tartysuz: (Winchester Guns White)
Remember at early Supernatural conventions when Jared Padalecki's spoiler filter adorably/annoyingly kept failing? It's happened again.

Look away if you don't want spoilers for Supernatural Season 13. Like, seriously. )

I like convention panels, but I do miss the seemingly endless, excruciating wait between seasons to see what will happen. Those months were filled with fan-theories being written in LiveJournals and developed in the comments, or through fanfic set in possible futures for the series.

Then again, those were the days when Supernatural retained some textual intergrity. Things (some, not all) written in one season were often remembered and elaborated upon a couple seasons later. Now, the show is more like bingo, where a randomized writing-room machine generates a number that the writers mark, sometimes sloppily, on a pre-printed card. Some seasons string together enough of a storyline to call BINGO! Others, not so much.

A spoiler drop so soon after the season finale hedges the most fun fandom has had for a while. The Season 12 finale set up some exciting possibilities for Season 13 -- but we are reminded of the chances of inconclusive bingo.
tartysuz: (Default)
Yesterday, [profile] kadymae and I co-moderated a panel about live action adaptations of comic books on TV, which is a huge trend that shows no sign of slowing.

All four major English-language networks are airing or have commissioned comic book shows. Cable, Netflix and even the Playstation Network are developing comic book shows.

We looked at a list of current and upcoming live-action shows based on comics:

and a liist of all TV shows based based on comic books:

We found many differences between earlier TV shows, which are more serialized and produced by people who are producing comics today, have previously worked in the comics industry, or are longtime fans of comics and familiar with the canon.

Some points that were raised:

  • As the Comics Code Authority loses its cachet, changes in what comics can show reflected in what TV can show.
  • The Feels: you used to watch TV for episodic plot, and movies for emotional resonance, but now TV shows convey that sense of intimacy
  • The technology has improved for special effects and costumes.
  • New shows produced from a place of love and respect for the material, not from a place that is just using the brand.
  • Shows are remixing the source material and they are conscious that audiences are aware of the remixing.
  • This remixing adds a Shakespearan dimensionality to the shows: we're watching how these characters are being interpreted by this particular production.
  • There are now shared universes on TV and also with movies, whereas older shows were stand-alone.
  • There is a seriousness to the characters, as we take comics seriously -- in contrast to campier interpretations in the past.
  • Television producers are now expanding out to feature lesser known characters, like Arrow and Agent Carter.
  • Agent Carter was great at showing attitudes to women in the 1940s, but it missed out on commenting on the whiteness of the office.
  • Comics and shows based on them can help us look at things that make us uncomfortable, such as sexism and the long-term effects of PTSD.
  • You get families on TV, much more than in the comics.
  • You now see consequences of actions, even several seasons from the initial incident.
  • There are a lot of ensemble shows.
  • Some stories deal with how we relate to veterans: we say they're heroes, but we ignore them.
  • Heroes can be something other than purely good. Sometimes they're rat bastards, creating complexity in the characterization.
  • There is more diversity now.
  • Diggle is good with being Diggle, wasn't impressed with being Arrow
    Defenders will be diverse and slashy

Hopes for the future
  • Hoping they don't all copy each other.
  • Hoping they continue to reflect the diversity source material.
  • Hoping the Netflix series are more arc-oriented.
  • Hoping the shows on cable, Netflix and smaller networks can survive because they don't need huge Nielsen numbers.


    [profile] kadymae wore a t-shirt that says "I read banned comics," which is from the Comic Book Legal Defence Fund. For information about the CBLDF banned comics, visit:
  • tartysuz: (Supernatural)
    At Escapade this morning, [personal profile] devilc and I combined the panels we proposed for Supernatural into one. One half the panel was about the show; the other was about J2 fic. Here are my notes:

    Season 10
    • The boys are back to dealing with their own shit, and they are dealing with it together.
    • Back to saving people, hunting things.
    • Not at odds with external forces.
    • The conflict are not manufactured (as in Season 8 and 9). They work through things.
    • Like the idea of the angels, but the theological plot overtook the show and does not seem to be planned out.
    • The writers have simplified the overall plot and can handle the smaller scale stories this year.
    • The emotional trust between the boys is back, but they still have disagreements over the methods and means.
    • The show is getting back to other supernatural beings, which is interesting for people who are interested in mythology and folklore in general.
    • A good angel story was Hannah's, though it wasn't perfect.
    • There should have been more episodes with Demon Dean.

    The 200th Episode: Olive Branch or Pacifier?
    • It was a love letter to fandom, with reservations.
    • Line drawn, as if the show was saying, you do your thing, this is our thing.
    • It was not like the previous fandom-focused episodes that alienated fans.
    • Message: there is power in fanfiction.
    • Message: it is what you make it.
    • The show is still willing to push the envelope.
    • The casting was perfect, especially the stage manager.
    • Appreciated that the musical an all-female cast.
    • Great songs.

    • One participant says she reads Wincest for unhappy endings, J2 for happy endings.
    • Why is there a renaissance? #boathouse
    • Like fics that are about a life they might have had or might dream for themselves.
    • Like fics where the J2 characters are similar to their real life personalities.
    • Has there been a change in how J2 are characterized? From being like Sam and Dean to being like their public personas?
    • Character bleed stories were popular in the early years.
    • Wife bashers seem to be out of the fandom by now: they've moved on.
    • Fic draws a distinction between having fun with J2 as characters and objectifying the actual actors.
    • Early on, the most popular fics were Gen and Wincest. Now, on A03, it's J2, Destiel and Wincest, in that order.
    • It seems like the first five years of vids are all gone from the Internet.
    • One participant contributed to [personal profile] poisontaster's A Kept Boy universe.

    General Stuff
    • A good spin-off would be hunter school, perhaps with Jody and Charlie as instructors.
    • Men of Letters needs more exploration, including Judah Initiative and famous historical figures who might have been hunters.
    • The bunker allows them to have access to resources previously provided by Bobby. The show had relied too much on Bobby to solve things.
    • They need to go back to Vegas, where they are supposedly visit every year. They should go to the Neon Boneyard to find a case.

    There was a call for J2 recommendations. If you have some links, please add them to the comments!
    tartysuz: (Supernatural)
    I just finished reading what’s described by Daily Script as the final network draft of Supernatural’s pilot episode (http://www.dailyscript.com/scripts/Supernatural-1.pdf).

    Chunks of it made it to the screen: Mary's discovery of the man in the nursery, dialogue between Sam and Dean when they reunite, when they hit the road and when they wrap the case.

    But there are major differences, too. The ones that stood out for me:

    1) In the opening flashback, blood drips on a Sesame Street blanket, not on baby Sam directly. The aired version amplifies the irony and the horror of a murdered mother's blood dripping on her smiling, happy baby. Having the blood touch Sammy directly opens up the reading that Sam was infected by that blood. It is also an extention of the blood = infection = AIDS metaphor that dominated horror in the 1980s and 1990s.

    2) Sam takes more of the positive action (finding things on the Internet, persuading people to cooperate, deducing things about the case, scamming his way to see a prisoner in a scene that did not make it to the aired pilot). So all the "action" is of the intellectual kind. Yet, he doesn't actually solve the case. Constance's entire backstory is told to him.

    3) While Sam's intellectual skills are shown, Dean's physical prowess is only hinted at. This is the reverse of what most shows do: it's easier to show badass punching than badass research. At one point, he only acts when Sam tells him what to do, but Sam only knows what Dean should do because someone told Sam. Passivity begat passivity! Also less dynamic was the scene where Dean reunites with Sam. There is no fight. The fight showed both boys' prowess and introduced Dean as a man of action.

    4) Sam and Jessica are just dating, not living together. Their negotiation about how to take the next step (meeting her parents) overburdened the script. The decision to show Sam and Jessica together in the apartment they shared created a parallel to John and Mary's home. Sam is shown to be making a family of his own. So the episode began with the loving, protective Winchester family, then the loving soon-to-be Winchester-Moore family, then questioned John's decisions as a father, then introduced Constance as an example of a protective parent who went overboard. As a result of her somewhat justified obsession, she physicall killed her children. As a result of his somewhat justified obsession, John was stifling his children.

    5) Constance's interactions with the first victim in the episode and with Sam in the car later on are very close to what aired. However, her entire backstory is different. It is not tied to any specific myth or urban legend, although at one point Sam says there are a lot of legends about ghost hitchhikers. Because her actions aren't tied to any particular myth, she is like a character from Criminal Minds, a psychopath whose story doesn't have a lot to say about anything else. (Her story could have been tied to LIzzie Borden, though.) Giving Constance a backstory rooted in myth reinforces the show's premise. It also reinforces the underlying theme of what parents will do, however twisted, to protect their children.

    Obviously, I'm biased because I've seen the pilot many times, and I've seen the stories that were developed from details in it. But I do think all the changes made the script better. They made the characters more active. They introduced additional layers of story. They drew direct connections between the Winchester family melodrama and mythic stories. This allowed Supernatural to use the procedural format, but to transcend procedural stories. It was the beginning of the epic story of Sam and Dean Winchester.
    tartysuz: (Default)
    That confirmed what I'd suspected. Season 3 is not comprised of three episodes; it is actually one jumbo-sized film.

    The case-per-episode formula yielded one howler in each of the two previous seasons. That's not the case with this season, when the showrunners have figured out how to use the limited format to their advantage.

    Can't wait to see what they'll do with Season 4.
    tartysuz: (Default)
    Warning: some gory scenes.

    Some spoiler free thoughts:

    I'm living in the midst of a deadly outbreak of H1N1 (there is also one case of H5N1, the first case of bird flu in North America) and a controversy over whether immunization for health care workers should be mandatory.

    So for me, the most chilling scene in the new Syfy show Helix was Billy Campbell's speech about how pathogens can be unwittingly transmitted from individuals to health care workers to the general population. That's the pattern SARS took in Toronto; it's the pattern everyone wants to avoid now.

    Helix isn't primarily commenting on specific health care issues. Its canvas is larger, and does a good job of converting societal and personal fears of pathogens, advanced technology, corporations and mortality into horror/sci-fi scares.

    Campbell and co-star Kyra Zagorsky are excellent, and the remainder of cast is very good. Hopefully, they'll all get better dialogue in future episodes.

    There are three women in principal roles -- Zagorsky, Jordan Haynes and Catherine Lemieux, who all play scientists (go geek girls!) -- which is great. I only ask that the show be less self-conscious about that and let the characters be characters, not merely tokens. Two of the women are vying for the attention of the male lead; at one point, the greater-than-size-2 woman calls attention to her own weight for no reason.

    And maybe the inscrutable villainous Asian character won't always be inscrutable and villainous?
    tartysuz: (Default)
    Not spoilery:

    Someone needs to teach Sherlock the concept of "browser tabs."
    tartysuz: (Default)
    If it were on Twitter or AO3, I'd tag it as
    Mild spoiler )
    tartysuz: (Supernatural)

    My interview with Julian Richings, star of Canadian film and stage, multiple Death player.
    tartysuz: (Supernatural)
    My notes on the official Supernatural convention in Vancouver:


    And some tweets about the non-official Supernatural visual effects event (organized by [personal profile] missyjack after the con:


    Much fun all around!


    Jul. 30th, 2013 08:00 pm
    tartysuz: (Supernatural)
    I suspect the Supernatural spin-off series will be very different in tone and narrative.

    I'm thinking of all those Norman Lear sitcoms of the 1970s that spun off each other and turned out so different, you had to be reminded they were related: they were, in a way of speaking, all in the family.
    tartysuz: (Default)
    The cast of Orphan Black was at Nerd HQ this afternoon. Not only are they adorable, they're whip smart!

    Tatiana Maslany (who plays the clones) basically gave an acting class, and Jordan Garvaris (Felix) had a manifesto about portraying LGBTQ characters. Dylan Bruce...well, he was there for eye candy (he was actually also quite fun).

    The whole panel is up on YouTube (starts at 10:00 with Alan Tudyk (!) moderating):

    Plus, the audience is just as smart and clever. Tatiana spotted someone playing Helena playing Beth, and I spotted an Abaddon cosplay:

    tartysuz: (teen wolf)
    A wonderful/horrifying Tumblr about the wonderful/horrifying episode of Teen Wolf last night. And these are *just* the trigger warnings.

    tartysuz: (Default)
    I'm stoked about tonight's Orphan Black finale. Trouble is, I don't know anyone if anyone else is, other than Alan Sepinwall (and I don't actually know him).

    This show isn't about a strong female character: it's about nine strong female characters, all played by one woman. Alright, that may not do a lot in terms of increasing the amount of work for female actors, but it does showcase an amazing young talent, Tatiana Maslany.

    The premise in brief: a young, disaffected punk discovers that she is a clone. Suddenly, she cares about the world very much.

    If you're looking for diversity in casting, it's worth noting that among them, the clones have: a gay foster brother, an African-Canadian work partner, a lesbian lover, several other strong female characters (played by other women) as allies and as antagonists.

    And if you remember dancer Louise Lecavalier in her La La La Human Steps days, you may see a resemblance in one of the characters. (I must ask about this!)

    Tatiana Maslany as Helena on Orphan Black (fanvid by bananafromouterspace)

    Louise Lecavalier in Human Sex (female toplessness)
    tartysuz: (Default)
    Wired has a good history of Star Trek's progressive values and how they attracted a fan base that encouraged the franchise to go forward.

    However, the show hit a block when it came to LGBTQ characters. To date, the future has no gay people. Given the implied anathema of the current ST guardians to take a quasi-bold step, the present is less progressive than the past.

    Thanks to the success of the 2009 reboot — the most successful Star Trek property ever in box office terms — Paramount has regained a blockbuster franchise with wide-audience appeal, but there’s no reason to think it would have been any less successful if it had been more faithful to the franchise’s subversive spirit. Ignoring social advances and stymieing the franchise’s hallmark ideology seems, at best, to be the path of least resistance.

    Source: http://www.wired.com/underwire/2013/05/star-trek-lgbt-gay-characters/
    tartysuz: (Default)
    Sunday was Game of Thrones day! I live-tweeted from the panel featuring Lena Headey and Peter Dinklage.

    tartysuz: (Default)
    As usual, I'm having a blast covering Calgary Expo. This year, the expo rented an entire other building, so there was much more room, so fans and vendors were happy: fans were more comfortable and vendors were accessible.

    Last night, I collected my Calgary Expo tweets so far.


    MIDDLE EARTH (Richard Taylor, Dave Tremont, Mark Ferguson, Craig Parker)


    SUPERNATURAL (Misha Collins, Mark Sheppard, Mitch Pileggi)


    The media panels were all very entertaining, but the panel that made my jaw drop was David Finch's. He is so humble about his work and honest about the comic book industry. I almost cried when he said he hasn't painted in two years because DC is discouraging it: he could be turning out more pages in the time it takes to do a painting.

    If you're not familiar with Finch's work, check out this step-by-step feature and take a look at this:

    Batman, painted by David Finch


    tartysuz: (Default)

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