Friday, March 4, 2016

Links and Updates

I have good news, bad news and irrelevant news. Actually, I have three pieces of news which could fall into any of those categories.

First of all, I'm done with The 100, at least for a while. It would be easy to call Lexa's death "the straw that broke the camel's back", but it was actually more of an anvil that crippled the camel for life, coming on the heels of a number of other dodgy creative decisions that I didn't like, but could tolerate for the sake of the larger story at work.
But no more. I find it genuinely astonishing that a show which has for so long been lauded as progressive and inclusive could in only seven episodes introduce a female character for the sole purpose of fridging her, set up an angry black man as the season's main antagonist, wipe away two seasons worth of character development so the lead MOC could become a mass-murderer, and now kill one half of its LGBT ship. Also, there's no doubt in my mind that Lincoln (another MOC) is also marked for death.
At least two of the actors (Bob Morley and Ricky Whittle) are in open revolt against the show's creator, the fandom is growing increasingly toxic, and all of the above points are giant red flags that suggest the show isn't getting any better, so I'm backing out now before it's too late.
(And for the record, I don't buy the "Alycia was a regular on Fear the Walking Dead" excuse. There were plenty of ways Lexa could have been removed from the show without resorting to her accidental death via a stray bullet that wasn't even meant for her à la Tara Maclay. If they hadn't killed the Ice Queen off so early, the coup against Lexa could have resulted in her being taken hostage by the Ice Nation until Alycia's schedule loosened up again – leading to a moral crisis for Clarke that could have beautifully mirrored Lexa's decision in the second season finale: whether to attempt a rescue of Lexa, or to return her attention to her own people).
Second of all, we have our first Ghostbusters trailer!
Given the uproar against the very existence of this reboot from certain factions of the internet, I'm reminded of a post that crossed my Tumblr dash, pointing out that spite is a perfectly legitimate motivator. After the anti-Mad Max nonsense, a lot of people made damn sure they spent money on seeing it in theatres, and I'll be doing the same for Ghostbusters.
Everything looks like a nice blend of homage and originality, and Kate McKinnon is undoubtedly going to spawn a thousand and one cosplayers.
I have some caveats though. The humour appears to be more slapstick than that of the original, which largely depended on the cast's reactions to the paranormal (whether Bill Murray's wry observations or Dan Ackroyd's over-enthusiastic responses or Harold Ramis's commitment to the science no matter what he was facing). I have to admit it's the latter humour that I prefer, though trailers often have a way of including the most obvious jokes and not the subtler (better) stuff.
And as many have already pointed out, it's somewhat disappointing that the sole black woman is the only main character who isn't a scientist. It might be true to her male counterpart Winston in the original films, and apparently she's also an historian (something the trailer doesn't mention) ... but still. Gonna have to wait and see how that pans out.
Finally, I've started my latest Open Polytechnic course: Literature and Information Resources for Children and Young People. It's the second-to-last course I need to finish before earning my Diploma in Library and Information Studies, and for upcoming assignments I need to post some reviews for children and YA reviews on this blog. Which is kinda what I've been doing anyway...
They'll be easy enough to bypass if you're not interested, but consider this a heads-up for content that'll be appearing on this blog in the future.


On a slightly lighter note, I had the chance to see the Court Theatre's dress rehearsal of Macbeth last night. It's my favourite Shakespeare tragedy, and this production had the interesting twist of setting it in 1910s Serbia. It's an apt backdrop for the play, capturing its inherent grittiness and harshness, with a series of concrete stone pillars and a sprinkling of snow and gravel as its only scenery. It also meant the characters were dressed in camouflage instead of kilts, and carried Kalashnikovs instead of swords.

Mark Hadlow played Macbeth, a well-known actor in New Zealand, but probably best known to international audiences from The Hobbit, in which he played one of the dwarfs (don't ask me which one though). Although he was a little older than I picture this character – ambition usually being considered a trait of younger men – he carried the part well, and enjoyed quite a violent onstage death. The entire audience went "oooh" when Macduff picked up an iron pole and bludgeoned Macbeth to death with it, a scene that came complete with twitching limbs as he died.
The Wyrd Sisters were also interestingly conceived, as three white-haired young women dressed all in white, who moved and spoke in unison.

The director Ross Gumbley stated at the beginning of the production that the cast and crew had only four and a half weeks of rehearsal before the play opened, so it was impressive that the dress rehearsal was carried off with only a few woolly lines and no major mishaps at all. (Well, I suppose it was delayed for half an hour due to technical difficulties, but there were no interruptions during the performance itself).


  1. The 100 has been on my to-watch list for a while, but I suppose now it's not worth it?

    I loved the Ghostbuster's trailer, even if the first joke was too much of a riff on the opening of the original for me - I'd prefer the new characters to be new rather than counterparts of the men, but I'm happy to reserve judgement until I see the film itself.

    1. The 100 has been on my to-watch list for a while, but I suppose now it's not worth it?

      It's always been shaky sort of show: for every good creative decision, there was a bad one. For instance, it's refreshing that none of the female characters have been subjected to a sexual threat. However, early on they fell to the Black Guy Dies first cliche. And just as there are a lot of really good emotional scenes, the narrative short-cuts taken to get there are a bit hard to swallow.

      Right now, it's veered too hard in a negative direction, at least for me - and it's not the first mistake they've made this season. I think what rankles the most is that the show-runner courted the LGBT community with the promise of good representation, only to portray the most unshocking "shocking" murder of a lesbian in recent years.

      Seriously, it was Tara 2.0, right down to the stray bullet that wasn't meant for her. And given this show has swiped things from Buffy before, it's difficult to believe it wasn't a coincidence.

      I'd prefer the new characters to be new rather than counterparts of the men, but I'm happy to reserve judgement until I see the film itself.

      See, I think Melissa McCartney's character veered pretty close to Dan Ackroyd's, but everyone else seemed different from their male counterparts. Kate McKinnon for example is a LOT more quirky than the humourless Egon, and Kristen Wigg doesn't seem to be channelling Bill Murray in any way, shape or form. I'm also happy to wait upon events.

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  3. I'm sad we won't get to read your thoughts on The 100, at least for a while, but I get it. I knew Lexa's death was coming, and I thought for what it was it was OK, but the meta surrounding it was just too much. (A moratorium on deaths of LGBT characters for a while would not be a bad idea, just to restore the balance.) I'm still in, not only because I'm terrible at quitting shows (though I am), but because Clarke is still fantastic, and I'm hoping they can pull out of the tailspin.

    I know this must get old, but I really hope people who have enjoyed The 100 will turn to Battlestar Galactica, especially since this current plotline is HEAVILY influenced by a couple of major arcs on that show, which were executed much, much better. It really surprises me how underseen BSG is these days - it really was an outstanding show (a few blips notwithstanding), essentially a masterpiece of 2000s intelligent sci-fi. (OK, evangelising over!)

    1. I've been reading a lot of articles on the subject of Lexa's death, and I just feel completely exhausted by the whole thing. Plus the fact that the death itself sucker-punched me. I don't think I've had such a visceral reaction since Marian's death on the BBC's Robin Hood, and that was nearly ten years ago now.

      I'll probably lurk, just to get a sense of where the storyline goes (and because the BTS drama is like the proverbial train wreck you can't look away from) but I want to maintain some distance (for the first time ever I've had to unfollow a few people on Tumblr, as the gloating and/or outrage was just too much).

      Okay, BSG is officially on my watch-list. No telling when I'll actually get to it, but I'm sure I will eventually. And I've often pointed out that The 100 borrows heavily from Lost, so I feel that BSG probably makes up the second half of its pool of inspiration.