Dara had to point out to me the significance of this–this is a paraphrase of Baker’s own lines after he regenerates in The Caves of Androzani. 😀
As for me?
This is the most excited I’ve been about Doctor Who in years. I watched the intro trailer, and felt a little catch in my heart at the simple visual of a key materializing in a female hand–and the TARDIS answering to a female presence.
The idea of a woman leading the adventure, of being blindingly brilliant, of having the sort of boundless compassion that leads the Doctor over and over and over again to standing up for humanity is heady and exciting. I am very, very much looking forward to seeing Thirteen show us what she can do.
And I’m very much hoping that she’ll open the door wider to a future where anyone can truly be the Doctor. I want to see an actor of color for Fourteen, are you listening, BBC?
But until it’s time for Fourteen, I’ll be there to see what new parts of time and space Thirteen will have to show us!
Just a few minutes after Bleeding Cool originally broke the story yesterday, I saw it showing up on my Twitter feed that Richard Hatch had passed away. And for me, it was an immediate punch to the gut.
I’ve posted a lot about my Star Wars fandom, and in particular about my long-abiding love of Han Solo. I have not, however, posted nearly as much about my affection for the original Battlestar Galactica–or how in particular, Apollo as played by Richard Hatch totally was duking it out with Han as to who I was fangirling over harder, back in the early 80’s when I was a tiny young tween.
But it’s true. I like to put into my author bio that I was writing fanfic before I even knew the word. Some of that fanfic was Raiders of the Lost Ark fic–but some of it was Battlestar Galactica. Thinly veiled BSG fic, as I was trying to make up a setting with my own names, but it was totally BSG with the serial numbers scraped off. I no longer retain a copy of that fic, but to this day I have a very clear memory of writing about my own versions of Starbuck and Apollo.
Especially Apollo. Because while Starbuck was the flamboyant one, I always found Apollo more appealing. He was the one who had more of his shit together–or his felgercarb, as the case may be. I was at the exact right age for the romantic angst of his losing his first love interest Serena, and later getting close to Sheba, to send me into flurries of teenaged swooning. Dark-haired soulful brooding romantic pilot hero? Hell yeah, said teenage me, sign me up.
Let us also talk about how my affection for Apollo also led me, in those days, to watch Richard Hatch in the movie Deadman’s Curve, a made-for-TV movie about the history of the singing duo Jan and Dean. It has been ages since I saw that film, but I have a lingering memory of the impact of watching Hatch, as Jan Berry, portraying the man’s struggle to recover from a horrifically debilitating accident.
Later on, though, Hatch came back around to impact my affection for the reboot Battlestar. I’ve written a lot about that in the past, and to be sure, Hatch’s turn as Tom Zarek was amazing. But a great deal can be said as well for how his Apollo influenced Jamie Bamber’s in the reboot–and, in fact, Tor.com has an excellent post up today about that very thing, calling Apollo the moral compass of Battlestar Galactica. Teenage me really only understood that Apollo was dreamy. Grownup me very, very much appreciates Hatch’s pivotal role, so excellently described in that Tor.com post.
And I gotta say, you guys, I’m not impressed. Here’s a bit of a roundup of thoughts I’ve been having on Facebook and Twitter.
I adored the original show. Every last cheesy mullet-y duct-tape-and-Swiss-Army minute of it. I’ve rewatched a lot of my favorite episodes multiple times. Everybody always talks about how MacGyver’s thing was that he solved problems in such off-the-wall and brilliant ways–and sure, yeah, that was awesome. But it wasn’t even necessarily why I loved the show so much. It was more that it was just a focus in general on a hero whose first instinct was to think his way out of a problem rather than shoot his way out. And, I also always loved that MacGyver in general was a very down-to-earth, laid-back kind of guy. In the early seasons in particular, when they still did Mac’s voiceovers for narration, we particularly got to see this characterization of him in play.
What I’m seeing in this trailer is not that.
What I’m seeing in this trailer is a smart young guy who’s a bit too aware of–and arrogant about–his own brilliance. Now, I’m grudgingly willing to allow for the possibility that Angus MacGyver might have been more of a douche in his 20’s. People who are assholes when they’re young do sometimes pull their heads out of their asses as they get older and wiser; it’s been known to happen! But I’m not really buying it for this character. It feels wrong.
(Also, while I have no particular beef with the actor they’ve cast, even if my only prior experience with him being as a member of the X-Men plays a little weirdly in trying to get me to buy him as MacGyver now, I will also say this: this kid has no mullet. HE COULD NOT POSSIBLY BE MACGYVER WITHOUT A MULLET. I’m just SAYING.)
Second problem: the trailer’s trying way, way too hard to play upon MacGyver’s place in popular culture now. It’s assuming that its potential audience knows about the character and respects what made him so popular, and that therefore, we’re all eager to see him come back. To wit: not so fast there.
For one thing, I’m very, very, very tired of Hollywood’s current trend for rebooting every goddamn franchise on the planet. Even the ones I adored when I was growing up. That I adored MacGyver as a younger woman doesn’t necessarily mean I want to see a second version of that same show now. (Particularly if the newer version doesn’t really capture the aspects of what I loved about the first one to begin with.) Honestly, I’d much prefer to see more emphasis on exploring series ideas (or in the case of movies, franchise ideas) that haven’t been done before.
For another thing, if you’re going to return to a previously established franchise, I want to see you do something actually new with it. And rebooting the original storyline so that “now it takes place in the 2010’s rather than in the 1980’s” doesn’t really count as “new”.
Y’know what I would really have loved to see them do? A new MacGyver show that goes the “sequel” route rather than “reboot”–and has a female lead character rather than a male lead. We’ve seen the “quirkily brilliant guy solves his way out of crises” thing. But I would have adored seeing “quirkily brilliant woman solves her way out of crises” thing.
Particularly if she happened to be Mac’s granddaughter. The original series established in its final episode that Mac did have a 20-year-old son. This much later, it would be totally plausible for that son to now have an adult daughter. Who inherited Grandpa Angus’s smarts. And his Swiss Army knife. I would watch the ever-living fuck out of that show.
Angharad MacGyver. I can see it now. I even whipped up an intro paragraph for her on Facebook, in the vein of those aforementioned voiceovers the original show used to do.
A lot of girls, when they’re eight years old, get dollhouses or Barbies for their birthdays. My Grandpa Angus gave me a Swiss Army knife. Okay, yeah, I also got a dollhouse. Three hours later, after I took that sucker apart with the knife, my mom tried to explain to me that that wasn’t how you played with a dollhouse. Grandpa Angus just smiled, handed me a roll of duct tape, and told me to see what I could make by putting the pieces back together.
It was also pointed out on my Facebook thread that Mac’s son from the original show could have a whole passel of children by now, too. And I just giggle and giggle imagining four or five MacGyver grandchildren who all inherited Grandpa Angus’s smarts. Thanksgiving at their house would be EPIC. It would be an exercise in “how can we cook the turkey this year and NOT make everything explode?”
Sadly, CBS did not see fit to consult me on the matter.
Dara says that the acting in the trailer is not impressing her, but then again, she never was a fan of the original either; she flat refuses to be in the room if I’m watching it. And I’ll say straight up, I will cheerfully grant that the original wasn’t exactly a masterpiece of acting genius! It’s also possible that this newer edition of the show will establish its own brand of cheesy, quirky charm.
But I’m dubious. The bombastic fanfare this trailer’s got, with the HUGE! FONT! CHOICES! and the Inception-style blaring horn strikes, just doesn’t match what I think of when I think of MacGyver. And “I’m so awesome” smirking doesn’t match, either. And another of my Facebook commenters also justly points out that the whole core concept of MacGyver, i.e., “quirky genius who solves crises with everyday items” has been followed up on a lot in shows that came after it. So it’s not as fresh an idea now as it was back when the original series aired.
I’ll be keeping an eye on this. But before I commit to actually watching it, I will be paying VERY close attention to reviews. And right now, I’m thinkin’ that if I want to revisit Mac, I’ll just break out the original show again.
(Though I may have to write me an Angharad MacGyver fic, too.)
I’ve been seeing good buzz for the new Supergirl show on the Mary Sue and Tor.com for ages now, and this week, the show finally premiered. Picoreview: I liked it! It had a few heavy-handed moments in it, and it does suffer from the whole “need to do the origin story” problem that just about all superhero storylines do. But on the whole I quite enjoyed it. Melissa Benoist as Kara is awesome. Callista Flockhart as Cat Grant was sublime, and plus, I hadn’t realized her character was in fact Cat Grant, who I also adored from way back in the days of Lois & Clark.
Mehcad Brooks as Jimmy James Olsen was an unexpected treat. NICE change of pace for Jimmy Olsen. 😀
Plus, the plot did some things right out of the gate that I was not expecting either. And in general I just really appreciated the overall upbeat, optimistic “yeah actually I have superpowers and I WANT TO HELP PEOPLE and did I mention HOLY CRAP FLYING IS AMAZING” attitude of it all. So yeah, I’ll be sticking around for at least the next few episodes to see what happens next.
The Mary Sue has their recap post for the episode up. Tor.com also has a review post up, talking in particular about how the episode establishes its intent re: feminism. I’m more or less on board with both of these posts, which will be no surprise to y’all. I did find the “rah rah feminism” a bit heavy-handed, but on the other hand, not unwarranted either–particularly in this day and age where so often, feminism is taken as a bad thing. There are folks out there that need to be reminded that yes, girls can be superheroes too.
But now that we’ve gotten the origin story out of the way, I look forward to Kara actually learning to be more effective with her powers–and hopefully, less dialogue gymnastics to try to keep everybody from having to identify Superman by name, or explain why he’s off camera and can’t be arsed to actually, y’know, pick up a phone and call his cousin every so often.
Because yeah. Flying IS freggin’ awesome. And so is a superhero show that brings some light and optimism to the watching.
Much to our surprise, Dara and I actually enjoyed the two-part season opener for Doctor Who: “The Magician’s Apprentice” and “The Witch’s Familiar”. Y’all may recall that we bailed on watching partway through season 8, and we’d been pretty sure we weren’t going to come back.
But after hearing good buzz about the first half of this two parter, Dara decided to check it out and quite liked it. So I joined her on a rewatch of that one, and then we watched part two last night.
Picoreview: this was in all honesty the most enjoyment I’ve had out of a Moffat story in a while! Spoilers behind the fold.
My household was beyond delighted with the finale of Avatar: The Legend of Korra this weekend. Along with a great deal of the rest of the Internet, we were specifically delighted by the ending.
Dara’s been monitoring the Korrasami explosion on tumblr all weekend, which has been a delight to behold. Not so much of a delight is the fight Dara’s been having to wage on Wikipedia to get the Korrasami ending acknowledged–because while a lot of the fandom is in favor of it, there are those who are stridently against it as well.
Which makes me sad. It makes me sad as well that the creators couldn’t come right out and explicitly declare that Korra and Asami had feelings for each other. But it should surprise none of you that I’m in favor of it. Others all over the Net have called out how the show went as close to outright stating as they could.
For example, with the framing of Korra and Asami in a way that’s noticeably similar to various established het couples in this season.
Couples on Korra
Or how the music they played over that final scene is the same piece they used in Airbender when Aang and Katara declared their feelings for each other: a thing called, in fact, “The Avatar’s Love”.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: representation matters. I grant you, I’m coming at this with a bisexual worldview, and so it seems pretty damned apparent to me that this storyline’s intent is that Korra and Asami became a couple. But what looks like representation to me unfortunately is not as obvious to people who aren’t specifically hoping for that kind of a resolution–and worse, those for whom same-sex relationships are outright objectionable are bound and determined to go LALALALALALA I CAN’T HEAR YOU. The fight Dara’s having on Wikipedia had the other person eventually state that they wouldn’t take anything short of a statement by the creators of the show as to what was intended.
A statement that, I note, would not be demanded if that final scene had involved Mako instead of Asami. I doubt anybody who saw the finale would have doubted for an instant that that was a romantic resolution if Mako had been involved.
As for me? I choose to believe that Asami and Korra are now going to have a delightful and romantic sojourn in the spirit world, and perhaps Uncle Iroh will officiate their marriage. Because I mean, honestly, people, how is this not a romantic scene?
Korra and Asami
Also, I’d just like to say that even aside from the Korrasami ending, the whole season has been a delight. I really appreciated the character development on Korra’s part, and even aside from the rough schedule imposed on the show by Nickelodeon, I feel that seasons 3 and 4 were both very strong storytelling. And the finale in particular was deeply satisfying, and a hell of a strong note to end on.
I really, really hope we’ll get to continue to visit Korra’s world courtesy of the Avatar comics Dark Horse has been putting out. They’ve been doing excellent stories featuring Aang’s cast, and I would buy stories featuring further adventures with the Korra cast in a heartbeat.