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 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)

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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)

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