lordyellowtail: (Default)
Randomly wandering around on YouTube, I found this fun interview with Brent Spiner on whether he'd like a part on the new Star Trek, and his thoughts on if he'd ever come back to play Data (physically, no, but voiceover, absolutely). An absolutely charming movie, and Mr. Spiner's choice for who should play Lt. Commander Data in a reboot. She is an amazing choice that never occurred to me until he said it.

Watch the video, or , if spoilers are your thing, look at how I've tagged this post.

As usual, Mr Spiner is absolutely charming.



Read more... )
lordyellowtail: (Captain Picard Squee)
Continuing with the theme from SVS 006 of ordinary people's relationships being a wonderful treat in an otherwise unordinary setting, let us travel back to the halcyon days of 1990s family television programming that we both love forever and are now almost uniformly too embarrassed by to admit we like in public.

ABC's TGIF Friday night family sitcom lineup spent over a decade codifying the family-friendly, (usually healthy) aesop-heavy, generally-harmless, sometimes groan-inducing style of programming that defined 1990s domestic comedy.

There were a lot of them, and with a few exceptions that explicitly embraced the supernatural (hello, Sabrina and Teen Angel), they all purported to be aggressively rooted in the real world. (Admittedly, Family Matters got overtaken by Steve Urkel's descent into zany super-science, but if you cut that out the show was really about the relationships between Steve and various members of the Winslow family.)

The problem emerged within the first few episodes of all these shows, though--if not the pilot episode itself. Watching aggressively normal people do aggressively normal stuff is aggressively boring. And these shows needed to be funny and entertaining enough to keep people coming back for enough years to wrack up sufficient episodes for lucrative first-run syndication deals. So invariably you took your aggressively normal people, wrapped them in Plot Armor and Made of Iron tropes usually reserved for shonen and shojo anime protagonists, and subjected them to the sort of bizarre, reality-is-unrealistic comedies of errors and random, I-can't-believe-that-didn't-kill-you coincidences and accidents that might happen to one of us in the real world maybe once in our entire lives.

And you did that weekly, and we loved to watch it.

Looking at the situation from a meta perspective years later, one can only conclude the people in all these shows were subject to living on an earth that, while appearing to be Pleasantville, was actually the playground of some mad god who was treating them like his own personal game of The Sims and trying to see how far he could push them before they broke. That some of them (like Eric Matthews on Boy Meets World) descended into a functional sort of actual insanity indicates that they figured out what was going on and went a bit mad from the revelation.

Then there was the actually horrifying stuff, like one of Frank Lambert's sons actually disappearing from Step by Step and no-one mentioning him or acknowledging he existed ever again, or the habit of babies to age up to approximately age six in less than a single calendar year. Likely because the mad Sims-playing god adjusted the age slider because infants make somewhat useless toys.

But I seriously digress.

The point being, for all their supposed normality, these shows were deeply and fundamentally bizarre. Re-watching them post-puberty, with an awareness of how romance is supposed to work, leads me to think that, just like in Xena, there is value in celebrating the normality of healthy, loving relationships in these sorts of universes. It's telling that on a lot of the TGIF shows, the most interesting romantic relationships belonged to the stable, happily married parent-couples that stood a few degrees removed from the zany hellscape that so infected their children's romantic entanglements. While JT Lambert idiotically tried to use his baby sister to pretend to be a single father to pick up chicks in a mall (a number of boys tried this on various shows), Frank and Carol Lambert sat at home and held hands and hugged while looking at their finances and realizing they can actually barely afford their newest kid, Lily. Cory Matthews and Topanga Lawrence take a break from their neurotic college romance, and Eric Matthews shook off his crazy, when they are pulled back into the orbit of Cory and Eric's parents Alan and Amy, whose new baby is premature and ill and may not make it out of the neonatal intensive care unit at the hospital.

So, watching the kids' romantic arcs, the most interesting thing to me is seeing them grow and mature and gradually move out of the zaniness and towards the normality and stability of their parents' relationships. Some of them are better at this than others, and some never quite get there. even by the time of their series finale, and viewers are left holding the bag and cringing and thinking, "well, they're better off than when they started."

And some of them don't just get there but cross the finish line on a jetpack, and when these are the ones you wrote off as gag couples, that's even sweeter.

Dana Foster and Rich Halke are probably at the top of the stack in terms of TGIF teen-couples. It starts off fairly cliched: Dana is a highly motivated, intelligent, career- and goal-driven nerd (though she would never be called that because she was also beautiful and it would be another 15 to 20 years before TV really started to admit that beautiful nerds were a thing that existed) who was socially conscious and politically active and had no patience for those she viewed as beneath her (this was in fact her biggest character flaw at the start: it made her hard to watch because she came off as genuinely hurtful more than once). Watching her grow out of that last thing while still maintaining everything that made her great was a real joy. (Now that I think about it, Dana's character arc is not that dissimilar from Daria Morgendorffer's.)

Rich started out as one of JT's friends, which meant he was very much like JT: a shallow, girl-crazy, insensitive jock who came across as a complete idiot, but good-hearted and loyal and even brave when it actually counted. Though while JT got no justification for his constant academic failure and lack of common sense until the show runners tried a saving throw and diagnosed him with dyslexia (which was sadly played for laughs and never really explored beyond a few lines of dialogue), Rich was quite clearly shown to be lazy. His idea of tutoring is to hire someone to write a paper for him while he played basketball, and he was even self-aware enough to request that the papers not be too good so as not to draw attention.

And he's apparently been getting away with this for so long that he doesn't think a thing about it when he accidentally hires Dana to be his tutor, and tries to order a paper from her. Needless to say, that lasts about 30 seconds (which is 25 seconds longer than I thought it would) before she makes him do the work himself (or tries to), and one thing leads to another and in one moment of what she quite accurately and hilariously calls "demented passion," they're making out in the kitchen.

And on most shows that would be the end of it. Maybe you'd get one disastrous joke date (with a 50 percent chance of ending in a food-fight), but that would be the end of the gag and neither character would really change, but instead go on comfortable and secure in the knowledge that they are correct and "demented passion" or not, the other character is wrong and lame and Status Quo is God and no one is allowed to grow up.

That didn't happen, this time. Dana tried; she had terrible luck with dating up till that point because most guys were intimidated by/jealous of her intelligence and independence and so she was primed to assume the worst about everyone interested in her--which is disturbingly realistic for young women in Dana's position. But Rich wasn't willing to let it go and we got to see a new side of him: he was still an academic slacker and not the sharpest tool in the shed, but when he decided to be honest with her it turned out there was a whole actual person underneath all the 1990s dudebro cliches he was wrapped in, and he managed to get her to keep going out with him in a respectful, yet hilarious way. She was never a nerd he was taking pity on or something he won or brought down to his level. She was Dana and he was thrilled and honored that she wanted to share herself with him; it's implied that one of the reasons he was initially dismissive and combative of her was that he was convinced she was the sort of person who was completely beyond him, so he got defensive from the beginning. And Dana grew at the same time: Rich was the kind of person she started the series thinking was much beneath her boot soles, and a good part of her early courtship is admitting to herself that she has been overly-judgmental and that there is actually someone underneath the moron jock facade that she is deeply attracted to.

It's a horrible thing in real life and writing when a person tries to remake themselves and sacrifice their core values to appease a romantic partner, and most sitcom gag couples end when they try to do this, with the obvious aesop. The Step by Step writers acknowledge and deliberately avert this. Both Rich and Dana have characteristics and habits the one one doesn't care for, but the solution is not to excise those bits out, but to engage in realistic self-improvement that's not about changing your identity, but about how you engage with the people you care about. Dana, in essence, has to learn that real people are complicated, and in a relationship you have to take all of them. You can't just cherry-pick the parts you like. Rich has to learn how to stop using his slacker persona as a shield from forming the sort of deep and genuine bonds real romantic relationships require (because that shield is keeping Dana out), without sacrificing the fun-loving, joyful part of his personality. In other words, he has to learn balance if he wants this relationship to work.

And they both acknowledge these things, and work on them together, and in the middle of the laugh tracks and everything-but-Godzilla-showing-up insanity, they succeed. In fact, aside from Frank and Carol, by series' end they have the most developed, stable, healthy and realistic relationship of all the "child" characters, and have personally undergone some of the most comprehensive growth arcs.

This was most striking as a viewer upon seeing the thing that almost broke them up. It wasn't some zany mistaken-for-cheating plot (though they went through one of those, but it was resolved in 5 minutes), or a harrowing set of circumstances like one of their parents moving several states away and physically separating them, or any of the normal Pleasantville-Hellscape cliches generally reserved for a show's "kid couples." They were college age at that point, or nearly so, and Dana became so overwhelmed by the idea of planning for the future in the midst of their presently dim financial prospects and career uncertainties and other such things that, well, are quite familiar concerns to almost every real world adult couple everywhere.

And Rich, instead of freaking out and doing something that blows it like he would've before they first started dating and he was consumed with flippant laziness and shallow inability to commit, fully understands where she's coming from and why she's afraid (because he's not exactly not worrying about this stuff either). But he'll never be a genius like Dana and knows he doesn't have the words in him to get his message through to her.

So he thinks hard about it, takes out his heart and tacks it on his sleeve, and risks humiliating himself in a way he never would have dared upon his introduction. He invokes TGIF's most adorkable, heartwarming music number ever (according to me, tenured Professor of Dorkdom at I Can't Believe You're Writing So Many Words About This University), and proceeds to get her back with a hand held karaoke machine and the power of Sonny and Cher, who had the right words decades ago. In public, with dozens if not hundreds of witnesses.

And it works, because what he's really saying is "yes, there are uncertainties, and yes, they are frightening, but it doesn't matter because I would be facing them with you, and you would be facing them with me, and we'd figure it out and make it work because that's what love gives you the strength to do."

It's presented with the usual goofy, nearly-impossible-to-believe-that-worked circumstances common to most TGIF kids' romantic scenes, but when you stop and think about it you realize it only works and they only stay together because of how much both of them have grown and are able to think and function in a relationship like young adults, not kids. Rich and Dana look and function most like Frank and Carol in this moment.

I think one of the things I like best about it is all the initially annoyed/confused adult couples in the room getting into it and starting to dance as he sings. It's tacit approval.

And it's still cheesy and goofy and still kind of beautiful just for that.

The actual song is about 2 minutes long. Stick around for the after credits scene where they cosplay as Sonny and Cher. It's hilarious and adorable, but doesn't have the magic of the in-character performance.




lordyellowtail: (X and Alia (By Your Side))
Warning: There are seriously huge spoilers for the finale of Xena: Warrior Princess in this post.

I realize I usually use this space for a mini shipping manifesto and fan music video, but I'm going to do something a bit different for this one. I'd like to get a bit meta about how I got back into this ship, as it's been consuming my fannish thoughts a lot this week.

So, reading about the upcoming Xena reboot made me realize (with a great wave of fannish guilt, I assure you) just how much I love and adore and miss this series. I've taken a deep dive back into the fandom over the last 10 days or so and fallen in love all over again. (Oddly enough, at the same time I've also been getting back into ER fandom, which is a very strange combination that has led to a number of odd crossover ideas.)

That said, due to medical issues (and the complications of trying to graduate high school while going through extensive, years-long physical rehab), I fell out of the fandom after the first few seasons.

I only found out about the gut-punchingly cruel way Xena died (and the way the show made sure to use it as a means to torture Gabrielle) a few days ago, and I've been pretty upset about it most of this week. It's just so egregiously traumatizing for the characters and the fanbase and, in light of mainstream TV's history of killing off LGBT characters (and the recent fandom outcry and protest that happened when they did it to Lexa on The 100, which has been loud and coordinated enough to make mainstream news), pretty damn offensive.

So how did I find out that she died (and the means of her death)? Looking for shipping videos for this post. I feel like their relationship is best served by 1990s and early 2000s power love ballads, and the top hits on YouTube for those Xena/Gabrielle videos are set around the series finale. DEATH EVERYWHERE.

So, yeah. There's gonna be a delay while I find something I like that's not set at the series finale and doesn't depress the hell out of me.

In the meantime, I will say this about why I ship them. I didn't at first, mostly because I hadn't really hit puberty when the series started and I started watching it (because I loved Kevin Sorbo's Hercules), so I didn't really have the awareness or emotional intelligence to detect the subtext. But I was old enough within just a couple of years, and it was immediately obvious why the LGBT community loved Xena, because they were absolutely perfect for each other, and it wasn't a matter of will they/won't they. They did, almost from the first day.

And once I was old enough, I couldn't believe people could watch the show and not see they were a couple in all the emotional ways that actually matter.

The showrunners now say they were constrained by the executives, but even with those constraints, the subtext between Xena and Gabrielle was basically text. They weren't allowed to come right out and state in universe that they were a gay couple, but they pushed that boundary to the breaking point, and more importantly, they didn't really need to make it explicit. I'd even go so far as to argue the writers had to explore the depth of their emotional connection even more thoroughly and artfully because they couldn't fall back on the stock physical cliches of heteronormative storytelling, and the relationship was better written for it.

Love is love. Sexual orientation doesn't matter; when you love someone you love them, and if you know how to recognize love in other people, it's impossible to miss. The writers on XWP realized they couldn't regularly give us explicit dates, regular physical intimacy, etc.--all the hallmarks of a standard TV dating plot. They couldn't even imply it or have the characters talk about it as though it happened off screen.

So they tore out all the window dressing and garnish, and gave us two people who were partners and best friends and loved and lived first and foremost for each other. They were each other's world, floating through a universe of other people who came and went but were never more important than each other. They fought gods and demons and armies of men, and did extraordinary feats reserved for demigods and warriors of legend, but their relationship with each other was the most down to earth and human thing about them. The legendary Warrior Princess and her Bard-Who-Would-Be-Amazon-Queen were identities they grew to wear like masks, like Clark Kent in the Superman suit.

When they stopped to eat or trade for supplies or mend their clothes or talk and bicker about anything not having to do with their wandering adventures, or at night curled up together by the fire, they were really no different from Rob and Laura Petrie or Jill and Tim Taylor or Andy and Connie on NYPD Blue and so many others. They led extraordinary lives, but when all that fell away they were just two ordinary people.

Without ever saying the words we associate with courtship, we saw them meet and date and utterly devote themselves to each other for eternity over the course of the series, and it was beautiful until the end.

And I think that's what makes them so wonderful and adorable and enduring for fans. They fought gods and monsters and despots, but when they were alone, they were a happy, content, utterly devoted married couple who shared the same emotions, thoughts, and relationship struggles we all do here in the post-magical real world. Their relationship was pure and wonderful and stuck out like a beacon thanks to its normality and reliability in an otherwise high-fantasy, sometimes narm-tastic setting.

There are some characters that you think could never survive outside their own canon because they're so specialized and adapted to their own world they can't really exist anywhere else. (e.g.: What would Josh Lyman and Donna Moss, two 20th century US political operatives, do with themselves if you dropped them into Star Trek's universe and a post-scarcity, near-utopian political system unlike anything they know? They are defined not just by themselves or their relationship, but what they do.)

Just as in the ideal marriage, Xena and Gabrielle have their own likes and dislikes and hopes and dreams, but as for defining who they are? They can't do that without first inextricably tying themselves to each other. They share their strengths and weaknesses and are each stronger for it. Each of them admits several times in the series they are only what they are because the other one is in their life, for better or worse. They would have no trouble anywhere or anywhen because what they are--before anything else--is each other's, always and forever. Their relationship is immutable and independent of the setting, which is what real true love is suppose to be.

That wouldn't change even if they were the weirdly affectionate "roommates" who moved into the house next door to Rob and Laura Petrie in the 1950s and lived completely peaceful lives and only showed up as drop-in characters on The Dick Van Dyke Show when Rob and Laura needed a babysitter. It wouldn't change if Xena spent her days fixing hot rods with Tim Taylor while Gabrielle wrote best-selling novels and griped affectionately with Jill about their partners' lack of appreciation for things like opera and high art while Xena and Tim tried to make sense of Wilson's life advice. It wouldn't change if they were an experienced and rookie detective pair just partnered together by Lt. Fancy, ready to patrol the mean streets of New York City.

They don't need extraordinary lives to justify or energize their relationship, because what makes their lives extraordinary is each other.

So, I kind of went off on a mini-ship manifesto anyway, I guess. As to the video that I decided to use for this, there's a compilation of canon clips from an episode that chronicles what they do when they're not being legends. That they operate as demigod heroes in a high-fantasy setting and the most important part of their personalities and relationship with each other is utterly rooted in something so completely normal and pure as mundane human companionship fills me with squee. It's the only thing about their lives that isn't rooted in the supernatural and myth and legend and the eternal battle between good and evil.

And most of the time that normality translated into them being utterly adorable goofballs that we all identified with and loved to watch.

In conclusion, the series finale never happened. Because I'm not ever going to accept that something this adorable and lovely and pure could end like that.

lordyellowtail: (Harry/Hermione (Pirate Ships))
I've been talking to [personal profile] ilyena_sylph for a while today, and while we were speaking I had a brainwave I wanted to preserve here.

When the whole Justice League is running out to go do good in the last scene in the Justice League Unlimited series finale, they’re all grouped up into, shall we say, super friend groups.
 

Except Question is one of the first ones out and he’s running alone. There are people in front of him and behind him but not next to him.


Because Helena isn’t a member of the League anymore and that’s her spot.


(I am a dork.)


I actually noticed this while we were talking about how we miss JLU Bruce and Clark. I was inspired to go look up the finale scene and watch it again. So, I'm glad [personal profile] ilyena_sylph let me babble long enough that I saw it. Behold:

lordyellowtail: (X and Alia (By Your Side))
 Yes, I fell off the wagon in a big way on these, but I'm back now. This one is going to be short and sweet. There's not a lot to say except that it is very possible this (and Naru (Molly)/Nephrite) pairing is the first thing I ever consciously shipped. They're an adorable, beautiful, deeply in love couple who are incredible heroes and parents and loyal friends. They're presented as royalty of forgotten, long ago kingdoms, and their love is indeed majestic and wonderful.

I think all of us who watched them, at one point or another, wanted that kind of partnership. I think some of us probably still do.

For all that the early 1990s DiC dub did poorly, or over-censored, or however else you want to put it (and there was a lot of that), one thing DiC arguably did better than the original Japanese version was some of the Season 1 music. Some of it is hopelessly cheesy weirdness that is just embarrassing to listen to, and the Japanese original is far superior. And some of it is hopelessly cheesy wierdness infused with all the power of the best 1980s hair rock love ballads, and is knock-you-out-of-your-shoes incredible. Some of it still makes me tear up with genuine emotion, because I remember the things that were happening when these songs played, and I loved these characters and even when I was too young to shave, I loved them and cheered them on and cried for them when they hurt.

(Nephrite and Naru, even in the dub you had me bawling. I still wish he could've lived. Their love was so wonderful and transformative for both of them. He turned his back on a murderous evil empire and promises of eternal power because he loved someone who could offer him no riches or power or anything but the deepest love of her heart, and he died for it. And, really, she was never the same again. She fell in love with another, but it was clear the wound on her heart was still there.)

If I had to deeply examine my shipping philosophy and figure out why I just don't like a lot of modern canon shipping in fantasy and sci-fi, I think I could make the argument that I'm comparing so many of these couples subconsciously to Mamoru and Usagi, and in comparison most of them fail. Usagi and Mamoru at their best were equally consumed by their love for each other and their daughter, but it didn't distract them from the real work of saving the world. It made them inseparable partners that no evil the universe could tear apart for long. And it made them invincible. They exemplify what the Power of Love is supposed to be. It's not heroic suicide, no matter what Harry Potter wants you to think. It doesn't mean infinite forgiveness of your enemies, either, Harry (Usagi herself had no trouble telling her enemies when she wasn't ever going to forgive them their evil, and it was awesome). And it is most certainly not the currently in-vogue model of unequal partnership, where one character does most of the heavy lifting of battling evil while the other one wades around in feels, man and exists more as a goal or aspiration for the Active Partner than a fully realized character who is also equally strong and in love.

The Power of Love as Sailor Moon presents it, and as I honestly believe it is meant to bein fiction, is what gives you the sort of Heroic Willpower that can't be found anywhere else: pure, depthless and unconquerable even if it costs you your life. Usagi and Mamoru had it in spades. Alone, either was formidable. United, their partnership, their devotion to each other and their loved ones gave them such determination and resolve and bravery that when they moved together, the whole universe stopped and took notice, and either yielded or got out of the way ... or didn't survive the encounter.

Even the anime, which watered Mamoru down from the manga, and the English DiC dub, which made everything and everyone watered down versions of themselves, couldn't take that away.

Which is probably why one of the greatest moments in the dub is the scene where, as Mamoru (Darien) lay apparently dying after he and Usagi (Serena) have just gotten their memories of their 1000 year old love back and finally come together as a couple once more is both one of the most movingly gratifying and soul-crushingly traumatic scenes in the entire DiC run, if not the most.

And it would never have been so epic without "My Only Love," which as far as I'm concerned is still the single best image song for this couple ever. It's sincere, and full of 1980s power love ballad goodness, and if it sounds cheesy, it feels like it's because real people have real emotions and when they pour them out it can be messy, but that doesn't make those emotions any less real.

And what got me thinking about all this is this incredible instrumental piano version that I just found on the internet yesterday. Behold:


Even without the words or the images, this ... brought everything about Usagi and Mamoru that I love back and made me wonder why I drifted away from Sailor Moon, which gets love right, and constantly torture myself with all this modern stuff that I adore but that just doesn't fundamentally get what I want to see in heroic relationships.

(I'd love to post the scene where this plays in the DiC dub, but it's past midnight and I can't find it on YouTube.)

lordyellowtail: (Let's Talk Crack Pairings (Snape/Roker O)
Let me first preface all this by saying that this isn’t a longwinded way for me to justify wanting to see Liv with Peyton or any other female character (though I have read some of those fics/shipping manifestos, and they are excellent). At the moment my iZombie Shipping Goggles are treating me to an overdeveloped internal plotbunny revolving around a massively AU version of Season 1 of both iZombie and The Flash where Barry/Liv is a huge, happening thing. If I write iZombie shipping fic, it will be them. Because they both need so many hugs and ohmygod I need chocolate when I watch these shows because my heart. And Ravi and Caitlin working on the zombie cure together while Cisco tries to invent "zombie gear" and Joe and Clive try to pretend everything is normal would be just great.)

The usual disclaimer: all the spoilers, all the time.
So, bisexual Liv (twitter tag: #BiLiv, which makes no sense whatsoever if you see it without the capitalization and aren't deeply submerged in this fandom) is a thing among an apparently considerable minority of iZombie fans. It has been since pretty much the first episode, when her roommate Peyton declares Liv is her "freakin' heart," in a way not nearly as platonic as it was probably meant to be. Episode 1.02 has her eating the brains of a monogamy-challenged artiste and being attracted to and aggressively flirting with both Perpetual Purported True Love and Angst Object (need an acronym for this) Major Lilywhite and the dead artiste's rather quite attractive female lover. And a random Dudebro. And some other people. This was a busy brain.
 
The show's writers and actors seem to be aware of the whole #BiLiv thing: this hilarious Vine-style send-up of one of the most famous scenes from Thelma and Louise (tweeted by Peyton's actress) was part of the Season 2 viral marketing push.
 
 ... .... ...
 
Sorry. I watched it again and laughed until my sides hurt. Again. I'm back now.
  
(Note to The Flash writers: first, The Flash and iZombie are my two favorite series on air now, or in, like, the last 6 years; I love you guys. Second, this little clip is an example of how you playfully acknowledge and have fun with the fans who are sailing a crackship/not-likely-to-ever-be-canon ship in your fandom. The crackshippers and pirate shippers know they’re not getting canon, so it’s not too much fun to have it dangled in front of you in a semi-serious way and then taken away. iZombie is very, "yes, we know you're here, and this is never going to be canon probably, but we love you, you crazy lunatics. Fandom on." Compare with The Flash's bait-and-switch approach to Snowbarry (Barry Allen/Caitlin Snow). I know it's not The Flash writers' intention, but sometimes it can come off not so much "having fun with you, not at you" as the opposite thing. In particular I'm thinking of that time everyone got hyped up for Caitlin and Barry kissing on screen and it turned out to be a serial thief/killer/possible-sex-offender shapeshifter wearing Barry's face and grabbing Caitlin to conduct an impromptu "How to Commit Sexual Harassment/Assault in the Most Horrifying Way Possible" seminar.)
  
Moving on, because I have accepted I’m not getting Snowbarry and I’m okay with that. Really.
  
I think we can make the following suppositions about what the iZombie showrunners are actually trying to do.
 
  1. Liv and Major are, at present, endgame. They hit us over the head with it once every episode on average, with varying degrees of (lack of) subtlety. Lowell's relationship with her was incredibly genuine and satisfying, but his actor had to leave the show, so we'll never know what was going to happen there. It could change later, but as of right now, endgame Livjor is where we are.
  2. Peyton's "freakin' heart" line was almost certainly meant to imply a depthless platonic friendship, befitting people who have been best friends since at least 18—almost ten years. See also the similar vibes (and even phrasing) one gets from "freakin' friends" Daria Morgendorffer and Jane Lane. (Full disclosure: fans ship the tar out of them, and I’m one of them. They’re like the Xena and Gabrielle of animation.) I feel like iZombie is going for this vibe but never quite gets there, in part because Peyton's screen time is so limited. (Something I really hope changes in Season 2.)
  3. Liv's mental changes when she eats a brain (which I can't help but think of as a zombie version of Mega Man's Variable Weapon System, because I am a huge dork), follow a predictable pattern. She gets, generally, altered in 3 ways.
    • a. Triggered flashback "visions" of the victim's memories related to certain stimuli encountered during the investigation, used to help solve the case via actual detective work with Clive (Cagney and Pasty!).
    • b. One or two (usually one) large, noticeable-to-others personality alteration, that lasts as long as she is eating that particular brain. In one episode, she picked up a combat veteran's PTSD; in another, a confidential informant's rampant everyone-is-trying-to-kill-me paranoia; in another a new mother's (hilarious when coming from Liv and getting directed at everyone around her) parenting instincts; and so on.
    • c. A tangible skill: speaking the murder victim's native language; kung fu; l33t gamer skillz; special ops sniper training (though, tragically, not the mental conditioning that goes with it); etc. These skills, regrettably, tend to fade by the next episode. Liv doesn't get a "Become a Polyglot Free" card, or put another way, can't eat her way to being Jarod from Pretender.
    • c.(1). At least, so far. She managed to outfight a zombiefied professional hitman that had cracked Peyton over the head and was gonna eat her, while Liv wasn't on any sort of combat brain at all, so it's possible that she did retain some combat skill. Or it could have come down to her being a zombie longer (are she and Blaine Master Zombies?), or perhaps she was supercharged by The Power of Friendship, Heroic Resolve, and a mystical gift from Stabzor, Goddess of Knives. Or it's Liv/Peyton forshadowing, just like that Vine (I seriously doubt it, but that would be crazy awesome). I'm really not sure exactly what happened there, save to say Liv is badass when she's pushed to the wall, and beating up Peyton is bad for your health.
  4. Every canonical indication is that Liv is supposed to be straight. Except for when it's blamed on brains, she does not appear intended to be attracted to women at all. See 1.
  5. In episode 1.02, Liv eats the brain of a Philandering Artist who has been murdered, with the intent of solving his murder (and not starving and becoming a Romero zombie, because she is like an adorable, badass, NC-17-rated Snickers commercial with legs). Philandering Artist is known to have had sex with a lot of women. Seriously, Dwayne, a lot of women. But it is never suggested he also sleeps around with guys. He is deeply committed to cheating on women, with women. Liv gets his memories, all the skills and temperament of an artist (including the ability to paint beautiful things and an inability to describe colors in a way that can be expressed with anything less than the largest possible Crayola set) ... and the sudden need to flirt hard with several quite attractive fellows and one of the victim's female lovers, with whom she practically has hilarious, hand-holding eye-sex at one point while Clive apparently mentally questions the life-decisions that have brought him to this incredibly awkward moment.
    • (It must be pointed out just how crucial Clive's often-befuddled but unwavering acceptance of his pseudo-psychic partner's personality shifts and quirks, without ever being given any real explanation (because Liv sucks at secret identity’ing), is to Liv's continued mental health. She's likely actually clinically depressed at this point and the scripts occasionally hint at the barest suicidal ideation. But she always makes it through by sheer force of will, and I believe she couldn't do that without Clive's support. He is her island of normality and stability. Go, Clive.)
  6. In episode 1.02, Liv's attraction to women is implicitly blamed on her ingestion of Philandering Artist. In 1.07, her awesome and lovable (I shipped them and am totally not still ragey that he's gone and she’s back to pining for Major) boyfriend Lowell goes completely cold on her romantically, but is still platonically way into her. This is attributed to him eating a "gay brain" and being temporarily gay, so for an episode he's her Gay Best Friend and they continue to be adorable and perfect together, but with less kissing and more goofy dancing, for some reason. This continues until Lowell eats his next brain and begins "feeling more heterosexual already." Everything is played very effectively for laughs, and the episode ends with situation normal restored: Lowell is straight and wants Liv terribly and we never speak of this again.
The implication we're supposed to get off (6) above is that Baseline Lowell is supposed to be straight and it was totally the brains that made him attracted to men (in particular, Idris Elba, because Idris Elba).
 
Liv has eaten many presumably straight men's brains, but has never become a lesbian.
 
That's what happened and what I think the writers mean for us to take away from it, but that is not, however, where I think we actually are. Assuming the rules of zombie-ism must be internally consistent, I think the writers actually ended up setting up Liv as a closeted, unaware bisexual. Lowell, too, but that was even more of an accident because the whole point of that episode was playing the situation for laughs; they already knew Lowell was leaving the show and probably weren't thinking too hard about the long term implications.
  
That's okay. Overthinking the long-term implications of fiction that you're not supposed to think that hard about is kind of my jam. I'm all over that.
 
Here's my hangup: Philandering Artist was never suggested to be bisexual. He was Don Juan with a paintbrush, but unless you were young and nubile and a woman, you weren't on his philander-dar. The personality trait Liv is explicitly said (by Liv) to have uploaded from munching him is obeying her passions without worrying about the consequences. To get a bit Freudian and a bit nautical, her Id gets the chance to sedate her Ego and Superego and seizes the helm.

Crucially, while Philandering Artist is never shown pursuing men, Liv goes after men and women as convenient in 1.02.
 
Thoughtless obedience to passion is a flowery way of saying certain inhibitions are turned off. Sexual orientation is not under any circumstance a result of an active inhibition. Increased passion does not change who you are attracted to. It just makes it more likely you'll try to do something about it without caring about the consequences. By contrast, inhibitions—including those based on fear and self-loathing and the need to conform lest we be ostracized from our loved ones—can and do lead many people to denying their non-heteronormative sexual orientations.
 
 Liv's fear of and misery from being ostracized from her loved ones is a running, depressing theme in the series.
 
So we come to the conclusions:
  
  1. Liv has eaten many brains attracted solely to women and has never become a temporary lesbian. She never stops pining after Major.
  2. Liv, who makes no secret of being attracted to men, also made no secret of being attracted to women when her inhibitions were drastically suppressed, which is explicitly stated to be what the Philandering Artist brain is actually doing. During this time, her attraction to men did not appear to diminish, but arguably got stronger and more overt—more passionate, which, again, is the trait she explicitly identifies as coming from her brain food. It would have been very easy to confirm her heterosexuality by making her attracted to only men. All you would lose is the scene where she flirts with Philandering Artist's female lover, and I am confident the excellent writers could have substituted something equally hilarious.
  3. Liv is never shown developing Single Target Sexuality for the lovers of anyone else she eats. It is an extreme stretch to say that is what is happening with Philandering Artist's lover.
  4. So, final conclusion: given the facts and established rules of the iZombie universe, Liv is actually bisexual and in denial/unaware, at least partially because she's fully committed to pining after Major. She has probably convinced herself passion!brain made her attracted to women, even though no brain changed her sexual orientation before or since. In short: denial. She is very good at denial when she doesn't want to deal with a problem, and "the brains made me do it" is a plausible scapegoat.
 The big counter argument: Lowell's "gay brain."
  
Super short response: I don’t think that was actually a “gay brain” at all. But this is also the part where I have a lot less solid evidence of what was actually going on, so I have to rely more on persausion than fact.
 
First, I do think the “gay brain” thing was possibly a bit of a subtle saving throw from the writing team, assuming they had the same kind of thought process I did above that led me to my conclusion that Liv is bi. It follows that, having realized this, they came up the “gay brain” plot to muddle the issue and get everybody back on the Liv/Major love train (or, at least, the het!Liv train). The problem is, we know from Liv’s internal monologue that the Philandering Artist brain did not make her bi. Once again, it decreased her inhibitions and inflamed her passions. In other words, it altered what was already there. Up until Lowell’s “gay brain,” we had no indication at all that eating a brain could change your sexual orientation in any way.
 
 And really, if it were possible, we should have. Liv has eaten a lot of brains. Philandering Artist aside, they never appear to change her sexuality in any meaningful way. And again, Philandering Artist didn’t change her sexuality, according to the script.
 
So, let’s assume for a moment that Lowell did eat a “gay brain” that actually made him gay. It doesn’t work under scrutiny. A straight zombie eating the brains of straight humans stays straight, but becomes gay if they eat a gay brain? That does not explain Liv’s attraction to women in 1.02. It also raises the question if alteration of sexual orientation is the personality trait a zombie picks up, or if it’s in addition to some other core trait (e.g.: PTSD, paranoia, etc.). Liv is only ever shown picking up one trait, not two, and it’s always been something more overt than sexual orientation. Does a non-heterosexual zombie become heterosexual if they eat a straight brain? Does a gay person become straight? Does eating the brain of a person of the same orientation as you never have any effect, even if you are a woman and eat a straight male brain attracted to women?
 
This really complicates the otherwise very simple rules of how zombies react to ingesting brains, as written in Supposition 3 above. I feel like I need a flow chart to properly map out all the possible permutations of this, and I don’t really understand the rules if Lowell is right about what happened. Given that good writers (and the iZombie team are great writers) avoid overcomplicating the rules of the setting if at all possible, I just can’t believe this was intended.
  
Secondly, it is incredibly hard to make any conclusions about zombieism or even what is actually happening when Lowell ingests brains because he is not a deep POV character like Liv is. We understand Liv because we get to see her at all phases of her reaction to her latest meal, have Ravi on hand to analyze her, and most importantly we have her internal monologue, showing what she feels is actually happening to her. That monologue is crucial in episode 1.02 in establishing the inherited trait was increased passion/decreased inhibition in all areas of her life, and not an explicit sexual orientation change. All we have from Lowell is his spoken interpretation of what the brains are doing to him, and not only could he be unintentionally wrong, he himself admits to avoiding situations and stimuli that would cause him to have flashbacks and otherwise really get to understand the personality and quirks of the brain he ate. (This is one of the reasons, I think, his personality is so stable compared to Liv’s. Liv needs to understand the brain she ate and subject herself to flashbacks to solve murders, and does so, heavily.) So, he’s suddenly aware of a sexual attraction to men, and a severely diminished sexual attraction to women, and assumes he’s gay, and doesn’t really probe deeper into it.
 
Okay.

Now, let’s briefly mention an important fact about human sexuality. It is not a gear shift with 3 slots (straight, gay, bi), but rather a spectrum. One can be fully attracted to the same sex, fully attracted to the opposite sex, equally attracted to everyone, or anything in between. (And yes, I realize I’m vastly oversimplifying the sexuality spectrum, but this is iZombie meta, not an article on human sexuality, and I freely admit I’m not an expert and the theory has changed substantially since I actually had any class instruction on human sexuality.)
 
There are a great many people who are bisexual who, while they are attracted to both men and women, are considerably more attracted to either one or the other.

It is entirely possible that Lowell has always been bisexual, but his attraction to women so overpowers his attraction to men that he’s barely even aware of the latter, until he eats a brain that, for whatever reason, impacts him in some way that shifts the balance. I don’t understand enough about how bisexual persons are attracted to other people to make any more definite suppositions than that. The same logic also explains Liv’s sudden attraction to women in 1.02: lowering her inhibitions made Liv less likely to deny attraction to women, and increasing her passions made her quite happy to express her attraction to the Philandering Artist’s lover (and Dudebro, and some other guys).
 
I really like explanations that explain both of their behavior without creating ambiguities or needing an overcomplicated set of rules.
 
I do think it’s awfully convenient that Lowell and Liv would both be bisexual. That leads me to believe Lowell was even less meant to be anything but straight than Liv is, from the writers’ POV. But as a viewer I have to work with what I’m given, and this is the conclusion I get to that obeys the rules we know, fits with Liv’s experiences in 1.02 and Lowell’s in 1.07, and creates the least amount of internal inconsistency without overcomplicating things. I think the writers weren’t really worried about he long-term implications of the whole “gay brain” thing with Lowell because they already knew he wasn’t sticking around and so it wasn’t going to be a problem for writing him: he leaves the show in 1.09. Even at the time it felt sloppy and inconsistent (but at the time I didn’t fully understand why it bothered me), but everybody laughed at their goofy dancing and we moved on. Liv is also endgame with Major, so the writers don’t have to ever really deal with her non-heteronormative sexuality again: the target of her affections is the manliest of action men, so any latent attraction to other men or women doesn’t have to come up in a serious way.
 
(I love Major, but you can probably tell I don’t love him with Liv. I’m trying very hard to stay neutral on that subject in this essay. Apologies if I slip up a little.)
 
And finally, nothing about Lowell’s “gay brain” incident changes anything about Liv’s experiences on Philandering Artist brain in 1.02. Whatever happened to Lowell, Liv’s internal dialogue explanation of what was going on in her mind is still canon and unchallenged. And that explanation in no way implies the brain made her bi. But yet she was openly bi and more aggressively flirtatious (with everyone but Ravi and Clive) while on the brain, because her inhibitions were lowered and her passions were increased. Notice all her internal concern is about how she’s dealing with her increased passions and lack of care for the consequences. Not once does she stop and go “I’m attracted to women now, wait what? This is new.”

She just sort of rolls with it and is signficantly not surprised.
 
And that’s all I’ve got. I do not actually think the show will revist this subject, and I have no problem with that. One of the things I love about this theory as it exists in my head is that, even if Liv ends up endgame with Major and is never shown as attracted to women again, everything I’ve said is still just as convincing (or not, depending on how much you agree with me) as it is right now. It can add another layer to the character that you can enjoy internally as a viewer, but in a nice subtle way that doesn’t require stopping the rest of the plot to acknowledge, and won’t ever contradict any romantic things Liv actually does in canon. Or you can just ignore everything I just said and nothing really changes about how much you’ll enjoy the show.
 
And if you can just ignore all this, why did I spend so much time talking about it? Two reasons: one, I think it is the truth of what is happening, even if it was not intended; and two, as someone who has been reading and writing fanfic for 20 years and is not a fan of the canon shipping in iZombie (at least for Liv), I’m quite pleased that I can make a strong argument for Liv being bi so I can read/write fics where she is paired with whoever I think I can justify and be able to point to canon and say, “no, she’s not just into ladies for the sake of this fanfic, there is significant canonical support for this. Now, shoo: Liv/Sailor Mercury is happening on my screen and it is adorable.*)

And that is all. Thanks for reading.

*Liv/Sailor Mercury would fill me with great d’aww. I am willing to assist with crowdfunding. I am also still plotting out my Barry Allen/Liv Moore massive AU of love and criminal punching, and not just because SpeedBrains is the similtaneously best and dumbest ship name I’ve ever come up with. Without question, "The Quick and the Dead" is the best fic title I've ever come up with.
lordyellowtail: (Default)
This one's a day late. Sorry.

I didn't really find any pairing videos I fell in love with last week. Not a lot of time to go YouTube crawling. I did, however, stumble into an amazing song about, shall we say, the insanity art of shipping itself. It captures my experience in fandom--and indeed, my general approach to shipping (pretty much "I do what I want."), better than any 10,000 words I could write. It's also a really well done "look at fandom people having a lot of fun" video. Watching it puts a smile on my face.

It also has the advantage of being hilarious and awesome and way catchy. I'll definitely be checking out the other videos Not Literally has up.

Enjoy. Actual shipping videos to return in Week 5, and in the meantime, remember: If you find a weird and esoteric pairing that baffles the mind and seems to run completely contrary to canon, odds are I ship it.



lordyellowtail: (X and Alia (By Your Side))
Much has been written about this couple--meta, fanfic, and so much more. Anything I could say to explain why they're wonderful would be repeating something someone else--or perhaps several someones--already said. Either you know them and love them, or you've somehow missed watching one of the greatest Disney films ever made, and one of the best love stories ever told in modern media.

And if you've never seen Disney's Beauty an the Beast, which came out in the early 1990s, I respectfully ask that you please get off my lawn and go find it and watch it, now. It's probably on Netflix. Go. Go, now.

I've already (briefly) waxed (semi) rhapsodically on this pairing in a previous post. It's less meta and more aimless gushing, but hey.Feel free to check it out if you like.

While I'm sure there are some magnificent fanmade shipping videos for these two, I didn't go looking for any this week. What canon itself gives us is just perfect. It actually gives us a few shipping song masterpieces. But as far as encapsulating their whole relationship and their hopes for the future, I think this one is best.

For the record, that's Angela Lansbury singing.

Enjoy.

PS.: I hadn't watched this movie in probably 20 years and only when I saw this clip on YouTube did I notice for the first time the part where Beast stares at Lumiere and the others with this incredible adorkable "Hey, guys, look! She's dancing with me! I'm okay at this!" look. It's just so great. I love Beast. Get past his quite understandable depression and social awkwardness (he was cursed when he was 11, neatly explaining both), and he's one of the most down to earth of the Disney Princes. He and Eric are the two I'd most want to hang out with.




Also, for the record, I'm strongly considering getting a paid account here just so I can store more icons. As much as I love them, it's a shame that my best "this is a ship I take seriously" icon is presently a pair of anatomically correct, sapient androids in combat armor from the 22nd century. That I'm applying this icon to a post about a human-cursed-into-a-chimera and a French peasant girl in the 1750s doesn't help. On the other hand, it's a great metaphor for the wackiness of my fandom (and shipping) life. I like it weird.

lordyellowtail: (Default)
For those of you too young to know what this is, a ship manifesto: http://ship-manifesto.livejournal.com/205665.html. For being written by someone else, this is a great long form essay on why these two are still one of my core OTPs, and I still ship them so hard all these years later.

Shorter: I love these two. Not only do we get to see them both grow into confident, capable, even badass trainers (and occasional heroes), but their relationship, both the platonic/ship tease in canon and the well done romantic (AAMRN,AAML,AAMR...we loved our acronyms back in the 1990s) fanworks present what I think is still one of the most real relationships I've seen in children's animated fiction. These two are the kind of best friends that can be completely comfortable in each other's presence one minute, and teasing to the point of starting a screaming match the next, and then fully and sincerely supportive a few minutes after that if they need to be. And if anyone or anything crosses either of them the other doesn't hesitate to come to their aid, with as much emotional support and or physical force and explosions as is necessary, even if they were at each others' throats just before.

Further, they're not sex symbols or glamorous in the least. Misty's a tomboy and Ash has all the romantic self-awareness and skills of a drunk vole. Ash is graceless unless there's danger or a pokemon battle, and sometimes he teases Misty and calls her scrawny. Which she hates to a point that when you watch the series as an adult you start to think she has body image issues. Not to the narm levels of the awful Eating Disorder Misty trope, but they're definitely there in canon. The two of them make mistakes and hurt each other sometimes, and often their most intense personal relationship moments come with a backdrop of recently escaped danger or disaster or hardship, and one or both of them is filthy and wearing newly torn clothes.

Their relationship is the most un-romanticized friendship in the show: they've seen each other at their very best and very worst and accept all of each other, and neither would ever think the other one needed to be "fixed"
in any way on some fundamental level. One's strengths compliment the other's weaknesses, and they always stand shoulder to shoulder in a fight, never one behind the other.

They're best friends and partners and a constant source of support and affection for each other
. Their friendship is the kind of bedrock I think all good romances should be built on.

Their relationship dynamic was the core of the show for me. Without it--when she left he show I just didn't care about Pokemon anymore. Ash is compelling enough for the kind of show he's in, but Ash and Misty and their dynamic was what kept me coming back. They brought out the best in each other and gave Pokemon something unique.

I've seen a lot of Ash/Misty videos and not cared for a great many of them. Ash and Misty aren't romantic, cutesy, or the traditional hero-and-love pair. (They're both heroes: he the Determinator Idiot Hero who gradually loses the idiot tag as he gains experience, and she the Determinator Guile Hero who learns to control her anger issues over time.) They love each other deeply, yes, but that love is often covered in sweat and dust and ripped clothing and tears from the life they lead, and they're far more likely to happily share their date-time crashed out and cuddled up in pajamas at a Pokemon Center watching a Pokemon Contest or Battle or some cheesy B movie or whatever than to dress to the nines and hit a fancy restaurant where neither of them will ever really feel like they belong. Misty, I think, is a romantic in the sense she loves the idea of the fairy tale romance. But given her entire character, and her desire to be nothing like her fairy-tale inspired sisters, she has to know that's not really the life for her. She's miserable every time she gets put in their shoes on the show.

This video, with the editing that makes it look old and vintage an reminds the viewer how long these two have been a thing, and it's perfectly chosen song, captures all of that effortlessly.



lordyellowtail: (X and Alia (By Your Side))
Starting a new Post Set. Every Sunday I'll put up a quick post highlighting an shipping-oriented music video I found that week. Fandom and pairing will vary according to my whims, which may possibly be evil, as whims are wont to be.

Sidenote, before we get started: Sorry I disappeared. I got hit by RL chaos at the end of February, and that rolled directly into mother nature deciding to force me to turn my home into Ice Station Zebra for about 10 days or so. It's been a bit crazy here.

Oliver Queen (Green Arrow)/Felicity Smoak is one of those adorable, perfect pairings (perfect in large part due to the actors' skill and charm and personal chemistry) that I fell in love with without actually seeing much of their canon. The only Arrow episode I've seen is the Flash crossover episode. It's notable that I came away from The Flash's side of that team up sort of shipping Barry/Felicity, as this was the first time I'd seen her and she was awesome, and she and Barry are adorable nerds together.

Then the next night I saw her in Arrow with Oliver, and I was immediately sold.* I've been devouring fic and shipping videos and art and everything else but the actual canon (which sounds pretty tortured on the subject of Olicity), which I am seasons behind on at this point and will try to catch up on after Flash finishes its first season.

Given that it's one of my OTPs, it has also, of course, become something of a beautiful trainwreck.

Now, Spoiler Time: Oliver and Felicity are currently separated geographically, and I think Felicity thinks he's dead, so there has been much angst in the fandom, in particular from the Olicity continent (contingent? It could go either way). Meanwhile, like an emotionally healthy person, Felicity has moved on and begun a relationship with Ray Palmer, the Atom, who has a really nifty set of robot battle armor that I want to actually see in an episode. He's also played by Brandon Routh, which is amazing. It's great to see him in the cwDCU after he got Superman taken away (unfairly, IMHO).

So I've seen lots of angsty Olicity/Ray Palmer stuff. Lots of music videos. In other contexts and fandoms, in particular My Little Pony, I've been introduced to the awesomeness that is speed painting.

I've never seen speedpainting used in a shipping video, with a music and drawing choice that so perfectly complement each other it's like taking a battering ram to the feels.

This is amazing and I love it.

So, without further ado, here's "When I Was Your Man."


Now, if you'll excuse me, I need ice cream after listening to that too many times in the last 24 hours. I can't imagine what I'd feel like if I was actually watching the show.

...Enjoy?

*This is convenient, as I have become a die-hard Barry Allen/Caitlin Snow shipper in the meantime. The show is not gonna let me have this, I know. In fact, I'm pretty sure it's going to deliberately hurt me when it takes it away--it won't so much not happen as horrifically explode. But that's okay. I still ship (pre-Book Six) Harry Potter/Hermione Granger. The shipping drama on The Flash is a Magikarp compared to that Gyrados. And if you need proof of the stubbornness of my fannish devotion, I still ship Ash/Misty, too, well after the point most current target demographic fans even know who Misty is. Do your worst, canon. Snowberry forever! :P
lordyellowtail: (Default)
So, I've known about this for a while, and I'm incredibly late in sharing it, but in my defense I've only had a working blog again for about a month.

This is the most awesome Star Trek fan film--the most awesome fan film, period--I've ever seen. The original Kickstarter produced this 20 minute trailer in the style and form of a fictionalized documentary about the Four Years War between the Federation and the Klingons before TOS--and in particular, the events that made Captain Garth of Izar famous across the Federation, and Kirk's hero. The Prelude to Axanar trailer was so successful that when it was used during the second Kickstarter to fund the full movie they raised over $600,000 dollars. The movie is shooting now (or has finished shooting) and is set to come out in 2015.

Over at their website, they're still taking donations through PayPal for the Kickstarter perks (e.g.: a Blu-Ray copy of the movie). And since no one is getting paid anything and no money is being made, Paramount isn't coming after them.

Here's a summary (Wikipedia):
Prelude to Axanar (working title: Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar, and long title: The Four Years War Part III: Prelude to Axanar) is a 2014 independent American fan made short film, directed by Christian Gossett and written by Alec Peters. Funded through Kickstarter, production sought $10,000 in funding, but in gaining $101,000, received more than ten times the amount originally sought. It had its public debut June 26, 2014 at the San Diego Comic-Con.

Set in the Star Trek universe, the film stars Kate Vernon, Tony Todd, Richard Hatch, Gary Graham, and J. G. Hertzler, in a documentary-style film recounting the events surrounding the Battle of Axanar, a major clash between the Federation and the Klingons.
The film is set about 22 years or so before TOS.

The entire cast list for the full movie is amazing, but special attention is due to Gary Graham reprising his role as Soval, who's got to be pushing 200+ at this point; Tony Todd; and J. G. Hertzler (best known to Trekkies as Martok, but playing a human captain here), and Garrett Wang (Ensign Kim from Voyager as a Klingon captain. I'm not immediately familiar with Kate Vernon, but she is awesome and I love that we're getting to see a female Starfleet captain in the TOS era.

Again from The One Wiki, here's the partial cast list for the full film:

Alec Peters as Captain Kelvar Garth, commanding officer of the U.S.S. Ares NCC-1650
Richard Hatch as Kharn the Undying, Klingon supreme commander
J. G. Hertzler as Captain Samuel Travis, Captain of the U.S.S. Hercules
Gary Graham as Soval, Vulcan Ambassador to the Federation
Kate Vernon as Captain Sonya Alexander, Captain of the U.S.S. Ajax
Tony Todd as Admiral Marcus Ramirez, Starfleet Commander in Chief, and
Garrett Wang as Captain of the first Klingon D-7 cruiser
All of those save G. Wang appear in the Prelude. And keep in mind that all these well-known, great actors are working for free because they love Star Trek.

Sometimes, I really do love Star Trek fandom the best.

So, without further ado, here's Prelude to Axanar.



lordyellowtail: (Squirrel Girl)
I'm a huge fan of Disney's The Rescuers, a lesser known movie from 1977. To sum up from the Disney Wikia article,

The Rescuers is an American animated film produced by Walt Disney Productions and first released on June 22, 1977. The 23rd film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, the film is about the Rescue Aid Society, an international mouse organization headquartered in New York and shadowing the United Nations, dedicated to helping abduction victims around the world at large. Two of these mice, jittery janitor Bernard (Bob Newhart) and his co-agent, the elegant Miss Bianca (Eva Gabor), set out to rescue Penny (Michelle Stacy), an orphan girl being held prisoner in the Devil's Bayou by treasure huntress Madame Medusa (Geraldine Page).

It is far more awesome than it sounds, and in my opinion, it sounds pretty awesome already. Bob Newhart and Eva Gabor are badass mice that save children. Also, John Candy is an albatross, which they use as an airplane.

There was a sequel in 1990, which is a good movie, but I honestly didn't like it as well. However, there's a scene where they show how the Rescue Aid Society's emergency message relay system works, and it's always been one of my favorite parts of the movie. Watching it now, it reminds me in the way it functions of nothing so much as the lighting of the Beacons from LOTR.

Behold:



For comparison, here's the lighting of the Beacons from Return of the King:






Gandolf and Aragorn would be adorable badass mice.

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Lord Yellowtail

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