Sunday, January 26, 2014

30 Week Blog Challenge - Week 3: Favorite TV Shows

EDIT: It is so not fair that I started watching Attack on Titan a few weeks after I made this list D< It deserves to be included. Like, TOP THREE Spot included D:<

Now Playing: Amarante - The Manic

I keep thinking that song is called "the maniac." I'm so off.

It was originally featured in the webshow, The Autobiography of Jane Eyre in probably one of my favorite episodes of the show. It didn't hit me till three weeks ago why it fits so perfectly with the narrative.

Speaking of which, I'm going to cheat on this list. It says "Favorite TV shows," but since there's no seperate list for "favorite webshows", I'm gonna include them here anyways. (Explanations here will also be very brief).

Original challenge!

Week 3 - Favorite TV Shows

1) Firefly
The show gets a lot of things right--all the characters are three dimensional, the drama and comedy are balanced out, the science fiction element is strong and perfectly meshed with it's western style. I think a lot of people can go on and on about why this show is so important and so masterfully put together, and I will always agree with them.

Even though it might be pretty cliche, what makes the show for me are Malcolm and River, my favorite characters. River is not easy to describe, but I think she's a fan-favorite for good reason. I love that she reacts to the world like a child, but her broken thoughts make her perceptions twisted but insightful. Objects in Space is my favorite episode because River's complexity is explored in a bit of a subtle way. She's not exactly easy to understand at times, and her reactions can throw most people off, but whether she's sweet or deadly, she's just easy to love.

Malcolm ties with her because he's the type of hero I wish I could write. His morals are never shaken from him, but he's not a Knight in Shinning Armor. His humor makes him likable and his intimidating nature balances him out.

I remember Randy Pausch talked about the quality of "leadership" in his famous Childhood Dreams lecture. Though he was talking about Captain Kirk as an example, I think Malcolm sort of embodies the very definition of a leader to me. Without him and River, I don't think Firefly would take top spot on this list.

Also, I don't really ever cry on tv shows, very few movies, and even less in books. Despite that, there is one scene in the show that always makes me teary-eyed. It's not a sad scene exactly, but it hits me really hard every time I see it. It's the last scene in Out Of Gas, but I won't spoil it for anyone who hasn't seen it. Just rest assured, it makes me a mess, so I'll never watch that episode with other people in the room.

2) Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
The main reason I've always liked James Cameron as a writer is that he can usually write great female characters. Writers who can do that earn like one hundred brownie points from me. That said, I never really got into the Terminator movies. I liked the first two because of Sarah Connor, but I didn't quite think the sci-fi side was explored very much.

To me, sci-fi at its best explores the human condition. It pushes what it means to be human, what our relationship to the universe or even to technology is, etc.

Great sci-fi is almost existential, and tells us a lot about the nature of humanity. I think that's what Terminator did great--particularly with Cameron and John. I think my love for fiction involving artificial intelligence pretty much started with this show. Plus, it was watching this that made me want to write Redemption. In some ways, I'm sad that this show didn't last more seasons than any other show on this list. Yeah, Dollhouse and Firefly should have been given more time on the air, but Terminator: TSCC really had the best character development and it made its A.I's fully realized individuals without truly making them human.

And I absolutely love Summer Glau. Her acting here is incredible, and Cameron is probably my favorite character in television history.

3) Dollhouse
Ghaaa, I love the concept, and I love the acting, and I love two out of the three love subplots (Victor x Sierra OTP! Bennett x Topher!! And bleh on Echo's love for Ballard and vice versa.)

I really love that Dollhouse is one of those shows with Grey and Gray Morality. And I'm always happy to have kick ass women in television.

Echo is just a delight to see. Admittedly, I sometimes feel like the show went a little above and beyond in trying to make her badass. It started treading the line of Sue-ism a little too much by the time the first season was ending. But she's still very, very cool. And the acting in this show is kind of impossible to rival. Especially with Victor and Sierra's actors. Oh! And Alan Tudyk's acting--seeing him in particular was kind of a big shock.

Sometimes, I make the mistake of getting really into the concept of a story that I don't really step back and look at the work as a whole. I usually get hit with frownyface when I realize the concept ended up being better than what was actually executed. This is one of those rare times where the concept works perfectly and the execution follows through.

That said, the twist involving Boyd in the end did not make me a happy camper. I think Whedon admitted that he wrote it because he needed to end the show in the second season. And...yeah, I get that. He got screwed over by the network and kind of got backed into a corner. But still ):< Surely there was a better way to go through with things!

Despite my disappointment with that little thing, it's still a great show. With epic fight scenes. I'll always watch Whedon stuff if it involves insightful sci-fi, clever writing, and/or petite women taking down men twice their size.

4) Game of Thrones 
EDIT: Given what happened in later seasons--especially regarding Sansa in episode 6 of season 5--I removed this show off the list. It's sad and frustrating and disappointing--but at least I'll always have the books.
I ended up watching the show before reading a good chunk of the series. The reason why Game of Thrones works in both television and print is one thing: diversity. No
one's a true hero or villain, and even the most wicked and disgusting people have their own complexities, own moments of fragility, etc. But it has tough characters, and moral characters, and petty characters, and weak characters, and small, insecure, cast-off, loyal, important, unimportant, idiots, geniuses, badasses, and so. Much. Character. Development. Eep! And, and, and it has some of the best written women on television, so that earns it major brownie points.

Obligatory list of my favorites: Sansa Stark, Arya Stark, Ned Stark, Tyrion Lannister, Jaime Lannister (after season 2), Brienne of Tarth, and sometimes Margeary Tyrell, Olenna Tyrell (Redwyne?), and Daenerys Targaryen. (I named my bike Khaleesi because the Dothraki are kind of cool, so yeah... >.>)

5) Avatar: The Last Airbender
This is probably the only show on the list that I love for a really unique reason. The world is perfect. The mythology, the culture, the struggles of the nations are all well crafted. I've never been the type of person to go, "I wish the Harry Potter universe was real," or, "I wish I could live within a Disney movie." Usually world building is always lacking in a lot of works of fiction, and I don't tend to mind it too much. But there's something about the world of Avatar that always felt fleshed out to me, and the reason it was one of my favorites as a kid.

That's not to say I don't like the characters. I feel like most of them are incredibly likeable or interesting, and it has a really good balance between a fantasy epic and a childlike adventure tale. It has probably one of my favorite season finales, because even if some people felt a bit disappointed at the resolution, I never had a problem with it. I thought it was beautifully done and I was really into it the whole time.

It's also strange just how likeable Aang is as a main character. I love almost everyone in the show, but Aang and Zuko are the ones I cared for the most. Watching them grow and struggle feels very much like growing up alongside a close friend or brother. They're the reason season 3 is my favorite of them all--just watching them interact alongside, as friends, made the writing and situations perfect.

6) Cardcaptor Sakura

To me, this show represents childhood nostalgia. It was my very first anime--appropriately a super pink magical girl shoujo with new cute dresses almost every episode. Despite the fact that I was hellbent on being a tomboy as a child, I never questioned my adoration of this show. Which is strange, because I questioned a hell of a lot of things about me back then. (I know: wut).

Cardcaptor Sakura is the one show I will always hold dear. This one and Avatar: TLA are the shows I really relate back to my childhood, and seeing how Avatar was more of a pre-teen thing for me, so Cardcaptor Sakura wins as my ultimately childhood anime. Sakura was brave in her own way, quick-on her toes, and pure and goodhearted to the core. I adore her so much.

I love anti-heroes, but sometimes you just want to see a good person do good deeds.

(And did you know I can sing the first season theme song--in Spanish--all from memory? No? Well you do now!)

7) The Autobiography of Jane Eyre
There are a number of reasons I don't regret starting college during summer semester. Among them is that I may not have taken a very particular Global Literature class, and so I may not have gotten the chance to read Jane Eyre at the age of seventeen. I think it's easy for me to go on and on about why I love this book so much. Jane's the type of heroine I wish I could write--brave and bold, spiritual and moralistic. The fact that she's a girl of around my age (in the novel) is difficult to process. I mean, yeah, times were different, but it's still strange. And I wouldn't have forgiven this webseries if it hadn't done the book justice--but it did.

I think what I love about this webseries is that, even though it doesn't start the strongest, the very DIY feel makes it easy to connect with the characters. They've done a lot more with its modern setting than the Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and no insulting sexist undertones have appeared so far. (Thank god).

I really like this show's portrayal of Jane. I like that she's soft-spoken but vivid and sweet. I like that she expresses her emotions and is deeply thoughtful. And yes, she's still brave.

Also, someone pointed out something weird about the show. Even though Jane's actress, Alysson Hall, is a very pretty girl, it's like she becomes more beautiful to the watcher as the episodes go by, almost as if we were seeing it through Rochester's eyes. It's eerie, but it's awesome.

8) Nostalgia Critic
Does this count even though it doesn't have a linear narrative? I hope it does, because I'm putting it on the list anyways.

What really makes me appreciate the show is Doug Walker himself. When he talks about sexist stereotypes, common archetypes, annoying narratives, the explorations of characters, or even when he was going on about the meaning of Christmas and the merit of Santa Claus, I feel like I relate a lot to his thoughts and point of view. And even when I don't, I like listening to his rants and opinions. Passionate people are extremely fascinating and sometimes even admirable--so his passion for film makes him fascinating and admirable to me.

And yes, it's also really funny~

9) The Guild

I have a bit of a problem with this show's final season. For some reason, I didn't think it was a strong ending. Even though technically Codex had reached a place of growth and happiness, the writing of the rest of the season was not particularly my favorite. In fact, both Season 5 and 6 are my least favorite. I was...dissatisfied in a lot of ways. Except maybe for Tink's storylines... She's probably my favorite character--even if she can be a bit of a sociopath.

That said, I can't help but admit that The Guild puts me in a happy place. And I really admire Felicia Day for all the writing, acting, directing, and producing she's doing. I know it must not have been easy for her in the beginning, but she really pushed on. This show always makes me laugh and makes me feel quite glad that I'm a gamer. I watch an episode or a couple if I'm in a bad mood, and it brightens up my spirits immediately.

And that's all!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:41 PM

    I'm glad you put Avatar in here. It's such a finely wrought show.


"Science and science fiction have done a kind of dance over the last century... The scientists make a finding. It inspires science fiction writers to write about it, and a host of young people read the science fiction and are excited, and inspired to become scientists...which they do, which then feeds again into another generation of science fiction and science..."
- Carl Sagan, in his message to future explorers of Mars.