clhollandwriter: (Default)
So, this show is a hot mess. This post is going to be chock full of spoilers, because I have a lot of thoughts on why that is from a writing standpoint.

First off - what was that first episode doing? Danny Rand turns up at the Rand building and expects to be welcomed back with open arms. Never mind the fact that he's been gone 15 years and the last time anyone saw him, he was a child. Never mind that fact that he saw his parents die in the plane crash that made him disappear, so should perhaps be aware that everyone thinks he's dead. He just turns up and expects everyone to accept him at face value - he doesn't offer any evidence or personal anecdotes to prove he is who he says he is. He could have convinced both Joy and Ward with the information he uses in later scenes and episodes right up front, but he doesn't because otherwise we wouldn't get to watch him in the psychiatric hospital in the next episode.

Which leads to - Danny Rand is an idiot. The whole show is one long stream of him being Too Stupid To Live, and yet living anyway. In the psychiatric hospital he keeps insisting he survived the crash to be raised by monks as a living weapon with a superpowered fist, in a mystical kingdom you can only get to or from every 15 years - and then wonders why they decide he's delusional. He approaches pretty much every conflict like this, wading in without thought. It gets wearing very quickly. It occurred to me while writing that possibly we're not supposed to be watching him as a 27 year old man, but as the 12 year old boy he was when he was lost. It would certainly make him more understandable. Unfortunately this doesn't come across in either the script or the performance.

To be honest, Danny's not even all that interesting. And he could be, handled differently. Show us more of that lost kid. Show us the culture shock of growing up in K'un-Lun, and of returning home and the struggle to regain an identity. Show us the struggle between his two cultures, birth and adoptive. What we get is trademark rich white vigilante. It's not that interesting and it's been done, and better.

The problem is, there's no conflict in Iron Fist's main character. In Daredevil we see the struggle between Matt's desire to enact justice and his faith. In Jessica Jones we see Jessica's need to stop Kilgrave warring with her need to hide from him and what he made her do. In Luke Cage, we see Luke's desire to get his head down and live a quiet life, and how that conflicts with his desire to protect his community, and others' attempts to do it and him harm. Danny Rand knows he's right and righteous, and acts accordingly. There's no doubt in him ("Doubt is death") and it's really, really dull. All of the supporting characters are more interesting, because they all have conflict, from Colleen struggling with the fact she actually enjoys kicking the shit out of people, to Ward trapped in a corporate hell he can't escape.

Not only are there no inner demons, there aren't any outer ones either. The first seasons of Daredevil, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage all have memorable antagonists (Fisk, Kilgrave, Cottonmouth and Diamondback) and are all fantastic. Season two of Daredevil  wasn't nearly as good, because all we had was an army of faceless ninjas. Iron Fist suffers from the same problem. Who or what is the Hand? What do they want? Who knows? Who cares any more? The Hand is not exactly a hands-on villain.

There's been a lot said on the internet about the fact that the Iron Fist is white. White saviour complex aside I don't have a problem with that because the character was already white in the comics. He is, however, too white. He's supposed to have spent more than half his life growing up in a mystical version of Tibet, but he comes across as a guy who knows how to act but not what it means and is only going through the motions. I read somewhere (and can't find the link now) that all of the main people involved are white, and I suspect that's part of the problem. If you're going to film a show about a fake-Tibetan kung fu master, at least hire someone who can point out things like how to bow correctly, to take your shoes off before you enter the dojo, and how to act like you've spent 15 years living in fake-Tibet instead of New York.

Also, where did Danny learn to drive? That's been bugging me since the start.
clhollandwriter: (marchin)
I thought I'd begin this year's posts with a couple of mentions of my favourite finds from last year.

I tend to find my favourite musical finds come from random encounters. Last years favourites are "X marks the Spot" by Ghostpoet, which I discovered from a random on demand episode of Jules Holland, and "I Can Change" by Brandon Flowers, which I heard while buying shoes and spent the rest of the evening Googling "Bronski Beat sample" to find.
Videos )
My favourite books I read last year were House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard and Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison, both of which were unconventional and reminded me there is still room for the kind of fantasy I like even if all the shouting on social media these days makes me feel differently.

I don't watch a lot of TV, since we only have on demand, but I binge-watched Daredevil and Jessica Jones and loved them both. I also belatedly discovered Stargate: Universe. I thought it was fantastic, and refreshingly different to the usual saccharine and worryingly colonial Stargate offerings. Atlantis lost me at "let's steal the alien planet's power source because we need it, even thought it will leave the inhabitants undefended". But Universe only got two seasons, because apparently it was too challenging for the usual audience. This kind of dumbing down is the reason I don't have regular TV.

Finally, food. I discovered in November I do actually like olives. Which is weird because I hated them in January.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
Somewhat oddly, given that they were sold months apart, I have a second clockwork-themed story published this month: "The Girl with the Clockwork Heart" is up today at Every Day Fiction:

Once upon a time there was a girl whose heart had broken from grief. Such was the pain of her broken heart that she went to a kindly watchmaker and asked him to make her a new one out of clockwork.

Writing is continuing, slowly but surely, on my current "holiday from serious writing" project. I'm learning a lot of things about the world and the characters as I go, and reminding myself that starting a story with little more than an idea, or character, or situation, is not necessarily a bad thing. For me, it's like reading - I discover the story as I go, and suddenly things I wasn't sure about earlier make perfect sense.

It's re-energised my writing batteries, so now I've got several other projects clamouring for attention, including some short stories I'd very much like to get finished. I'm not going to jump into anything just yet though - we're currently having a big clear out in preparation for a house-guest at the beginning of next month, and battening down the hatches for winter.

We've just finished watching season five of Supernatural on DVD. It used to be very much my show, but during season four it became a guilty pleasure for the BF too. He thinks that the end of the season looked very much like they weren't sure they were getting another, which is why it has such an air of finality to it. I have to say, I agree, although I have my suspicions about the direction season six will take: getting Adam out of Hell if he isn't already, back to the monster-of-the-week format of the first couple of seasons while they round up all the nasties that escaped Hell with Lucifer. Oh, and Castiel getting promoted to Archangel. Don't tell me if I'm right!
clhollandwriter: (Moogle)

606 words written yesterday, which is some kind of record for me lately. I only stopped because the bf pointed out that a) it was late and b) yes, I did have to go to work tomorrow, actually. And this evening is a write-off because we have plans and tomorrow we're supposed to be listening to Lenny Henry in Othello, but what I actually want to be doing is writing some more.

Impossible task, I has it.

Not only that, but the story I'm working on is proving to be difficult and, like "In Search of Camanac", insisting on being written backwards. I hate it when they do that.

I watched the end of Supernatural season 4 yesterday, and I'm not looking forward to the year-long wait until season 5 comes out on DVD. Something I've found interesting is that when I started watching, I liked Sam best and thought Dean was, frankly, a dick. But somewhere along the way my opinion of them changed, and now Dean's my favourite. I might have to watch again from the start to see when that happened.

clhollandwriter: (marchin)
Today's happy thing - yes I know I'm going a day over - is that my story "The Marsh Lights" is up at Every Day Fiction.

Yesterday's happy thing was that we had a good day of kitten cuddles and playing games, and got a load of yummy food in. Plus we watched two of the most hysterically funny episodes of Star Trek: Voyager ever - Warlord, in which sweet-natured Kes is possessed by an evil warlord and gets to stride around being all scary and male (and looking at times like Eddie Izzard), and The Q and the Grey, in which Q (from TNG) tries to persuade Captain Janeway to have his babies.
clhollandwriter: (Default)
Today I spent my lunch break formatting chapter 5 of Reunion ready to post on Notebored. However I forgot to save it where I could access it from my home computer, so now I have to do it all again or wait until Monday. D'oh!

I watched the first couple of episode of Bood Ties today. It's based on Tanya Huff's Victoria Nelson books (otherwise known as the Blood books), and I have to say so far I'm impressed. It reminds me a bit of first season Buffy - not really sure of itself, but also not taking itself too seriously. The villains are gloriously over-the-top, and include an amusingly Cockney demon. Plus there's the obligatory prettyboy vampire, played by Kyle Schmid. The vampire ties my brain in knots though. Not because he's bad - far from it, in fact. And he could kick Angel's ass any day. :-D No, he hurts my brain because he's the spitting image of my mental picture of Thomas from The Dresden Files books, only with lighter hair.

This causes me painage partly because now my supernatural critters are starting to overlap, but also because for the last five or so books the characters in The Dresden Files have been played in my head by people from elsewhere.

Seriously. Bob sounds like Billy Crystal doing Calcifer in Howl's Moving Castle, Marcone talks like Fat Tony from The Simpsons, and Lasciel is Number Six from the new Battlestar Galactica. And now Thomas is Henry Fitzroy in Blood Ties. Yeesh.

clhollandwriter: (Default)
Apparently Mars, the people who make Mars Bars, Snickers, Bounty, Minstrels, Galaxy chocolate, Milky Way, Maltesers, and most of the other most popular chocolate bars in the country have decided to make them using animal rennet, making them unsuitable for vegetarians.


I'm not a veggie, but the boyf is so no more choccies for him! I will be boycotting them too, because there's no reason for them to start doing this as there is a perfectly acceptable animal equivalent already in use.

I watched the Eurovision Song Contest on Saturday - all alone except for a tub of ice cream. So what if it's trash and full of dreadful, dreadful songs? It's fun, just don't take it too seriously!

There were actually some interesting entries this year: Swedish glam rock; Hungarian blues; German swing (one of my favourites by far); two lots of opera; and what appeared to be a Finnish version of Evanescence. The most frightening by far (apart from our own dire offering) was the Ukranian drag queen dancing in a silver suit to the strains of an accordian, not least because I've had the damn song stuck in my head since then....

It was so bad I'm thinking about buying the CD. Purely for posterity, of course....

I've been reading a lot of Patricia McKillip again lately. I read Cygnet, which I have to say I liked as much as the Riddle-Master books. It was nicely understated and McKillip does a nice line in bitter and reluctant heroes. Harrowing the Dragon was a collection of short stories, some better than others as is always the case. Winter Rose was an odd one - I liked the plot, and the main male character was nicely brooding. It was actually very cleverly done, because when you get to the end you realise you don't know how much of the sotry actually happened, and if it did if anyone other than the main character is aware of it. However I felt she was lacking a bit in her descriptions. Normally McKillip's descriptions are beautiful flowing things, but some of these felt awkward, especially the ones where she described the elderly as having skin flowing over bones like melted wax. It could have been just to show something about the main character (it's in first person) but it didn't really come across like that to me. It felt more like McKillip doing a bad impression of herself, as if she was trying to remember how she used to write and not quite getting there. It's still a very good book though.

Back now.

Mar. 31st, 2007 01:13 pm
clhollandwriter: (Default)
I'm back now, after three days of payroll training, and spent most of last night processing payroll in my sleep. I dread to think what it will be like when I actually have to set up the system and run it. As it is I have loads of things I need to make a note of, with regards to setting up the system, but the boyf won't let me do that because it's the weekend.

It was nice being away - I got to explore a bit, and sit in watching Sky TV (at home we only have 3 1/2 channels, all with bad reception). Plus I got to wake up late and watch cartoons before even thinking about gettting out of bed. It was very lonely though, and I always feel a bit silly going out to eat by myself although that wasn't so bad on the day I actually remembered to take a book along. I almost went to the cinema alone on Thursday evening, but the only thing on was the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie and I wasn't about to stoop that low!

On the minus side all my plans to get writing done in the evenings, and extra time I had in the mornings, fell by the wayside. I wrote a grand total of four lines the whole time. :( I ended up not getting up in the mornings until I had to (and anyway, Astroboy was on!) and Sky One was my constant companion in the evenings. This is why I don't watch much TV at home....

The end result being I haven't actually read, listened to or watched anything new all week, with the exception on a random episode of The Dresden Files. It's one of my favourite series of books, but it makes for mediocre TV. They've taken some of the best aspects on the books and removed them: Bob the Skull (an immensely cool sidekick who in my head always sounds like Calcifer from Howl's Moving Castle) has become Bob the spirit who always manifests as a person and is more melancholy than lecherous; Murphy, the kickass tiny female policewoman, now just appears to be a bitch (although I am judging this on the stregnth of one episode); Morgan, who hates Harry with a passion, is far too nice; and Harry's apartment is full of electrical devices that in the books would fizz and die if he went anywhere near them. That last one and Bob are probably the most annoying. They were two of the things that made the books so amazing, which has reinforced my viewpoint that TV executives don't know what they're doing. It's a series I'd watch but only if I had nothing better to do, whereas I'd gladly fight to get my hands on the last copy of one of the books. :D
clhollandwriter: (armed)
I got the best Valentine's present from the boyf today - a box of Black Magic (my best and favourite chocolates ever!) and a mug with Eeyore on it. He always knows exactly what to get, even if the chocolates do somewhat ruin my attempt at a healthy eating plan! I gave him a DVD (James in concert) and an IOU for dinner of his choice, which he's decided to spend in our local pub/restaurant. It's fabulous there so I have no complaints, and it means I don't have to cook. :)

Season 1 of House

House is a series about an American doctor, crippled by an infarction in his leg, who by outward appearance hates the world and everyone in it. He is bitter and sarcastic, has a problem with authority (he refuses to wear a lab coat, or visit his patients unless absolutely necessary), but he is also a brilliant doctor who specialises in diagnosing those impossible cases that no one else can deal with.

This is a very odd series indeed. Hugh Laurie's performance as House is flawless, and his accent so good that Bryan Singer originally thought he was American. In fact there's not a performance I'd fault, from Dr Cameron's doe-eyed optimism, Dr Foreman's suspicion of House's treatment of him, and Dr Chase's Aussie rich-boy. House's sarcasm is addictive - you just want to hear what he says, how he is going to be rude to his superiors or browbeat a patient - and the medical puzzles are fun to watch, even if they are so medically technical that the average lay-person has very little chance of figuring them out.

My main problem with this show is that the episodes are very formulaic. The medical cases all seem to follow the same pattern - misdiagnosis, treatment, the patient gets worse, different misdiagnosis, the patient's condition changes, House figures it out (usually through one of the minor cases enountered during his time in the much-hated clinic) and the patient (mostly) gets better. They are never right first time, and the patient is almost always at death's door before the doctor's figure out what's wrong with them.

There is also a lack of emotional depth in the show, probably because it focuses predominantly on one character, and because the medical cases and not the characters are the main feature of each episode. Unlike other hospital drama's like ER, where you know bad things can happen to the characters (divorce, losing a limb, brain tumour) there is a sense that House is untouchable, and that his freinds and colleagues are mostly untouchable by association. During one story-arc the new multi-billionaire chairman of the board takes a dislike to House and wants him gone, but there is never any real sense that he'll succeed. Part of this is down to House's maverick behaviour - he frequently breaks ethical codes and hospital prcedures in order to get the patient treaeted, ignoring a DNR order and sending his staff to break into patients' houses to help with diagnosis - for which he is almost never punished. However, this in itself is not a bad thing. Although it lessens the sense that anything bad will happen to House, it also emphasises the show's unreal nature. A situation where patients are coming in with unlikely conditions (nuns with stigmata-like allergic reactions, children with leprosy and anthrax at the same time) needs an unlikely doctor to figure it out.

It is this "unrealism" that makes House such a watcheable programme. It doesn't take itself seriously, and the characters are engaging enough to make the audience care about what happens to them. Oh, and it's got Robert Sean Leonard in it, which is a reason to watch all by itself. :-D

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