about "genre", because most of it won't you what you crave.

Lesson 5: Best case scenario, don't get involved in an unfinished serial narrative, especially in American network television, with their sort-of-but-not-really narrative arcs that don't lead to satisfying endings and their need to "shake things up" to create drama by never letting the couple get together, or breaking up the team.

Lesson 6: Steer clear of canons with open shipping, because if there's really a love triangle it means they're not going to build either of the pairings up very well. Also, it makes for a vicious fandom.

Next: How Avatar almost, but not quite, soothed my PTSD, and why I went running off to reality television.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (studio 60 B&W window)
So much media!

One of the first things [livejournal.com profile] ziggy1278 said to me once he moved here was, "We're going to see Live Free or Die Hard!" Thus, we were front and center (well, more medium back on the right) on Wednesday night for the opening. It's a Die Hard movie, in every way. If you liked the first one, you'll like this one. I thought it was awesome. I love how it boils the essence of the hero down to really just one quality: they don't die. I mean, that's pretty much it. They just don't die.

I came home and saw Top Chef. Just to catch up on the last two weeks: Hung seems more aggressive and selfish than assholish; Tre's intensity is a bit much; I cannot tell Camille and Casey apart; Clay was so clearly dead meat from the moment he walked off that plane but I'm sad Sandee is gone; Joey is immature and doesn't cook that well; I'm intrigued by both the Saras and Micah; Brian seems pretty nutty so far; Howie needs to ease up on the "no friends" schtick; CJ, Lia and Dale are my favs so far.

Episode 3 spoilers ) Also, I am now craving sloppy joes and tater tots.

[livejournal.com profile] sistermagpie came over last night to eat burritos and watch SYTYCD and Studio 60 and much fun was had. I hadn't watched the dances until last night because after Die Hard I only had one hour of reality TV in me. Thoughts on the dancers and this week's eliminations. )

In a non-spoilers, I'm amazed at what a great host Ryan Seacrest is. Cat is really good—miles better than that dreadful girl on On the Lot. But watching the whole weird judging of Cedric and Shauna, I felt that Ryan would have been able to cut that shit off. First, you'd think that Nigel would have learned from Idol that if you really bash a contestant, then everyone will vote for them out of sympathy. Even Simon has figured this out by now, and when he forgets, Ryan comes in and heads him off. I know that Nigel is a producer while Simon is not, but if I were Cat I would ask him for permission to cut him off and keep the show moving. Second, Ryan would never have let Cedric make that whole little speech. We've seen him cut off the singers with a "Don't say it" and then going right into the numbers. But Cat just stood there and held the mike. This isn't the same thing as when Ryan tries to goad the singers into talking back, because he's more in control of that. Which is really my whole point: on the Idol stage, Ryan is in control. On the SYTYCD stage, Nigel seems to be kind of in control, only not completely, and that leads to shit like this. Cat needs to step up, and Nigel needs to back off, or the show will continue to be a bit unbalanced.

Studio 60 ended last night and the best thing I can say about it is, at least it was an actual ending. So that was 22 episodes of what, exactly, Aaron? )

So, are Tommy Schlamme and Aaron Sorkin heterosexual life partners?

Also, I dunno, friends, after this and VMars I'm feeling kinda burnt out on network TV dramas. Eh, I should watch less TV anyway …
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (studio 60 B&W window)
Watching these last six episodes of Studio 60 is going to be like watching the last five episodes of Veronica Mars, except that while those episodes of VM were haunted by the ghost of the show VM had been, these eps of Studio 60 are haunted by the show it never became.

Cut for spoilers merely for politeness. )

I know that I'm not watching Heroes, and I know I said this in my VM post, but for reals, drama is letting my shit down this year. TV is making me sad, peoples.
jlh: MTV sock puppets sifl and olly (duos: sifl and olly)
  • Real world stuffs first.
    • I wore orange and maroon on Friday. At first I thought of the college I attended, but once I started hearing the stories of the teachers and the departments left to pick up the pieces and try to keep things going, I was even more affected, imagining such a thing on the campus where I teach.
    • I flipped $25 to Planned Parenthood on Friday, too.
    • Thanks to NPR's excellent coverage, I am totally obsessed with the French elections. I was on the edge of my seat for the first round!
    • First Kurt Vonnegut, then Boris Yeltsin, and now David Halberstam dies in a car crash! WOE. Halberstam was one of the great journalists of our time and I always looked forward to interviews with him on the history show American Experience and on Charlie Rose's show.
    • Schoolwork is going VERY slowly, but at least it's going.

  • General Fannishness
    • Sooo much smut is sitting with betas right now. So much!
    • I'm glad, myself, that Idol will be over before any of the HP happenings of the summer because if it was all happening at once my head would explode.
    • One bit of HP-ness that will be happening sooner than that is Phoenix Rising, which will be awesome, and at which [livejournal.com profile] allysonsedai and I will step aside and yammer about Idol, which will be headed into the finals that weekend. Yikes!

  • Books for reading when May ends.
    • The "friend shelf" in my bookcase has grown by two volumes, City of Bones by Cassandra Clare ([livejournal.com profile] cassandraclare) and Ironside by Holly Black ([livejournal.com profile] blackholly), and everyone should run out and buy them right now. Oh, and if you haven't read Tithe and Valiant, Holly's first two books, then get on that.
    • The shelf will grow again in late June when Julia Quinn's new book comes out, her first one since finishing the Bridgerton series, and I have good hopes for it.
    • And, she says mysteriously, it may grow yet again in some little while.
    • Then I thought, yesterday, it will also grow with all the people I'm in graduate school with, not just my classmates but also [livejournal.com profile] calloocallay and [livejournal.com profile] kalichan and that is amazingly exciting!
    • I might reread the HP books in July, immediately before the new book comes out. I haven't reread OotP or HBP yet, mostly because reading OotP was so traumatic the first time, but friends say it will be easier on a reread. No disrespect to those of you that loved the book, now!
    • Z gave me a copy of Arcadia, which we duly looked up on ibdb and wow, it had a fantastic Broadway cast. Day-am.
    • AND I have new Fruits Basket teasing me, and Antique Bakery borrowed from [livejournal.com profile] ali_wildgoose.

  • Movies watched and to be watching.
    • Before we decided to stop breaking the bank (see below) [livejournal.com profile] ziggy1278 and I saw a billion movies, including
      • Blades of Glory, awesome in that Will Farrell and John Heder sort of way, and better the more you know about skating.
      • The Hoax, with a top notch cast and a really interesting way of telling its tale. I already knew of Clifford Irving and his fake biography of Howard Hughes, but the little period notes that brought you back to 1971 were fantastic, especially the Nixon touches.
      • Grindhouse, which we saw at a late night show opening weekend and which totally rocked and everyone should see it.
      • Reign Over Me, which was horrifically manipulative but at its core had great performances from Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle.
    • Then with [livejournal.com profile] calloocallay I also saw:
    • I'm looking forward to
      • Order of the Phoenix, obv. I'm pleased that Dan Radcliffe has decided to get better as an actor in time for OotP, but I will still be watching this movie scrunched down in the seat, through my fingers, with tissues at the ready. I mean, I cried in the PoA film, so I'm sure I'm going to be just a mess.
      • Talk to Me, with Don Cheadle as a 70s DJ in DC.
      • Spider-Man 3, but mostly because Z wants to see it so much, and I'll have to rent the first two before I see the third one, eh?

  • Television I've been watching
    • Idol Gives Back starts tonight, and I've been spoiled for the songs that some of the kids have chosen, and let's just say, love that Blake, but sometimes he is really literal. Hint: the three of you who have heard Kathy Griffin's hilarious story about Sharon Stone at the AMfAR fund raiser? THAT song.
    • Ellen DeGeneres is hosting Idol Gives Back on Wednesday night. We've gotten a lot of hints that Ryan and Simon will be up to something that night …
    • Z and I are watching (well, me for the first time, him decidedly not) Deadwood, two eps a night, and I'm so glad. It's amazingly good and there was even gratuitous shirtless Timothy Olyphant. I'd meant to get into it when it came out but I was overwhelmed by television at the time, I think.
    • Despite all the Idol talk, there really isn't much I'm following—I'm not actually a SF/F TV fan, so I'm not on the Heroes/SGA/DW train. I know a lot of you are having fun with those shows, so good for you!
    • I think CSI is going off the DVR after this season. My true love for it is gone with their continual raising and then dropping personal issues and I don't care enough about the procedural stuff to stick around. (Not, of course, that they need me for the ratings!) I'm intrigued by the miniature killer, and the last new episode with the lab rats running around trying to help solve it—lots of Hodges but where was Bobby Dawson?—was a clever way to remind us of that ongoing mystery. Also, I'm still worried about the ultimate fate of Grissom given that in the promotional poster, which last year was a hint about Brass's shooting, is a parody of the Beatles' Abbey Road cover, with Grissom as the barefoot Paul—back in the day, one of the key "Paul is dead" clues!
    • Z also gave me the Firefly box set as an early birthday present because he felt I should own it. That was already on the list of shows to watch when the term and regular TV was over, so yay!
    • And yes, due to the demand of Ely, Emily and S, and the enabling of S and Z, I will be watching BSG this summer. Totally.
    • I can't wait for the return of Veronica Mars on 1 May! Paul Rudd! More Mac! Five episodes that hopefully aren't the last five!
    • Speaking of on the bubble, I wonder if they'll even bring Studio 60 back for the final episodes; I've seen nothing on that. I do want to see it through to the end; I want to see Jordan have her baby and say goodbye to the gang and all that. I just wish it had been a better show.
    • In Shows You Should Be Watching news, Marshall and Lily's wedding on How I Met Your Mother is going to ROCK. I hadn't realized that [livejournal.com profile] bhanesidhe was also a fan. It is such a great show; too bad TWoP, for understandable reasons, isn't recapping it so more of you can see its awesome glory!
    • This past week's Ugly Betty was sort of a drag, wasn't it? A very necessary transitional episode (and my GOD I'm glad we've seen the last of Constance) but in itself, not fun. But this week looks like TOTAL AWESOMENESS.
    • Another show I need the DVDs for is WKRP in Cincinnati. OMG the Johnny Fever/Bailey Quarters fic I would write about that show. Ooh, I should put that in as a request for Yuletide this Christmas.
    • When is Sifl and Olly ever coming out on DVD OMG. Goddamed MTV not putting their shit out on DVD.

  • Music should go here, but there isn't any to go here, because I have filled my harddrive with the stuff so I'm waiting for my new external harddrive before I can even listen to the things that are in my house, like the new Shins and the new-ish Death Cab and a bunch of other things. Though now that Z bought a new DVD/CD player that he is storing at my house for Deadwood and other watching (since I'm the one with the TV) I can listen to the CDs. My DVD/CD player? Ded, my friends. Woe! So you tell me, what releases should I be looking forward to? Other than, of course, Donny Osmond Sings Love Songs of the 70s.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (smokin' matt albie)
Harry/Draco Types: If I had an H/D story, where should I post it? It isn't a first time story, but a them-as-adults story. ([livejournal.com profile] emmagrant01, don't you have some sort of comm or something? I think [livejournal.com profile] legomymalfoy's is a first time one isn't it?) Why I have this story will become clear later. Thanks!

Meanwhile, some entirely premature eulogies. There are six episodes of Studio 60 and four episodes of Veronica Mars left of their seasons, and then, I think, those shows are over. Why I don't mind. )

Meanwhile, another waste is the ever-enlarging empire of the production company Magical Elves, who brought us Project Runway (love!), Top Chef (1: brilliant, 2: ugly), Top Design (yawn) and now some hair styling show. Hair styling? Seriously? I suggest forgoing this in favor of the superlative Blow Dry, starring Alan Rickman and Bill Nighy as old rivals in competitive hair styling, with Josh Hartnett and Rachel Leigh Cook as their star-crossed-lover children. As for this week's Top Design, I found I couldn't bring myself to care, though I'm not sad at all to see the end of spoiler ), but in the previews spoiler ) is crying and that is NOT on.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Have you met Ted?)
You know, one of the things I really don't like about LJ is that if you post on the weekends you don't get comments. Anyway, despite lack of interest, on with the television:

How I Met Your Mother: Lucky Penny )

Studio 60: The Friday Night Slaughter )

Veronica Mars: Postgame Mortem )

Top Design is no Project Runway but Todd is still delightful and Goil is still awesome.

Ugly Betty: Derailed )

CSI: Monster in the Box )
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (VM and Weevil)
So I'm watching five fictional television shows pretty regularly right now: How I Met Your Mother, Studio 60, Veronica Mars, Ugly Betty, CSI. I also watch whatever Magical Elves is doing (Project Runway/Top Chef/Top Design) though I felt that Top Chef 2 was really disappointing and seeing Tim Gunn's cameos on Ugly Betty made me miss PR all the more. I'll add American Idol as soon as they get out of Hollywood. And this was a really mixed week in my television universe. Let's take them in order of airing:

HIMYM: Monday Night Football )

The Harriet Dinner, Part 2 )

Veronica Mars: There Has to Be a Morning After Pill )

Ugly Betty: Brothers )

CSI: Law of Gravity )

I'm glad I'll have Top Design and American Idol to get me through the March and April reruns. AI have finally gotten to Hollywood for this week so it's not long until voting! As for Top Design, so far it's pretty innocuous, not a lot of drama, pleasant host and judges (I adore Jonathan Adler and the way he calls bf Simon Doonan his "bloke"). I like Goil, Dorky Cute Asian Architect, the best so far.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (studio 60 B&W window)
Don't you love it when Colbert screws with Wikipedia?

What I find most interesting about these Equus promotional photos is that despite all the blah blah blah about the play being quite serious in how nudity is used (all true) the producers have clearly decided to sell it as "see Dan Radcliffe in his debut as teenage heartthrob, naked with a horse and a girl." I find it sort of funny in a way to see all the yadda yadda on my flist about the bad place and all of that. I mean, these images have been created specifically in order to make one say, "oh my," so feeling that one should actively resist based on the age of the subject is sort of, well, whatever. I don't have a problem with some 50 year old guy saying, "wow, those pictures of Britney from Rolling Stone when she was 16 were really sexy" because they were, and they were supposed to be. So to assign "appropriateness" to reactions based on the viewer's age, as if only those younger than 20 are allowed to drool over sexy pictures doesn't make sense to me. It doesn't have much to do with seeing him in person, without makeup/lighting/hairstyling/poses/horses/etc. As I think [livejournal.com profile] mahoni infamously said, if he showed up in the middle of my living room looking like that I'd probably say, "Aren't you cold?" But maybe it has to do with the difference between women looking at men and men looking at women, that we have to do some hokey-pokey to distance ourselves from being the equivalent of dirty old men, when the boys are pretty unapologetic about thinking that teenage girls are hot. We should know as well as they do that there's a big difference between finding an intentionally sexy picture of someone underage, well, sexy, and trolling the high schools for dates.

I think any hope of Studio 60 being good in any way depends on how this two-parter ends. Right now, though, I'm mostly irritated. )
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (studio 60 B&W window)
Okay, it now officially pisses me off that we have had no snow. It has snowed west of here, north of here, south of here and even east of here, but not here, and I'm pretty fucking furious.

Studio 60: Why are you doing this to me? )

Veronica Mars: Eh. )

State of the Union: Seriously, whatever. )
jlh: Charlie Brown and Linus van Pelt standing at their wall in the snow, from A Charlie Brown Christmas (duos: Charlie and Linus)
Saw Casino Royale on Sunday and immediately read [livejournal.com profile] astolat's Bond/M story Queen of Spades which I urge everyone to go read as it is amazing. Also incredible is Close Your Eyes and Think of England, [livejournal.com profile] monimala's Veronica Mars/James Bond crossover. (No really, it totally works. There's even Mac!) I was thinking of writing a whole thing about the new Bond and gender and sexuality, but I have too much school writing to do so that will have to wait for another time.

What I will write about is a slash gripe. I recently read a Studio 60 Matt/Danny that contained many of the stereotypical complaints about slash. Harriet is a shrieking homophobic harpy for no discernible reason while the story doesn't actually deal in any way with Matt's feelings for her; Danny is oddly submissive and will do anything for Matt and thinks to himself that he loves Matt better than Harriet, which to me is an odd misread of their actual relationship; and Matt is a selfish, emotionless asshole, when on the show he's actually incredibly emotional all the time. I think you can write slash that respects canon het relationships, and for that I point you to this superlative Danny/Rusty Ocean's 11 story, Confidence Men, which has a whole present and history of Danny/Rusty that doesn't have anything at all to do with Tess.

A losing dish on Top Chef this week really inspired me—Cliff's chicken sausage and sweet potato hash. I made it with a chicken/apple sausage and about a cup of diced cooked sweet potato and a little bit of shallot, seasoned with salt, pepper and cinnamon, then I fried an over-easy egg to put on top. OMG so good. To keep it quick I cooked four sweet potatoes and then diced them all at once, and keep that in a tupperware in the fridge with the sausage in a ziploc and the sliced shallot also in a ziploc, both tucked into the container with the potatoes. Everything is already cut up (well, I take the sausage out of its casing as I go) and in one container, so I just grab that and an egg and I'm good to go.

It's going to rain today. It's December. This is wrong; it should be snowing. What is with this warm weather, anyway?
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (smokin' matt albie)
Jon Stewart has made me want two icons. One with the three folks mentioned above, and one that's just text, or perhaps pics of Stewart and Clooney, and says, "I am flattered that you think enough of me to make gay innuendo."

Anyway, spoilers ahead.

Top Chef )

Veronica Mars )

Studio 60 )

Just to interject: I read some not good Matt/Danny slash recently. Not that it was poorly written; far from it. But it unnecessarily demonized Harriet and had some other undercurrents that I just find irritating. It reminds me of the truly superlative Danny/Rusty from Ocean's Eleven (it's up at Yuletide) that I read a couple of years ago. It successfully found the sexiness in Danny and Rusty's interactions, but also made it believable that Danny was in love with Tess, and all without a lot of self-sacrifice or other hoo-hah.

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jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Default)
Clio, a vibrating mass of YES!

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