TV MEME: Day 26 – OMG WTF? Season finale

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicle, season 2.

Now, I thought about Lost s1 and s5’s finale. “The Incident” in particular broke me in a million ways, but “Born to Run” literally changed the game. It completely changed the way the Terminator had worked up until that point: John Connor was the hero of the Resistance in the future. John Connor was a legend. John would never meet his father. Sarah Connor’s life revolved around protecting John and raising him to become a hero. And what did the s2 finale do? Dismantle all these preconceptions about who these characters were supposed to be and become.

John, a teen John, got sent to the future where he expects his name to mean something and… nothing. It means nothing. Kyle Reese looks at him and sees nothing but a kid. He thinks he sees a friend, a companion in Cameron, but it’s not Cameron. It’s Allison. Derek, who died in front of him hours ago is alive. And the future is nothing he’s heard before.

And back in 2012, Sarah’s life mission: raise and protect John Connor has changed. He’s not there anymore. All she has left is another orphan and a man who spent a good amount of time hunting her down. Her mission has fundamentally changed, emotionally at least. She still has the mission to stop Skynet, but her central focus point of it, John, is gone, and she’s trusting the word of a Terminator.

Everything for them has changed, everything for the structure of the Terminator verse changed. And we never got a season 3 to see how these changes affected them. I want to cry forever. Let’s cry together.

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TV MEME: Day 26 – OMG WTF? Season finale

TV MEME: 
Day 25 – A show you plan on watching (old or new)

I’m a terrible person to ask because I plan to watch almost everything. The short list so far:

  • Halt and Catch Fire
  • Fargo
  • The Exorcist
  • Midnight, Texas
  • Black Lightning
  • Westworld
  • The Alienist
  • Star Trek: Discovery
  • Person of Interest
  • Little Big Lies
  • Sirens
  • The Bold Type
  • The Americans
  • Outlander
  • People of Earth
  • The Good Place

Plus all the shows I already do watch, which is a sizeable list already.

TV MEME: 
Day 25 – A show you plan on watching (old or new)

TV MEME: Day 20 – Favorite kiss

I should just link a compilation of every kiss John/Aeryn ever shared on Farscape. Every kiss they shared was beautiful, had a purpose (especially in the earlier seasons), and always were a little bit epic. Ben Browder and Claudia Black’s easy chemistry was palpable in all their scenes, but man, they are some of the best kissers I’ve ever witness in tv and film. Literally a masterclass in how to play two characters in love.

Out of all their kisses, my favourite it the one in “Look At The Princess: Part One”. It’s not one of their more iconic ones, but I think it’s wonderful because they’re in a place of having already shared several intimate moments but are still trying to understand who they are to each other. But also, they can’t help themselves and their attraction to each other. It’s great stuff all around.

Second fave: “A Human Reaction.” They were both in place of grief and struggling with what do next. In the aftermath they found comfort in each other and it’s just beautiful shot and beautifully acted. There’s no dialogue, there’s no need. It’s just two people connecting and finding a safe place to land within each other.

Though, I also love the Kiss Test (Look At The Princess, Part 3: The Maltese Crichton), where they take a substance and kiss to test their genetic compatibility and man, their faces afterwards. GOLD.

 

 

TV MEME: Day 20 – Favorite kiss

TV MEME: Day 19 – Best t.v show cast

Oooh. Ooof. Like in terms of behind the scenes camaraderie or talent? Behind the scene camaraderie is difficult because people can change and often do, especially when working together and at times living in each other’s pockets. It can either strengthen or break friendships and relationships.  In this day and age with social media casts try to keep and sometimes pump up that camaraderie for the cameras, but personally, I think it can be obvious when it’s not as genuine. The CW is very good about pushing cast camaraderie forward as part of the marketing, though a lot of shows do it. As for talent, well not all shows are even in terms of talent, but generally it’s easy to see when a cast is good.

First, I have to make clear. I don’t care if a cast gets along perfectly. As long as you do good work and do justice to your characters, I could care less if you’re friends off screen. It’s a nice bonus, for sure, for fandom and for the show’s social media presence. But not everyone in the world is going to get along. Just as long as you’re respectful and professional I’m cool. (Now, if your fellow cast member is a racist, sexist, homophobic asshole please feel free to drag them to filth.)

I think that, for me, right now, I love the Lucifer cast. They appear to have fun together, get along, and do a great job in the show. The Game of Thrones cast also seem to still (after seven years) really enjoy working together and while the whole cast isn’t as equally talented you have to give it up to them for having Lena Headey, Peter Dinklage, Michelle Fairley, Charles Dance, Maisie William, Iwan Rhoen, Sophie Turner, Carice van Houten, Liam Cunningham, and a few other actors who really make solid performance out of mediocre writing, especially in the last few years. Oh, and yeah, Battlestar Galactica! Man they had a good cast too.

And you know what, I think nostalgia is making me lean towards Battlestar Galactica for this one. They were a great cast, who did very good work, sometimes even amazing work, and were a cast that seemed to genuinely enjoy working together, a nice bonus all around. Also they have one of the greatest promo shots ever which I’m gonna use right now. Because I’m totally not shallow. (Thank god this question was “best tv cast” and not favourite though, lol. ;p)

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TV MEME: Day 19 – Best t.v show cast

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

The Mummy 2017, a movie I did not want to watch, but did.

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Let’s start this off by saying, I 100% came in having heard and read a lot of the terrible reviews, but I don’t usually give a crap about reviews. Though I did read a really good review about all “The Mummy” movies, from the 1932 one onward. Now,  I love a lot of “terrible” movies. This movie was said to be terrible. And it was. But the thing is, I can actually see where it could have been a good, if not a fun movie.

Where The Mummy 2017 fails is very simple, it doesn’t give us characters to root and care about. I’m sure I’m not the first person to say that. The magic of the 1999’s The Mummy was the characters and their interactions. The chemistry and emotional connection between every single character was clear and layered. The plot was simple and followed the basic premise set up by the 1932 version: A cursed Egyptian priest comes back to life by someone reading an incantation and tries to resurrect his lover by kidnapping a woman to use as her body, his powers are great and phantomless and can bring about the end of the world. Our intrepid heroes must stop him! But, wait, his backstory is sympathetic. What? Yes, it is. Imhotep and Anck-su-namun had a forbidden love which they were both killed for. They’re our villains, and his curse feeds into his destructive powers, fueling his revenge, but they cared about each other.

Plus our heroes were great. They were fun, funny, they cared about each other, they all fight into the action adventure tropes, but flipped them so neatly and made them better. They quickly became a team and family. They’d do wild and crazy things to protect each other. Rick and Evie’s romance flowed so naturally. The care Evie and Jonathan had for each other was as easy as breathing to take in. Even the secondary team had a camaraderie between them. Ardeth Bey became a quick and natural ally. It understood character interaction within the action-romcom-monster horror movie that it was.

The Mummy 2017 seems to forget all that.

Now, if The Mummy 1999 was an action-romcom-monster horror (A GEM OF A TRIFECTA) this is an action-monster movie. That’s fine! I have no problem with them trying to do something a bit different and it’s opening the Universal Dark Universe – to which the SUPER EXTRA “Dark Universe” opening they did was a bit over the top – but it was really only as the end scene happened and Henry and Jenny do their voice over but it all clicked for me.

Before that my struggle was that none of these characters seemed to have a true investment in each other, until that moment. How are you supposed to enjoy and care about a movie if it’s not until the last minutes that the connections between the characters blossoms?

They share scenes together and they save each other but it all felt like beats they had to hit for the script to move forward. Meet our male hero in peril, meet our brainy female lead, he will save her, she will see him a hero, trouble comes, a lot of trouble, our hero saves the girl but wait. I’ll get to that.

First off, Ahmanet revenge story wasn’t even a revenge story and her backstory isn’t sympathetic. That’s cool, I don’t need female villains to be sympathetic. The problem became when her driving plot wasn’t even about her and her desires but about finishing her side of a deal with Set. To gain her powers she made the deal that she’d bring him back to life and make him all powerful. So a story about a woman choosing evil to become more powerful and become the rightful ruler she believes she is becomes a story about a woman oweing a man her power and giving him more. Ugh. Boring.

Nick’s plot is almost like every recent Mission Impossible Tom Cruise as done except he’s in full anti-hero mode, and knows it. I literally fell asleep in the last twenty minutes and had to rewatch it because it was the classic Tom Cruise runs around a city. A military trained “liberation of precious antiquities”, but really a good man inside. A moment undercut when he tells Jenny that he thought there was another parachute when he saved her from the crashing plane. Still, this is all a classic anti-hero trope you can make work. See Edge of Tomorrow you want to see Tom Cruise actually work and nail this trope. You can even make the dynamic of “this is my life’s work and you were going to steal it” work. I mean, has anyone ever watched The Saint? Not Cruise, but one of my favorite movies. However in very few instances do you really see or feel Nick’s a good guy. He’s thrust into this position of being hunted for his body, literally, and he wants out. Understandable. The problem I found is that his heroic transformation happens almost too quickly. Suddenly: he makes a selfless choice, but there was nothing there before to anchor it.

Jenny, our other female lead, is basically the Alice Eve of this movie. If you don’t know what I mean by this, I’m referring to Alice Eve’s character in Star Trek: Into Darkness. The sexy lampshade. She’s an archeologist, cool. She works for Dr. Henry Jekyll’s paranormal agency, cool. Nick slept with her and stole her map, not cool, but he really likes her, he’s not lying this time. (*eyeroll*) These facts are pretty much all we learn about her. It might worked better if Wallis and Cruise had better chemistry, but strangely for Cruise, this is the first time I’ve seen barely connecting with his female costars. But Jenny is here to be reactionary to the events around her and remind us Nick is A Good Guy. Even Ahmanet with her messy and buried motivations get to be more of a character than Jenny.

Our final two main characters are Dr. Henry Jekyll and Phil. They both play guides to Nick in different ways. Henry Jekyll is our exposition and reminder that this movie is gonna be part of a greater universe. Phil’s our ghostly guide to the plot.

Together none of them really ever hit a moment where you believe these people care about the other’s wellbeing outside the plot. I’ll throw the exception with Nick and Phil, as Nick uses his powers from Set to bring Phil back to life. Ahmanet is used to make Nick into our ultimate anti-hero monster Nick/Set, but in his heroic plot twist it becomes his choice to which, oh yeah, Nick sacrifices himself, taking in Set, and becomes more powerful than Ahmanet. His struggle never feels earned, but he still reaps the rewards. He becomes super powerful, can bring people back from the dead. I personally find having two Jekyll/Hyde archetypes to be bloated, but I think that’s going to be the vibe of the Dark Universe. People fighting the monsters they became.

In the end, the movie can’t and won’t escape being compared to the 1999 version, and while it’s in no way trying to tell the same story of the 1932 or 1999 version, it missed out on what made Stephen Sommer’s version great: excellent and layered character interaction within a simple plot. Notice I didn’t talk much about the plot, because at it’s core it is simple and does parallel the older Mummy plots: Ahmanet feels, rightfully, slighted when her father has a male heir. Makes a deal with the devil (Set), kills her family, has to bring Set into our realm. Is stopped, cursed, and now is unleashed on the world, still looking for a host for Set. Our heroes stop her. Unfortunately for us and the movie our heroes are so shallowly written.

The only way I can look back on this movie and get past it’s many flaws is realising what it could have been about had they had a clearer plan: a movie about terrible people becoming monsters, and within that transformation their better natures are enhanced as they battle the monstrosity in them. The sympathetic villain is now tried and true sub-genre in Hollywood, but it has to hit the mark to work. This did not.

The Mummy 2017, a movie I did not want to watch, but did.

Art With Ari

Isn’t that a cute name? Look at how it alliterates, notice how snappy it is. It’s also probably a bit of a misnomer since it’s not just going to be art in the sense of things you find at gallery and museums. Why? Mostly because it’s easier to have everything under one tag under god, indivisible, and something for all. Secondly like my friend Vikki said, art is art fuck it. Do it.  (She gives very good advice.)

So yeah it’s Art With Ari, but my definition will expand from general art as we know it to tv and film. Because they are an art. And I watch a lot ton of it. A lot of it. However “Media Matters with Ari” doesn’t have that same snappy, fun alliteration quality, even it does have an art history in joke. And that’s what we’re gonna start with. Media. Because I watch a lot of TV and haven’t made my way to many exhibitions yet this year. For shame!!!!

How to start this though? There’s so much tv. There are so many film. There are a million sites already talking about them every day! How am I going to do this, really?

I’m gonna straight up cheat. There’s a “30 days of TV” meme out there and I’m gonna do it. Also I need to talk about Critical Role, my new favourite thing to watch. So stay tuned and watch this space. Look at that tv joke. This is gonna go so well already, I can tell.

(By the way, I was a terrible art student despite loving it. You can and will see why.)

Important things to take note and remember:

* I tend to write like I talk. This makes for terrible sentence structure at times. 

* My SPAG isn’t great. I like to say Lois Lane is my spelling soulmate and if you get that I like you as person. I probably shouldn’t use txtspeak but hey, guess what. I’m probably going to sometimes and forget to fix it. (I’m gonna need an editor, I’m telling you.)

* I’m bilingual and sometimes I write that way. 

* As objective as I try to be I won’t always be. Sometimes I might not like something just because I don’t, it doesn’t interest me, it fails to inspire an emotion in me, good or bad. Sometimes I might have a really good reason why I don’t like it. And sometimes I might even still like something even when it’s Problematic AF, but at least I admit it.

Art With Ari