elisi: (Spike DD by ruuger (NOT sharable!))
[personal profile] elisi
Serendipity is a funny thing...

This whole Joss mess has come along exactly as I decided to finally delve back into the AtS 'verse and finish a WIP I abandoned years ago. (As it happens, it's the only fic I've ever properly planned out, so I found my extensive notes and actually know where the story is going!)

Now, before beginning to write I figured I should probably watch a few episodes, just to make sure I had their voices right in my head; so I watched A Hole in the World and Shells. And it's a fascinating exercise in doublethink (doubleview?).

Like, I love the 'verse. I love the characters. I love the story. I will always be grateful to Joss & co for creating this world.

But there is also the fact that (the very very special) Fred has SIX men standing around her bedside. All of them going to go out and try to SAVE her. (See subject line...)

As you know, the only other women (still standing) in the extended cast are Harmony (who is delightful, but mostly comic relief) and Eve, who is very powerful yet lost all agency the second she lost her boyfriend. ETA: Oh and there's Nina too. I like Nina. It's sad her role never extends beyond Being The Girlfriend.

The interesting thing is that the same week my girls decided to watch [the new movie version of] Les Mis.

And it was exactly the same thing:

- Men make things happen.

- Women have things happen to them.

This is why Buffy (and Wonder Woman, Rey, et al) are so special. They make things happen.

(Possibly more musings later, but this is a pretty well-trodden path, and I'm preaching to the choir...)


Also I'm realising this is probably a pretty awful way to try to get people to read my 'Spike & Angel & Illyria go on an epic quest to undo the power of W&H' story, as it's rather male-centric. AH WELL. It's not like LJ is teeming with people reading AtS fic anymore. Although I should probably point out that there's a good deal of Buffy & her Slayer army in it too...

For those who want to try (and the lovely handful which read the first few chapters back in 2013 when I started posting and might want to have another look), you can find the fic here (well, the first 7 chapters):

Divided Destiny

More chapters coming soon! :D (*crickets*)

(no subject)

Date: 27 August 2017 10:28 am (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
Oh AtS . . . you had some greatness about you, but truly some of the most appalling treatment of women I've ever seen on tv.

(no subject)

Date: 27 August 2017 11:26 am (UTC)
owlboy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] owlboy
I remember nasty stuff about Joss's real-life treatment of Charisma Carpenter coming out when AtS was airing as well. I can't get into any of the dude's stuff anymore

(no subject)

Date: 27 August 2017 11:56 am (UTC)
owlboy: (Default)
From: [personal profile] owlboy
Yeah. dude sounds like he has a bottomless capacity for spite

(no subject)

Date: 27 August 2017 05:54 pm (UTC)
promethia_tenk: (dollhouse)
From: [personal profile] promethia_tenk
I remember nasty stuff about Joss's real-life treatment of Charisma Carpenter coming out when AtS was airing as well. I can't get into any of the dude's stuff anymore
Yeah, I heard some about that. Well after the fact, of course.

I don't have much to say on any of this. Dollhouse is my favorite thing he's ever done by a long shot, so I've no great investment in thinking of the guy as not horrible. I feel cruddy for the people who really loved Buffy, though.

(no subject)

Date: 27 August 2017 02:55 pm (UTC)
orangerful: (Default)
From: [personal profile] orangerful
Just because it is "male-centric" doesn't mean there is anything wrong with it. Now, if you posted "I am only writing male centric stories because men are better' THEN that would be wrong. You just connected with a story you wanted to tell and told it.

It's sad that so many writers do have to make that conscious effort and then have to make the effort to write female characters that take action as much as men. :\

(no subject)

Date: 27 August 2017 03:10 pm (UTC)
orangerful: (Default)
From: [personal profile] orangerful
Well, I was just referring to your story, since you made it sound like you were upset that it was male-centric. :) I am going to assume you don't bump off a lot of ladies! :)

I have many thoughts on the recent Whedon stuff but I can't quite form them into words yet...I was caught off guard when a friend asked me about it yesterday because I am THE Whedon fan...this is why I don't get tattoos.

(no subject)

Date: 27 August 2017 07:15 pm (UTC)
sueworld: Heart (Default)
From: [personal profile] sueworld
"That's it. Except when the wimmins keep dying, it makes you wonder... '

Well that doesn't seem to effect Supernaturals ratings. *g*

(no subject)

Date: 28 August 2017 09:28 am (UTC)
sueworld: Heart (Default)
From: [personal profile] sueworld
Well for me personally I've never seen the appeal of either of them, either visually or when it comes to their acting. In fact It's one of the greatest mysteries of the universe for me as to how this show as managed survive for so long. *g*

(no subject)

Date: 27 August 2017 04:52 pm (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
When I think about how good the gender politics of a show are likely to be before watching it, I usually ask a set of questions something like:

- Is the main character a woman?
- Is the main relationship or one of the main relationships between two women?
- Do women make up more than 50% of the characters?

The answer to all of the questions doesn't have to be yes but if none of them are I tend to skip it. This is based in part on shows like Angel. I found Angel especially disappointing not because it was especially terrible - I mean yes, it was full of sexist tropes, but a lot of shows are, and it had good parts too - but because it spun out of Buffy which was its opposite in so many ways. To the extent that A Hole in the World has a BtVS equivalent it's probably Tara's death in Seeing Red and while it was fucked up in its own way (stop killing queer characters!) there was so much more to the characters' responses, they were so differentiated, like I still get chills thinking about how Dawn sat with Tara's body for hours because she didn't want her to be alone. And Willow sought vengeance and Buffy sought justice and Xander felt helpless and Anya put aside her own anger and alienation to come help them and I don't know, there's just a richness to it that Angel always seemed to lack.

I also found it telling that the Illyria plot twist was written to showcase Amy Acker's range. Like, maybe try writing a bigger range of emotions and behavior for your female characters rather than having them killed and their bodies possessed by entirely different characters.

Anyway, I'll stop using your post as an excuse to rag on Angel. ;)

(no subject)

Date: 27 August 2017 05:37 pm (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
Yeah, I don't think Tara's death is a great comparison, it's just the closest that BtVS has. But maybe it's still too different to be a helpful contrast. And yeah, I don't remember any sort of meta-commentary on Fred's death that might have made the circumstances more palatable. I'm generally for stories that point out the problems with certain narratives by depicting them and then twisting them, but I'm not remembering AtS as having done that.

I love Angel to tiny itty bitty pieces (see picking up a stupidly long WIP), but I am well aware of its many flaws.

We all have our shows like that. :)

(no subject)

Date: 27 August 2017 05:54 pm (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
I feel it OUGHT to be a better comparison than it is. *ponders* I guess the difference is that Tara died to push Willow over the edge, whereas Fred died so Amy Acker could do some different acting? And they couldn't save her...

The main differences as far as I can tell are: (a) as you point out, Tara was the accidental victim of shots aimed at Buffy, rather than the intended target, although they were both victims of misogyny which ought to rescue the comparison a bit; (b) Tara dies immediately and unexpectedly instead of getting a long drawn-out death, so there is more focus on her death after it happens rather than before it; (c) Willow feels as though she must do something about what happened, even if it's too late to bring back Tara, even if it means destroying the world, which really drives the story, whereas in Angel they sort of accept the inevitability of the 'hole in the world' and grieve but don't necessarily try to change anything after she dies. (I may be misremembering what the AtS characters do, it's been a while.)

Depends on which bit you look at, but Buffy was subversive by its very nature, whereas Angel fell into every noir, 'Dark Hero' narrative you can think of. :)

I love the Buffy episode Anne where she runs away to LA and it seems like it's going to be noir and dark and depressing but she can't help being heroic, and she inspires Chantarelle/Lily/Anne with her heroism, and then years later Anne shows up in Angel the Series as, like, the most heroic and least noir character in the entire run. It's beautiful.

(no subject)

Date: 27 August 2017 05:41 pm (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
ETA: I love Wesley, and how utterly messed up he is. But Fred's death (having just watched it) is milked for all it's worth. Watch the beautiful, brave woman die, horribly and in pain.

Wesley is my favorite character on the show and I found his scenes with Illyria compelling, but I don't think they were worth it. Like, the show proved that there were many other interesting ways to make him suffer that didn't involve killing off his love interests.

(no subject)

Date: 27 August 2017 05:56 pm (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
There were so many good suffering!Wesley scenes! The episode when Faith tortures him! The whole arc with him trying to save Connor and fucking everything up! His relationship with Lilah (until she got fridged too)! That time he shot a robot he thought was his dad!

Come on, AtS writers you are more creative than fridging.

(no subject)

Date: 27 August 2017 06:23 pm (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
They should have taken a leaf out of Moffat's book. By all means kill the girl & make the fella suffer. Only then make her immortal & give her a girlfriend. ;)

Oh man I liked everything about that arc except the 'make the fella suffer' part. 5 billion years is a lot of manpain.

(no subject)

Date: 27 August 2017 07:13 pm (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
Yeah, I can maybe see that. TBH I don't think very much about Nu Who, something about the style of plotting makes it really difficult for me to remember what happened. Like, I had forgotten that they ended up on Gallifrey at all in the episode, although now you mention it of course they did. Also I'm still not sure about whether or not the Doctor actually destroyed Gallifrey or knew he destroyed it given the rewrite of Day of the Doctor. And wasn't there some point where he was looking for Gallifrey and couldn't find it? Was that before or after they gave him a new set of regenerations?

Someday somebody's going to give Moffat a show where he can tell similar stories over and over again with subtle metaphorical variations each time and viewers won't have to try to fit everything in to one universe and one storyline and it will be beautiful.
Edited Date: 27 August 2017 07:13 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 28 August 2017 04:14 pm (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
But would the Gallifreyans have been torture-you-for-5-billion-years mad if he didn't destroy it?

You don't have to answer that, like I said I've given up on making all the pieces of Nu Who connect together consistently. I sit back and enjoy the poetry now.

(no subject)

Date: 28 August 2017 04:27 pm (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
I mean, sure they put him in the confession dial to get information initially but when it didn't work the first time they chose to leave him in there fo 5 billion years. The dial was designed to run exactly the same way each time, why would they have expected him to divulge the secret after the first, oh, thousand years? And did they wait for it the whole time or did they skip ahead to the future? If they did skip ahead to the future who guarded the dial for 5 billion years? Were the stars in the dial really the stars in the place the dial was kept and, if so, was there never an avalanche or a roof or even a cloudy night above it?

Generally speaking, I like when stories fit together consistently, so if I'm missing things that would make things make sense I'd be glad to hear them. I've only watched most of Moffat Who once through (with the exception of season 5, which I loved) so it's entirely possible I'm forgetting things that make it work.
Edited Date: 28 August 2017 04:28 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 28 August 2017 04:43 pm (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
Okay, so the dial itself is some sort of wibbly-wobbly thing that allows the Doctor to subjectively experience 5 billion years while only a bit of time passes outside? And there's actually no way for anyone outside to get to the Doctor or see how long he's been in there or otherwise influence things - it's all on him to confess or find some other way out? That... mostly works for me.

I think what's confusing about that is: (a) the movement of the stars, which seems to strongly tie passage of time inside the dial to outside it and (b) when he gets out on Gallifrey isn't it close to the end of the universe? Or am I misremembering that and conflating it with the scene with Ashildr?

(no subject)

Date: 28 August 2017 10:37 pm (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
That's just the internal workings of the dial, I'd say. It resets, but not completely. F.ex. Clara portrait was painted by the Doctor.

TBH I'm still a little confused about how internal variation works, it seems like if he changed things up even a little bit he wouldn't have been able to, at the very end of each cycle, get back to the room to power the thing. (That's vague, but I think you'll get what I mean.) Unless that's all for show and it would have reset anyway. Although if variations are allowed, and the dial resets everything, (a) why were the versions we saw so incredibly similar, (b) why do some things reset but not others (portrait, stars) and (c) why make it *seem* like it had to be exactly the same each time if it's only going to confuse audience members?
Edited Date: 28 August 2017 10:38 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 30 August 2017 02:51 pm (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
But why does he go power the thing if he's figured it out? Presumably the dial will reset anyway even if he doesn't, and he could use that time to leave himself better clues? Or is he reseting the dial himself - it's not a naturally occurring thing - and he really would just die if he didn't?

(no subject)

Date: 31 August 2017 02:36 pm (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
Okay, but if that's the case then I really don't buy that there's any variation at all from time to time.

Let's say each re-set takes three months to occur. That's four re-sets a year, so 20 billion re-sets total. If there was any variation at all from time to time then in 20 billion cycles he would have missed the manual re-set at least once, especially since he's so close to missing it the times we see.

The first time through the stars are pretty normal, there's no Clara painting, and there's no skulls anywhere. The second-to-last time through the stars are unrecognizable, there's a painting of Clara, and the sea is full of skulls. You don't that radically different set of evidence would change, if not the Doctor's conclusion, the timeframe in which he reaches it? And yet each time he barely reaches the manual re-set. And I'm not even touching here the conclusion that the human/time lord brain/mind/soul is so deterministic that given 20 billion opportunities they would do the exact same thing each time. How depressing!

(no subject)

Date: 1 September 2017 01:45 am (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
So I think of logic and poetry as two separate attributes of a story. Every story needs both, in decent amounts - human beings need at least some logical consistency/causality, and what's the point of a story without any poetry, right?

Logic and poetry aren't opposites, of course, but they can be traded off, the same way one might trade off location and good price when looking to buy a home. Ideally you'll have both, but if one is really stellar, you'll accept mediocrity with the other, especially if you personally value one more than the other.

I see Moffat as a poet who does not pay a ton of attention to logic. His plots and characterizations are still broadly logical, just like all tv is, but it's not his forte. That's why I said I'd given up on expecting logic from him. What I really meant was, "I've given up on expecting enough logic to satisfy me."

I think maybe this disconnect between you and me is that the amount of consistency you see as 'enough' for Doctor Who is less than what I need. That wouldn't surprise me, as everyone needs different levels of consistency (and poetry!). And of course things vary from episode to episode as well as person to person. I have strong feelings about determinism that probably influence my sense of plot inconsistency in this part of the episode, and strong feelings about Donna's mindwipe that influence my sense of character inconsistency later in the episode. Whereas there may be other things in Doctor Who that you find hard to swallow where I don't even notice anything weird. ;)

(no subject)

Date: 27 August 2017 07:19 pm (UTC)
sueworld: Heart (Default)
From: [personal profile] sueworld
"They should have taken a leaf out of Moffat's book. By all means kill the girl & make the fella suffer. Only then make her immortal & give her a girlfriend. ;)"

Oh god, sorry, but I thought that was such a wuss out. It's like Moffat always wants his characters to play with fire, but can't leave them permanently burnt.

(no subject)

Date: 28 August 2017 10:45 pm (UTC)
greensword: (i came out to have a good time)
From: [personal profile] greensword
On the one hand, yes it's a children's show, on the other hand it's not like they've never killed off a companion before. They've even had companions experience Donna's fate before, although they didn't experience the personal betrayal of the Doctor doing it to them against their wishes.

Regardless, I think my favorite moment in the entirety of Clara's run (maybe the entirety of Moffat's run) was the moment Clara eloquently tells the Doctor off for trying to Donna her. Catharsis!

(Although wtf happens after that makes very little sense to me. Up for helping me understand that part too?)
Edited Date: 28 August 2017 10:53 pm (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 30 August 2017 02:45 pm (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
Very true. But there is a line to walk between making everything too safe, and killing off the viewer identification character.

That's a solid point, that the companions were less central to the show before and people probably didn't identify with them as much.

re: Clara - But why was she willing to lose her memories? She gave a big speech about how important they were to her, and then accepted a 50% chance of losing them? I thought it would have made a lot more sense if she'd just said, look, if this is so important to you, why don't you get rid of your memories of me? Or even: Look, you've got hundreds of years of memories of adventures in space and time, this is all I've got, it's far easier for you to lose your memories of me so don't ask it of me. Or: maybe while you're deleting me you can delete the 5 billion years in the torture dial.

As it was, I though it undercut the previous moment, and totally distracted me while the Doctor was losing his memories. I'm sure it was supposed to be poignant and sad and I was just like, "??????".

(no subject)

Date: 31 August 2017 02:39 pm (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
It definitely takes a bit out of the scene for me, and I wish they'd just had the Doctor zap himself, but *shrugs* it's a show with 36 seasons not every moment of every ep is going to work for me.

(no subject)

Date: 1 September 2017 01:46 am (UTC)
greensword: (Default)
From: [personal profile] greensword
<3 I think I've posted like 30 comments on this entry. Thanks for humoring me with explanations, I do feel like I understand the episode quite a bit better now, even if I'm not fully satisfied.

(no subject)

Date: 28 August 2017 04:35 am (UTC)
jerusha: (Default)
From: [personal profile] jerusha
Oh, god. Fred...

What killed me about that whole storyline is that they didn't just kill Fred, they literally destroyed her soul. FOR MAN PAIN. I loved Buffy and Angel, I really did, but S5 of Ats was just incredibly problematic in how it dealt with the female characters.

Here from the Sunnydale Herald

Date: 29 August 2017 01:25 am (UTC)
punch_kicker15: (Fred)
From: [personal profile] punch_kicker15
But there is also the fact that (the very very special) Fred has SIX men standing around her bedside. All of them going to go out and try to SAVE her.

Ha, I had exactly the same thought when I rewatched those episodes as background for a fic I wrote a few years ago (it was an AU with the focus on a couple of women saving Fred, so I can't say that I did much better by Fred than canon did, at least in that story.) I realized that's why Buffy (the show) resonates so much more with me than Angel (the show).

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