tempestsarekind: (wtf?)
I'll tell you one thing I just have absolutely no desire to let into my brain or take up any space in my consciousness: this "sexy Jack the Ripper" nonsense ABC seems to be going with for Time After Time. NO. Even the ads are just disgusting. Jack the Ripper was a serial killer, you losers, not the bleeping Bachelor.

I'd sort of thought about trying out an episode, because I like time travel narratives, and while the actor playing H. G. Wells comes across as fairly sans gorm in the early trailer, maybe there'd be some entertaining man-out-of-time hijinks in the early episodes, which are sadly missing from my life since Sleepy Hollow got canceled.* But now? No way. Not even.

*Shh, I know it - SOMEHOW - didn't actually get canceled, even though they managed to rip the heart out of the entire show. Just leave me my delusions.
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
In case you want to think about something else today - this is the first thing I've heard about this show that sounds worthwhile:

‘Will’: Jasmin Savoy Brown Joins TNT Drama About Young William Shakespeare
(link to Deadline)

I don't know who she is, but she's going to be playing Aemilia (Lanyer) Bassano. So that could be interesting (although I still can't get over that playwright in the trailer being scandalized that Shakespeare "made up words" - like Elizabethan writers didn't do that all the time!).
tempestsarekind: (rory died and turned into a roman)
So I was gonna try to watch the second ep of that NBC time travel show Timeless (and Paterson Joseph is in it), but in like minute two, the lead character is like, "we accidentally changed something in the past so that now my mom isn't sick anymore and my sister never existed," and the woman who is clearly some sort of higher-up in a time-travel organization goes, "We have your dossier and there's no mention of a sister." !!! Because you changed the bloody timeline, that's your literal JOB, how are you this dumb. I just can't with this.

(Also, why do American shows have such a hard time with not making things set in the past look so cheap and cheesy? Is it because they have to stretch the budget out over more episodes?)

Plus Hayley Atwell is on ABC, on an albeit bland procedural show (Conviction, about investigating criminal convictions), but still, Hayley Atwell.

TNT's Will

May. 25th, 2016 10:36 pm
tempestsarekind: (wtf?)
So…the TNT show Will (which has apparently been picked up for ten episodes) has released a trailer:


1. Well, that looks cheap and terrible.
2. Seriously, why are the costumes so awful?
3. I guess you can tell that this show is "modern and edgy" because that One Woman (™) in the trailer basically wears her hair like a current-day high-school student.
4. ahahahaha ha what, can you imagine any Elizabethan playwright ever complaining that "you can't just make up words"??? Oooooh Will, you rebel, you made up words! Just…like everyone else in your profession!

Seriously, what even.

I hesitate to even put this under the "costume drama" tag, but I guess I'll go ahead.
tempestsarekind: (very few dates in this history)

On the one hand, David Dawson - very good.

On the other hand…this trailer is strikingly incoherent about exactly when this show is supposed to take place (beyond the dark, cool-paletted, what-is-color? Middle Ages, of course), or what exactly is going on besides "battles, lots of." Also, somewhat perversely perhaps, I would like someone to decide that just because they have the budget to spend a lot of time on battle scenes, that doesn't mean that they have to. I'd kind of like someone to tell a story like this (whatever story this is; I'll get back to you once I've looked at something other than this information-free trailer) solely through scenes of intrigue and planning, and worried hushed whispers from the women who have just as much at stake even if they aren't the ones wielding the swords - just to show all the stuff you're freed up to spend time on when you aren't choreographing and shooting yet another battle sequence. And I'd like the trailer to suggest that women have some other purpose besides sex and being menaced, but let's not ask for the moon, I guess.
tempestsarekind: (henry tilney would SO write fanfic)
I saw some pictures from Sleepy Hollow filming and Tom Mison seemed to be in costume but wasn't wearing the ponytail wig. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself if a) Ichabod Crane got a haircut; and b) it is not the subject of at least one conversation onscreen between Abbie and Ichabod.

(He is also wearing tennis shoes, so I can't tell if he's just doing a run-through for blocking or something, or if they just don't plan on filming his feet…)
tempestsarekind: (austen snark is the best snark)
Came to this via Linda Holmes on Twitter, as she's the one who used the phrase "splatter murder" quoted in the piece:

Everything about this article makes me tired. "Oh, our show has graphic violence but it's necessary, because that's the story we're telling." (Well…can we stop telling that story? Seriously, could we maybe just stop with the stories about murderers we're supposed to 'root for' for a while? If Shakespeare couldn't make me like it, you are certainly not going to.*) "Oh, this isn't misogynist violence, because we're women, and there will totally be male victims. I mean, if trends hold, the male victims won't be sexualized while they're murdered, unlike the female victim who is literally murdered while performing oral sex, and we clearly thought that killing a woman first was the way to get everyone's attention and show we mean business, but nope, no misogyny here!" Ugh.

And why does murder always have to be the hook, anyway? Why couldn't this show be about the rock-and-roll culture of the '80s without being about "Bonnie and Clyde-esque serial killers"? That might actually have been something new and different to watch. But no, because a show without murder just isn't worth doing, apparently. I feel like we have reached a point where murder is just the quickest way to make the case that your show is really about something, that it's serious and important and dark and gritty, and everything that's supposed to make for highbrow entertainment these days. Either that, or it's an easy plot device for neatly compartmentalized, episodic shows, the victim's corpse just something for detectives to exchange banter over, to fill out forty-five minutes without requiring the audience to have to care about something from week to week.

*This comment was about Richard III (longtime readers know that I am just spectacularly uninterested in villains), but in context here it also reminds me of the little debate about Macbeth tucked into season 2 of Slings & Arrows - where Geoffrey says that the play teaches us about evil, and Nahum counters that no, it only shows us evil (and, he implies, what's the point of showing that, when we all know it exists?). I think Macbeth does more than that - though only if you direct it properly; it can totally turn into "splatter murder" if you're not careful - but I always think of that debate, because it's such an important question to ask. Are you actually saying something about murder and evil? Or are you just showing it?
tempestsarekind: (gilmore couch potatoes)
I love everything about this piece, especially Linda Holmes' usual way of taking what many would dismiss as an offhand comment and responding to it thoughtfully:


But descriptions like this one are wonderful, too:

FX is a relatively new player in the history of scripted TV, given that they only started developing shows 15 years ago. But they're a legacy outlet when you compare them to the short-pants whiz-bang upstarts at Netflix and Amazon and Hulu, and they long ago established the critical credibility that's only recently arrived at, for instance, Lifetime with its excellent summer drama UnREAL. If prestige in television is your currency, FX is already old money. Maybe not relatives-on-the-Mayflower money, but certainly, say, steel money rather than tech money.

*giggle* I love "short-pants whiz-bang upstarts."
tempestsarekind: (wtf?)
‘Little Women’ Series Produced By Michael Weatherly In Development At CW

(LJ keeps blocking the post because the article is from Deadline dot com, so I removed that bit of the URL.)

"Written by Jolly, Little Women is described as a hyper-stylized, gritty adaptation of the 1868 novel by Louisa May Alcott, in which disparate half-sisters Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy band together in order to survive the dystopic streets of Philadelphia and unravel a conspiracy that stretches far beyond anything they have ever imagined – all while trying not to kill each other in the process."






(Note: this is not the same Little Women modern adaptation that I posted about before here:
That one gets mentioned at the end of this article, but it's not clear what its status is.)


Feb. 23rd, 2015 10:02 pm
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
…basically Sleepy Hollow should just be Nicole Beharie's face, all the time?

(She is a marvel. She carried that whole episode on her back, nearly every emotional beat belongs to her, and you can see every moment of desperation and humor and wonder in her face as clear as day.)

Without spoilers - this is what this show is about. You put Abbie Mills and Ichabod Crane in a small space together with nothing else, and you still have a show. You separate them, and no matter what other characters or ideas you try to put in that space instead, you don't.

I never get around to saying anything actually spoilery in here, but under a cut just in case )


Feb. 16th, 2015 10:14 pm
tempestsarekind: (dido plus books)
I spent much of tonight's episode of Sleepy Hollow rolling my eyes and being totally uninterested…and then in the last five minutes, they managed to hit upon the one thing that could make me excited about the season finale! I can't exactly say "well played," but spoilers if you care )

But you cut it really fine there, Sleepy Hollow. You almost lost me.
tempestsarekind: (ten and martha have three hearts between)
Oh, what are you doing, Sleepy Hollow? Like, how did you look at / listen to what people liked about your show last year, and think, "what we need to do is have Abbie and Ichabod together less often, people will totally enjoy that show"?

kind-of spoilers? maybe? )
tempestsarekind: (rory and amy)
I should probably have a secondary tag "it's hard out there for a comedy," but oh well. An article from February 2014 that was linked in a recent Slate piece about the dominance of men's and boys' stories in movies:

I'm thinking about this slightly more than usual because I did two related things recently: I finished watching all of the episodes of Selfie that ABC put up on Hulu after canceling the show; and then, having felt the pangs of Karen Gillan-romcom withdrawal, rented Not Another Happy Ending on iTunes. Only one of these was really worth doing: I thought John Cho and Karen were delightful together on Selfie, and watching them develop a funny friendship was lovely. Not Another Happy Ending, on the other hand, was a romantic comedy in which the leads almost never shared scenes: there were two major scenes that should have been about interaction between them, to show us why we ought to root for them to get together at all, and the first one was a montage set to peppy pop music, while the second was drowned out by a pop ballad. In both scenes, instead of being able to hear anything of how they interacted - especially odd because the conceit of the film was that the male lead was supposed to "get" Karen's author character and provide her with excellent notes on her writing - all we could hear was someone else singing about something, as though the filmmakers didn't trust their own script, or the actors, enough to believe that their interactions would come across as convincing. Of course, not having any interaction at all in those scenes (at least not any audible ones) was even more unconvincing…

I know that romantic comedy relies heavily on a sort of alchemy between the material and the leads, and that mysterious thing known as chemistry - but why would you shoot yourself in the foot before you even had a chance by making decisions like that one?

(There was so much about this film that would have been so much better if they'd bothered to tell us anything about anything! Karen's character - Jane - has a broken relationship with her father because he abandoned her, and I guess she wrote about this in her first novel; then her father shows up at one of her book signings and they just…hug it out, like, "I haven't seen you in years, Dad, but that's fine"? I could have understood a story where Jane was so afraid that he might leave again that she wasn't willing to say anything, but they didn't really tell that story, or any other story, beyond a couple of part-for-the-whole anecdotes that didn't really work. Then Jane spends most of the movie hallucinating Darsie, the heroine of the new novel she's writing…which I guess is supposed to have some connection to Jane's life or something, but since no one ever tells us what this novel is about, or what kind of character Darsie is, that subplot goes absolutely nowhere. It's the strangest thing. Why would you expect any of this to have meaning if you left out any of the actual details and character development?)
tempestsarekind: (london flower of cities all)
More BBC Tudor programming I'm going to be sad not to see, I guess; this batch to go along with the Wolf Hall miniseries and the 500th anniversary of Hampton Court Palace:

The one on Mary Arden sounds particularly interesting, even without the Shakespearean connection; these sorts of programs are so rarely about people outside the orbit of the court. And of course, the other one I'd really want to see is Hidden Killers of the Tudor Home...


Nov. 18th, 2014 09:27 pm
tempestsarekind: (austen snark is the best snark)
Nope, Sleepy Hollow. Just nope. You cannot force me to like a character I really don't like, just by having him make an Austen reference. Nope. (Especially if you're using it to do that thing I can't stand, where people think that Austen's novels are about characters whose dislike for each other actually is evidence of their hidden passion for each other, because ugh, and also, that is not actually how Pride and Prejudice works.)

At least he didn't play the old, tired, "oh, I only know this because some old girlfriend made me watch the miniseries" card, though. I will give him that.

But the Ichabod Crane: Human Cat show is still running, which is nice. (Relaxing into boneless pleasure only to be pulled up short by remembering his dignity? Human cat.) And Nicole Beharie and Lyndie Greenwood were fabulous last night. Shame I still don't care about the apocalypse, but what can you do?
tempestsarekind: (little women)
I Smell a Gritty Reboot: "Modern Take" on Little Women Coming to ABC

(link via Bookshelves of Doom.)

My actual problem with this is that I simply can't imagine it. Sherlock, and then Elementary, was an easy fit for imagining how modernization might work because people had been telling Holmes-inflected stories on TV for years before that (House, Psych, The Mentalist, a host of shows I've forgotten - and even crime procedurals that aren't explicitly wedded to the "super-smart and observant male detective" model draw on some of the same elements). I don't know how closely Revenge hews to its original source material, but the idea of revenge was still a part of the TV landscape before the show aired.

The thing I keep getting stuck on is that the concerns of the March family, and the ways those concerns are dealt with, are so located in their specific time period - not the fact that the father is away at war (sadly - although I don't understand the "military scandal" part in the synopsis), or the family's straitened circumstances while he's away - but the way self-abnegation is such an important part of the story, for example. (Not that this isn't a modern value, but it's not one we see on TV all that often.) I guess this is the question I have about the difference between "inspired by" and "retelling" or "adaptation of." House is not really an adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes stories, even though it's clearly inspired by them - and that's fine. Reign would make fifteen times more sense to me if they just told a story inspired by Mary, Queen of Scots, instead of purporting to be based on her life but getting every single detail of it wrong and having no allegiance to anything resembling actual history. A modern story inspired by Little Women is one thing - and actually, the more it makes sure to stand on its own without constantly looking back to the novel, the better it would probably be - but an actual adaptation is another thing entirely, and much harder to figure out, especially when the original has such specific and important values at its heart.

(This is also why the two recent-ish adaptations of Mansfield Park - the Rozema film, and then the miniseries with Billie Piper - annoy me so much; they both rewrite Fanny Price entirely, to make her more "palatable" to a "modern" audience, instead of taking her seriously as a character with values that are important to her role in the story.)
tempestsarekind: (martha at the globe)
I tried to watch Penny Dreadful season one (library DVD), because I'd heard Rory Kinnear was in it. It turned out Billie Piper is in it as well (doing an absolutely wretched Irish accent, which is made more wretched by the fact that her character's being Irish adds just about nothing to her story as far as I can see, except that she can be named "Brona," which apparently means "sadness"), and guest actors I love kept turning up - Alex Price, Simon Russell Beale (!), Helen McCrory. And yet, I could only make it partway through episode 3; I realized that I wasn't actually enjoying anything about the show.

The Gothic is definitely not my aesthetic, and I'm not interested in vampires (the Timothy Dalton character says - or intones; nobody just "says" anything on this show - "My daughter was taken," and I snarked "by the fairies," and then thought, disappointed, "…oh. I would so much rather have that show").1 And I really hate the character of Frankenstein, just in general (despite the number of times the National Theatre has screened the Miller/Cumberbatch Frankenstein - including once more this year, for Halloween - I have not been able to muster up enough enthusiasm to try to go). Like, how did you not think this through, idiot? You brought what is basically a corpse puzzle to life, and then thought, "oh no, this is terrible, run away"? And then were not at all concerned that your animated corpse puzzle wasn't there when you went back? Like, "dum de dum, glad that's over, it's probably not out terrorizing people with its very existence or anything, on with the rest of my life!" Victor Frankenstein, you are the worst. And then the whole "Romantic bros locked in primal combat" thing is also not that interesting to me. But I think I never recovered from the fact that it looked like the creators of Penny Dreadful were going to take the Frankenstein story in a different direction (and also make Frankenstein less terrible) - and then, nope, right back in that soup. Without spoilers…I feel like the decision they made, which was to end the one part of the narrative that looked like it might have been about that rare commodity, joy, in as abrupt and bloody a way as possible, essentially summed up the show for me. Humor and joy and happiness - even the hard-won sort - don't exist in these kinds of worlds (so what are we fighting for, exactly?), and it's foolish of you, viewer, to look for it or invest in it if it seems to be there for a few scenes. Well, I learned my lesson, and that's a big part of why I stopped watching. That might be to someone else's taste, but it is emphatically not to mine.

(And then Frankenstein's creature tells this backstory about how he fell in with a bunch of theater people and became a stagehand, and that sounded so much more interesting to me than the whole "I hate my dad creator, but I will hound him to the death to force him to make me a mate" thing, which sort of only works if the creature hasn't…just made friends who still live around the corner? And also just basically looks like Rory Kinnear with some scars and a partially shaved head? The theater guy he meets actually says to him when they meet, "Oh, was it an industrial accident?" not, you know, "Vile thing, avaunt and quit my sight!" So it feels really dumb, this whole "I can never join the humans" line that they've taken with him. I…guess the creature is immortal? But it feels like he hasn't been around long enough to have a) figured this out; and b) have exhausted the possibilities of connecting to other humans, since he meets theater guy on his very first night alone in London, and has been working at the theater just long enough to have tracked Victor down? I don't know; time is mushy on this show. Anyway, the point is, the creature learning to be human from a bunch of actors and through art was suddenly so much more interesting to me than this "Time to make the donuts lurk in alleys and stalk my creator" narrative that I was pretty much over it before it had even begun. Also, he had this terribly clunky line about how Victor likes Keats and Wordsworth, but poetry is Over because of the Industrial Age or something - "did you think we would find eternity in a daffodil? Who's the child now, Victor Frankenstein?" and it just bounced off my head entirely and made me giggle for several minutes, because daffodils are still a thing, you can have flowers and steam engines, it's not like they cancel each other out; and also it's just so "You so don't get it, dad!" that I couldn't take it seriously.) (Also, it's weird that Victor, fictional character created by the wife of a Romantic poet, can read Keats and Wordsworth…but not Shelley, I guess? - Wait, no, the creature totally mentions Adonais, what the hell.)

Also, Dorian Gray is…there? For…reasons? Maybe he gets something to do other than random uncomfortable Sexytimes at some point, but I won't be finding out.

In sum: If you are going to throw all the 19th-century monster tales into a blender, you should actually do something more interesting than the usual "everything is grim, there were no colors in Victorian London / look there are opium dens so it's not your grandma's period drama / let's go hunt the creatures of the night / guess we'll enlist some shady dudes without giving them enough information to properly protect themselves on a bloody vampire hunt, that's totally responsible of us and not at all done just so we can seem Mysterious / ha ha, coherent mythology, that's not a thing, silly" world that they've set up.

1Seriously, where are my fairy shows??? Even aside from the fact that I love that mythology and never get to see it onscreen except for Pan's Labyrinth a billion years ago, at least it would be different. Penny Dreadful basically exists in the same murky, blood-drenched, scabrous, consumptive world of Copper and Ripper Street and The Crimson Petal and the White, and you can't throw a vial of holy water without hitting vampires and werewolves and End Times and Creatures of the Night Set to Blot Out the Sun and Destroy the Age of Man, and bleh. I can't even think of a supernatural show that has had much to do with fairies; I guess they don't mix especially well with the Apocalypse?

uh what

Oct. 29th, 2014 11:12 pm
tempestsarekind: (all the world's a stage)
(I had to use this icon. I mean, Shakespeare and witches, on TV?)

My best friend sent me a screencap of this article the other day, but I didn't have a chance to go looking for it until now:

Mark Harmon Developing Young William Shakespeare Drama for CW

"Described as a tale of black magic, romance and revenge, the drama is set in 1590s London and chronicles a young Will Shakespeare's rise to prominence as he finds himself caught in a deadly conflict among three witches and the most powerful woman in the world, Queen Elizabeth. The project is described as having the grit of HBO's hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones with the wit and heart of Shakespeare in Love."

I don't…particularly see those two things going together? At all? And presumably - this being the CW - we can expect all the historical accuracy and coherence of Reign. I'm mildly terrified.

(This is probably the wrong place for this gripe, but I really wish that costume drama in general - and historical fiction, especially set in the Tudor period - weren't so tied to real historical people. I get that it's an easy pitch - it's a movie about Jane Austen in a love story of her own! or whatever - but it's lazy and often not particularly useful, since they don't generally manage to dramatize any of the actual interesting things in that historical figure's life, and make up confusing, nonsensical plots instead. [Seriously, why would you make an Elizabeth I movie and then not use the Tilbury speech when it's right there? Why is the film The Duchess so DULL when Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire's life was so interesting? Why is Becoming Jane, at all?] I feel like I would be seventeen times more interested in this show if it weren't about a young William Shakespeare.)

(There are at least two books out at the moment that I have just put down at the library/bookstore, or preemptively put down - one of them isn't out yet - because I can't be bothered with Will Shakespeare Sexytimes: Dark Aemilia by Sally O'Reilly - even though I would actually be interested in a novel about Aemilia Lanyer (though I'd prefer a biography) - and The Tutor by Andrea Chapin. It's not even because I've already read tons of these, because I haven't. [Is the only novel I've read that's predominantly about Shakespeare - as opposed to containing a Shakespeare cameo - The Players by Stephanie Cowell? That can't be right, can it? … Maybe it is. I read Grace Tiffany's My Father Had a Daughter - how could I not, it played right to my Judith-as-Viola feelings - but I never got around to reading Will...] My brain just ughs off of these books, for some reason. And yet Shakespeare in Love is one of my favorite movies...)

Also contained within this article:

This development season, The CW also is exploring the 20-something years of Charles Darwin and his journey through the Amazon with Unnatural Selection.



Sep. 22nd, 2014 10:31 pm
tempestsarekind: (very few dates in this history)
Has anyone else seen commercials for this ABC show Forever that started tonight? I only noticed them at first because I recognized Ioan Gruffudd - but then it turned out that the premise involved a man who's been alive for hundreds of years and can't die -

- why would anyone make this, are they trying to make my life difficult?

I don't particularly want to watch this show - the last time they tried this, with New Amsterdam, the show was terrible, and seriously, why do the immortals always have to be cops and medical examiners, and not, say, bakery owners?* - but still.

*Because supernatural shows keep going the just-add-cops route, so they can be procedurals with a touch of magic, because heaven forbid a show not be a procedural, whatever would we do if we just had to watch characters interacting without a corpse to stand over and quip about?

(also I keep having Thomas-and-Imogen feelings because of it, which are so annoying, go away you two, unless you can come back here with an actual plot resolution.)

…I did manage to write 2800 words of them over one day this summer, which sort of got me a bit closer to something like an ending, but I still don't know how to start or end the scene I wrote 2800 words of, oops, and also that is WAY TOO LONG for a scene that isn't even done -
tempestsarekind: (martha london)
So tiny spoiler of cuteness )

My main wish for this show (aside from cutting back on or avoiding the more egregious historical-inaccuracy shenanigans) is more major spoilers )


tempestsarekind: (Default)

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