I'm not what you would call a casual nerd. Not even close. No, I'm the obsessive type who will absolutely consume a piece of media at an unholy speed. It took me a month to get through seven seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I finished the entirety of Angel (five seasons) in a week, and when I got to the finale I almost threw things at my television because IT CAN'T END THERE. (It doesn't, but I don't read a lot of graphic novels.)
So obviously, I am no stranger to binge-watching. When I have the time, I will build a nest on the couch or in my bed and I will absolutely devour whatever show has caught my fancy. At this point, some of them I've binged on several times.
But I'm always looking for new recommendations of shows to watch, and I am sure plenty of you are looking for new shows, too! So here's my first list of absolutely binge-worthy shows on Netflix right now. Grab some snacks, load up on the caffeine, (please take a shower) and get ready to ride the feels.
(P.S., I'm skipping the obvious ones such as Queer Eye, Nailed It!, Supernatural and Sherlock. Come see what rabbit holes I've fallen down recently instead!)
1. Fantastically Funny: Disenchantment
Disenchantment is the latest show by Matt Groening, the creator of Futurama (and The Simpsons). Disenchantment is the story of Tiabeanie (aka Bean), a princess who doesn't quite have a handle on...well anything except her mug of ale. She makes up for it by cavorting around, drinking, stirring up trouble, and generally trying to live life on her terms while being egged on by her own personal demon.
This show is a lot more plot-driven than Futurama, and less parodying the fantasy genre as I'd hoped (and come on, there's no shortage of parody material -- even if you ignore the obvious ones like Game of Thrones). The first season is good, but I really hope it can grow to be as good as Futurama was, with a perfect mix of humor and story. And maybe a lot more parody.
- Seasons on Netflix: 1
- Episodes: 10
- New Episodes Coming: Yep!
2. Space Cats and Magic Aliens: Voltron: Legendary Defender
I vaguely remember Voltron as a kid. And by vaguely I mean I know it existed and I definitely watched an episode or two at some point. Did I love it? Obviously given my lack of recall, no. But the new series, a Netflix original, is REALLY good. I was casually watching it as background noise, then got to the end of season two, thought, "HOLY SHIT," and immediately went back and rewatched the first two seasons. The premise is pretty simple: 5 people from Earth suddenly find themselves as the pilots of five magical space lions who combine to form a mystical warrior who must defend the universe against the evil Galra empire, with the guidance of an alien princess.
Voltron is absolutely character-driven, so you're going to have to forgive the plot holes and the silly filler episodes. What I love about about the show is the way the characters do grow and mature and learn over time. Their relationships with each other evolve, too. The show isn't about any one character with everyone else being in a supporting role. Even Coran gets his moments to shine, and each paladin has their own story arcs that help you discover who they are.
All of that said, Voltron's showrunners have come under fire with accusations of queerbaiting in season 7, specifically use of the "Bury Your Gays" trope. The showrunners have acknowledged that it was a problem and apologized, but it's up to you whether you want to sit through that arc.
- Seasons on Netflix: 7
- Episodes: 65
- New Episodes Coming: Yes (but only 1)
3. Feel-Good Fluff: Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir
Sometimes I need pure, simple fluff. Like, toe-curling, squee-inducing, diabeetus-giving sugar. And that's exactly what this show is all about. We've got high school super heroes, secret crushes, bratty classmate rivals, a cheesy big bad and a moralistic villain of the week. But despite all of that, Miraculous Ladybug has heart. It is sweet and thoughtful and uplifting. You will genuinely feel for these characters, especially Adrien/Cat Noir. But Marinette (Ladybug), Alya, Nino, and the rest of the cast all have their moments to shine.
The first season of Miraculous Ladybug doesn't have a lot of plot or character advancement, because it's very focused on the villain of the week. But the hints are greatness are there, so tantalizingly close! And I am happy to say that season 2 delivers on a more satisfying, multi-episode plot with some major reveals. Season 3 is due to drop some time in 2018, and I'm already screaming about it because what I thought was going to be perpetual fluff is building toward something really, really great.
- Seasons on Netflix: 2
- Episodes: 51 (Plus 1 Christmas Special)
- New Episodes Coming: YES!
4. Amazing Adventures: Trollhunters
Trollhunters is one of those shows that popped up in my Netflix recommendations and I shrugged it off. "Maybe later," I thought. Fortunately, my roommate's boyfriend was all too happy to introduce me to the show, and it didn't take much to get me hooked. It might sound a little bit odd to hear that this children's show is the creation of Guillermo Del Toro, but at its heart this show is all about a human discovering a world of monsters, which definitely sounds like a Del Toro kind of thing. Trollhunters is one of those lovely shows where plot and characters are equally well done. The world-building is beautiful and the writers play with some of the common teen-superhero/vigilante tropes in interesting ways. And while the show has its dark moments, it's very hopeful and uplifting and even fluffy at moments. I was absolutely dismayed to find out that the third season was the finale for Trollhunters, but we'll be revisiting the world in two spin-off series, 3 Below and Wizards. I'm going to guess we'll see some crossover between the three, but since the main hero, Jim Lake, won't be the protagonist of all three, I'm still going to whine hopelessly and pitifully that my fave isn't center stage.
- Seasons on Netflix: 3
- Episodes: 52
- New Episodes Coming: 2 spin-offs incoming
5. Beautiful Badassery: Black Lightning
After the CW opted to pull all its shows from Hulu in favor of its own free, ad-supported streaming at, the network also cut a deal with Netflix to stream the full seasons a week after the finale. Which means it's REALLY easy to get caught up on any of the CW shows. But rather than put yourself through 6 seasons of Arrow, skip over to Black Lightning, which is easily the best show the CW has ever done.
It's not JUST that Black Lightning is all about a black superhero. It's not even that it's a show with a predominantly black cast. Both of these are hella awesome things. But Black Lightning doesn't pull its punches when talking about racial and social issues, either. I'm talking everything from gang violence and police brutality and to the very real threat that black activists face when they protest. And to see that, for the first time, was incredible -- and heartbreaking at the same time. And mixed in with all these complicated topics we've got an amazing story and an amazing cast of characters.
At some point we're probably going to see Black Lightning cross over with the Arrowverse, and I for one am looking forward to Jefferson Pierce tearing Oliver Queen a new one. But for now, the CW and the showrunners are happy to let Black Lightning stand independent of the reason of the Arrowverse.
- Seasons on Netflix: 1
- Episodes: 13
- New Episodes Coming: Yes
6. Outrageous Antics : Grace & Frankie
I don't really like sitcoms. Secondhand embarrassment makes me cringe and want to leave the room or hide behind a couch. But I made an exception for Grace & Frankie, because well, it was different. (And maybe because I still love The Golden Girls, which was one of the formative shows of my youth.) The premise is pretty simple: Two women in their 70s find their perfectly-planned lives falling apart when their husbands leave them for each other. It sounds interesting, but the reality turns out to be so much better -- because it's not just about these two women and their ex-husbands.
It's about the entire blended family, with all their quirks and complicated relationships. Grace and Frankie's slow, grudging friendship makes me feel a bit warm and fuzzy inside. But I also love these glimpses into the lives of Bud, Coyote, Mallory and Brianna, who exist as more than just the children who occasionally make an appearance at their parents' homes and react to the news. Grace & Frankie is hilarious at times -- the situations that the titular characters find themselves in are a source of endless laughter. But the show also has just the right amount of heart, too.
- Seasons: 4
- Episodes: 52
- New Episodes Coming: Yes
7. Magic & Music: Galavant
Fantasy television is hard to do -- and for me, almost impossible to take seriously even when I like it. Fortunately, Galavant doesn't even try. Instead, it's a low-budget musical fantasy adventure meant to keep people tuned in to ABC during the winter break. And oh what a magnificent spectacle it is. Alan Menken (who did the scores for The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, and Beauty and the Beast, among many other works) handles the music, so clearly the showrunners had their priorities in order as far as budget goes.
The plot is pretty straightforward: it's the story of epic hero Galavant, who after being jilted by the love of his life gets suckered into a quest to help a princess reclaim her kingdom from the evil king who stole his love. Galavant plays with the standard fantasy and adventure tropes beautifully. So you might know where the plot is going, but you'll enjoy getting there. Plus, the show breaks the fourth wall pretty regularly with snarky commentary. The "fantasy" in season 1 is pretty low-key, but it becomes much more obvious in season 2.
The thing I love most about Galavant is that the whole crew clearly knew what they were doing. Take the costuming: There's plenty of period accurate costuming (with repeated mentions to the time period), and so when characters deviate it's obvious that it's intentional rather than a group of designers going "ooh but this looks cool!" without knowing a single thing about medieval fashion. And yeah, there's plotholes for miles and things that clearly don't make sense, but you get the feeling that it's all intentionally glossed over rather than the writers not knowing what they're doing. I mean, to be able to properly parody something you have to intimately understand it to begin with, right?
And then there's the music. The songs in Galavant are clearly riffs on all sorts of musicals, including Les Mis, Grease, and West Side Story, to name a few. The songs are just as cheeky as the rest of the show, and incredibly catchy. Plus, with Weird Al and Kylie Minogue making appearances, the songs are delightfully varied.
I'm really sad that Galavant didn't get more than 2 seasons, but overall they're pretty satisfying and always good for a laugh.
- Seasons: 2
- Episodes: 18
- New Episodes Coming: Alas, no. =/
8. Superb Storytelling: The Dragon Prince
I absolutely LOVED Avatar: The Last Airbender and its sequel, The Legend of Korra. So when the writers from the show team up for a new series on Netflix, you can sign me right up! I was a little bit skeptical of the hype insisting that The Dragon Prince could be the next Avatar. That's giving this new show an awful lot to live up to, and if you go in expecting to see something that's immediately as wonderful and delightful, you might be a bit disappointed. But if you push all of that hype out of your mind and focus on the show itself, it's really easy to start to love it.
The premise isn't exactly unique. A long time ago, humans and magical races (read: dragons and elves) lived together peacefully and learned how to use magic. Then the foolish humans learned how to use dark magic. The other races, fearing this new evil, drove all the humans out of their lands. Fast forward a couple hundred years and humans are still using magic (including dark magic) and waging war on the elves and dragons. The humans kill the king of the dragons and destroy his egg. In retaliation, a band of elves set out to kill the king and his son and heir. Things don't go as planned, and one of the assassins teams up with the king's two children to try to make peace between all the peoples. Meanwhile, there's a war going on and political scheming -- and what seems like something potentially much darker.
Despite the somewhat unoriginal story, I absolutely love the characters. Rayla, Callum, and Ezran are all incredible in their own right. They all have their strengths and weaknesses and flaws and insecurities, and it works. You might not think that Ezran, the youngest character, could avoid the plot-trap of being the burdensome child who needs protection. But somehow, he does. He's absolutely the heart of the trio and I am 100% here for that. And the themes these characters deal with -- justice, loyalty, sacrifice. While Avatar started off lighthearted and got darker as the show progressed, The Dragon Prince has higher stakes from the get-go.
And the best bit? The Dragon Prince isn't mucking about with representation. From the get-go we have people of color in the show -- and in positions of power and importance. I'm still waiting to see if we'll get black elves (my fingers are crossed!), but just from the little bit of the world we've seen, I don't think we'll have to worry about "token" diversity. There's even a character who's mute and communicates with sign language. And it's just just...accepted, no tragic backstory needed, no exposition, nothing.
While The Dragon Prince is relying somewhat on some conventional fantasy tropes, I'm really, REALLY excited about it. The worldbuilding and storytelling are absolutely stunning. It's easy to see that there is so much potential there.
- Seasons: 1
- Episodes: 9
- New Episodes Coming: There'd better be! But no official word yet.
What are your favorite binge-worthy shows on Netflix? Have you watched any of these? Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!
If you missed the news in all the hubbub of SDCC, a trailer for the new season of Doctor Who dropped. And for once I can say I'm actually excited about it, and not just because the Doctor is now a woman (but yeah, I am hella excited about that). I'm excited because this is a whole new chapter in Doctor Who's saga, and the show desperately needs that.
I mean, it's not a whole lot to go on, a whole 50 seconds. And another 40 or so seconds if you count the teaser trailer.
So let's break it down. Obviously we get the whole "new faces, new worlds, new times" bit. I guess it's only natural for the new showrunner, Chris Chibnall, to want to distance himself and mark this as a new beginning. It's not a bad strategy, either!
So what do we see? Some flaming wrecks of presumably spaceships (I won't lie, they kind of remind me of the pod racers from The Phantom Menace). A yard with some old-timey stuff: A car, a jeep, some big boilers. Another scene with the Doctor and her companions standing in the parking lot of what I'd guess is a 1950s or 1960s motel. There's a flash of what's probably a forest, a couple of scenes in various ship (probably spaceships), an old deserted building, and of course a horseback riding scene that's possibly (probably?) a reference to the wild west.
We see the companions, obviously -- three of them, this time, and it seems like they won't know each other before they join up. Their names are Ryan, Yaz, and Graham, by the way. Check out the teaser trailer for more on that:
So what can we expect from season 11? Honestly, we don't have a lot of details. Chris Chibnall apparently wants to keep things quiet -- and again, that's probably a smart move. The less people know, the less they can tear the show apart before it even airs. The teaser doesn't even give us a glimpse at any of the monsters or creatures we might encounter, and Chibnall says we're going to see all new monsters, no familiar faces (not even Daleks!). We've got the usual blabber about "rules will be broken" and some general hype.
I'm not here to tell you what we will see. Because any sort of news will just come through the cast and then through the press. But I would like to talk a little about what I'd like to see. Because Doctor Who is one of those gateway sci-fi shows that lead people down the path to more geekdom. It's also a cultural icon. A landmark, even.
I didn't get on board with the new series of Doctor Who right when it came out. But I do remember watching season 4 of the new series in college, and enjoying it. Then my friend A introduced me to Torchwood. And that immediately prompted a dive back into seasons 1-3. Suffice it to say, in a very short time I became obsessed with Doctor Who.
And then Russell T. Davies and David Tennant both broke my heart by leaving the show just as my obsession was growing. But I was obsessed and Moffat had written a few pretty fantastic episodes during his tenure. Surely it couldn't be that bad, right? It might not be as deliciously good as the RTD era, but I would still enjoy it.
I did enjoy season 5, and parts of 6. Just not as much as I enjoyed seasons 1-4. And....things just went downhill from there. People say you always love your first Doctor the most. I'm a bit of an anomaly then, because 9 is my favorite even though 10 was my first. And I liked Matt Smith and Peter Capaldi as 11 and 12 well enough. But I hated the writing. I hated the giant multi-season arcs and all the build-up just to a couple of throwaway lines.
Enough about the past, though! What's there to look forward to in the future? What can we love and appreciate about Doctor Who instead of critiquing all the bad stuff. (And that's not to say that it doesn't deserve to be criticized, because Moffat and his writing team have a LOT to answer for in my book.) Here's what I'm looking forward to seeing in series 11 of Doctor Who:
1. More Diversity
First of all, if you're complaining or in any way, shape or form unhappy about the Doctor being a woman, you probably just want to close this browser tab right now because nothing I say here is going to make you happy.
Sci-fi (and fantasy, too) for some reason have this perception as belonging to white dudes -- old white dudes especially. And there's a whole LONG list of reasons why that's a load of crap, from the numerous women who were pioneers in speculative fiction to the fact that women and people of color account for a much bigger part of the world's population than old white dudes.
During Moffat's 81-episode tenure, 3 women wrote 4 episodes. That's it. (If I'm honest, Russell T. Davies wasn't much better, with just 1 woman writing several episodes in seasons 3 and 4) And that's not counting directors either. Representation in ALL aspects of media matter. That means it matters who's writing the scripts and behind the cameras as much as who's in front of them. Moffat is on the record as saying, "Stop assuming that I'm a demon who's trying to prevent it, as opposed to the man who's done more to make it happen than anybody else," ...but he also has a long history of saying vaguely offensive and very sexist things so you can make up your mind for yourself.
Fortunately, Chris Chibnall seems really dedicated to making this happen already. First, under his tenure Doctor Who has hired its first writers of color -- and I mean first in the entire 50+ year history of the show (Editor's note: Holy Shit). The show is possibly moving toward a writers room format for some of its episodes, but among its guest writer spots are two women (and three men). Directors will be half men, half women -- and all but 1 of the editors are also women. The new comics series featuring Jodie Whittaker's Doctor will also be an entire team of woman.
And that's not even getting into the companions. We have Tosin Cole as Ryan, Bradley Walsh as Graham and Mandip Gill as Yaz -- a young black man, a middle-aged white dude, and a middle eastern woman. Sharon D. Clarke also has an unspecified recurring role. I am absolutely excited about all of them. Yes, even the middle-aged white dudes. Moffat and RTD both seem to have favored young women for companions, and it leads to the inevitable "young girl falling for vaguely human-ish alien who notices her feelings way less often than he should" trope. (Donna was a great break from this. At some point I will probably wax eloquent on the many ways in which Donna Noble is the best companion of all time, but not today.)
Anyway. I want to see a bunch of different experiences, a bunch of perspectives on traveling through all of space and time, and I want to see how they clash and what common ground they find in making sense of the universe in all its infinite weirdness. It sounds like Chibnall is in agreement there, too. The original show had a group of companions, and so the new batch are a throwback to that. But he also said in an interview, “I love Doctor Who as a big, popular, mainstream, accessible show. So I wanted to make sure that every member of the audience felt they had a relatable character, an access point."
I also hope it will change the dynamic to something a little more platonic. Rose was a definitely romance, with a case of jealous boyfriend. Martha was unrequited love. Donna was a good friendship. Amy had a massive "are they or are they not a thing?" with a bit of jealous boyfriend thrown in. Clara fancied Matt Smith's doctor, and then spent most of the time playing nanny to Peter Capaldi's doctor while he made insulting comments about her appearance. Bill was a good start in breaking the cycle of romance, but there was an unhealthy and teacher-student vibe that didn't sit right with me. Which actually brings me to my next point.
2. Empower the Companions
OK, so technically Chris Chibnall is calling them "friends" now, not companions. I wonder how well that's gonna stick given how firmly entrenched the term "companion" is in the recent lore. But as I've been rewatching Doctor Who, the moments I am enjoying most are when the companions are standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the Doctor. When they help find solutions, when their thoughts and ideas are treated as valid and not 10 steps behind the Doctor.
As much as I love to see that the Doctor isn't perfect and can have flaws and moments of darkness, petulance, despair, and even childishness, I feel like 11 and 12 in particular were super prone to this sort of behavior. Clara, as a companion, was saddled with handling the worst of it. Even with Bill, Peter Capaldi's Doctor was difficult. He'd flip the dynamic entirely around and tell Bill to decide what happens, because for some reason he doesn't have that right or responsibility -- even when Bill has barely any understanding of what's going on or what's at stake. The Doctor's companions-slash-friends need to be more than just the people who tell the Doctor to quit whining/get it together/don't do this thing.
The Doctor's companions always shine brightest when they refuse to just sit back and wait for the Doctor to save the day. The moments that resonate with me are inevitably when they're leading and inspiring others; when they're doing their part to solve the mystery of what's going on. Rose had some great moments like this, especially in "Tooth and Claw." Martha in "Smith and Jones," Donna in "The Sontaran Strategem/The Poison Sky" and "The Doctor's Daughter." Amy in "The Beast Below."
Those are the companions I want to see.
So it's time put an end to the "know-it-all Doctor and bewildered companion" dynamic as well as the "Doctor is a child and his companions need to tell him to be a decent person" tropes.
The good news is it sounds like, from the trailer, that this is the kind of vibe we're going to get.
3. More Depth in Women Characters
Before I start here, I want to start by saying that I really liked Karen Gillan and Jenna Louise Coleman in the roles of Amy and Clara. The actresses are fantastic, and there were plenty of moments where I liked the characters themselves. But Moffat's tenure of Doctor Who didn't do great at giving the companions a lot of depth. If I'm honest, this is kind of a big problem in any sort of male-dominated media. Even the ones with "strong" women characters, what we get are women are who are one dimensional. They are defined by their toughness (their "I don't need no man" attitude) or maybe some sort of tragic backstory.
Amy Pond was your almost stereotypical fiesty redhead and sex object, especially in season 5. They played this up a lot in that "is she going to choose the doctor or Rory" storyline. And even in season 6 they still played on this. I mean you could probably argue they tried to be creative by giving her Rory as a fiance rather than a stereotypically sexy stud, but honestly, the hot girl falling for the nerdy, kind of awkward guy? Not that original.
And then there's Clara. And Clara had so much potential to be an interesting character. A woman who kept recurring throughout different points of time, meeting the Doctor in different forms at different points in time. Instead, we got a woman who existed solely to care for everyone else. As a nanny, as a teacher, as a companion. Even her death (spoiler alert) was because she put others' needs ahead of her own.
All of that sounds tragic and noble.... except that women are asked every day, often (and usually unfairly), to put others' needs ahead of their own. Women who don't get branded as selfish. And when the show writers opted to revamp Clara when the Doctor regenerated, they made her sassier, but it led to this weird almost-parental relationship with Peter Capaldi's Doctor, where he regularly made unkind remarks about her and she straight up slapped him when he got out of line.
River Song, when she first appeared, was an absolutely phenomenal character. She continued to be interesting the first few times she appeared after that -- even if she lost a little bit of her complexity. She became larger than life, a total badass -- whose defining characteristic was her badassery (she could make even a Dalek beg for mercy).
And then came the big reveal -- that she was Amy and Rory's daughter, and that she was a pawn (used by the Silence) destined to kill the Doctor. And that's about where River Song stopped being interesting, because she was shoehorned into this overly-complicated storyline and a destined romance that was really poorly written and awkwardly acted.
Oops -- I am ranting again. But I've hope I've made my point about the women lacking depth.
As much as I love the idea that the Doctor transcends gender and so who they are isn't dictated by whether they're in the body of a man or woman, I also want to see what happens when the Doctor tries to navigate the world as a woman. I want to see the Doctor flashing the psychic paper and some asshat still questioning it because they can't believe a woman would be the expert. Show us the companions trying to fit the Doctor into "standard" gender roles and her breaking that down.
Likewise with Jodie, I want to see some depth and complexity. I don't want a single characteristic to define her. But I'd like to see how she and the Doctor navigate their friendship, and how they deal with interacting with men -- both the other companions and an assorted cast of characters. Let's see how they handle being expected to do the things that women are often tasked with -- things that more oblivious men probably don't even notice.
That's not to say I want this entire season arc to be about the Doctor suddenly being a woman and gender politics. But it would be a nice change to see some of these issues addressed -- especially because it makes sense to do so. To ignore these issues associated with gender would be, to some extent, pretending they don't exist. Sure, in a truly progressive, advanced society they wouldn't. But they do, because we as humans aren't there yet. So let's talk about them a little. Let's see stories where the Doctor overcomes those barriers and use them to show that women are just as complicated as men -- and that our stories are just as interesting. Let's see women in all their complexity, not just the single embodiment of a typical feminine trait.
4. Better Writing (and a Better Season Arc)
Word on the street is that we won't see any two-part episodes in season 11. I'm a little bit sad about this because there are some FANTASTIC two-part episodes in NuWho canon (Human Nature/Family of Blood, for example). But on the other hand, we've only got a 10-episode season, so they may not want to invest in the fluff and filler that comes with a two-parter.
But either way, I just want to see better writing. Please.
Moffat can write great two-parters and one offs, but he's not so great at playing the long game. The entirety of seasons 5-7 got a bit convoluted with the River Song plot (plots?) combined with the Silence and Madame Kovarian and everything else. The worst part was the resolutions to some of these stories. They felt like a cheat:"The doctor is doomed to die at Lake Silencio and River Song is the one to kill him" but oh wait, it's just a robot and River Song is doing it against her will because she's already fallen in love with the Doctor!
(Pro tip: If your solution to all the plot-related complications of a character having a baby is to magically age that baby, you probably have no business writing that story. Yes, I'm looking at you, Stephenie Meyer.)
My issue with these stories (and I'll elaborate on this in a bit) is that they weren't really emotionally satisfying arcs. There weren't a lot of clues as to the resolution. Nothing was sacrificed or lost. There was no compromise of conscience or moral quandaries that made you question the Doctor. Emotionally there wasn't a lot of impact (except for "The Angels Take Manhattan"). And all of that is a let-down. Sure, it's always fun to round up the whole gang and storm the castle, but it's not much of a story to tell. With Doctor Who, I WANT to get my heart broken. I want to feel the pain of terrible things happening and not always being able to avoid them. Because those moments are what make the good moments even better.
Remember this? Think of how uplifting this moment was -- and that was because of all the heartbreak we'd experienced up to this point. Not just in this episode, but in every episode leading up to it. So many people died, on and off screen, in The Unquiet Dead, Aliens of London, Dalek, even Father's Day.
This is what emotional impact looks like.
Break my heart into a thousand little pieces; just do it well, please!
5. Focus on the Little Things
Season finales are supposed to be big and emotionally satisfying -- they're the culmination of the entire season, every story arc coming together. But there's absolutely such a thing as "too big." When you're constantly trying to figure out how to make your season openings and endings more "epic" you run into Supernatural-type problems: What do you do when you've defeated the Devil himself (several times)? Well, you take on God's sister that no one knew about. And once you've defeated literal-freaking-deities, what else is out there? What monsters could possibly be scary or more dangerous when you've essentially maxed out your leveling stats?
And that, to me, was the worst problem with Moffat's tenure on Doctor Who. Which is a goddamn pity, because the best episodes of the new Doctor Who series have always been the small ones. "Vincent and the Doctor" still makes me bawl like a baby; same with "The Girl Who Waited" and "The Doctor's Wife." From the RTD era, "Father's Day" will send be into a crying fit pretty quick. The stakes in these episodes weren't high. There was no big bad to defeat (except for House in "The Doctor's Wife"). Instead, each of these episodes is incredibly character driven. It's the interactions between each of the players that makes them fascinating.
(You wanted a reason to cry, didn't you? Right?)
I don't think most fans need totally epic tales of good and bad with high stakes to feel happy and satisfied with a piece of media. What I want, and what I think a lot of others want, is a well-told story with compelling characters. It can be happy, it can be sad, it can be bittersweet. But it has to be well done. So I really hope that before the writers go biting off more than they can chew, they work on getting the storytelling and the characters and the little moments right.
So that's my list. It's a big, abstract list, to be sure. But that's because I'm not wedded to the idea of seeing particular villains or characters recurring. I just want a well-done show, and this is what I think it'll take to deliver.
Oh, and if you're curious? Here's a running list of everything we know about Doctor Who's new season. Which is a good amount of general information... except, of course, a release date!
What are you hoping to see (or not see) in the new series of Doctor Who?
"Didn't I Say To Sit Down Somewhere" Update: AMBIEN GIRL??? FOR REALL?? ok, this shit deserves its own post. Coming soon...
Update to the update: Welp, apparently ABC canceled the show so...um...yeah. Good timing in this article, I guess?
Update: On May 29th, we received further evidence to Roseanne Barr's "ain't shitness" when she tweeted "muslim brotherhood and planet of the apes had a baby=VJ". VJ being in reference to Valerie Jarrett, Barack Obama's former advisor. Shout out to Roseanne for proving my below points to be correct. Now take several seats and quit pretending this racist bullshit is funny.
Ok, the Roseanne reboot needs a timeout. Even if I have to drag it to the corner kicking and screaming, I've got to just stick to my guns and remain firm. Do not come out until you have learned your lesson.
The previous episode told me everything I need to know. Roseanne's mom does the whole "I'm going to pretend to kill myself to manipulate you into doing what I want" thing (which, if you have ever grown up with a toxic mother that manipulated you in this way, fair warning, it's cringe-worthy to watch). Dan is doing everything he can to ensure that Darlene's son will need therapy in his push to make him more masculine. Seriously Dan? That birdhouse had some amazing craftsmanship in it. Who cares if it's "feminine" (birdhouses don't have vaginas but whatever let's just gender everything) let the boy live!
So, in episode 7, it starts off with Roseanne spying on her Muslim neighbors through some holes in a rake. Obvious spying aside, I'm gonna just go ahead and tell you everything that's wrong with this episode.
"Aww, Roseanne, your Islamophobia is so cute"
**Spoiler alert, it's not**
There were many times when Roseanne's racist comments were followed by a laugh track. On top of that, the writer's decided to add a side story of Dan being pissed off about a guy hiring "illegals" to do cheaper work.
I'm not gonna argue with you whether I believe that this line of thinking is in line with original Roseanne's thinking. Personally, I always thought as much as they looked the stereotypical blue-collar family, they knew what it was like to be different and didn't pull racist bullshit like that. But that's an argument for another day (I'm just gonna drop a little proof really quick cause I'm a bit of an asshole like that).
What I am going to say, regardless if you feel like this behavior is authentic to the character or not, it is so many levels of "not ok" to make it look cute or funny.
They didn't even truly address her behavior as being wrong or gave her any consequences about it, but I'll get into that later
It shows us why "I'm not racist, I have a black friend/family member/co-worker" does not work
You mean to tell me you got a whole black granddaughter that lives with you and you can't see why assuming your neighbors are terrorists is more than a little messed up? What if you called the police on them? What if that was YOUR granddaughter sleeping in a bulletproof vest every night? But, no, "that's different" Give me a break
The Brown People Know What They're Talking About, But Their Story Gets Overlooked
There was a Skype call to Mary's mom, who is a soldier in Iraq. Roseanne tells her about the neighbors and asks her how can she tell the difference between the good guys and the bad guys. She laughs and tells Roseanne that she has more reason to be afraid of walking around Lanford.
Shit, straight up truth. When black folks are out here getting murdered for something as simple as knocking on a door asking for directions, it's scary as hell out here. But of course, this line goes straight over Roseanne's head
When Roseanne learns her neighbors are from Yemen, she says "oh that country's not even on the travel ban list" to which the Muslim wife answers "Yes, it is"
again, while this line points out Roseanne's ignorance, it's still put off as cute, as if her behavior towards these neighbors don't have the ability to result in some serious consequences. Falsely accusing a Muslim of being a terrorist, especially a family with a small child, is just not ok. There are subtle hints from the family that touches on this, and as a person of color, I picked up on it. But still, I feel like the seriousness of the situation was played off as a joke.
Here Comes Roseanne to Save The Day, Except Not Really
One of the last scenes takes place in a grocery store, where some asshole who works there decides to make snide comments and asking Roseanne to "carry her groceries to her camel"
It's a sucky, mild occurrence that Roseanne felt safe enough to say something. She tells off the girl, Roseanne style, that she was rude and was gonna bring it up to her manager. She does bring up, in the end, that their family has enough fertilizer to blow up the place. While funny, it doesn't...really tell the girl that her assumptions were wrong.
So, at this point, we are supposed to stand and cheer for Roseanne for standing up to that cashier and to that, I say, nah girl, you really didn't do anything.
After this woman leaves the grocery store, her and her family are gonna face even more bullshit from the residents from Lanford. Roseanne, her son is terrified to sleep! That means that the racism they face is way more intense than just a pissy little grocery clerk’s comments.
So, congratulations, you did nothing. You must be so proud.
So, Quinzel, what can we do better?
Like I said in the beginning, Roseanne needs a timeout. There needs to be some reflection on if some of her quirks that are shown as "cute" or "funny" are justifying to others that feel the same way that their racist thoughts and actions are also cute and funny. There is no call to action at the end. No "hey, by the way, if you see someone Islamic being harassed, here's what you can do" at the end. Nothing. There is not enough evidence that the writers, ABC, and Roseanne Barr herself, find this behavior appalling.
Tell me your thoughts on the Roseanne reboot. What did you think about this episode in particular? Leave us a comment and keep the conversation going!
Last night finally gave Brooklyn Nine-Nine fans the event they’d been waiting for since season one: the wedding of Amy Santiago and Jake Peralta. The Peraltiago wedding was basically a given ever since it was revealed that Amy and Jake had a competition going to see who could make the most felony arrests. If television sitcoms have taught us anything it’s that opposites attract, and as soon as they revealed that the laid-back, immature Jake had a crush on the uptight Amy it seemed that here we had our classic will-they-or-won’t-they couple.
On the face of it their relationship shouldn’t have been particularly interesting- we’ve been watching two people who are constantly bickering fall in love for ages, long before Ross and Rachel or even Sam and Diane. But what sets Jake and Amy’s relationship apart and makes it so refreshing is that in this case, opposites do more than just attract. In a classic Sam-and-Diane relationship you have two people with opposite temperaments caught in a situation where the other person’s basic personality drives them insane, but that just makes them want to go to Bone Town even more. In watching those relationships I've always felt that eventually the lust would fade, and all that would be left would be the character traits they despise in each other. In the case of Jake and Amy, you have two people with opposite temperaments who actually fall in love with the traits that make the other person so different from them. Jake appreciates Amy’s attention to detail and finds her constant list-making adorable, just as Amy loves Jake for his breezy personality and dorky jokes. Jake and Amy don’t spend their time bickering and fighting because they are busy supporting each other. They are best friends.
In one of the episodes leading up to the wedding Amy presents Jake with a huge binder of tasks to complete in a specific amount of time. In almost every other classic sitcom relationship this would be met with eye-rolls, frustration, and possibly some sort of wacky scheme to get out of doing the work. Instead Jake immediately leaps into action and ropes in Terry to help, terrified of failing what he sees as a personal test of his worth as a partner. Jake is frequently described as immature, but immaturity for Jake is simply a personality quirk and a defense mechanism. At his core, Jake is a grown-ass man and more importantly, a good man. That's what makes his character's childlike personality endearing instead of insufferable. His only thought is to not let Amy down, and it’s not just about proving himself- it’s about his determination to never disappoint the woman he feels so lucky to be marrying. He vocalizes all of this to Terry, and also tells him he looks up to him as an example of what a husband should be. This is yet another thing that we never see on television- two straight leading men discussing relationships, fears, insecurities, and what makes a good partner. If we got anything close to this in another sitcom they would be sure to make it awkward, then have them save face after by saying something hyper-masculine, or that stupid thing of starting to hug then replacing it with a handshake and vague grunts. But blessedly that is not the world of the Nine-Nine, a world in which a conversation between two men about their feelings can happen without the writers having to make it a joke by no-homo-ing it up.
On the day of the wedding when Amy starts to melt down because some details have gone wrong, Jake doesn’t dismiss her feelings or tell her it’s not a big deal. If something is a big deal to her, it is a big deal to him. When he sees her start to freak out he immediately starts worrying FOR her so that she doesn’t have to. When met with this reaction Amy is able to actually calm down. She knows she’s being heard and that her concerns are being addressed, and that gives her the space to take a breath and trust that she has a partner to help her deal with things. When the stress makes her crave a cigarette Jake pulls out the nicotine patches he brought, because he knows her and he came prepared. He lifts the burden of responsibility from someone who has felt like she is responsible for everything her entire life. He might not always succeed in fixing everything perfectly, but it’s never from lack of trying.
From the start of the episode it felt strange to me that they were having the wedding in the rec center but I couldn’t put my finger on why that was. It was nice enough, and I couldn’t figure out what felt off until it was revealed where the wedding would end up having to take place. Of course it had to be at the Nine-Nine, where it all began. Relocated due to a bomb threat (oh yeah- there was an actual plot with a bomb and everything, maybe I should have included it but it didn’t really feel like the point), at the end Amy walked down an aisle decorated with shredded documents instead of flowers, which was much prettier than it sounds, and Raymond Holt officiated an intimate ceremony attended by the only family that has ever really mattered on the show. Their actual blood families were nowhere to be seen having gone home after the first cancelled ceremony, and it was barely noticeable. Boyle is an emotional mess most of the episode but in the end pulls off the last-minute ceremony for his best friend, Amy has a beautiful white dress to wear courtesy of the fact that Gina had planned on wearing it to the original wedding, and Hitchcock and Scully remain true to their characters by unexpectedly coming through in the end with the task Jake gave them at the start of the day just to get rid of them. Rosa gets to meet someone new (more Gina Rodriguez in season 6 please!) and Terry helps talk her into opening herself up to the possibility of love again. Holt trains his dog Cheddar to be a last-minute ring-bearer before he takes his eyes off him long enough for Cheddar to demolish Jake and Amy’s Nakatomi Plaza wedding cake, but then Holt comes through by getting the bomb-detecting robot that Jake was obsessed with to do the job instead. Everyone plays their part in a way that is funny and also true to their character. Holt tells the couple he loves them both, and also informs them he has moved their honeymoon vacation requests from ‘pending’ to ‘approved’.
Jakes vows are mature and beautiful, but when Amy closes hers by stealing a line Jake joked about putting in his vows when the bomb threat came in and which Amy begged him not to include (“Amy, there was a bomb at this wedding. Ya butt. Your butt is The Bomb.”) Jake loses it and says through tears “I love you so much. You’re my dream girl.” Because Amy actually loved the joke. Of course she did.
When you fall in love with a television show, you cannot predict its longevity in the pop culture consciousness. Its lifespan depends on the next generation. What parts of your pop culture will resonate with them and thus persevere? That matters to nerds like me. But no one can predict what the next generation holds on to.
As I enter my forties, I’m starting to see answers in the teenagers around me. My son’s friend showed up for a party wearing a Nirvana shirt. I made a mental note. Nirvana made the cut. One day last June, I picked up my nephew from high school. He got into my car and realized Biggie’s Juicy was playing.
“Auntie, how are you gonna be playing Biggie on Tupac’s birthday?”
Touché, young man. Touché. But for every Biggie and Tupac, a hundred more artists I love have been relegated to the dustbin of pop culture history. The same is true of TV shows. My love of Star Trek has been richly rewarded. Star Trek is a juggernaut of merchandise, spinoffs, movies, and documentaries. That means the fandom regenerates like a time traveling alien with two hearts. I get to connect with others who understand what that show and those characters mean to me. Other shows I am devoted to haven't endured in the same way. But one incredibly pleasant surprise has been the staying power of the little cult show that could: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I could fill a novel with the reasons I love Buffy.
Buffy was a hero. She had a heart as big as a the Rocky Mountains. Sometimes she suffered. Sometimes she gave up. She even fucked up. It didn’t diminish her or her value. It didn’t change what she was capable of. And she always found a reserve of hope. The humanist values, the family you choose, it all hit me where I lived. And guess what? The people who understood and loved Buffy, understood me. Buffy ended, but has remained an important part of my life.
Twenty years later, I watch Buffy. I read Buffy. I buy Buffy fanart. I make friends because of Buffy. Buffy still determines what new shows I will watch. I follow writers from Buffy-and its spinoff Angel-throughout their careers, because I know they tell stories that resonate with me. That is how I found Supernatural, which is where I continue to connect with people around Buffy. In my Supernatural fan group on Facebook, we maintain photo albums of every Buffy alum that has appeared on Supernatural. We have a files section that lists Buffy/Supernatural crossover fan fiction. Buffy fans created our own subculture within the Supernatural fandom where we connect with people who love the same stories and characters that we do.
Then I discovered Wynonna Earp, and the ante was upped. I watched Wynonna Earp because of an article where the creator of the television show, Emily Andras, talked about her Buffy influences. So I gave the show a try. I immediately saw Buffy’s –and Supernatural's’--fingerprints everywhere. But Wynonna Earp progresses beyond Buffy and Supernatural in a few important aspects. One is LGBT representation. A main character (not a dead side character) is in a same sex relationship. That relationship is complex, three dimensional, and fully recognized. The cast embraces their opportunity to represent LGBT characters in a positive light, and attends LGBT fan conventions. (Raises eyebrows across the room at my SPNFamily) Secondly, Wynonna Earp reflects a more modern and evolved understanding of feminism. Wynonna is not shamed or punished for her sexual choices by anyone. The men in her life fully understand that they do not own her, even when they are attracted to her. (Sit down, Xander) The male characters--such as the love of my life, Deputy Marshall Xavier Dolls--are fully formed, secure badasses in their own rights and are not threatened by her strength and fire. In fact they thrive on it. So hey, add in all the kicking demon ass, rollicking fight scenes, hilarious one liners, and fabulous cast, and I was all in on Wynonna Earp. I followed/joined/signed up for everything Wynonna Earp fan related. I found a creative, inclusive, welcoming community.
But it got even better, and even Buffy-ier. A few Wynonna Earp fans (called Earpers) launched a #BuffyEarpers initiative. I assumed it was just a hashtag with some clever, adorable accompanying fan art. But #BuffyEarpers is an initiative by Buffy fans within the Earper community where they share their love of Buffy with each other, and with the uninitiated. It has art, merchandise, watch parties, social media accounts, live tweets, and a podcast. Throw all of those ingredients into a bowl and pour in a heaping helping of pure fangirl (and boy and nonbinary) love and devotion. I listened to the premiere episode of the BuffyEarper podcast last week. The episode opened with the Buffy theme song and I found myself in tears. It dawned on me that some part of this initiative involved Buffy fans in my generation sharing the show with a younger generation. I find that touching. I have zero time or energy for people who slag off the younger generation. Secondly, that means my show offers something of value to the next generation, who will bring even more creative energy and connection to the community. I don’t ever have to say goodbye to my fandom.
Just to put this in perspective to the younger ones, in the 80’s and early 90’s, when something was over, it was over. Did your family move to a different state? You aren’t ever seeing those friends again. I hope you said goodbye. Did you lose a phone number? A recipe? Google doesn’t exist, bitch, it’s over. That set of encyclopedias isn’t gonna help you. The same with shows. When your shows were over. They were OVER. And you didn’t have a fandom to sustain you because you didn’t have the internet. If your siblings or hometown friends didn’t like a show, tough titties. If they thought drawing blueprints of the Starship Enterprise and learning Klingon was fucking weird, or that wanting to be called Galadriel was childish, well you were up shit creek without a paddle. You got to be the social leper reading dragon books in the back of the bus. (Ahem.) So it wasn’t just that your show that was gone. Your point of connection was gone. Your validation that you were not alone disappeared. Buffy was just on that cusp where the fans and creators were pioneering online communities and fan meetups. But I didn’t have a computer. How was I gonna afford that? I wasn’t Scrooge McDuck.
But of course, things changed. Remember those long lost childhood friends? THEY. ALL. FOUND. YOU. ON. FACEBOOK. Oh, hey Devin from 2nd grade, you still exist. Laptops became common. Starbucks, your local library, and maybe your entire city got Wi-Fi. We used the internet to build entire communities along fandoms instead of along geography. Frankly, the latter leaves much to be desired when you are a kid that doesn't quite fit in the box. New generations of fans were born and found each other. Comic Con became a worldwide sensation. And the best part? Some of the things you loved the most, but thought you had to say goodbye to, just. Kept. Coming back. And in that moment, listening to the #BuffyEarper podcast, I realized that even though Buffy may not be the massive phenomenon of a Star Trek or Star Wars, she isn’t going anywhere. Not only is my generation of fans still devoted to the little show that could, we are sharing it with the next generation of fans, who are falling in love too. And they are breathing new life into the fandom. We are going to be here, regardless of whether there are remakes, reboots, and regardless of whether they turn out to be any good. Given the uncommon resilience of Buffy herself, I suppose it is fitting.
Buffy Lives, indeed.
Let's Laugh, Cry, and Cuss about Supernatural Together
Episode Name: Lost and Found
Air Date: 10/12/2017
*SPOILERS* DO NOT READ IF YOU DON'T WANT *SPOILERS* SERIOUSLY I MEAN IT *SPOILERS*
Hi my name is Rebekah and I’m a Supernatural addict. If you are reading this, you have probably watched 12 years’ worth of Supernatural, so we’re in the same boat. Welcome, fellow sucker for punishment! Feel free to let it all hang out.
Last night I eagerly watched the Season 13 premiere of Supernatural. I don’t start every season of Supernatural eagerly. But I enjoyed the hell out of the Season 12 finale and the set up for Season 13 was right down my alley. Creepy as hell, a parallel dimension, and the promise of seeing some old favorites. Also, the acting in the show has reached Oscar caliber. No exaggeration. Jared and Jensen inhabit these characters and make you feel like they are old friends. The delivery of their lines feels real, raw, and impactful. That’s a tall order considering it is a fantasy show and you can get burn out from the constant trauma. But the writers can put in the most absurd plot line and those boys sell the shit out of it. These guys know what they’re doing. They’re just doing it on a cult favorite CW show so they probably don’t get the recognition they deserve.
So just for set up purposes, Season 12 finale ended with the boys losing everything and everyone they love. Again. It wasn’t as traumatizing as it could have been because as y’all know, the boys lose everything all the time. And characters have the tendency to come back. Also, there were some character deaths I was ready for. (Sorry. I love Mark Sheppard but the writers didn’t know what to do with Crowley anymore, it was painful.) Additionally, the few scenes in the parallel dimension were a joy. We got to see Bobby, which, it’s always a good day when you get to see Bobby. And he mentioned Rufus. Almost nothing makes me happier than Bobby and Rufus. (Safe House, written by superbae Robbie Thompson is one of my favorite episodes they’ve ever done.) So Season 13 was set up to be very cool, which after 12 years is impressive.
Season 13 Episode one opened up exactly where we left off, with Sam standing in the cabin gaping at the ENTIRE GROWN ASS ADULT Nephilim that was born FIVE MINUTES AGO crouching in the corner naked as a jaybird (are jaybirds more naked than other birds?) with glowing eyes being CREEPY AS FUCK. Like, genuine chills down your spine creepy. Sam tends to use his words so he tried to communicate with the Nephilim. Dean walks in and instantly whips out his gun to shoot the guy. Dean had just left Castiel’s dead body so he was not in the mood. Sam knocks his arm out of the way. Which was probably for the best, because Dean, what’s a regular ass bullet going to do to a Nephilim? Well, that pisses ol’ dude off and he yells and the blast of his power picks up both of the boys off the ground and throws them into the wall. So, he is hella powerful. Then he gets away.
The boys give chase. For stunningly gorgeous Greek god looking model types, they look like shit. Bruised, dirty, depleted, bags under their eyes. Dean was reacting to the crushing loss of Cas by being enraged (appropriate reaction) and that was manifesting partly by him uberpissy and barking at Sam. Even his most pissy retorts crackled with grief. Sam obviously knew he was grieving and didn’t give him any pushback. There is this unspoken understanding that Cas’s death is more Dean’s loss than Sam’s loss. Part of that is because most of the writers are Deanboys, and partly because Dean and Cas have a more profound bond. They’re boyfriends. Or they would be if the Supernatural powers that be had the sense God gave a fruit fly. But I digress.
The Nephilim ends up in a police station. He’s confused and bewildered. He’s trying to figure out who he is, and what feelings are. He tries nougat for the first time. It’s intense. He’s in turn adorable, off-putting, and terrifying. The actor is fantastic. It’s hard to make these kinds of characters work. It’s easy to lean a little too hard on the crazy or on the bewilderment. But he was perfection. I truly hope they keep him around. He infuses the old SPN dynamic with new life.
Any who, the most significant thing is that when he hears voices in his head (angel radio), it hurts, and he reacts by throwing folks around. But he doesn’t know how it happens. He doesn’t have control over his powers just yet. Which makes sense, because he’s like three seconds old. The boys catch up to him. Sam spends some time with the Nephilim (the audience knows his name is Jack at this point) and realizes that he is an innocent. Also, Jack reveals that Castiel is his father, which was a brilliant little twist that hurts sooooo badly because you know that beautiful Castiel is dead. Poor kid, Dad killed while he was making his way into the world. But wait, wasn’t Lucifer the father? Apparently, Jack’s mom found the concept of fatherhood pretty flexible. She said since Castiel would be the one to protect him, that he would be his father. And since Jack was conscious in the womb, he was always hearing Cas take care of him, so he cosigned that (extremely solid) choice.
Then the dicks show up. Ok that sounds weird. But any SPN fan knows what I’m talking about. According to Dean, angels are dicks. And the group that shows up lives up to that less than stellar reputation. They are there to kidnap Jack and to use him for nefarious power-hungry purposes. There are some really cool, creative fight scenes. Only in Supernatural do you laugh during a fight scene. They are often sly and inventive. Ultimately, Sam and Dean prevail. The angels are either sent to heaven or ganked. But before the last one is stabbed, she stabs Jack right in the heart. It doesn’t take. He pulls it right out. Yes Jack is innocent, but also menacing and scary, mostly because we don’t know what his powers are yet. He doesn’t know what his powers are either. But we do know that he can be stabbed in the heart and not even ask for a band aid. He’s like. Hm. (kanyeshrug)
The boys head back to the bunker and take Jack with them. Which I thought made sense. Jack is a loose cannon and you don’t really want him bouncing around out there. Sam mostly wants to look after him. Dean mostly wants to kill him. They only thing stopping Dean is that he has no idea how to do it. Dean still doesn’t see these decisions on whether to kill folks as a democratic decision between him and Sammy. If he wants to gank somebody it doesn’t really matter what Sam wants. And of course, you can see both of their viewpoints. Dean is sick as shit of these supernatural creatures killing his boyfriend and his family. But to be fair to Sam’s point of view, rational thought generally makes for better strategies. Also, there is no real reason to believe that Jack will be evil. Lucifer is not a demon. He’s an angel. His villainy was purely a conscious choice, not his genetics. Also, Dean saying his job is to kill the supernatural is a bit disingenuous. Because in reality, the boys have a long storied history of partnering with supernatural creatures (You know, like Castiel? Or Crowley? Or Dean’s ex Benny? I could really go on). But Dean is completely over it. Which. You can’t blame him there considering what they just went through. So that’s where we are.
Then we get the thoroughly heart wrenching scene where Dean prays to God to bring Cas back. Here is what he says:
Okay, Chuck… or God, or whatever. I need your help. See, you– you left us. You left us. You went off. You said… You said the earth would be fine because it had me… and Sam, but it’s not, and we’re not. We’ve lost everything... and now you’re gonna bring him back. Okay? You’re gonna bring back Cas, you’re gonna bring back Mom, you’re gonna bring ‘em all back. All of ‘em. Even Crowley. ’Cause after everything that you’ve done, you owe us, you son of a bitch. So you get your ass down here and you make this right, right here and right now.
Ugh. Now that is writing. Interesting to note that Dean explicitly refers to Cas as his everything. And if your heart can survive that, you should probably check whether you have a pulse at all. Maybe you are a vampire. Then Dean asks for his mom back, and even Crowley! He wants to turn the fucking clock back. Like. Takesies backsies the whole thing. As I mentioned, Jensen is just a masterful actor. He’s always been good at grief. (As well as comedy. As well as singing. As well as being the most beautiful boy in the world. *shakes fist at sky*) After all, he inspired the ‘single man tear’ meme and subsequent song. But Jesus Christ he just gets better and better. He barely needs to use body language or gestures anymore. It’s all in his eyes. How does he do that?? He can barely flinch yet rip your heart out by the roots. (do hearts have roots?) Then he wraps Castiel’s body for a proper burial and if you thought his prayer was devastating, watching him wrap Cas’s body is a punch to solar plexus. Jensen is JUST SO GOOD AT THIS. And Castiel’s face IS SO GORGEOUS. Just. Come ON with that face, Misha Collins, you have GOT to be kidding me.
Then during the body burning scene, Sam asks Jack if he wants to say anything. Jack of course doesn’t know which way is up yet. So he asks what Sam what is normally said in these situations. And Sam’s answer had me in tears.
You say thank you. You say you're sorry. You hope they're somewhere without sadness, or pain. You hope they're somewhere better. You say goodbye. --Sam Winchester.
The simplicity of the writing is perfect. Jared Padalecki's delivery was phenomenal. Jared Padalecki why are you trying to kill all of my feelings? I swear to Chuck, man. When the writing and the acting is on point, no one has a prayer of getting out without crying like a goddamn baby.
Then the last scene is a short one where you see that Lucifer spared Mama Winchester’s life in the separate dimension. Why? I guess we’ll find out. He says he needs her. Which he clearly doesn’t, unless he’s up to something. What is that something?
So this episode. I was all about it. Clever. Well written. Great fight scene. Genuine emotions. The guest stars had distinct personalities and you cared about them right away. The cop mom and her teenage son were everything. The head of the angel gang had some hilarious, very SPN-ish one liners. And the prospect of seeing some friendly faces in the parallel dimension has me excited. Andrew Dabb mentioned Missouri Moseley at the SDCC panel this year and I am all about it. Let’s face it, Loretta Devine is a goddamn gift and I’ve been wanting to see her again since the last time we saw her in season one. Of course Supernatural often handles female characters, particularly WOC characters, atrociously, so consider me down on my knees praying they get it right for her. Maybe they will actually HIRE some women of color writers (imagine that) and we can do this thing. (God, are you listening? Wait. I’m atheist. Whatever. You know what I mean.)
Now, as the supernerd and fangirl that I am, I always check who writes the episodes regardless whether I like them or hate them. This one was written by Andrew Dabb, which makes a lot of sense. Andrew Dabb is particularly adept at taking the stories, which are in a heightened world of fantasy and melodrama, and making them emotionally impactful in a way that you identify with. He’s like a heat seeking missile of finding the most searing and relatable human emotions and journeys the boys are experiencing, despite whatever plot is happening. He also hits that very particular soft point of Supernatural fans--people who deeply connect with the family dynamic and the experience of surviving trauma and chaos together. Also, he is great at creating compelling supporting characters. My only quibble is that he is a Dean boy, which isn’t a sin or anything. But one day I’ll find an SPN writer who centers the emotional journey on Sam and lets him drive it. Not that I don’t love Dean. Of course I do. How could anyone not love Dean? What are you a monster? (Careful, he’ll stab you in the neck.) I just feel that Sammy consistently gets the short end of the stick and functions as the support for Dean's journey. But that’s how I’ve felt for almost the entire run of the show and it’s unlikely to change anytime soon.
When all is said and done, though, here is the final thought I’ll leave you with for ‘Lost and Found’. It is Season 13 of Supernatural and I still care about the Winchester boys. That’s kind of extraordinary.
Disclaimer: This article reflects my personal opinions, not the opinions of my fellow Geeky Girls, who are also Supernatural super-fans and (who knows!) may want to banish me to purgatory for my views.
Photo credits: All photos are promotional photos from the CW
CORRECTION: My previous version identified the writer of the episode as 'Adam Glass' as opposed to 'Andrew Dabb'. I have literally no excuse except for the fact that my brain is terrible and I didn't do a terribly careful edit because I didn't think anyone would especially read my article ahaha. Andrew Dabb is the showrunner, and has written the all time classic favorite episodes like Yellow Fever, Afterschool Special, Weekend at Bobby's, and Dark Side of the Moon. Darkside of the Moon in particular is notable for a few things: 1) Being PAINFULLY accurate about siblings and about how, despite growing up shoulder to shoulder in the same home, experience things suprisingly differently 2) The way that those siblings deal with the trauma of childhood can be so different it causes the other pain and pushes them apart 3) Being so heart rending that my sister Michele can't watch it unless she is feeling very strong and 4) Giving Wincest shippers the joy of their lives when Ash says that only soulmates can share a heaven, and there Sam and Dean are, sharing a heaven. There you have it. My excessively verbose correction.
Marvel Studios was quite successful with the Netflix series, Daredevil. So much, that it left fans eagerly awaiting more, which is a pretty big deal when the original film version had most fans run screaming in terror. While Marvel has confirmed a second season along with some interesting characters from the comics taking part. However, the second season of Daredevil will not be the next Marvel Studios and Netflix collaboration. The next big collaborated event for the two entertainment giants will be Jessica Jones slated for this December. This character will be new to the non-comic book fans, but her presence is a big deal.
Why is she a big deal? She will be the first featured super-powered heroine for Marvel Studios. Her success and failure might very well change what Marvel Studios will create next where female superheroes are concerned. I am specifying “featured” meaning she is not a part of a main ensemble cast like Black Widow for Avengers and Gamora for Guardians of the Galaxy or a supporting character like Scarlet Witch and Lady Sif. Even Earthquake has to be considered as a part of an ensemble cast, even though storylines for Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D. have been pretty focused on her character. Jessica Jones will be a television variant that isn’t exactly going to be on network television and won’t have the big screen treatment. Regardless of this, her success will probably impact Marvel Studios upcoming silver screen venture, Captain Marvel.
Why will she impact this? Well, that is because Hollywood tends to have an established view of television series or feature films that feature female superheroes. They back their beliefs up by using such film atrocities as Catwoman and Elektra. Hollywood has a belief that female superhero movies would make terrible projects, because the before mentioned films came to be horrible investments. What they seem to be missing is that those films were not horrible because a female happened to be the feature, no they were horrible, because they were actually horribly made films.
That being said, let’s give you a little comic book insight of who Jessica Jones is. Currently, I have no idea how they are going to develop her story and what exactly they may leave behind or take from the comic book versions, but a little insight wouldn’t hurt. In the comics, Jessica Jones was in a car accident with her family leaving her as the only survivor. She came into contact with chemicals during this accident which eventually led to her abilities. Random fact, Jessica actually went to high school with Peter Parker, Spider-Man. This fact is played with a little in various moments in the comics, but not enough to make it a necessary plot line that will be put into the show. But hey, Sony and Marvel Studios are friends now, so you never know. She eventually decides to don some tights and venture into the superhero business, also dying her hair pink and calling herself Jewel.
I know the series is going to take place after she decides to leave the life of a superhero behind, which will be interesting to see what they utilize as the reason. In the comics, Jessica had an awful and terrifying encounter with the very sadistic, Purple Man. He used her against her will in various ways with his mind control, so much so, that it took Jean Grey of the X-Men to help her regain herself and live again. I know that all of those details cannot be used in the series, especially Jean Grey, but I wonder how far and matching they will take her and Purple Man’s relationship. As a woman, it is a pretty disgusting. This, in the comics, is what makes her give up her superhero life and become a private investigator. She is still super-powered, but she drops the Jewel identity and anything related to it, including the hair color and tights.
The general show premise is currently similar to the above in a vague way. Jessica will have dealt with something drastic to end her superhero career and uses her new investigation business to help put herself back together as well as find other extraordinary people. The Purple Man will be playing quite the role in the series, but it is suggested that Jessica will know him already and be dealing with past issues, whether they be the same ones that ended her stint as a superhero in the comics.
I eagerly await to see how Krysten Ritter does in this role. This will be the first time I see her tackling a role like this. My previous experience with her has been seeing her play the goofy best friend or one of her better known roles as the very “bitch” from Don’t Trust the B…… in Apartment 23. Since I have no other reason, but to trust Marvel Studios at this point, this will be exciting to see. Of course, a lot of whovians are really excited to see David Tennant, as am I, but this won’t be the lovable Doctor. If they go adult like Daredevil, I imagine will see something more reminiscent of Barty Crouch Jr, except more controlled and hella sadistic with a bit of masochism for seasoning.
Other interesting points to know about this show is that it will take place in Hell’s Kitchen. Yes, as in Daredevil’s Hell’s Kitchen. I am not going to say that the characters will physically mix between the two shows, but I imagine that there will be a lot of mentioning at the very least. Cameos are still not a complete dismissal. For those that may not know, Marvel Studios, contracted with Netflix to do 5 shows with the following four, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, and Iron Fist, becoming the final show of the Defenders. While I personally didn’t see any Jessica Jones or Luke Cage connections in Daredevil, they did start dropping seeds for the upcoming Iron Fist. Pretty much everything the drug boss, Madame Gao, was and was involved with screamed Iron Fist. Luke Cage will be a part of the Jessica Jones series as Jessica will be a part of his. This is pretty expected from a comic book lover perspective. The two are very much together in the comics.
I am looking forward to December, but I really hope Jessica is a win. A loss at this point in the game is going to hurt and support previous opinions, especially where Marvel Studios stands. We need a win for female superheroes.
I have been faithfully keeping up with the new Fox series Gotham. The premise for which is a show based on the city of Gotham that a young Bruce Wayne grows up in after the death of his parents. Since He is a child, there will be no Batman in this series. That is the biggest challenge of the show. How do you do a story about Gotham City, when the dark knight isn’t there to challenge the injustice and corruption? From the comics and various television shows outside of the Adam West series, Bruce Wayne’s origin story starts with the death of his parents. Their death not only symbolizes the end of a golden era for young Bruce, but in fact, Gotham City itself. The origins always point to the Waynes as a strong adversary against the crimes and immorality that always pushed against the city. The death was a means of removing that road block. Now we are left with a city where all of the biggest crime lords and villains have free reign.
This is why we have the character of Detective Jim Gordon, one of the last uncorrupted members of the entire legal and justice system. We know that Jim Gordon will eventually go on to be the Commissioner, but now we get to see why he earned it. We follow him through a city that is falling apart as he continues to try to make a difference in any way that he can, regardless of the odds stacked against him. He initially takes on the murder of Bruce’s parents, realizing quickly the deterioration of the justice system he represents. He has to come to terms with balancing what is more important. While he understands that justice can’t be done for the Waynes’ murder right now in this system, he doesn’t forget about it. He simply knows that he will have to put it aside as well as other cases he comes across until the city has the right people in power to give justice.
Detective Gordon should be the show focus, and he is half of the time. This is really what I expected when I heard about the show concept. That being said there are some big issues that I have with this show. The first one being Bruce Wayne. His story arc is unattached to the rest of the show. Yes, his parents death was necessary for the show, but all Batman fans know that Bruce Wayne will never get anywhere close to justice for the death of his parents until he puts on the bat suit. Since he isn’t even big enough for the Robin gear yet, then what is his purpose on the show? That is my nagging question. He hasn’t been given real purpose outside of growing up and maybe uncovering conspiracies within the family company.
Detective Gordon works with the police and is constantly tangling with the mob. We have characters within the mob and police that we follow and focus on outside of Jim. These scenarios make sense because these two entities continually clash throughout the show. Having side stories concerning Fish Mooney is not a stretch since she is involved with the mob and trying to take over. Her character is always used as an asset and a hindrance to Jim. Knowing more about her character is interesting, because her character is relevant in the current time line. Oswald Cobblepot is a budding power hungry contender in the crime world. We are watching him become the Penguin, and his role is just as interlaced to the main theme of the story as is Fish Mooney. His character continues to be relevant. Hell, even Edward Ngyma is a nice touch. He is the forensic specialist for Gordon’s precinct. Gordon is one of the few people who treats him with respect and values his work. It is a nice way of watching how his transformation into the Riddler will be with the significant role he plays with the police. He is a bit odd, but his character has never come off as mean or destructive.
Bruce Wayne and Alfred have yet to make their characters significant enough to the show as a whole that I care about them like I do Penguin and Riddler. The same can be said about Selina Kyle, outside of the initial murder of the Waynes, her role is played out way more than necessary at this point. If they are continued to be used on the show, then the show needs to fix it or stop it.
Also, can we quit with the damn cameos of who’s who in the Gotham universe. I get it. It’s fun, but if you want to continue this show for at least five seasons, then you need to keep some of those aces in your pockets to hand out later. I am hoping the show did this to ensure that it would be picked up for a second season, because hey, networks are quick at the chopping block. We have damn well seen every major Batman villain in this first season outside of Joker and Harley Quinn. The majority of them are kids, who can’t do a whole lot villainous things at the moment. Oh, wait, I forgot about Mr. Freeze. They haven’t done Mr. Freeze yet. Maybe they are holding out for an Arnie cameo. No. Stop it, Gotham. Stop it right now. You need to spread this out.
I am going to continue to watch this, because I am hoping the show will throw back some chamomile tea and calm the hell down. If that happens, and they align the focus well, then this will be an excellent show. Be the show that Gotham deserves…………I know, I’m stopping now.