Friday, January 5, 2018

Stranger Things, Season 1, Episode 7: The Bathtub

Everything is really coming together this episode

First we have the full reunion with Mike and EL, El without her wig and the two kids moving their awkward way through flirting. They’re called by Lucas about Ominous Men coming to the house and manage to get out in time with Dustin and meet up with Lucas on the way. They’d probably still have been caught but El can throw large vans around which is an effective way to stop pursuit

Y’know every time these people chase El they never seem to have any plan for what to do when they catch her. “We have caught the girl who can kill people with her mind! Proceeding to asking her really nicely to come with us!”

Lucas and El both make their apologies to each other and Mike to Lucas so things are a bit smoother there. They head to a hiding place in a junk yard as helicopters swarm overhead

The Ominous men search Karen and her husband’s house looking for signs of El and urging them Karen and Ted to trust them. Ted is a good little drone but Karen, who has been unfailingly awesome throughout this series, is much much more suspicious.

Joyce and Jim get called in to pick up Jonathan who is under arrest after his fight with Steve which Chief Jim quickly makes go away before Joyce explodes messily all over everyone. The police are wary of the monster hunting kit Jonathan and Nancy have been driving around with but Jim and Joyce know the truth and demand an explanation

Joyce is super upset that Jonathan wanted to go off without her to do this and almost tearfully protests that he doesn’t have to do this alone. It’s emotional and works so well with all of Joyce’s reactions because of the undertone -the unspoken acknowledgement that Jonathan kind of has had to do it alone. That Joyce has kind of fallen apart - and even before all this happened I get the impression Jonathan has had to handle a lot alone.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Superstition, Season 1, Episode 9: Uncle Bubba

This week we have Uncle Bubba interrupting Bea and Isaac’s alone time… and Bubba?


He’s amusing but he’s such a bumbling buffoon that he kind of makes me cringe for every second he’s on screen

He’s interrupting Bea and Isaac’s alone time because he thinks he’s being haunted by an evil clock. He warns Garvey and Russ not to touch it because bad things will happen

Russ, who isn’t in on the big secret, of course touches the clock. He and Garvey are sucked into demon clock world. No-one is amused by Bubba over this. Bubba explains who may have a grudge against him (he owes someone money and slept with their wife) and Isaac and Bea have absolutely no time at all for him referring to women as “bitches”. Because this show is twice as aware on gender and race issues than pretty much anything else out there

Continued argument leads to Bubba and Isaac also being sucked into clock world

Clock world is spooky black and white with occasional clockwork people because they know all about the spooky. Russ wants to touch things and leap in while Garvey shows her far greater experience of random woo-woo - and of course Russ hears all about the family history so he won’t do silly things like not listen to Garvey

They grab the man who hated Bubba to fill them in about the clock. He’s not co-operative and Bea absolutely refuses to allow Calvin use violence to coerce him because that is not who they are. However she does use her cat to threaten him. What her cat does we don’t know but it seems to involve turning into a much bigger, scarier cat

Now more reluctantly co-operative the man explains that he trapped a poltergeist called Agnes in the clock and then fed her 80 odd souls to make her super powered. Agnes now thinks she’s god of her realm but still serves him

He’s right about all but the last part, as he too is sucked into the clock.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Lucifer, Season 3, Episode 11: City of Angels?

It’s the episode I never realised I needed so badly to see - Lucifer, first cast out of Heaven in 2011 with awesome opening text being all dramatic

And then Lucifer wearing a hopelessly outdated suit and still making it work because he’s Lucifer and Tom Ellis has just mastered this role beyond compare. He’s also flaring his wings around with casual comfort. This isn’t apparently his first holiday and he quickly embarks on some fun with booze, women and whipped cream

Which is when Amenadiel drops in to bring him back home and snark:

Amenadiel: Those poor humans know not what they do
Lucifer: They all know they’re doing me.

Amenadiel’s condescension is heavy back here and it’s clear he knows very little about humans. He demands Lucifer go back to hell and he menaces him as the strongest angel - though Lucifer points out Amenadiel has never actually fought Lucifer. Not that he will because the divine interacting on Earth is against the rules.

He’s also very worried what repeated exposure to the divine will do to humanity. To which Lucifer has a dirty but kind of awesome quip at the amount of divine that has been spilled on the sofa

But Lucifer backs down when Amenadiel threatens to get dad involved -because back in 2011, Lucifer still cared what daddy thought. He only begs for time to say goobye

And while he does that Amenadiel gets shot and mugged (I’m pretty sure bullets didn’t put angels on the floor before so retcon I guess), his holy necklace is stolen. And everyone insults his robes - including Lucifer (I have to say in this episode Lucifer and Amenadiel have an excellent “annoying little brother” vibe)

He hurries back to Lucifer to steal clothes and go to the police to report the theft. These clothes involve a Tshirt with “if you’re rich I’m single” written on it and… a hat and sunglasses combo that will traumatise me forever.

He goes to the police - to Chloe when she was still a uniformed cop - and knows so little about humanity that he utterly fails to actually report a crime.

Instead he has to appeal to Lucifer for help - and Lucifer agrees because he wants to spend more time with LA and he also manages to extract a favour from Amenadiel.

His actions have also set Chloe off, eager to prove herself as a detective (hubby Dan is already a detective) and she begins her own investigations connecting Amendaiel’s mugging with the shooting of a professional fighter called Aiden in the same area. She notes that both the victims were very big men and not your most common mugging victim.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Superstition, Season 8, Episode 8: You're Not my Momma

The gang’s all together celebrating Thanksgiving with everyone being all positive and friendly and nice (ish, anyway). But we have some ominous whispers coming from Calvin’s ring and a big scary storm coming in

And some omens of a death

The death isn’t that surprising giving that they run a funeral home. Eric wants to bury his deceased wife - and he wants her buried with the world’s creepiest possible doll.

Because this guy is just TRYING to create an evil demonically possessed doll.

The doll was important to his dead wife because she couldn’t have a child. Bea is definitely moved by the story and rightously slaps Calvin down for being even slightly disrespectful of the evil demon doll. While Tilly is well and truly freaked out since she has a perfectly sensible rational irrational fear of dolls.

It should surprise absolutely nobody that demon doll kills Eric’s dead wife’s best friend Brenda - and then rips out her eyes and puts them on a teddy bear and stuffs her body with cotton wadding.

Nope nope nope nope nope

So they call Eric the husband and say “oh hey, demon doll is evil and killing people” and it turns out he was totally having an affair with the dead woman and adds that they weren’t infertile, he and his wife had a child but the child was stillborn which sent his wife into a huge depression. So he got her the creepy demon doll for comfort -he mentions a Thai tradition of Luk Thep but I honestly think this tradition wants nothing to do with evil demon dolls.

He also advises they just throw the doll away

Which is stupid when you clearly should be KILLING IT WITH FIRE.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

2017 is now behind us and we now look forward to 2018 with… well, a large degree of creeping dread really.

On Fangs, as I referred to in our holiday post, we’ve had some troubles in the latter half of the year which has somewhat cut our output, but we have continued to follow the genre we love - and analyse it through our lens.

Awesome things 2017
Handmaid’s Tale, American Gods and Sens8 - there was some real awesome here this year, hopefully most will continue. Do I even need to say why these are so awesome? We all know this.

This was the year when I was introduced to the Aislinn mice, HAIL THE INCRYPTID SERIES! Hail! I am HOOKED. This is one of those series I have quickly become creepily obsessed by

Ilona Andrews keeps bringing the awesome, and the Tao Series is a creeping favourite. Other joys game from Daynda Jones, the Glamour Thieves and Calling the Moon Series

Things we’ll Miss 2017
This year has unleashed a certain level of carnage: I’ve honestly lost count of the shows which have ended but most of them, I think, had reached their natural end. Grimm, Vampire Diaries? Yeah… it was time.

I’m going to miss Class, Whoverse, a very diverse cast, intriguing and compelling characters, a layer of darkness and it was just getting into its stride. And we had Quill. Alas, it wasn’t given enough of a chance. I’m going to miss Teen Wolf though I seem to be the only one. Yes it was flawed but I seem alone in thinking the series was actually getting better with each new season. Emerald City was just tragic - I honestly thought this awesome show was guaranteed a renewal - when I saw the low ratings my only comment is: WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?!

It hasn’t been renewed yet - but I really hope Superstition returns: it worked, raising so many tropes and then handling them with a careful hand. Let’s hope it - and 3% needs to return as well

I have noticed a seeming trend in Urban Fantasy books away from the epic series. Oddly, while tv shows and films are embracing sprawling connected worlds and marathon binge sessions, books seem to be moving more to the one-offs or trilogy formats. A lot of the 6-10-16 book series I’ve read and love are starting to come to an end and the new books I’m picking up are not gearing up for the long haul. Rather than an individual book, I’m missing a concept: I’m missing the idea of these epic series, these amazing worlds I can set up camp in.

Things We’re Happy to Say Goodbye To 2017
The Mist is gone, it’s gone! Oh dear gods it was bad. So very very bad. So terribly awfully bad. Oh my gods it was bad

American Horror Story - yeah I know we’re never fans of this show. But Cult was especially dire, it set whole new levels of awful, it plumbed new depths. I worry that American Horror Story will see this as a challenge next year. We have suffered enough!

Zoo has also left us - and honestly it was so bad at the end I was almost enjoying this nonsense. I think I took the series even less serious attention than the writers were!

Looking forward to 2018
Well we’ve definitely got some positive shows to look to: Doctor Who has a new Doctor and the first female Doctor which we definitely want to follow. We have the continuation of Star Trek: Discovery which has expanded on Star Trek’s original commitment to some diversity. Z Nation with its zaniness is also a surprisingly compelling show led by an awesome Black woman.

I can’t say there are a lot of new shows on my radar at the moment - I definitely am intrigued by A Discovery of Witches and there’s no way I will be anything but excited by a Good Omens adaptation but there’s not a lot more pinging my radar - by all means bring your suggestions to the comments

For books, bring me your epics! Bring me your sprawling 20 book series! Bring me your connected worlds and multiple series in one settings and book series that will take me years to catch up! Bring me your Hollows and Kate Daniels and Otherworld, bring me your Magnificent Devices, Kara Gillian, White Trash Zombie, bring on The Guildhunters, Psy/Changeling, Rivers of London, Dresden Files, October Daye: bring me the epics in all their glory!

I am seeing some more marginalised main characters but not so many protagonists - especially with Own Voice authors; so these are definitely eagerly what I’m always hunting

One thing I do want to see more in 2018 is more meaningful inclusion. While representation in our shows and books has generally increased in numbers, it has not necessarily increased in depth. Most minority characters occupy side roles, bit parts, supporting cast; they exist to tick a diverse box but not really be a compelling element of the series. They could be removed - or, alternative, could easily be replaced by a non-minority without appreciably changing their story, the story of the series or changing their character’s growth. It’s an odd kind of erasure that shows a minority presence while continuing to ignore the reality of minority lives. Similarly we have a growing number of blink-and-you’ll-miss-it portrayals which become more prevalent the more prominent the character is. It’s time for the next step - for there to be a number of minority characters and for that to actually inform their characters, to be seen as an opportunity for storytelling rather than an obstacle; to define a character as more than just a marginalised person but also not to do our utmost to remove that from their characterisation.

Sunday, December 31, 2017

The Librarians, Season 4, Episode 6: And the Graves of Time

The sinister group this episode are creepy Russian grave robbers robbing graves around the world belonging to Nicole Noon; yes the ex-guardian with dubious motives

While at the Library Flynn and Jenkins are arguing. Flynn has taking Dare’s warnings to heart while Jenkins vehemently declares “screw Mr. Dare” which is surprisingly crude for Galahad. He thinks Dare’s fears are ridiculous, antiquated and paranoid and it’s ludicrous that Flynn should be dodging the tethering ceremony because of it, especially with time running out. He thinks Flynn’s real doubts come down to Nicole - and the doubts she seeded in the first episode. And hey he’s willing to debate Nicole’s guilt (which he still thinks is set) but the Library needs tethering now.

Mid argument, they realise that Eve is missing.

Eve has managed to catch up with Nicole who is trying to stop the Russians from raiding all of her graves. I think if she wanted to keep secret sites with artefacts hidden she maybe shouldn’t put her name on them all.

Eve and Nicole meet with Eve assuring Nicole she just wants to bring Nicole back to the Library, she doesn’t like leaving people behind and she wants her to be part of the team again. While Nicole is also very aware that Eve does not 100% trust Nicole and also wants to keep an eye on her. And she doesn’t need the Library to be a Guardian, she will still be a Guardian working alone. There’s a lot of competition and snark including lots of critique of each others’ fighting styles which ends up with the Russians escaping despite being thoroughly beaten. They are most snarky and I like it.

Nicole tries to run off alone but Eve makes it clear: she accepts Eve and Eve doesn’t call the team. Otherwise she gets 4 Librarians and a Custodian following her around. So it’s Eve and Nicole, not trusting but opening up a little. As Eve sees many graves of Nicole she also sees the memories and photos she stored - including all the people she left behind. It brings home to Eve just how hard being an immortal is, especially without a person to ground them. Nicole touches on her fears but Eve is clear: she IS afraid - but not necessarily of immortality but being alone. Of turning into Nicole, basically. Of course that also raises the fear that maybe the others may leave the Library and leave her

Nicole does try to leave Eve behind but it doesn’t go well

Their actual quest is to find Koshi’s needle, an artefact capable of various terribad awfulness.

At the Library everyone’s tracking Eve and Nicole - and by everyone I mean Jenkins (who doesn’t trust Flynn to be objective) and Flynn, after Ezekiel uses some computer hacking to find them. Being Librarians they quickly catch up on the trail, following them through England...

Ok, can we stop saying “just outside of Lancashire” or “she’s gone to Lancashire” because that is a completely useless direction. Lancashire isn’t a town or city. It’s a county - a region, 3,000+ square kilometers.

Also I am deeply amused that anyone thinks a beverage of choice in Lancashire is “cucumber water”.

...through to Rome and then Ukraine outside of Chechnya - so as Eve and Nicole climb a cliff they find Flynn and Jenkins already there (the riddle closely following the legend of Koschie)

The Librarians, Season 4, Episode 5: And the Bleeding Crown

The magical quandary this episode is a town where everyone is old. Worse, The Librarians made the Florida joke before I could!

So the whole town has been artificially aged and it’s time to investigate why with lots of questions and investigations with all five of the main gang going to the town (ok I know many will disagree but I kind of love that Flynn manages to make the “We’re Librarians” line work when Stone and everyone else never can). We also have a nice small moment of Cassandra being almost intrigued by aging since she’s finally considering the possibility for herself now she’s not facing terminal illness any more.

The gang is attacked by some creepy monsters and are saved by a very dramatic man: a very dramatic man called Derrington Dare who calls himself the Librarian

I’m all ready to call imposter but it turns out we have a genuine time travelling Librarian. I then cringed and expected lots of posturing between Flynn and Dare - but it turns out Flynn is a complete and utter fanboy of Dare’s, having read his Library record and clearly stylising a lot of his persona and technique on Dare’s. His fanboiing is both cringeworthy and cute - and Eve is wonderfully clear in tolerating his silliness.The other Librarians are less amused that Dare considers them “assistants” and it’s annoying that that’s pretty much how they’re considered for this whole episode.

The aging is caused by Dare’s nemesis, Ambrose Gethic. It seems Dare and Gethic have been fighting each other for pretty much ever to the extent that it consumes both of their lives. Gethic was the one who created a time travel portal which Dare followed him through. As Dare recounts his story, Flynn also realises that Dare is close to the date of his death - when he goes back he dies tomorrow. Cue angsty “can’t alter the time line” trope.

There’s lots more adorkable fanpoodling from Flynn and when they go to the Library, Dare keeps calling Jenkins “Galahad” which is always cool. But Dare also has a problem: 4 librarians. He reveals some secret history which Jenkins has kept hidden (Jenkins is kind of repentant but not very): the last time there were 2 librarians (many many centuries ago) they went to war and because of that the Library was cut from the world, cutting off human curiosity and learning and wonder: which caused the Dark Ages

Ok let’s poke this. First of all, the “Dark Ages” are a terribad eurocentric term which should never be used unless you’re only talking about Europe. While Dark Ages Europe had relatively little “progress” (little but not none), the Middle East, China and more were quite happily chugging along with lots of this curiosity and learning and wonder stuff. The Library, as a world wide institution, needs to recognise that