The 2014-2015 TV Superlatives

So, at the end of every calendar year, I make my annual list of Book Superlatives and Movie Superlatives. But the thing is, I watch TV too, like, a lot of TV. So, I decided to try something new this summer: My Geek Blasphemy’s first TV Superlatives.

Unfortunately, I only came to this decision a few months ago, so I’ve been wracking my brain trying to remember shit that happened on shows I watched, like, eight months ago. Because the TV Superlatives are going to work a little differently than the my other lists, as TV is a total pain in the ass medium that you judge season by season — and those seasons might begin in fall, winter, spring, or summer, and may or may not be contained in one calendar year.

So. Shows qualifying for the 2014-2015 TV Superlatives will have to have premiered somewhere between June 2014 and June 2015. This will cover all normal fall and winter TV shows. As far as tricky spring/summer shows go, well, Game of Thrones Season 4 will not qualify because it premiered in April of 2014, but Season 5 will, because it aired in April of 2015, even though it didn’t end until after June. Meanwhile Season 4 of Teen Wolf will qualify, but not the currently airing Season 5 or the previous Season 3B.

Everybody got it? Excellent. Let’s begin.

Continue reading

Posted in LISTS, TV STUFF | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

2015 Clarion West Write-a-Thon: Week Two Update

Current Project: Untitled Fantasy/Murder Mystery Novel
Current Pitch: Pinocchio meets In the Heat of The Night. Plus Practical Magic.

Kill Count Since Prologue: 3
First (Possibly Unnecessary) Dream Sequence: Page 22
POV Shift: Going smoother than expected

Song From Current Project Playlist: “Run Me Out” (Versions) – Zola Jesus

Goal Met: Not Yet

It’s been a busy week. For me, anyway — probably less so for people with actual lives — but I’ve been seriously worried that I was going to fail my writing goal in only Week 2. Thankfully, I recently had a small burst of creative energy and, also, a little more time to focus on the Current Project instead of working on edits for a different, actually far more important project — so while I’m not finished with the second chapter yet, I should get there by tomorrow night. Assuming I can focus and stop obsessively reading Teen Wolf fanfiction — but oh my God, oh my GOD, you guys, did you see the first two episodes, and that super tease for the whole season, I mean, holy SHIT

. . . all right, okay. I’m a professional writer being professional now.

The current project is structured between alternating points of view: the woman who’s trying to solve her sister’s murder and the woman who’s trying to bring her sister back to life. I’ve been thinking of them as ‘the detective’ and ‘the magician,’ but in a way, my magician is a detective too, and she has her own mystery to solve. She knows a resurrection spell has been successful once, but she doesn’t know who was resurrected or how things went wrong, only that her father vowed he would never bring anyone back from the dead. So our magician must discover both how to craft her own resurrection spell (particularly difficult, given several factors), as well as what happened to the first person who came back to life.

I suspect the magician’s mystery will, ultimately, be harder to write (she has way more journals than actual suspects to work with), but right now I’m actually finding her POV a bit easier to slide into. She’s kind of the nerdy one, though, so perhaps that’s no big surprise.

Finally, a random line from Chapter 2:

Sinjyn woke, coughing up grave dust.

Posted in WRITING | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“Impossibility is a Kiss Away From Reality.”

I first heard about Sense8 a couple of weeks before it aired on Netflix. Instantly, I was intrigued: a story about eight different people, all over the world, who become psychically linked in some way, who can share thoughts and abilities and even their own bodies with one another, eight people who are also somehow one. I thought it sounded fascinating.

Then reviews started to trickle in and they were . . . mixed, at best. Critics didn’t seem to like it at all, complaining that the show was slow, muddled, and confusing. At the same time, my Twitter feed was blowing up with mad love for Sense8, praising their in-depth, complex characters, particularly their multiple queer characters.

I figured, Well, there’s only one way to find out for yourself.

group1

Overall, I agree more with the Twitter folks than the critics.

Continue reading

Posted in TV STUFF | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

2015 Clarion West Write-A-Thon: Week One Update

Current Project: Untitled Fantasy/Murder Mystery Novel
Current Pitch: Pinocchio meets In the Heat of The Night. Plus Practical Magic.

Epic Romance: Begins on page 1
First Death: 17 pages in
Exposition Fairy: Busy as a motherfucker

Song From Current Project Playlist: “Simon’s Sleeping” – Pretty Balanced

Goal Met: Yes

Well, we’re one week in, and I’m already having writer’s regret. So, that’s healthy.

So far, I have one prologue and one (pretty short) chapter completed. The prologue doesn’t count for anything — I wrote the first draft of that months ago and polished it up a bit last week. And the prologue’s actually longer than the first chapter, which probably isn’t a great sign. Then again, the first chapter is really just a short introduction and a handful of exposition before a dead body pops up to kick off the mystery. You probably don’t want that chapter to be too long, right? Right?

Here’s what I’ve determined/reaffirmed this week:

A. Opening sentences are bullshit.

B. I really hated describing scenery, so I absolutely went the right direction by choosing to write a second-world fantasy.

C. I’m drawing from a lot — a lot — of fairy tales and fairy tale tropes, but I don’t particularly want my world to resemble, like, Medieval Europe (or worse, Hollywood’s all white, all the time Medieval Europe). Partially because 90% of fantasy looks like that anyway, and partially because my voice is rather, well, distinct — and part of that distinction is the fact that I’m pretty American. I can cut some of the Californian if I work at it (even though a sentence clearly isn’t a sentence at all if it doesn’t have at least one ‘like’ in it), but if I try to thee and thou it, I’m done. So instead, I’m trying to work with the American, not just in language but in geography and government and religion. I don’t know if I want states, but I’m interested in territories. I definitely want dragons, but I’m not so sure about castles. I want to play with melting pot/salad bowl theory without being a total clueless asshole. It’s a work in progress.

D. I haven’t quite figured out my detective’s voice yet, but I figure I’ll get there. Probably before I figure out how to describe a sunset, anyway. (It’s, like, pretty? There are colors and stuff? Godamn scenery.)

Finally, your moment of zen random line from Chapter One:

“Fire couldn’t melt stone. It had to work hard to crack glass, but paper — paper surrendered. Paper crumpled to ash.”

(Please don’t comment to tell me that stone can be melted at a high enough temperature. I know. I can’t remember a damn thing I learned in any of my science classes, but I can still Google like a pro.)

Posted in WRITING | Tagged , | Leave a comment

“You’ve Got To Laugh. Otherwise, You’re Gonna Go Nuts, Man.”

The Plan: Watch Lawrence of Arabia with dinner.

The Flaw: . . . wait, HOW long is it?

The Options: We could be good and continue forward with our nearly four-hour Oscar-winning epic, or we could watch that terrible looking horror movie on Netflix.

The Inevitable Conclusion?

cover2

The funny thing is that Don’t Blink turned out to be a surprisingly decent low-budget thriller. Right up until the completely lackluster ending, that is.

Continue reading

Posted in SLIGHTLY LESS EPIC REVIEWS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Belated Thoughts — Game of Thrones Season Five Finale

I wasn’t planning to post my reactions to Game of Thrones’s fifth season finale, “Mother’s Mercy,” but then . . . well, I just had to.

mel

BIG TIME SPOILERS AHEAD

So, fifth season . . . not my favorite. I’ve liked plenty of scenes here and there, and in some ways, I actually think it’s improved on the books — Daenerys’s storyline, for instance, may be a bit dull right now, but it’s still so much more interesting than “Annoying Dany and Her Endless Parade of Potential Lovers” from A Dance With Dragons. Still, as a whole, I’ve been disappointed this year, and overall the season finale only made things worse.

Taking each storyline one by one:

1. Because I’ve read A Dance With Dragons, I knew — among other things — that Jon was going to get stabbed to shit, and it’s a great way to end the season. Adding Benjen Stark to the Previously On Survivor Section was a really clever misdirect. I was like, “Holy shit, is the show actually going to do something with Benjen? That’s amazing. We’re finally going to prove or disprove so many fan theories!” And then that Little Shit Ollie is like, “Hey, we have news about your uncle!” and I’m like, “You total bastards. That’s brilliant.”

Now, I’ve never thought Jon was permanently dead, not once. This is partially because we still haven’t revealed Jon’s true parentage in the books or TV show, and partially because everybody who doesn’t get decapitated in the books comes back to life. Of course, Game of Thrones has famously (and frustratingly) not resurrected characters that came back to life in the books, but it’s an awfully big coincidence that a priestess who can bring people back from the dead and is almost certainly suffering a religious crisis now that her messiah is (maybe) dead has arrived at the Wall just in time for a major player to get murdered. I would honestly be surprised if Melisandre doesn’t bring Jon Snow back. (Also, when exactly did she leave?)

2. Davos, though. His face when he hears about Shireen: SO SAD. (Although I’d like him to enact bloody revenge when he finds out how Shireen died, preferably after Melisandre raises Jon from the dead.)

3. So, this is what I’ve learned: whether in the books or movies, the Battle of Winterfell is disappointing as shit. In the books, it’s disappointing because you’re waiting a thousand pages for that fucker, only for it to never happen. In the show, it’s disappointing because Game of Thrones clearly blew their battle budget back in Episode 8 and couldn’t show the total annihilation of Stannis’s forces.

On one hand, I actually love that a bunch of mercenaries were like, “Uh, how about we not fight for a dude who’s so fucking crazy he burns his own daughter alive.” I mean, that’s just common sense right there. Plus, it’s great that Stannis’s big sacrifice to win the battle is actually what lost him the battle. That’s excellent and no more than he deserves, that unbelievable dick.

On the other hand . . . seriously, ALL SEASON you’re waiting for something you don’t even get to see. Maybe if we at least got a long, bloody montage of Stannis’s men being butchered to, like, sweeping Lord of the Rings music or something, but as is, I was really underwhelmed.

4. If anyone deserves a gratuitously violent on-screen death, it’s Stannis . . . which makes the cut-away that much more annoying. I’m rarely a big fan of the dramatic “did-you-kill-him” cut-away, as 99.8% of the time it means “no, no, you didn’t.” I suspect that Brienne didn’t kill Stannis, that either someone comes up from behind to stop her, or that she decides not to kill him so he can help rescue Sansa or something. (No, I have no idea how that would even make sense.) But if that’s not the case, then screw you, show. I will not apologize for my bloodlust. I want to see Stannis die HARD. I’d be fine if it happened by either Davos’s or Brienne’s hand — although, really, the latter’s basically been staring at a tower for an entire season, so maybe she deserves it more, just so she has something to DO.

5. But speaking of characters who did nothing  . . .

sansa

Jesus fucking wept, really? I was annoyed by the controversial rape scene that happened earlier in the year (though not quite as much as some people, certainly not as much as I was by last year’s controversial rape scene), but I was hoping that at least Sansa would get to do something useful at the end of this season, something to take her power back. And look, I’m glad she escaped — presumably, not that I think anyone could legitimately survive that jump — and I know Theon needed his own Moment to reclaim his identity, to gain redemption, but man, this kind of sucked. She couldn’t have even taken out a guard or something? She couldn’t have stabbed Ramsay even a little?

At the end of last season, I really thought Game of Thrones was setting up for Sansa to take command of her own story — but with the brutal, unnecessary rape scene, we made her a helpless victim again, and by the end of the season, that’s still all she is: a powerless princess getting rescued by someone else.

6. Arya got to kill someone, at least. Arya got to kill the hell out of someone.

arya

But while I knew going in how her story would resolve, I did feel like that resolution was pretty rushed. And the actual ‘going blind’ scene itself was kind of confusing. It’s not a huge problem, but I still feel like it could have been done better.

7. Speaking of lamesauce executions: Dorne in its entirety was utterly disappointing this season.

We spent so little time there that it felt like a completely extraneous subplot, solely designed to get Jaime away from King’s Landing. And it probably isn’t totally extraneous because I’m assuming that war Prince Doran was trying to avoid is going to ignite next season — because there’s no way Jaime and Cersei are going to react well to the princess’s death. Still, Dorne felt utterly unnecessary all season. We’re introduced to a bunch of new characters (all the Sand Snakes, plus Prince Martell), only to spend most of that time on one girl’s boobs. Not to mention, Jamie’s whole plot can be reduced to a single sentence: Jaime travels to rescue his secret-daughter, gets arrested, and has a single moment of parental happiness before she’s poisoned, presumably to death.

Here’s a tip, Myrcella: don’t be kissing people who tried to assassinate you. Honestly. The Kiss of Death was so obvious, too. I liked the scene between her and Jaime, but I was still practically snapping my fingers, waiting for her to bite it.

8. About Cersei’s Walk of Shame — I have mixed feelings.

cersei

Like, it’s a horrific scene, hugely icky, but also very effective, primarily because Lena Headey acted the hell out of it. I was disturbed, but the scene didn’t piss me off the way Sansa’s rape did, or Cersei’s own rape, last year. (Although I’m not sure we got enough loving pans to her lady parts. I feel like we could have lingered a little more there.)

But it’s interesting — I was talking to another co-worker, and she told me that she hoped Cersei got bloody revenge on all of them next year. And really, I didn’t have that reaction at all. Despite it being an atrocious humiliation, my sympathy for Cersei remains limited — not because of all her murderous, incestuous, and generally awful ways, but because she’s the one who brings the religious order to power in the first place, entirely to get rid of Margaery. I have no doubt that, had Cersei stayed in power, she would’ve been fine, possibly even amused, watching Margaery suffer this same humiliation. So, no, I’m not particularly on her side here.

And what the hell happened to Margaery anyway? She and Loras were entirely dropped from the story, which really annoyed me. Are they still imprisoned? Dead? Did Olenna just go home? It’s pretty sloppy writing.

You know what would have worked for me? If at the end of her walk, Cersei had seen Margaery there, also shorn, and the two had shared like a nod of, “Let’s work together to kill these fuckers.” Then, I think, I could’ve gotten in on the vengeance spirit.

9. Finally, to the East . . . *shrug*

I don’t at all care about Dany being surrounded by a bazillion Dothraki. Absolutely no interest in that storyline at the moment. I do, however, have interest in Tyrion ruling Mereen. I bet he could make those politics interesting, in the exact way that Dany couldn’t. Also, Varys is back! YES!

Next season needs at least 70% more Tyrion and Varys.

FINALE GRADE: C+
SEASON GRADE: B

MORALS:

If anyone who has previously tried to kill you later attempts to kiss you, push them away. Seriously. No kissing people who want you dead. I don’t care if it seems rude. This is common sense.

Never lead the Night’s Watch. They mutiny more than fucking pirates, and you will end up deader than shit.

Posted in TV STUFF | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

The 2015 Clarion West Write-a-Thon

It’s that time of the year again.

The Clarion West Write-a-Thon is UPON US.

. . . I don’t know why I felt like making that all bold and doom-like. It’s not really a doom thing.

For those of you who don’t know/haven’t already suffered through two years of these posts, the Write-a-Thon is a fundraiser that Clarion West runs to raise money for their six-week workshop, a workshop I attended three years ago and that maybe, kinda changed my life. I couldn’t participate last year, but this year I’m back in it, working on THE NOVEL.

(I haven’t attempted anything close to a novel-length project in three years, so it definitely deserves the doom-like bold font. My goal here is to complete a chapter a week, which may or may not be doable, depending on how long my chapters need to be.)

Here is the very brief synopsis/blurb I wrote for THE NOVEL:

A toymaker and a magician create three children together, daughters made out of love letters, wishing stones, and death glass, respectively. Once close, the three sisters have grown up and grown apart — but when one is found dead in their childhood home, the other two must come together if they want to solve her murder and, just possibly, bring her back from the dead.

If you’re so inclined/capable, you can donate money here. You can also find links to the many other authors participating if you’d like to donate to their pages instead of/as well as mine. If you do sponsor me, I’ve taken someone else’s idea come up with some incentives that you’ll hopefully have fun with, assuming you’ve ever enjoyed silly personality quizzes. (And don’t even lie. You know exactly which Disney Princess you are, just like you know which Hogwarts House you belong to. Also, did it ever bother you there were really no good Slytherin students? I wouldn’t even be Slytherin, and that bothered me. No, Snape doesn’t count.)

Anyway. Incentives:

If you donate $5.00 to my page, I’ll send you a brief personality quiz so you can find out if you’d be made from wishing stones, love letters, or death glass.

If you donate $10.00 to my page, I’ll send you a slightly longer survey so you can find out what completely original material you’d be made from. No one will get the same answer — you’ll all be your own special snowflakes.

Of course, I’ll happily accept more than $10.00 donations, but all I have to offer you then is additional gratitude. I can say ‘thank you’ in different font sizes and colors, though, if you’d like.

The Clarion West Write-a-Thon officially starts this Sunday, June 21st, and ends July 31st. You can donate any time from now until it ends. Wish me luck!

Posted in WRITING | Tagged , | 3 Comments