jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Clio Chibi)
As always I've been entertained by the best-of-the-year and best-of-the-decade lists that have been rolling out over the past six weeks or so. I'm not going to make a list of films or music, having consumed such a small portion of either of them. But television is a different story. So in alphabetical order, the ten shows I most enjoyed watching in the '00s.

  • American Idol. I've spilled a lot of ink on this one—you're either on the train by now, or you're not.
  • Avatar the Last Airbender. I ripped through the first two seasons on DVD on bad days, accompanied by quantities of donuts, and the combo always made me feel better. The finale was great, but I'd already gotten everything I needed in "The Boiling Rock."
  • How I Met Your Mother. I've talked a lot about this show as well, so let's just say it's the only currently running show I own DVDs of.
  • The Mole (first season). Ruined me completely for The Amazing Race. Hosted by a post-Channel One pre-CNN Anderson Cooper, who when I asked him if there was any truth to the rumor that the brainy puzzles of the first season had been dumbed down for the second, said "Of course not!" in a tone that really meant, "Of course they were; this is television." And so they were, and so the show was cancelled. But the first season? Amazing.
  • Project Runway. I'll let them have one bad season; everyone gets one. They gave me Tim Gunn after all, so they deserve a little break. And they introduced us all to the beauty of competency porn.
  • Sex and the City. To me it's not about sex, or Jimmy Choos, or fabulous parties, but about how women are friends today. And for that, I love it.
  • Six Feet Under. It had its bumpy moments in the middle to be sure, but overall it managed the trick of letting the characters be unlikeable without making me detest them or the show. It had one of the best final episodes of any television show, ever, and one of the best couples of television history in David and Keith.
  • So You Think You Can Dance. I believe in the dance, and so does the show. The love of the craft and the entertainment of dance seeps into every single frame—for all his grouchiness, you know it's a labor of love for Nigel, which keeps him from being the mean judge he sometimes tries to be.
  • Top Chef. More competency porn with a smoking hot bear of a head judge who champions simple New American cooking and appreciates fine French technique, who sees skill as a way to better cook from the heart. I love Padma and Gail, but it's Colicchio's mentoring and his stature in the industry that keeps the young chefs and the established guest judges coming back season after season.
  • Veronica Mars (first two seasons). I just saw the little 20-minute piece they filmed of VM at the FBI, and it made me ache with missing her. Those first two seasons—has there been anything better?


There are plenty of things I still need to see—the rest of Deadwood and Freaks and Geeks for starters, plus Wonderfalls—but this is a list I can stand behind.
jlh: Simon Cowell, with the word "FAIL (gents: Simon fail)
Some of you probably heard the outcry that rose up in Dr. Who fandom regarding the possibility of a black actor being cast as, what, 11 right? There's a bingo card and everything.

Well, now EW.com has reported that preliminary word is that the casting for the live action movie based on the animated show Avatar: The Last Airbender (the movie is called The Last Airbender because of another project called Avatar) will be all white actors. This despite the fact that the characters in the show are Asian or Inuit, and much of their cultural surroundings, though set in a fantasy universe, are from various Asian and Inuit cultures. I can't put into words how disappointing this is, but luckily a few others already have, such as the Angry Asian Man. Someone on [livejournal.com profile] deadbrowalking has already called for a bingo card; the free space will probably be "It's just a cartoon." As soon as that's made, I'll link to it.

A letter-writing campaign has been started, and I'm going to send one. So there's a little act of defiance for you.

And this is going to sound obnoxious to you, I know, but this is a place where I really, really just cannot understand the way that some genre fans, including some people I know personally, set their priorities. Having a bunch of characters shooting guns in space, or performing magic-tinged marshall arts, or anything that happens in some kind of alternate universe requiring world-building, is so important that they'll put up with the worst kinds of overt racism and sexism and heterosexism in the canon in order to get it. I know, boo-hoo, I'm harshing your squee but you see, my squee has already been harshed. I don't want to have to watch films where the only thing that female charactes do is represent home. I don't want to follow television shows where the blacks are aliens and the aliens are black, or where a person of color couldn't possibly time travel. I don't want the writers of a televsion show or a book to think they deserve a pat on the back for proclaiming that a character that is now dead in canon was gay all along but that fact just kinda never got mentioned. This is going to continue to be okay until you, genre fan on my friend list, decide that it isn't. I can't do much about it; I'm a colored girl so the white boys usually behind these decisions aren't interested in what I have to say. They expect me to be unhappy and are already ignoring me. And I'm not a real genre fan, either. But if I had a nickel for the number of times I've heard "yeah, that canon has issues, but the boys are cute and I don't want to think about it!" I'd be a wealthy lady. Well, change doesn't happen until and unless you demand it, and back it up with your dollars. It's a capitalist society, so the only power you really have is the power of your consumption or lack thereof.

And I'm going to put my money where my mouth is, too. I love romances and there used to be a bunch of little indy gay romantic comedies. Where did they go? I'm going to hunt them down and support them. And I'm also going to try to drag more of my white friends to movies with black leads and primarily black casts, like Talk to Me. So there you go, my goal for 2009: to support the sort of media that's doing a thing I feel is important with my money, and not support the media that isn't. That is my ultimate right as a consumer, after all.

I'm not advocating what you do with your money, only that you take a look at your own priorities, and then spend and consume accordingly, and most importantly, knowingly. Isn't this the twenty-first century? Let's all stop being passive media consumers.
jlh: Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe, from the TV miniseries (duos: Anne and Gilbert)
I totally changed my mind about what I want to say about Avatar. Pardon the slight delay.

Avatar! )

So where does this leave me? )

So. As television moves more toward genre, and toward a sort of no-ending continuing drama, it moves further from the kind of narrative that I prefer. And I'm more aware of that now not because of fandom per se--or rather, not because fandom has led me to "over-analyze" television shows. Instead, it's because fandom has let me to write narratives of my own, and in doing that I've become much more aware of what turns me on and what doesn't.

The sad thing is, in coming into HP for the reasons I did (mysteries! coming-of-age!) I've gained friends--wonderful friends!--who pretty much have the opposite narrative priorities that I do. And I've spent a lot of time (because I'm fairly ridiculous, among other reasons) feeling really badly about that, as some of you know. I want to like the same things my friends do! Particularly because so many of my friends speak so disparagingly about the things I like that I don't really try to recommend things to them anymore. I've tried sort of forcing myself to watch a variety of things for the company--Heroes most notably--and looking for little side things that I might like. But I think that the lesson I learned from the spring of 2007 is That Way Lies Madness, or at least, a deep sort of dissatisfaction that I've been struggling with as though it was a personal failing.

But you know, it isn't. I'm not a bad geek girl for not liking science fiction television very much. I'm not a bad geek girl for liking reality television, or sitcoms. I'm not a bad geek girl for liking a well-written romance. My liking established relationships is not actually a sign of emotional immaturity on my part. My dislike of dark angsty stories, and of villains, doesn't mean I'm a wimp. Ideas aren't enough to get me through a story--I have to be emotionally engaged with the characters in some way--but that doesn't mean that I'm an idiot.

And I'm saying these things as a kind of mantra, and as a hope that some of you like these other things too, like Anne's House O'Dreams and How I Met Your Mother and American Idol and 30s romantic comedies and Little Miss Sunshine and will care if I talk about them. I'm tired of feeling like I don't like things; I want to like things! I'm tired of saying to people who are exhorting me to watch a show or read a book that I'd rather not, because that makes me feel sad. I'm tired of people putting down the things that I like to read and watch, because that also makes me feel sad. I'm a positive person and I want to be positive about the things that I like! And I'm going to try much harder to do that moving forward, which means posting about things whether I think anyone else likes them.

But don't worry, Z. I'll watch season two of BSG if it kills me!
jlh: Debbie Harry, recently (music: Debbie Harry)
I know this is, for many, a pointless request to make of an SF-F or action/adventure genre canon, but I'm not a genre fan, so I feel okay pushing for the next level. This isn't a diss on Avatar by any means, just something that felt missing, that occurred to me after a few days of thinking about the finale.

that one thing )
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (suki!)
Reacting to finales is a tricky business when you don't have expectations to compare reality to. One of my post-HP strategies when dealing with SF-F or action adventure canons is to not have expectations, to never think about where the thing is going until it's over. There was nothing I was hoping to see in the finale; Suki had already returned and Mai had already made her stand against Azula. In fact, I would say that the things I wanted wrapped up were satisfied, by and large, by the five episodes starting with The Western Air Temple and leading up to the finale.

For the sake of a few people on my flist, this is an all-happy LJ post. Upon reflection, I really only have one problem, not with the finale but with the series as a whole, which I will put in a separate post. Let's talk in terms of characters, since I can never remember what order anything happened in anyway.

Finale! Yay! )
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (OMG JAY!)
I'm finding that I have really limited interest in the revolutionary speeches of the French working class of the late 1860s. Moving on…

Two awesome television events this week! First, I know this has been all over the flists of some of you, but Avatar concludes on Nickelodeon this week. I love endings, so I'm really excited to see this one! Check out [livejournal.com profile] ali_wildgoose or [livejournal.com profile] yaytime's LJs for more details, or heck, the TV Guide. (I know, old school!)

Second, the next season of Project Runway starts on Wednesday! It snuck up on me because I'm not watching Shear Genius so I have missed all the promos. AND, TiVO alert: starting at 8am Bravo is rerunning all of PR4! Rewatch Christian's march to victory! Jack's sad and far too early exit! Chris March's totally goth use of human hair! Jillian's many mini skirts! Sweet P's endless freakouts! Rami's overuse of draping!

Okay, back to the Proudhonists now.

ETA: DONE with Proudhonists. Do not think I will include level of doctrinaire detail in the review I've yet to write.
jlh: Alexander Hamilton, with a banner that says "Federalist" (gents: Alexander Hamilton)
So this is what I did:

Thursday night I watched SYTYCD with [livejournal.com profile] ali_wildgoose, [livejournal.com profile] honestys_easy, and [livejournal.com profile] sistermagpie as usual. I agreed with the eliminations this week, and [livejournal.com profile] jm_cats was totally right about the bottom three.

Friday [livejournal.com profile] sistermagpie and I saw Gonzo, the Hunter S. Thompson docu by the guy who did the Enron docu. The movie was fantastic and very appropriate to the holiday. However, SM was covered in butter due to fake butter dispenser blowback. Then we got pizza and a beer at an old pub nearby, where some young drunk was very loud and eventually left. The bartender was awesome, though.

Saturday I went to [livejournal.com profile] erinfinnegan's and read a great deal of yaoi, and then was recorded for a podcast talking about it. Some of it was good, some inexplicable, and some was obsessed with jewelry. We also ate cake and baked potatoes and watched the first episode of the Antique Bakery anime, and now I want an icon of the cgi cat. Ali stayed over as [livejournal.com profile] emsariel was out of town.

Sunday Ali and I had brunch with friends and then wrote quite a lot and ate gazpacho.

Re writing, I've been working on two long projects lately and thinking about a third. One is the endlessly talked about sequel to EWFS, which went in a rather long wrong direction during planning and was pulled back from the brink by excellent suggestions from [livejournal.com profile] ali_wildgoose, and so has life and spark and lots of things and is fun to write and move forward, especially thanks to lots of help from [livejournal.com profile] sisterpandora. (And yes, I do plan to finish the Seamus/Dean [livejournal.com profile] fanfic100!) The other is a new Idol AU, Rymon-centric, which is probably slightly past the halfway point right now, and I want to have it all written before I start posting it as it's a fairly complicated story and I do keep going back and putting little things into earlier chapters. I have a third fic, for Avatar: The Last Airbender, percolating in the back of my brain, but I'm waiting for that canon to close before giving it serious thought. But a look at my icons would likely tell you which character it would focus on.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (suki!)
I started to do the iTunes drabble meme—you know, you put your iTunes on shuffle and write drabbles to the first ten songs—but I started the first one and remembered that I hate writing drabbles. However, I discovered that "Fortress Around Your Heart" makes me think of Sokka and Suki and "Who Do You Think" by Interpol reminds me of Mai, re Zuko. Which might be all to say, I'm really excited to see the end of Avatar.

I keep trying to do that book meme but even [livejournal.com profile] malsperanza's variant has me in fits. Too much of an Americanist, I reckon, and possibly too shy to put all those mystery books that I was actually reading on the list. But it's a work in progress and might see the light of day at some point. (I'm much better at movie memes—that's how I misspent my youth.)

This week I caught a somewhat standard countdown of America's Top TV and Movie Sleuths and was reminded of good old Jim Rockford. Steven Cannell, his creator, said that when he was writing Jim and came to a fork in the road he'd think of the cliche and then do the opposite. So Jim Rockford has a network of close friends, lives with his dad, is afraid of guns and is always getting beat up, drives an old clunker and spends most of his time on penny-ante cases, barely eking out a living—instead of a hot loyal secretary, he has an answering machine. No wonder I'd loved Rockford so much as a child—he's a fantastic character.
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (suki!)
Last week I was grading and planning an exam, so I had Avatar on, and found myself racing through the entire season, and I had to watch it again because I skipped some stuff. Anyway, here's the new list o'questions. )

[livejournal.com profile] ali_wildgoose and I were talking just a day before I watched season 2 about the SF/F penchant for monarchy and hierarchical social structures and birth destiny and how yes, that makes things simpler because many reading those genre don't care about political intrigue. But I do yearn for SF/F that results in real revolution, of the sort that we have actually had in our own universe. It was a disappointment in HP, because I really thought that was where she was going to go (especially after the destruction of the statue in the Ministry of Magic). And I don't mean the get rid of the bad king to put in the good king sort of Robin Hood thing, or the overthrow the conquerors to reinstate your own government, but the real maybe kings are bad and we should try to rule ourselves. Ah well, maybe I'm just too hopelessly American.

So, Avatar

Oct. 30th, 2007 06:55 pm
jlh: Chibi of me in an apron with a cocktail glass and shaker. (Schroder on the piano)
I was in a horrible mood today, and therefore skipped my class and came home to hide for a little while, and decided to watch a great deal of this Avatar DVD that [livejournal.com profile] ali_wildgoose loaned me. I liked it, and I'm interested in finding out how it ends, mostly because the world is interesting—as you might expect, when they started fighting I started, well, checking my flist. So the questions shouldn't be like, ways in which I didn't like it. Book 1: Water ) By the way, the sound is pretty excellent on this show.

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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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