Wednesday, April 01, 2009

April's Links

No jokes here, I promise.
  • Just when I thought I was out: SF Signal's latest Mind Meld asks contributors, including myself, what they would have done to fix the Battlestar Galactica series finale, though many take the same tack I did and spend more time talking about the series's overall problems. Several interesting perspectives here, such as a medieval historian who talks about the series's treatment of religion (though I strongly disagree with her conclusions), and even a few people who thought the finale was perfect just the way it was. Sadly, no contribution from John C. Wright, who is always good for a laugh.

  • Over at Torque Control, Niall Harrison has started a series of discussions of award-nominated short fiction. He's starting with the BSFA nominees and will move on to the Hugos shortly, but his first subject of discussion, Ted Chiang's "Exhalation," is on both shortlists. As I say over there, I'm probably going to save most of my thoughts for my upcoming Hugo nominee roundups, but the discussion of Chiang's story is very interesting and might make me rethink my position about it.

  • OK, this one is probably a joke, but if it is it's very well done: the TARDIS gets a makeover. (Via SF Signal.)

  • Is anyone else baffled by the Chuck love-in at TWOP? Chuck is a cute show (though I'm growing less and less patient with its treatment of female characters), and after an increasingly stultifying second season the last few episodes have really picked up and tapped back into the qualities that used to make the show fun and charming (see also Heroes), but it's hard to imagine anyone being as passionate about it as the regular recapper and the author of this essay are. The Chuck/Sarah relationship as a major draw of the series? Their tedious on again, off again is a huge part of why I'm seriously considering not returning to the show next year.

  • Finally, on a more sombre note, this has been widely reported already, but I wanted to add my sad response to the news of Andy Hallett's, AKA Lorne from Angel, death. It's sad enough that he died so young, but apparently he spent the last years of his life battling illness, which is heartbreaking. Niall wonders what a good Lorne tribute episode would be, and aside from the obvious suggestions such as the Pylea triptych and "Spin the Bottle," I'm partial to his scene in "Epiphany," which perfectly encapsulated the character and his role as Angel's wise counselor.

4 comments:

Karen Burnham said...

Sadly, no contribution from John C. Wright, who is always good for a laugh.

Well, we can't hit him up every week...

Thanks again for your response! Especially after your detailed post here, I was afraid you wouldn't want to write anymore about it.

Andrew Stevens said...

Probably a joke? The clue, by the way, is in the name of the set designer, Ian Chesterton, which all good Doctor Who fans know was the name of one of the first companions ever on the series. Although, really, The Unearthly and the Malodorous rather gives it away. (The first ever episode of Doctor Who, in which Ian Chesterton is introduced, along with Barbara, Susan, and the Doctor, was called An Unearthly Child, and remains one of the best 25 minutes in television SF history.)

Raz Greenberg said...

"Chuck is a cute show... but it's hard to imagine anyone being as passionate about it as the regular recapper and the author of this essay are."

Ummm... guilty as charged. Chuck is my favorite genre show at the moment, conuting out "Wolverine and the X-Men", which I mentioned in a previous post. The people behind the show manage to keep a consistent high-quality when it comes to dialogue and dramatic structure, and when we're talking about genre shows today, that's a big achievment.

"The Chuck/Sarah relationship as a major draw of the series? Their tedious on again, off again is a huge part of why I'm seriously considering not returning to the show next year."

I like it. It's very much post-X-Files, post-Alias thing, in the sense that the creators realized that a sexual tension between characters creates an interest - as long as you don't keep it too serious, or turn it to the focus of the show. I find it very entertaining, in a screwball-comedy fashion.

Abigail Nussbaum said...

The people behind the show manage to keep a consistent high-quality when it comes to dialogue and dramatic structure

Sorry, I just don't see it. The dialogue is on occasion funny, though more often it's predictable, and the plots are pretty by the numbers, and usually driven by an concept of espionage so childish and primary-colored that it makes Alias seem nuanced and sophisticated in comparison. Plus, the decision to separate the espionage and Buy More segments of each episode into completely distinct A and B plots is disastrous, and has been a major contributor to the show's downward spiral this season. It's mainly the actors who make the show worth watching - Adam Baldwin and Zachary Levi really elevate their material, the supporting cast is a lot of fun, and Yvonne Strahovski is to be commended for making me care so much about a character who doesn't actually have a personality.

the creators realized that a sexual tension between characters creates an interest - as long as you don't keep it too serious, or turn it to the focus of the show

Except that it has become the focus of the show. Every episode, Chuck longs for Sarah. Every episode, she acts cold and reserved but in a way that lets everyone but Chuck realize that she loves him. Every episode, something comes between them. Every episode, Chuck decides he needs to put distance between him and Sarah. Then next week it starts all over again. Meanwhile, the relationships between Chuck and the other characters, which might actually go somewhere, are starved.

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