infinitejest: (lost: don't tell locke)
Day 30 - Saddest character death

There are a couple that have deeply affected me: I cried pretty hard over spoiler ) in Battlestar Galactica; it was just so sudden and largely inexplicable and she was so lost. I also spent some time crying over spoiler ) in Angel, and I'd just like to say Joss Whedon is an asshole who really likes to milk character deaths for maximum pain. In keeping with that, spoiler )'s death in Buffy the Vampire Slayer was also deeply affecting. (As was spoiler )'s death - possibly the most affecting of all, but it was also the only correct and true conclusion to S5. Plus, spoiler ).)

However, when I tried to determine which one had been the worst, the saddest, and the most infuriating, there was really only one answer:

Spoilers for Lost. )

Quixote agrees with me, but wanted to mention another death that affected him deeply and when he was very young:

Spoilers for Classic Who. )

30 Days of TV: The List )
infinitejest: (ramona flowers has a big hammer)
Day 28 - First TV show obsession

At first, I was sure that my first TV show obsession was My Little Ponies, what with my riot of those heavy plastic darlings and the Flutter Ponies and their underwater kin and the MLP castle and so forth. However, upon reflection, it is the movies that I remember most closely.

The television show that inspired my most fannish behavior the earliest was therefore She-Ra: Princess of Power. Not only did I have quite a few action figures, but I also had a She-Ra outfit comprised of the headdress, vambraces, sword, cape, etc. On the playground and at home, I would regularly play-act original stories in Etheria.

Curiously enough, and in spite of my outfit, I would most often cast myself as Catra or Shadow Weaver, although we were usually doing delightfully Bad Girl things independent of the Horde.

Ahem. Before She-Ra, I also had imaginative adventures with He-Man's crew and, if I adopted the identity of a character there, it was either Teela or the Sorceress (although in my games, the Sorceress was never so closely bound to Castle Greyskull). I also liked to imagine I was a female counterpart to Cringer/Battle Cat who wasn't so scared in everyday life.

So. Yes. That's how I rolled.

Quixote, on the other hand, answers Battlestar Galactica. The original BSG was the closest he could get to Star Wars on television, and he was enamored of the constant and repetitive space dogfights. And human on machine violence. So enamored that he didn't even notice they were using the same shots over and over again to save on their budget. He used to run around and make the Cylon noise and do the little zippy thing over his eyes with his fingers, pretending that he was in fact an insidious Cylon searching for humans to annihilate by the command of the Imperious Leader. He also had the lunchbox.

Yeah, that definitely sounds like a wee husband of mine.

30 Days of TV: The List )
infinitejest: (Default)
Note: There are massive spoilers below for The Venture Brothers, Supernatural, Lost, Battlestar Galactica, and Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Day 26 - OMG WTF? Season finale

I always seem to get behind these on the weekends, and this one is no different. What is different is that a family tragedy is behind the delay. I should be attending a wedding in a few hours, but there's now no wedding to attend.

I can't think of many season finales that completely blew my mind, so let's do a short list of those that made me and Quixote flail. In order of increasing flail:

5. The Venture Brothers, S1: "Return to Spider-Skull Island"

Not only does Rusy have a tumor that ends up being surgically removed only to skitter away and scientifically engineer itself a robot body so that it can kick Rusty's ass... but the boys run away in a fit of jealousy, get "scared straight" by the Monarch in jail, and then get themselves blown up (for keeps!) by the Monarch's henchmen.

4. Supernatural, S1: "Devil's Trap"

This cliffhanger had me scramblin for the Internet to double-check that the series had actually been renewed, because it was so macabrely perfect that it could've served as a suitable end to the show. It was and I sighed a sigh of relief... but, holy hell, it would have worked.

3. Lost, S5: "The Incident"

We get our first glimpse of Jacob, along with his mysterious counterpart. Just in time for Ben to kill Jacob, stabbing him repeatedly at the behest of John Locke. Who, and here's the shocker, is not actually John Locke. That was the most upsetting thing for me, realizing that Locke was actually dead and something terrible was wearing his face.

2. Battlestar Galactica, S1: "Kobol's Last Gleaming" (Part 2)

Sharon's not just a Cylon, she's a sleeper agent! There's a military coup! Apollo is arrested for mutiny! Starbuck abandons her post to pursue the Arrow of Apollo! But, most shockingly... Sharon manages to shoot Commander Adama twice in the stomach before the episode ends. At that point in time, as Quixote says, no one knew if the show was going to be back and Edward James Olmos with it. A truly shocking moment. (Luckily, I didn't start watching until S2, so I just scrambled to secure the first of the second season episodes after I finished my DVDs.)

1. Star Trek: The Next Generation, S3: "Best of Both Worlds" (Part 1)

Captain Jean-Luc Picard is no more, Locutus of Borg having taken his place. Commander Riker orders the Enterprise to fire upon the Borg ships containing our former beloved captain. It doesn't get more OMG WTF than this.

30 Days of TV: The List )
infinitejest: (Default)
Day 19 - Best TV show cast

I should probably stop observing how difficult some of these questions are to answer, eh? Ah well. This one was also difficult to answer: do you define "best" in relation to the overall quality of the acting or by how well the actors are subsumed into their roles? Arguably, I suppose the two should be one and the same; in practice, however, you get to know many fine actors as one character first and, when they go on to something else, their skill level doesn't necessarily diminish. Their ability to sink into later roles and become indistinguishable from the character does.

For example, Adam Baldwin is pretty good at what he does. However, he is Jayne Cobb. I've seen him play a Lawyer from Hell (Angel) and snatches of him as a super-spy (Chuck), but I just can't see him as Marcus Hamilton or John Casey. Of course, that also hinges on which role you see them in first, and may be a handicap of the viewing mind rather than the actor's later abilities to become a character.

Well, anyway. When judging best cast, you must also consider how they all work together. Great actors can be great separately and just never manage to jive in the established narrative. So, after taking all that into consideration...

I essentially can't decide between Battlestar Galactica and Carnivale.

Both casts are top-knotch, full of excellent actors who integrated seamlessly. Battlestar Galactica is consistently better on a greater scale, and Quixote agrees - especially considering the cast had more episodes to perform and, perhaps, with less lead-time.

Quixote adds that another aspect of "best cast" should be defined by how relatable the cast is as a whole: how well can the viewer empathize with all those assembled? Answering his own question, he suggests that Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation fits this bill for him, with TNG being more in the lead because of the schism undercurrent between the Big 3 on TOS (Kirk, Spock, McCoy) and all the rest.

30 Days of TV: The List )
infinitejest: (Default)
Day 10 - A show you thought you wouldn't like but ended up loving

Babylon 5: I remember seeing previews for the pilot when I was 11 and being really excited about a new science fiction show. At that time, I was watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine regularly... and, while I enjoyed them, the Star Trek universe was a known quantity. I was eager to discover something new.

Unfortunately, Babylon 5: The Gathering straight up sucked. Many of the character designs were bad, the acting was awful, and I was utterly unenthralled. My great disappointment faded into forgetful ambivalence, and my 12th year was spent absorbed in the final season of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

In November of 1994, I was taking a computer class under the auspices of a teacher who was a sci-fi nut. She absolutely loved Babylon 5, and she hosted after-school parties after each new episode aired, screening them in the computer lab for those who had permission to stay. As a young geek, there was no way I was passing up teacher-sanctioned social geekery.

I don't remember which new episode we watched on the first viewing I attended; I do remember, though, that it was a double-header. She showed us "Babylon Squared" after the new episode and, in spite of Michael O'Hare's one-note performance, I was hooked by the end of the afternoon. (Especially knowing that Captain John Sheridan was on the way.)

I got my mom hooked along with me - she had long been a sci-fi fan as well anyway, and the idea that Scarecrow Bruce Boxleitner took over from the subpar Michael O'Hare was all she needed to hear. Thus began a journey in intense fandom love through my 17th year.

I keep meaning to revisit the series now, over a decade later, but I haven't managed to commit to it yet. From a few episodes I've randomly watched in the past couple of years, though, I think such a re-watch will be a mixed experience. I still love the characters and the concepts, but some of the writing makes me wince.

Quixote, on the other hand, answers Ron Moore's Battlestar Galactica. Before the miniseries aired in 2003, he was firmly in the "Galactica in name only" camp. He was convinced it was the worst idea ever and would be horrible, but he was equally committed to watching the miniseries so he could complain on an informed level. Of course, by the time the second part ended, he was done and a BSG fan through and through. (I was also a big fan of BSG in the beginning, but it took "33" to sell me on it.)

30 Days of TV: The List )
infinitejest: (doctor who: bad wolf)
Day 09 - Best scene ever

I feel like I should be prefacing each of these posts with the reminder that my answers are constrained by what I can remember when I sit down to do this meme. I do put a good measure of thought into each question, going down the lists of my favorite or important television shows, probing my memory for "best scene ever" examples, for example. But I don't have an eidetic memory, so I have to rely on whatever my mental net can pull out of the mess of my media memory at the present. I'm sure if I had longer to ponder the question, I'd come up with more or different answers; however, with an on-and-off 24-hour consideration here in the summer of 2010, this is what I came up with.

Also, I have chosen to interpret "best scene ever" as "coolest, most bad-ass (optionally hilarious) scene ever."

I think I'll go with a top 5.

Note: I've included links to these scenes where possible for those who want to relive them; if you haven't seen the episodes in the first place, however, I don't recommend watching them out of context!

5. Mal first demonstrates his unique brand of negotiating in Firefly.
This is one of those quintessential scenes from the second episode ("The Train Job") of Firefly that firmly demonstrates these protagonists are not entirely Good Guys. It also does so in a macabrely funny manner. It's part of what made Firefly such a strong and compelling show.

4. Buffy finds her inner core of strength in "Becoming: Part Two."
I couldn't find a decent clip of this one, sadly: in the season finale to the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, her vampire boyfriend Angel has lost his soul once more and become the terrifying Angelus. Naturally, Angelus has stalked Buffy and his game culminates in a good, brutal round of taunting battle. Since I can't find a clip, allow me to quote from Alexander Thompson's transcript of the episode:

Transcript here! )

3. Daleks vs. the Cybermen from New Who.
This is my optionally hilarious choice: in the season finale ("Doomsday") of the second season of the new Doctor Who, you have this extended scene of the Daleks and the Cybermen smack-talking each other. I was hysterical with laughter the first time I saw it, which helped some considering I was sobbing with heartbreak by the end of the episode.

2. Ambassador Delenn, Defender of Babylon 5
I love Big Damn Heroes: Delenn is the quintessential definition of one such in Babylon 5 and this is one scene by which that is incandescently apparent. The fierce temperance of her words and the way the Earth Alliance warships don't even hesitate before leaving always has me shouting "Fuck yeah, Sea King!" Or, you know, something like. The scene is from "Severed Dreams" (3.10).

And the most kick-ass scene?

1. Battlestar Galactica to the rescue on New Caprica.
If you plan on watching Battlestar Galactica, but you haven't seen through Season 3, don't read this! That said, this was one of the most amazing scenes in the show, even while being immersed in a bunch of sub-par aspects of the show fore and aft. When Adama dropped the Galactica into atmo in "Exodus: Part 2", I'm pretty sure I punched the air with amazed glee. Watching them launch the vipers and then do an FTL jump away sealed the deal: I was crowing that Adama had huge, titanium cajones.

Quixote says that he concurs with most of my choices.1 He adds that he considers the closing scene of "Time Enough at Last" from The Twilight Zone to be one of the most iconic scenes ever. He also wants to mention the closing scene of The Prisoner in "Fall Out" for its sheer WTF?! scene awesomeness.

1. I can specify that he's not including Buffy the Vampire Slayer in his echo.

30 Days of TV: The List )

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