TV MEME: Day 18 – Favorite title sequence

Ooh, a fun one. I think I have to with Lost‘s. LMAO, I’m joking and if you don’t get why that’s funny I’m gonna link you to Lost‘s title sequence.

God, I did love the show, but it also really began the trend of only having a “title sequence” that was just a title card of the name that lasted well into the 2010s. Before that shows had very cheesy or fun or cool or all three title sequences. Before the early 2000s and Lost‘s influence show’s title sequences were defined by alt rock and fun music in the title sequences with character/actors credits like Fullhouse, Charmed, Friends, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to name some classics. Some songs became forever titled to the title sequences of the shows they were used for like Dawson’s Creek, Roswell and Smallville. Shows on cable like HBO and Showtime would sometimes would have short, more artsy title sequences that more like metaphors or quick representations of the show’s like Sex and The City and Six Feet Under. After Lost a lot of network tv cut title sequences for minimal title cards. One I remember that minimised itself was Grey’s Anatomy’s title sequence that changed from this to just the title card you see.

So the way shows depict their title sequences can change for several reasons like trends and show growth — Supernatural’s title sequence has evolved over the years in that it’s still just a title card but they’ve added and changed the effects behind the show’s title to fit the theme of the season, Jane the Virgin has changed it’s title card from having Jane the Virgin over a freeze framed clip of Jane doing sometime to, well, it’s still a freeze frame of Jane doing something but now that she’s SPOILERS no longer a virgin they’ve got into the habit of striking out the “virgin” part of the title card and filling it with her emotional theme in the episode. That kind of fourth wall breaking works for JTV because the show consistently breaks the fourth wall.

This fun mini history of title sequences aside, let’s get to the question and I had a think about it, because there are some classic title sequences I will never forget, most of them mentioned above actually, because they’ve become iconic. Other’s I thought about because they are beautiful (Game of Throne‘s, Marco Polo‘s, Black Sails‘, True Blood‘s) and I’m a sucker for aesthetics.

In the end I didn’t know which side I was going to fall on, but I kept coming back to one I just think is not only wonderfully made, has iconic music to it, and is actually surprisingly informative of what will happen in the episode (the locations change depending on where we will be visiting).

my runner ups:

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TV MEME: Day 18 – Favorite title sequence

TV MEME: Day 17 – Favorite mini series

It’s been a while! I know, if you’ve missed this I’m sorry, if you haven’t well, you haven’t. Rude. But let’s get back to it and it’s a fairly easy answer. [insert comment here that with the way that Netflix works nowaday you can argue there’s a lot more things that technically qualify as mini series but I personally don’t feel the Netflix shows that air at once count.]

I had two options that immediately thought about when this day came up.

Taken (2002) and V (1983), both scifi minis. It’s like I have a favourite genre. My pick, even though I love both, is

V: The Original Miniseries (1983) which leads into V: The Final Battle (1984). Each is a separate mini, but should be watched together. 

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Now, they had a follow up one season tv series in ’84, but I’m gonna talk solely about the mini series. I got super into this right before the 2009 remake series came out. I heard the series was happening, the 2009, and then heard it was based on a 1980 mini and I felt like hey, why not, let’s watch, and it was so good. It’s genuinely great tv and great scifi. So the premise is simple and if you’ve watched the 2009 version, you know. Aliens come to Earth, they seem nice and helpful. They are not. Spoilers: THEY ARE SPACE LIZARDS AND THEY’RE COMING FOR US.

However, what the mini did was great with the premise. The writing was tight, the characters were great, the allusions to fascism, were not necessarily subtle but were well done. It was incredibly layered and complex, showing characters who because they benefited from what the aliens were pushing they turned a blind eye to the people who suffered under Visitor’s rule. The surprisingly diverse, for it’s time, let’s be honest, cast was spread in a wide array of characters and they all had full arcs and backstories that all tied together to push this story forward. There’s some 80s standards cheesiness in scenes, but in general the acting is pretty great and the inter connections between the characters, especially in the resistance movement is incredibly good. And it doesn’t make it a simple aliens bad, humans good. It showcases groups of Visitors who don’t agree with their race’s way of doing things. It showcases human who let other humans suffer for the sake of their own prosperity. The subplots with the main plot help prop up the plot and make it richer which is what subplots should do and I think a lot of tv forgets that sometimes.

It’s really such good series, but probably a bit hard to get.

An easier scifi mini to watch is Taken (2002), which is a story that spans generations about three families and their journey in trying to find the truth about aliens and how aliens have impacted their family development, in both good and bad way. It’s pretty solid mini that begins during the Roswell crash and spans out from there. I love the story and how it develops and how it moves through the decades showing us how things develop for better or worse with all these families.

 

TV MEME: Day 17 – Favorite mini series

TV MEME: Day 16 – Your guilty pleasure show

I don’t believe in this question. Nothing I watch is a guilty pleasure because I have no longer any sense of shame about my tv choices. I mean, sometimes I am shamed about shows I’ve watched that have let me down, but that’s disappointment. Other than that, I’ve owned everything terrible or great show I’ve watched. It makes me a well rounded tv watcher. Or someone with a very low bar.

I will say, that if anyone does want a great show that might slot it into this category, for you, I’d say watch Lucifer. It is super duper fun, the characters are interesting and enjoyable to watch. It’s not an overly complicated show to follow as it is a cop procedural with a couple supernatural elements, so it’s structure is easily to keep up with. Tom Ellis is incredibly charming as Lucifer, maybe the character pop of the screen, Lauren German plays the usually portrayed straight laced cop with a sense of fun and irony. The rest of the supporting cast elevate themselves and their characters so much, anchoring them to the story and the found family dynamic that the show builds up. It also has one of the best kid characters on tv at the moment. Trixie Decker is a gem of a child.

All in all, if you want a show that is a pleasure to watch go to Lucifer. Feel no guilt over it, though, the Lord of Hell wouldn’t want you to.

Here are some trailers:

TV MEME: Day 16 – Your guilty pleasure show

TV MEME: Day 15 – Favorite female character

OH I LOVE THIS QUESTION, because now I can talk about my favest gal, Vala Mal Doran (Stargate SG-1). She was only in my life for about 26 episodes and a couple movies, but I loved her so much. She also, unlike Clark, came into my life way later. In my 20s later.

I think before Vala my favourite female character would have been Minako or Maria DeLuca. Personally, I always leaned to having more favourite female characters than male ones. If I had to make a list of all my favourite female vs. male characters, the female’s side would be way longer. I could have easily gone with a several formative female characters here that have defined my tv life: Usagi Tsukino (Sailor Moon), Minako Aino (Sailor Moon), Cordelia Chase (BTVS/Angel), Buffy Summers (BTVS), Maria Deluca (Roswell), Aeryn Sun (Farscape), Juliet Burke (Lost), Lois Lane (Lois & Clark/Smallville/JLU), Betty Suarez (Ugly Betty), and many others, but when it comes to this question Vala is the first one that always pops into my mind.

It happened one night. Probably. It happened during a Stargate SG-1 rewatch I decided to, because I had been watching Stargate Atlantis, as you do. I started from season one and made my way through the show casually for seven seasons. Then. Vala!

Vala literally crashed into the show and my life in season 8, so well into a very established show with very establish character and stole my heart. She was only meant to have an one episode guest role, but when the show did a little restructuring in season 9, they clearly saw the magic that I saw and brought her back. Not for long, because of Claudia Black’s real life pregnancy, they later wrote into the show and her character arc, but she was then made a main character in season 10 until the end of the show and the following two movies.

The thing with Stargate SG-1 is that it was not a great show. It was very much of its time and it writing was never as nuanced and intricate as it could have been, even with all the complexities it gave their characters. So all in all it was a fair standard scifi procedural. And did you see that magic word? Scifi? Oh yeah, no wonder I already liked it. Plus, I actually really love the original movie it’s based on: Stargate (1996). The premise of the movie and show is cliche and simple: aliens built the pyramid but they were also evil parasites called Goa’uld. This is important to know, because Vala used to be host to a Goa’uld.

A big plot point of the show is saving the galaxy from these aliens overlord and freeing hosts from the Goa’uld. Vala was “saved”, but not by our heros. As we meet her in a quick one episode that was never meant to be expanded, we know that her extraction happened a while ago by aliens, and it was as much a traumatising experience as the take over of her body by the Goa’uld. Thats’ the thing with Stargate. It made it characters go through some shit but it very rarely followed up on the ramifications of what they go through. Vala was very much the same. She went through hell and back, saved herself for the most part, and came out of the other side a bit broken, a bit disillusioned, but still ultimately bright, fun, witty, and a survivor.

That’s why I loved Vala so much. She was a survivor. She didn’t think of herself as one, however. Or as hero, which is what she ultimately became. Her path to heroism was a difficult one because she didn’t see that in herself, others didn’t see that in her, but Vala always fought for her free will and later the free will of others. She knew what it meant to live without free will, what it meant to live as a slave to another whims, and when push came to shove she fought. And kept fighting.

Now, as I mentioned before, Vala didn’t start as a hero. She started off a fun antagonist turned ally for our team. She was a bit of a Han Solo, but she had nobody on her side like Han did with Chewy. Being a space pirate is hard especially when alone. Her growth into becoming part of this the team and her own person, was so wonderful for me to watch, because what’s interesting to see of Vala’s growth beside her survivalism is the growth of her softness. Vala unlike a lot of the characters in the show doesn’t grow and become harder, and more cynical, but softer. Part of that is because she finds a place she can call home and stop living a life on the run, part of that is because she finds a family.

She’s a character I hold close to my heart and I love very much. She may not have had the most subtle character arc, but it was still a pretty good one, made better by Claudia Black’s acting. She was superb in the role, giving Vala more depth than I feel was on the page for her.

However, if you want Claudia Black perform an amazing character arc watch her as Aeryn Sun in Farscape. Aeryn Sun’s character arc and narrative development is honestly one of the most fantastic things written and performed out there. I could have easily done this post on Aeryn, but I love Vala just that little bit more. Since Vala I’ve loved many other female characters, of course, but something about her will always keep her as my favourite.

TV MEME: Day 15 – Favorite female character

TV MEME: Day 14 – Favorite male character

I’m going with a classic here. Clark Kent.

I love Clark Kent/Superman. If you haven’t picked up on it yet I’m a comic book fan. I won’t say I have the greatest history with comics. I didn’t read them as a kid much and a lot of my comix learning came from tv shows, hence the meme, but I also grew up at the height of comic book cartoons. However, Superman: The Animated Series aired with less frequency on my tv  provider than Batman: The Animated Series. My television introduction to Clark Kent was Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman. It brought Clark Kent into my life the way the Reeve’s movies didn’t. It made him part of my weekly world, and I fell in love with the character. Then I started to watch Justice League: Unlimited and did a lot more visual learning. Soon after Smallville came on my screen.

Clark Kent was everywhere! 😀

He is such a great hero and more importantly a good person. Yes, he helps people because he has the ability and power to do so without getting hurt, but the thing is he’d do it anyway. When Clark loses his powers for whatever reasons he’s always still tries. He respects the people he’s saving, he believes in them. He even tries to believe in his enemies until he can’t. Lois & Clark dealt a lot more with the earthly villains and struggles Clark would have to go through, partly because I don’t think the show had the budget to commit to the more galactic issues Clark, especially as Superman, would have to deal with.  Justice League Unlimited and Smallville put some of those factors more into play for his character. Because Clark is an alien. Earth isn’t his birth place, but he makes it his home. As a kid who had just moved from the only home she knew to another brand new place it was a comforting thing to watch with Clark.

I just loved seeing a male character like Clark Kent on my tv. He was heroic, and kind, respectful, gentle, and powerful as all hell. A lot of media at the time, and even now, likes to lean to the hard boiled hero. A hero with hidden or little gentleness to him. Clark didn’t hide his kindness or gentleness, it was a core part of his character, and a great part of why it made him such a good hero and just a great person to watch. On top that, because he’s so powerful, his enemies, namely Lex Luthor, believe that it’s because of that god like power would corrupt and should be used to gain more power. Clark’s narrative actively fights against this. That’s why I find episodes where he’s on Red K or alternate universes where we see the Justice League go bad, or or evil!Superman be a thing, are so important, because they showcase how easy it would be for Clark to take power.  (Although interestingly, evil and Red K Clark/Superman is always interestingly respectful about somethings. Consent being one, innocent people being the other. He’s never outright cruel, from what I remember, though a bit totalitarian. )

Clark, like Usagi (Sailor Moon), like Aang (Avatar: The Last Airbender) is a main character and hero that believes in the good of the world and the ability of humanity to rise up and be better than they are. It’s a hopeful and optimistic approach that’s for sure, but it’s one I always loved seeing.

Anyway, better, smarter people than me have written great meta about Clark Kent and Superman. This feels a bit of cheat summarised version of all those things. But Clark Kent, the best of the best!

 

TV MEME: Day 14 – Favorite male character

TV MEME: Day 13 – Favorite childhood show


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SAILOR MOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Look, these girls were fighting evil by moonlight, winning love by daylight, never running from a real fight, they were the ones named Sailor…. Mercury, Sailor Venus, Sailor Mars, Sailor Jupiter!!!!! I just loved everything about this show. It was about female superheroes, female friendship, heroism, growth, hope, love, acceptance, believing in yourself and others. It was truly the most formative show of my childhood.

In a world where most of heroes I would see on tv were male superheroes, especially back in the early-mid 90s, having this group of girls was so magical to me. I lived in a house with a lot of boys, from my brother to my cousins, so I’d have to pick my battles for the tv and Sailor Moon was one of the few times I’d win. Thank god, it came before Dragonball and later Dragonball Z.

All these girls were so special to me. They all had qualities that I admired, found in myself, or wanted to develop. They were all so different but stuck together and believed in each other. On paper they made unlikely friends, but that was the point. They were archetypes of female characters that normally writers like to put at odds with each other, but Sailor Moon showed that no, it doesn’t have to be that way. There was no one way to be girl, and that should be celebrated and supported. They would sometimes fight or misunderstand each other, as all humans do, but they always try for each other and their friendship and they helped save the world. A lot. They were superheroes and struggled with the classic superhero issues: dual identity crisis, wanting to believe the best in world, saving the world, obsessive and sometimes cruel villains. And sometimes they’d even save the villains themselves. And while the show started with Usagi, or Serena as I knew her until I started reading the mangas and watching the dubs, being a solo hero, it quickly gave her allies to help her and support her. And it wasn’t always easy, not for Usagi, not for her fellow senshi (or soldier, or scouts), but they never gave up. They’d fight till the end.

Usagi is also one of the most amazing heroes of all time, in all honestly. She’s a Clark Kent/Superman, Diana/Wonder Woman type character. Someone who believes in truth, justice, and love. She’s a princess, but she’s also a teen girl. She likes teen girl things, she’s silly and funny, and likes manga and sweets, and terrible a school. Usagi is the kind of girl who doesn’t think of herself as hero and that others probably wouldn’t see as a hero either, but she’s got the truest heart and she’s so full of love and belief in the world. And because of that she saves the day, the world, the universe. She tries and helps the villains that try to take her out, she’s a force of good and it’s very wonderfully highlighted.

The other girls are equally important and all get a chance to shine. They, like Usagi, have insecurities of their own, but they also have immense amount of inner strength, skill, and qualities that make them not just heroes, but amazing people. Throughout the series, they all get their own minor arcs and character growth. One of the best moments I feel encapsulates what I loved about the show and these friendship takes place in the R Movie, where they all stand together as Usagi (and Mamoru, her love interest, and their romance is also central to the series but not central to their characters — um, not central to Usagi’s character ;p) tries to save the world and they remember of their lives before they knew Usagi, the glue in their lives, and after Usagi.

Another great moment is at the end of the S Series, where Usagi goes to saves someone, a fellow senshi and it’s a beautiful moment that highlights why she’s is a hero in a way other heroes aren’t always portrayed to be. Especially at the time. The 90s were great for many things, but the action hero and the anti-hero were at their height and growing in popularity, respectively. Sailor Moon was female oriented and focused and on all the time, thanks UPN and Cartoon Network. (Though, they were horrible about putting out Sailor Moon S and SuperS and Stars, because they just weren’t ready and open to lesbian relationships and non-binary characters.)

All in all, Sailor Moon was my first show about superheros, feminism, and friendship. It gave me everything I wanted when I needed it.

 

TV MEME: Day 13 – Favorite childhood show


TV MEME: Day 12 – An episode you’ve watched more than 5 times

It’s like this meme doesn’t know me.

I’m a consummate re-watcher and binge watcher. I love rewatching my favourite shows or seasons often. It’s a comfort thing. It’s a learning thing. And back when I lived with terrible internet I would have to very carefully curate my tv watching so as I was downloading a new episode I’d watched the previous one, or two, or depending on the day, three. When I lived with no internet I’d buy boxsets and just go. Now with streaming services you can quickly jump into your favourite moment in a show/season and go forth or back.

I’ve easily watched all of Friends, a show I don’t love, but my brother does at least five times. Same for Avatar: The Last Airbender. That one was super easy, especially with the shorter episodes length. I think I looped the series for a month straight. And that goes for almost all my favourite animes: Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood, Neon Genesis Evangelion, Cowboy Bebop, etc. I’ve watched all of Charmed roughly three/four times, so not quite five but it’s a long ass show. The year I lived abroad with only a DVD player, the box set to Sex and the City my mother bought on a visit would also be looped frequently when Italian TV got boring. When I used to screencap more regularly I can’t even talk about how often I’d watch an episode.

It’s very easy to rewatch shows and episodes in this day and age and especially if you are in fandom a lot. When I asked my brother to help me with this question he laughed in my face, is what I’m getting at.

So yeah I’ve definitely watched The Rashomon Job (Leverage) more than five time but also Jose Chung Is From Outer Space (The X-Files), Prometheus Unbound (SG-1), The Choice (Farscape), The Constant (Lost), Ariel (Firefly), Hush (BTVS), Downloaded (BSG), Blackwater (Game of Thrones), The Painted Lady (Avatar: The Last Airbender) about the same or more times. Then kept watching the rest of the series.

Now, if this meme had said “ten times” I would have had a longer think. (Would probably something from Friends. What can I say my brother really liked watching it. A lot. A lot.)

Instead what I’m gonna tell you is an episode you should watch more than five times:

“Hope”, Black-ish. This was such a powerful episode to watch especially in the current U.S. political climate. Here’s a snippet and honestly this episode was so impacting and amazing to watch. I sat and watched and could feel my heart in my chest. The cast was phenomenal, the story poignant, the writing and acting heartbreaking in the best way. Definitely an episode to watch, think about, then watch again. Here’s a snippet:

And because I love a good list, here’s four more episodes that I feel are amazing to watch and rewatch.

  • “Pilot”, Lost. This was one of the most impacting pilots of that television season and one of the most visually stunning and amazingly shot series pilots I’ve ever seen. It feels like a movie. I still love it.
  • “San Junipero”, Black Mirror.  This is not a happy go lucky series and a lot of the episodes are stories about the darker aspects of technology and how let it manipulate and control our lives, but this episode was so beautiful and caring and hopeful. It’s an episode about love and second chances, and just beautiful to watch.
  • “Middle Ground”, The Wire. Talk about AN EPISODE where everything happens. It’s such an intense ride from beginning to end and what and end it was.
  • “In or Out”, Ugly Betty. This is such a lovely episode that really stabilizes and grounds the shows in what made it best, the relationships between all these people, but especially the relationship between Betty and Daniel. The bridge scene remains a favourite forever.
TV MEME: Day 12 – An episode you’ve watched more than 5 times