beccatoria: (nihilus vs atris)
[personal profile] beccatoria

Hello peoples. I fell off the internet for a while, mostly because I was vidding a lot and playing Mass Effect 2. And I realise I've got to this point where I keep having these things I want to post about here but they never seem significant enough/apropos of anything/like a significant portion of my flist would be interested, but now I have like four of them, so they are going together into a post, dagnabbit.

As always, you are encouraged to pick and choose cut-tags. ;)

1. Vidding

Yay! I have been doing some! I was really, REALLY hoping to have it done by the end of the year, but at this rate, I'm not sure that's going to happen. It's not a really complicated vid or anything. Actually it's a big, actiony, heart-on-sleeve vid to a kids' cartoon that belongs on tumblr or youtube so bad it'll probably push me over into actually getting an account if only to gently poke fun at myself. Sometimes you have to own that shit and revel in how dorktastic you're being. In case anyone is curious, it's a Young Justice vid. The name tells you pretty much everything you need to know about it. ;)

Actually it's kind of an interesting show in that I basically loathed the first episode, thought the next couple were pretty damn bland, and then it kept getting slowly better, until the last handful have been pretty awesome with like, character development in surprising directions and stuff. I mean, Robin breaking down and telling Black Canary that he's seen what he'll become if he tries to grow up and be Batman, and he doesn't want that anymore? Oh, formerly-crappy-and-still-slightly-crappy show, you know exactly how to win me over: talk smack about Batman. ♥

Finally, the reason it's taking me SO FREAKING LONG isn't effects or anything (though there's one section of technical fiddliness), it's because I got so fed up with the TV rips having so much crap all over the screen (seriously, sometimes you have the whole lower third taken up by the Cartoon Network logo and the whole upper right quarter has some kind of countdown to another TV show, it's just awful) that even though I'm really NOT usually a source queen, I decided to use clean .mkv files. Because .mkv files were the only clean ones I could find - no .avis. But Cinelerra doesn't read .mkv files. However it WILL read .mp4s, and you can strip out the audio and video from an .mkv and then re-mux it into an .mp4 without actually re-encoding it so you don't lose any quality. But on Linux I have to do that via the command line. And THEN I have to open it in avidemux and strip and/or re-encode just the audio because Cinelerra sometimes throws a fit on that point. So anyway, then I can edit it. But rendering out, to not lose quality, I have to use a different codec to usual which gives me a file only VLC can read and I can't convert down to a sane size because avdemux can't read it. SO. I then have to use a command line program (cus avidemux hates it) to re-encode it losslessly to an .mkv file, and then re-mux it as an .mp4 again.


Um, and anyway, because I'm using super HQ footage (even though it's a cartoon and no one will be able to tell once it's encoded down to distribution size), Cinelerra gets all slow and crashy with shoddy playback so it's slow going to do the editing.

2. Mass Effect 2

I'm not a huge gamer. I'm not that great at it, so most of the games I actually enjoy are story-based, and even then I suffer frustrations. This is a prime example. I really enjoyed Mass Effect 1, and honestly I'm enjoying Mass Effect 2 about the same. But the problems I do have with it are largely narrative not mechanical. Cus I'm not much of a gamer so the mechanical stuff is all a bit "whatever" for me anyway. I'm equally crap at shooting shit!

I do think that there are some narrative improvements, mind. I like the way that it follows on from the way your companions would talk to each other in elevators and stuff - it's not at Dragon Age levels of entertaining interaction but I like that it seems a bit heavier on the fact that who you take on missions actually gets you slightly different perspectives and bits of dialogue from them in different situations. It makes me think about whose perspective I would be most entertained to hear from at different points.

I also love how it pays attention to choices you made in the first one in tiny ways, like as well as new missions, in you get email from people you saved or were an ass to in #1 saying, thanks or telling you what happened to them. It's a tiny thing, just a letter, no voice acting needed, etc., but it really helps with a feeling of verisimilitude. Like when you listen to the galactic news on the Citadel and it references stuff you did two years ago, or it talks about Sheppard's mom's command situation because I chose the background that gives Sheppard a mom in the military.

So given all that, I have two things to talk about that really bug me. One is an issue I had from the first one. It doesn't pay any attention to what class you chose as Sheppard. Like, if you're playing a Sheppard who has biotic abilities, biotic characters still talk to you like you won't know what they're talking about. Dragon Age took account of your class/race choices and people sometimes addressed you slightly differently because of them. If the game is able to make choices about what to put on the galactic news stream based on your game choices, why not some subtle dialogue distinctions. Like have Jack drop a, "however powerful you are, I'm way out of your league," or have Mordin make a comment about how you are a mechanical engineer - he just does the same for biologics or...something.

The second issue is specific to Mass Effect 2. I really think it cheaped out on the opening story and on why you should work for Cerberus. The opening where you die in space is pretty beautiful and epic. And then they bring you back, all good there. seems anticlimactic, somehow, that it's "just" science. That all it takes is money. Were you really dead, dead? Aren't there philosophical considerations as a part of that? How did they restart your brain? Or were you simply very close to death? In which case, well, you didn't die, and therefore it's a very different piece of character development. I guess what I'm saying is, if the answer is, essentially, "melodramatic magic", I'm cool with that, but it would have tied into the first game and seemed much more mysterious and awesome if it had had something to do with that Prothean beacon in game 1 because it's already established that it had an effect on your grey matter.

It would also answer the problem I have that it all seems wonderfully contrived that the Illusive Man is such a total fucking control freak and yet is all, "but Sheppard must be totally autonomous because if we change anything about her, she might lose her magical Sheppardy Sheppardness and not be able to work protagonist magic!" Which totally screws with the fact that you wake up and HALF YOUR FUCKING FACE IS METAL and like, the whole thing about dying and coming back? MIGHT have an effect on your psychology? And it's not that I hate the trope of, "you're the only person with the skills to do it, so I have to abide by your methods and hope that this experience DIDN'T screw with those skills," except, I don't understand why the Illusive Man thinks that about Sheppard. It seems out of character for him since it's not like Sheppard actually did anything other than persevere and shoot a lot. The Prothean beacon seems the one key "special" thing about her, and even that seems informational rather than granting magic abilities. The Illusive Man might know different, but again, we're back to why don't we tie her resurrection more tightly to it?

I would have preferred for the Illusive Man to be cloning her for both skill and propaganda value and not to expect Prothean shenanigans to wake her up with her original mind intact and to be a bit thrown by it.

I also would have liked to more forcefully decline the offer to work with him. It could have been done by allowing Sheppard to leave to go to the Citadel and having the exact same conversation she has there eventually anyway where she finds out they won't fund her and won't believe her. They could also refuse to reinstate her as a Spectre. Then she has a more rational reason to accept the Illusive Man's offer of money because otherwise she can't do shit. But as it is, I was forced to work for, essentially, a human supremacist group I fucking HATE HATE HATE, and constantly telling everyone I don't work for them doesn't really soften the blow when the dialogue options are usually things like, "I don't work for them but our goals coincide for now". Bluntly I think the game relies too much on the fact that a lot of players will be like, "Kewl a reason it's okay to like playing for the bad dudes!" whereas I'm like, "Omgs if one more of these people tell me how "effective" they are without the red tape of a LEGALLY ELECTED GOVERNMENT, I will cut a bitch".

In short: Mass Effect 2: You are awesome, but y u no provide for dweebs like me who don't want to be badass rebelz because democracy is sexy?

3. Once Upon A Time

You know what, guys? I am really liking this show.

I still have some concerns about some of the implications around family and adoption - and I say this as someone who actually really likes the relationship that Emma and Henry are developing.

I think one of the reasons I'm not more put out by it, though, is that there's a real feeling of found family in unusual circumstances to Emma, Henry, Mary Margaret and David. I think the fact it's so unusual - so queer, in an academic sense - that I feel a little mollified about the way it could otherwise be interpreted as biological determinism.

I also appreciated that we saw a message against the importance of biological parents in the Huntsman who considered the wolves his family. I was nervous initially because I wondered if it would again be biological determinism that shifted his allegiance back to Snow White, a human, but rather, they played it far more that she gained entry to his pack of wolves because she demonstrated a self-sacrificial trait he respected and associated more with the animal kingdom than the world of people. I'm not sure if it was intentional and I hope that such messages continue to appear in the show, but for what it was, I appreciated that.

Speaking of, I think another reason why I'm reasonably excited about this show right now, is the decision to kill Graham. I mean, it's not like I wanted him to die, but I'm fascinated by the decision to off him in a narrative sense. It speaks to a confidence in Emma's character that I am relieved to see, but also slightly surprised by. She effectively has no love interest now, which means that her primary emotional relationships are almost certainly going to be with Henry, Regina and possibly her parents. That's pretty rare for the lead of a prime time network show, even though it shouldn't be. Of course they may well introduce another romantic interest soon enough, but I was still pleasantly surprised that this was the decision they came to, rather than killing off someone like Jiminy Cricket.

I was also quite impressed with the acting from the Mayor at the end when she crushed the Sheriff's heart. I'm not sure what exactly was going on there, but her face was fascinating. I'm still concerned about what, exactly, Snow White did to her, and how to balance the fact that her character demands that she be antagonistic and ruthless, but I still want to understand why she is the way she is - why she can't love. If there really is a reason that works - and it really is Snow White's fault, that's a potentially powerful reason to "allow" her to be pretty damn evil while still keeping complexity in her overall story. I guess we'll see, but for now I'm cautiously optimistic.

4. Wonder Woman

Yeah, so I haven't read the latest issue, cus I tend to get my comics a couple of days later. So I'm not talking about that, but I hope it kicked ass!

Nah, what I want to talk about is how the more I read fannish responses to Wonder Woman on the internet the more utterly convinced I am that the character is...not necessarily trapped, but made, more than any other character I know of, to stand for all things for all people.

So, just to get it out of the way, I love most of the new series, but I do mourn the loss of the queerness of her previous origin, even if I like some of the things the new one is bringing to the series. I completely understand why people might get angry about that - none of this is intended as a rallying cry against considering that as a valid issue to be angry about.

But I, perhaps unwisely, went to lurk on some forums and I was honestly surprised at the number of people whose issue seemed to stem not from the origin change exclusively, but rather from the more warlike aspects of this Wonder Woman and how they felt that she wasn't being visibly compassionate and loving enough and that that was a betrayal of the character.

Now, fair enough. My love for her comes of the fact she exists in a brilliant contradiction whereby she is capable of enormous violence and boundless love in the same brea(d)th (of a swung sword). I think that is still clear here, even if the lack of internal monologue makes her seem more distant and potentially dispassionate, I still see both sides to her. So I might have some issues (which I'll raise momentarily) with an overly passive Diana, but at least in principle, folks are allowed to have opinions other than mine. ;)

But what has me...slightly irked (and again, as always, personal irked opinion here), but more than that genuinely confused, is the number appeals to what Marston (her original creator) would have wanted, what he would have done, whether this is in keeping with his original vision. I honestly would not have expected that to be so much of a Thing. I'm not aware of anyone really talking much about what Bob Kane would have thought of Morrison's or Miller's Batman. And talk of Siegel and Schuster is usually sympathetic to their legal plight, but again, rarely about changes made to their character. But yeah, it irks me, cus:

You know what? Fuck Marston's original vision.

I don't need a dude from seventy years ago, who, frankly, had some pretty fucking weird ideas about feminism, to tell me what I need in a role model.

I totally appreciate that for the time, what he believed was revolutionary. I definitely appreciate his prescience in turning over the rights to the character in exchange for keeping her in print.

But I think part of why I get annoyed with the notion that Diana needs to be much more peaceable than she is now, when combined with a specific appeal to Marston's authority, is that, while progressive for the time, I find his original ideas about her to be totally gender essentialist in a pretty fetishised way.

As far as I understand it, a key part of his philosophy was that women are less violent and more able to broker peace, which is why they should be the warriors, etc., because then there'd be less war. And as I said, the idea of not being afraid of giving women power? Awesome. The rest of it? Little close to a lot of other gender-essentialist concepts I dislike.

So when people pull that, my internal, reflexive response is to go, "Oh, so you think Wonder Woman shouldn't be this violent because Marston wouldn't approve because Marston thought women were naturally sweet, gentle and loved kittens? FUCK YOU."

Which I am aware is unfair because it's more complicated than that, but I still maintain that Marston's Wonder Woman is rooted, at best, in some powerfully second wave feminism that I think isolates her as much as it gives her an identity.

I really think it's part of the root of her image problem. Some of the fear of her is definitely rooted in oldskool, if sometimes subconscious, sexism. "Whut? Second wave feminism? I can't even handle THAT! Women? Being friends with each other? In a situation that excludes men by design? DISCOMFORT!" Some of it's that. I get that.

But some of it's more from the other direction. I find a lot of the second-wave concepts in her origin to be ham-handed, or even embarrassingly awkward by modern standards. There's a reason stuff like, losing her strength when she allowed her wrists to be bound by a man got dropped, and, while I wouldn't for the world lose the Amazons (seriously, other than the origin, one of the few things that makes me sad about the current run is Azzarello's take on the Amazons as less snuggly), but I gotta be honest, if a contemporary character whose hook to the general public was feminism, had a backstory like she came from an isolationist group of women and had come to learn about "patriarch's world", I would cringe.

And it's a tricky call because there are people out there so icky they kind of need someone to shove second wave feminism in their face because third wave gives them the excuse to believe that it was never really a problem in the first place. And Wonder Woman's history is also one of her most amazing assets.

But unlike Batman and Superman, she was created in response to a specific social issue, and its one that's changed along with society, over the last 70 years.

And that's without going into the whole thing about Marston and bondage and how that's part of why he wanted women in control, which I have no personal judgements about, not even in terms of him putting it in his comics, but I also don't think it seamlessly blends with feminism just because he carried his desire to put women in charge beyond the bedroom. And his comics were about his ideas of "loving submission" in addition to simply being a feminist message for readers. Which again, I don't have any particular problem with as a message to put in a comic, but I do have a problem with if it's being conflated with feminism wholesale, rather than as an additional theme, because it strays into territory that can be empowering to women, but can also be problematically fetishistic.

And...that's all I really wanted to say.

Thanks for creating her, Marston, and thanks for making sure she got the chance to be here, 70 years later, so I could be glad that your vision was no longer prevalent.

Date: 2011-12-22 12:51 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I cannot wait for ME3. The second one blew me away.

Gave up on the first, was too samey, and I got so frustrated with my team mates running into deadly gunfire and dying all the time. But got sucked into the second. Much tighter story telling.

Date: 2011-12-22 12:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh, and did you manage to keep your team all alive at the end?

Oh, and ye gods, posting this comment in your LJs style has the old comment box and not the new stupid one! Hurrah!

Date: 2011-12-22 04:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I liked the first one! But then, like I said, I am not much of a gamer and I did play it mostly in the company of others, laughing at my inability to drive the moon buggy, which may have helped. ;) I'm quite looking forward to 3 as well which is partly why I started playing 2, though I was worried I wouldn't like it as much because Kev didn't like it that much but I think a lot of that was the more technical elements like the loss of the inventory system and the moon buggy (which was his favourite bit). I disagree though, I quite like it.

I think I'll have to wait before I get 3 though - games are SO expensive these days.

As to the team alive thing - I haven't actually finished it yet, but I'll let you know! I'm playing it on casual because I...don't like challenges (and because this is challenging enough for me cus I suck at games!) so hopefully I'll be able to manage it.

As to the comment boxes - right? Everyone was freaking out and I was like, wait, something changed? What? I think it has something to do with my layout style? Which is just one of the defaults I had to choose from, but there you go. *shrugs*

Date: 2011-12-23 01:05 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Though on the plus side games are coming down in price super fast these days. I picked up Arkham City for like, £17.99 last week. And Space Marine for a tenner.

But yes, your journal seems to be immune to the comment box nonsense at the moment. You might see it if you comment in somebody elses journal? I'm not sure.

Date: 2011-12-22 02:43 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Even though I HATE that Graham is dead because I adored the way he and Emma played off each other and they were THIS CLOSE to being my OTP for the show, I kinda like that they went there and that it's looking like he's really gone. *sniffle*

Date: 2011-12-22 04:33 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yes, I feel so bad for people who were investing in that relationship. But I think that for me, Snow/Charming is far more my OTP, omgscheeesy as it is. ♥

I think he really is gone in the "real world" although who knows for the fairytale world? Plus I guess there is magic. Maybe he has a twin brother too. :p

I REALLY need to get some icons...

Date: 2011-12-22 03:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I'm not sure what exactly was going on there, but her face was fascinating. I'm still concerned about what, exactly, Snow White did to her, and how to balance the fact that her character demands that she be antagonistic and ruthless, but I still want to understand why she is the way she is - why she can't love.
Ooh. THIS. I have have been discussing Regina with another LJer and she suggested that killing the father clinched Regina's inability to love. A possibility. But she was on that path before, clearly. She seems a bit conflicted. Why was she collecting hearts? Just to open a drawer?

By the way, Happy Holidays, Becca!

Date: 2011-12-22 04:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Even YOU have an icon! Everyone has OUAT icons except me! TRAGEDY! ;)

The idea that this stems from killing her father is interesting, but I don't think it quite works? I think it's the other way around? I think it was her inability to love - much though she wanted to/cared for him - that made it possible for her to kill him in the first place?

Because timeline-wise, she kills her father well after she tries to get the Huntsman to kill Snow White, and it's during the Hunstman storyline that Snow White acknowledges being responsible for the Queen's inability to love?

And as you say, you don't collect hearts in drawers to indulge your drawer fetish... ;)

Happy Holidays to you too! :D

Date: 2011-12-22 05:08 am (UTC)
ext_7700: (other: colours)
From: [identity profile]
Hi, I tend to lurk around these parts but I cannot resist talking about Wonder Woman:

You know what? Fuck Marston's original vision.

I don't need a dude from seventy years ago, who, frankly, had some pretty fucking weird ideas about feminism, to tell me what I need in a role model.

Thank you, this. There is this bizarre putting of Marston on a pedestal and using his 'vision' and authorial intent to justify a One True Wonder Woman in the Wonder Woman fandom, which I don't quite understand. The worshipping of certain kind of hyperfemininity is equally strange - Diana must hand out cookies and kisses to everyone all the time or Marston's vision is being compromised! How dare she throw a sword when she could have lassoed the centuar? Why does she even have a sword in the first place, is she Xena? Etc.

Date: 2011-12-22 04:58 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Hello! :D Lurkers are very welcome, but especially welcome when they occasionally surface to talk to me about Wonder Woman! :D

I'm really glad to hear I'm not the only one who feels this way about the situation, and thanks for letting me know that you agree. I was honestly surprised to find that it's so much of A Thing, so thanks also for confirming that it's not just my skewed perspective.

And you're right, the hyperfeminity thing is super weird too. The only thing I can think to explain it is again going back to super basic, and very gender essentialist, feminism, which demands empowering "feminine" traits rather than examining what actually ought to constitute a "feminine" trait. And I'm not saying men and women are the same and should be written as such, but simplifying it to, "Don't ever write Diana doing things the way a man would," is equally bizarre. I just. *throws up hands*

I love Wonder Woman sooooo damn much. But watching people react to her, I become ever more convinced that part of what makes her amazing is her ability to make everyone - fictional characters and realworld readers - uncomfortable, while being completely at ease with herself.

Also, I think I recognise your handle as one of the sensible people over on the CBR forums? That's pretty much the main place on the interwebs I've found that people talk about comics that isn't tumblr which is ridiculously hard to follow?

Anyway, thanks so much for commenting!

Date: 2011-12-23 06:45 am (UTC)
ext_7700: (other: pander to me!)
From: [identity profile]
Heh, yes, I do post over at CBR - I sort of got sucked into it during Odyssey. It's one of the few places where you can have a discussion about comics - despite the heavy concentration of various sorts of fanboys, I like that you can talk about things and follow the discussion, unlike Tumblr! Some of the people are ridiculously articulate, and know enormous amounts of comics canon, which is fun. (Of course, on other occasions I feel like banging my head against a brick wall...)

I was honestly surprised to find that it's so much of A Thing, so thanks also for confirming that it's not just my skewed perspective.

Perhaps it's just a 'new to Wonder Woman and not very fond of Marston's "feminism"' thing? I only see a few readers question this Marston's vision must be adhered to thing - most people cite his intent as though it's the Word of God, when in fact they're just citing him to justify what they think is the one true Wonder Woman.

But watching people react to her, I become ever more convinced that part of what makes her amazing is her ability to make everyone - fictional characters and realworld readers - uncomfortable, while being completely at ease with herself.

Yes, most people find it difficult to reconcile her genuine desire for peace with the fact that she can break you in half if she needs to. I suppose it comes from, as you say, a very gender essentialist vision of feminism - Wonder Woman is the 'ultimate woman' for many people, but what does 'feminine' really mean?

I just love her a lot. She makes me swoon. <3

Date: 2011-12-24 01:53 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yeah, I caught up with Odyssey sort of all at once on a whim right before the relaunch, having heard it was bad, so skipped it before (and I found that it was bad. Bad and weird, but hey, at least it's over now). So fortunately I wasn't tempted to get sucked into posting there at that time. I kind of...lurk around CBR now for the same reasons you give - it's one of the only places I've found where people ARE talking, but it's definitely a weird mix of incredibly intelligent and head-against-a-wall-smashing. I think I'm not inspired to join the conversation much because I feel alternately outclassed and like I want to sit back and read, or like I don't want to engage with that level of stupid? So I don't read it exhaustively, but I do sometimes go there for alternate awesome critiques and facepalming. ;)

Your point about it maybe being a newer Wonder Woman fan thing might be an interesting one? Because as you may know (not sure how much you lurk here!), I fairly recently converted to the church of OMFG DIANA YOU ARE AMAZING LET ME SWOON AT YOU FOREVERS, and perhaps because of that I missed a lot of the culture of the fandom that takes Marston's authorial intent for granted as an important issue? An interesting thought, at least. I do find it odd that Marston's feminism isn't more roundly critiqued though. Perhaps I simply don't know enough about it to be fair to him, but what I do know didn't inspire me to want to go and learn more because I found it...problematic by modern standards. (Although, of course, as I said, in a historical context, I am very grateful to him).

Yes, most people find it difficult to reconcile her genuine desire for peace with the fact that she can break you in half if she needs to.

Absolutely. It's that contradiction I adore. I think that Gail Simone is the writer who has best captured that (for me) on a personal level - in terms of Diana's internal monologue and personality. Greg Rucka is the one who has best captured it in terms of her social function - in terms of her actions demonstrating her beliefs. Together those two runs will probably always inform my understanding of Diana because they are where I first totally fell in love with her. Maybe it's like Doctor Who in that way - your first Doctor is usually your favourite and usually informs what you want out of the character.

But damn if Azzarello isn't doing a HELL of a job writing this story right now. I do feel that he's concentrating more on her as a pragmatic warrior than her compassionate side, but I think he also gets away with that, for me, without it feeling dissonant or disconnected from the Diana I love because of the minimalist but incredibly compressed style of the story in everything from art to dialogue, which makes me feel that in such aesthetic circumstances, even Simone's Diana would be far quieter and more physically decisive.

If Simone wins at personality and Rucka wins at action (as in her actions in the world, not guns and fighting), might Azzarello win at story? I'm not sure, but I am willing to allow him to try. Because yeah, this version of Diana still totally makes me swoon.

Date: 2011-12-22 07:54 am (UTC)
ext_80109: (YJ: Megan/Artemis: lovely in my sight)
From: [identity profile]
I have a headache and I'm exhausted or I would flail at you about Young Justice.

What are your thoughts?

Also Once Upon A Time! I am quite enjoying it.

Date: 2011-12-22 05:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Aww, I hope you feel better soon!

I don't really have any hugely deep thoughts about Young Justice except that I'm amazed how much better it got. Honestly I really didn't like it at first. It was ALL boys, and every girl who's been introduced has been helicoptered in by an older, male authority figure, two of the three were then immediately hit on and two of the three also had to suffer the boys treating them like shit for an entire mission until they "proved" themselves. I also didn't like the tendency, especially in earlier episodes, but somewhat now, of the characters to be all melodramatic and overreact and not listen, only to have the inevitable conclusion involve them all listening and realising they'd overreacted?

Which may partly be me watching a show aimed at kids with a different perspective, but also, it's not an issue I have so much with, say, Star Wars: the Clone Wars, or in some of the later episodes where they do the character stuff really well. So I'm inclined to say that it just got off to a rocky start with a lot of cliche conflicts and now it's improving.

Because from...the episode where they all lost their memories of the last six months? Until the latest ones? It's actually been way, way better. And the character development too. Like Superboy being at peace with dying because he finally knew what it was to be a hero like Superman, and feeling such conflict because he wasn't as traumatised by everything as the others, and what that means. Or Robin admitting he doesn't want to be Batman anymore - and with that, I also liked that of all of them, Robin, the one who was coolest and coldest in the simulation, was the only one mature enough and open enough to be honest about his feelings in therapy (well possibly apart from M'Gann, but I'm convinced she's hiding the fact she's a White Martian and that beat kind of eats that scene, as opposed to Robin's honestly and willingness to participate in the therapy process).

Which I suppose goes back to like, say, the episode where they're all fighting because Kaldur didn't tell them about the mole? I think Robin would have responded to that in a more measured way, and M'Gann would have been really hurt but desperate for everyone not to fight? Even if Wally and Superboy ran off? I guess that's what I mean when I say sometimes I feel the conflict is a bit forced.

But like I said, SUPER better than it was at the start - I'm actually enjoying it now, and it fulfills the same function for me as Star Wars: the Clone Wars - i.e. fun, largely unthinky, sometimes slightly thinky, animated fun where I can see characters I largely follow in print in actual live action. Which is what I wanted.

And I really like the number of DC characters they fit in.

Plus, like I said, I'm making a vid, which I think pretty much outs me. ;)

Date: 2011-12-23 05:19 am (UTC)
ext_80109: (YJ: Megan/Connor: I save him)
From: [identity profile]
I am feeling better! It's mostly just travellitis. TOO MUCH STUFF.

a;slkdhgd wheeee! I rewatched Failsafe the other day, and tbqh the majority of my Young Justice thoughts at the moment consist of "*SOOOOOB* OH MY GOD THEY'RE SO YOUNG AQUALAD - JUSTICE LEAGUE A;SKLHDG FUCK YES NO WAIT THIS IS BAD".

Megan is TOTALLY hiding that she's a White Martian, oh man. And it has just kept getting better! a;sklhdg and Kaldur's therapy session, all about how he's failed at leader and then he does the exact thing that makes him such a great leader, he knows them all SO WELL and what they're capable of and what they aren't. D: OH KALDUR.

The thing is, sometimes the conflict can feel forced, but mostly - well, these are still kids. They are such, such kids. The oldest of them is 16. ROBIN IS 13. Superboy is like five or six months old at this point. and a lot or most of them have family/trust issues.

I'm sorry, give me a moment, I need to cry about Robin being THIRTEEN and being able to become that ruthless leader that Batman is and hating himself every second of it OH GOD DICK.

asdgd'lkhsdg ANYWAYS I am really glad you are watching it <3 wheeee Young Justice! WHEEE BABY SUPERHEROES.

Date: 2011-12-24 12:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Travlitis is the WORST. ;)

See, I understand what you mean about them all being so young and also I don't generally watch cartoons and it's a different genre so I don't want to be overly judgemental.

Having said that, I still just sort of feel that in some of the lesser episodes, the fighting isn't so much organic from their personalities - including the fact they're teenagers - and feels more like the episode needs for them to be fighting right now. And that there would be better ways to get the same result?

And I guess if that was just the style of the show, I'd be like, oh well, that's cool, that's just how the show rolls, but then they do OTHER episodes that are seriously nuanced and thoughtful, like way more than I would expect for a cartoon about teenagers aimed at younger kids. So I just find it a bit dissonant at times?

I don't want to be the obnoxious growed up who keeps complaining that kids cartoons are made for kids though. It's just an odd state of whiplash to swing between HOLY FORCED CONFLICT, BATMAN! and HOLY AMAZING CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT, BATMAN!

But it's moving in the right direction, for sure.

The only objective complaint I have about it is that I really, really hate how Superman is acting about Superboy. No version of Superman I know and love would behave that way, no matter how freaked out he was by the situation. Even if he was a little uncomfortable and didn't quite know how to talk to him, he would at least do what he did in the comics and drop him off with Ma & Pa Kent so the kid didn't feel utterly abandoned.

I've taken to believing that the Big Different Thing about Earth-16 (kind of like how Earth-2 is in the Golden Age and Earth-3 has all the heroes as villains and all the villains as heroes), is that on Earth-16, Batman is a better father than Superman. BUT I CAN'T HELP IT, IT JUST SHOULDN'T BE TRUE IN ANY UNIVERSE. *head explodes* ;)

Any thoughts on the mole? I have a sinking feeling it's gonna be somehow Artemis' fault without it being her fault fault. Like her criminal dad bugged her house and picked up her talking to her mom about her missions or something and then sold the info. Which I kind of hope doesn't happen because I suspect it'll be another of those possible whiplash moments of how they handle it, but we'll see?

Also do you read the comics at all? I read the latest tie-in comic that came out this week. It had Talia Al Ghul in it and I found her flirting with Batman to be utterly hilarious!

Date: 2011-12-23 01:05 am (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (hobbes yawn)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
I'm glad to hear that Once Upon a Time is drawing people in. I was really excited about the pilot but then found subsequent episodes kind of slow and simplistic? I've fallen off from watching, but I'm still intrigued by the premise and want to like it. What I arrived at is that I would like to be able to fast forward about two years to whenever they've worked their way through all their initial ideas and moved on to something more complex.

If I hear enough good things, though, maybe I'll have a marathon later in the season and get caught up. Everything you say about it hear sounds promising.

Date: 2011-12-24 12:01 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
See, I'm not sure what to say on this front. Because I'm really enjoying it, and I do think that there are, at least complexities in the setup and the themes even if the stories themselves tend to be a bit more simple? If that makes sense?

Like, it's a series of fairly plain stories that are more about introducing characters or explaining backstories, that exist in a world that nonetheless makes me consider questions?

As I think I've said before (though perhaps not in your presence, hence my restating!) it's more a case that they don't shut down, or actively fail, on all the issues I want them to treat sensitively, like the questions of good and evil and motivation, or the issues of biological versus adopted families, and that does make me wary, having seen Battlestar Galactica fail spectacularly on that point, and having seen both Fringe and Doctor Who (in the case of River Song) fail slightly less spectacularly but still enough to be disappointed that perhaps I read things into space the story left me, rather than things the story was trying to tell me.

Still, I find it fairly compelling. Even the more boring episodes tend to have a few interesting character moments. There was a somewhat interesting twist about the background of Prince Charming and I've enjoyed both the way Emma's relationships with Henry and Mary Margaret have been developing (although the latter needs more screen time stat), and that time she and the Mayor punched each other in the face. ;)

So...I don't know? There's a possibility it's just not your thing. [ profile] chaila43 is kind of in that boat too, of just not really understanding quite where the fuss came from, even though it's not bad per se, but...despite being able to kind of see your perspective, I like it.

Date: 2012-01-11 02:18 am (UTC)
ext_218: (bsg goggles)
From: [identity profile]
Hello! Still catching up! And I have not seen the latest Once Upon a Time yet. But we talked in depth in our "viewing group" about the midseason finale, and I have mixed feelings. I think they really needed to pull the trigger on Regina's power over Graham (and everyone in Storybrooke), and I love her general evil and specific rapeyness! However, I worry they have also created problems for her character that will present difficulties down the road. She's among my favorites, and I know you agree that she's more interesting when she can be more complex. They've now established that she knows exactly who she is and what she's capable of, and it's hard to imagine how she'll continue to be at all a sympathetic character after murdering the adorable hipster sheriff. We're all waiting for the big reveal, but what could Snow White have done to her to equal that? We are comforting ourselves with the fanwank that she killed Graham using fairy-tale magic, so it can presumably be undone by magic along with the curse.

Speaking of which, great fanwank or greatest fanwank:

Aaaaaaand since Emma obviously has the power to awaken people from the curse by kissing them, she should definitely kiss Mary Margaret next.

In other news, we FINALLY sucked it up and watched The Girl Who Waited so we can get through the rest of the series. It was actually WORSE than I imagined, which I didn't think was possible. GAG.

Finally, have we pointed you to Jonathan's lastest remix project mocking Batman yet?
Edited Date: 2012-01-11 02:21 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-01-12 09:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
DUUUUDE I had not seen that remix project - it looks spectacular.

I understand your mixed feelings here. I think - and my feelings are mixed also - that this could be good or bad. My initial preference was definitely that she not be entirely aware because I felt that added to her complexity and I do worry that if she is transparently evil it will be difficult to empathise with her as much.

However, as a silver lining, and a slightly different perspective, I do wonder if this doesn't potentially sidestep the problem of making Mr Gold the bigger bad? Because as much as that might allow for more complexity for Regina it could also significantly undercut her power. Given that there are two other female leads in this show, while I'm never for two-dimensional villains, especially when they are kind of rapey (which like you I liked as a story point but does, as with their themes on adoption, walk a fine line between okay and potentially faily on the gender front), there is also something to be said for making all most powerful characters women, including the freaking evil as hell witch queen.

I recently read an interview where the actress playing Regina talked about how she wasn't sure if she and Rumplestiltskin were enemies or allies or which was more powerful and she saw it more as a game/competition to win over the other though they allied at times. Certainly we see them in conflict now. Like I said, I'm cautious because I want her to be complex, and I agree that such a blatant act of murder, while deliciously evil, may harm the ability of the show to garner sympathy for her later, but if she is going to be flat out evil, then pitting her as an equal match to Mr Gold at least helps undercut the notion that it's really a man who's puppeteering the entire situation? Maybe.

Regarding the happy ending fanwank, LOLZ YES I KNOW. Honestly I am thoroughly ashamed of myself for not realising it was a crazy viable ship until I saw it ALL OVER THE INTERWEBZ and was like *facepalm* OH RIGHT. Because in theory it ought to hit ALL my kinks. It's a queer family with an adopted baby (*cough*DocCottleMrGoldParallels*cough*) and questionable morals in a sort-of-occupied town with the institutionally powerful person in the relationship hiding ENORMOUS SHIT from the other one! It's like Laura, Maya and Isis all over again! But I think the reason I just can't bring myself to get on board with it is that it's too mean.

What I loved about Laura/Maya was how adorably wholesome it was in the middle of all that twisted shit, and I just...I find Regina incredibly interesting, and I think there's a lot more to her than evil for evil's sake - I think she is desperate for Henry to love her. But I just can't imagine her loving Emma, or anyone really. She wants to be loved, and she wants to be needed and that's a potentially intriguing and/or tragic and desperate mindset. But I don't see in her, yet, enough to be sure that she wouldn't squeeze someone's heart to death if they left her, so everytime I try to ship her with someone in a way other than control- or hate-sex, it falls apart because I feel like I'm fanwanking like crazy and it doesn't feel true to me.


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