:: a toe in the water... ::

farscape, fandom, little pebbles rolling around in my brain
:: welcome to a toe in the water... :: bloghome | contact | people have gotten their feet wet since 28 August 2002::

[::the imaginary universe::]
The Candybox
X-Files Essays and Fiction

Farscape Fiction

[::the world
according to blog::]
Ally's BBQ
Jesemie's Evil Twin
The Max Factor


:: Wednesday, June 02, 2004 ::

Just in case anyone is wondering where this blog has gone...

Yup, I bit the LJ bug. I'll keep this one up for the moment, but on the off chance you're looking for me, I can now be found at Rhapsody in Purple

See y'around.

:: fialka 1:01 AM [+] ::

:: Monday, April 26, 2004 ::
For my beloved Scapers (neither gone, nor forgotten): The Vid is finally up at Farscape Fantasy! ::Squee::

It's my number 2 creation (I was lazy about uploading the first, and someone else snagged the song.) But hey, I'm now officially a vidder. What fun.

You Cut Her Hair

:: fialka 11:46 PM [+] ::

:: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 ::
...and another one bites the dust...

Resolutions, that is. IE, the one where I wasn't going to write any more fic and concentrate on The Real Thing instead.


And, to make matters worse, it's not even Farscape. It's Xena. Call me late to the party, but hey, I was living in Czech/Germany when it was on the air.

So, while the world needs another post-FIN vignette like it needs another subtext flamewar, here's my bit of spice to throw into the pot. If you don't know how the show ends and you think you might want to watch it (which I *do* recommend, as it rocketh mightily once you get past season 1) don't go here. If you do know, and you do go here, drop me a note. I'm curious to know if there's anyone still out there.

The Bard's Tale

:: fialka 10:33 PM [+] ::

:: Tuesday, November 11, 2003 ::
What you do in LA with no car and the MTA on strike

(besides loll about eating pop tarts and going back to sleep halfway through the morning because Con is coming and you need to stockpile some zzz's)

You rifle through your friends' video and DVD collections looking for stuff you haven't seen. Which if you're me and you've recently spent nine years under an Eastern European bushel, makes such a nice pile that it's getting dark before you realise you still haven't had lunch.

I'll just pick the standouts:

The Hard Word -- an Aussie caper comedy with Guy Pearce and Rachel Griffiths, which probably graced a screen near you for all of the blink of an eye. That's about how long it lasted in London, and I can't think why. I laughed so hard I dribbled green curry all over myself and didn't even notice. It's on DVD. Go. Buy.

Out of Sight -- I know, I know, I'm really late. What can I say? I can't stand J(cough)Lo, and I'm not much of a Clooney fan (though the ground beneath me is starting to crumble there. And, you know, I liked Solaris.) But I'm still having fun with "Karen Sisco" (4 and 5 weren't great, but this last one was a hoot -- and hey, Karen got laid by someone she didn't have to arrest or kill! When's the last time we saw that? You go, girl!) so I had to see the movie from whence that began. And you know, I liked it. I really liked it. [/sally] I'm so sorry Jennifer Lopez turned into such an annoying twat, because she's really good in this. And Clooney is adorable. Damn. Between that and his politics, I'm going to have to forgive him for looking a Ken doll, aren't I? Ah well, it's easier now that he's looking a bit more like Ken's dad.

Speaking of The Clooney, events seem to be conspiring. I also saw:

Ocean's Eleven: Yes, hello, the one person on the planet who hasn't seen it. Hi, right here! Also possibly the only one not that impressed. It was okay. I might have liked it more if I were not still holding my sides together days after seeing The Hard Word, which is Godiva chocolate to Ocean's Eleven's Hershey bar. But, you know, fun enough and everyone is in it, and their little dog, too.

Intolerable Cruelty -- If you're not a Coens fan, you'll probably love it. I, however, was left with the distinct impression of two hairy boys with their teeth pulled, bloodily gumming their way through an oh-so-ordinary script. There's a few moments in it that are pure beautiful Coen, but they just make the rest look that much more banal. And I still can't see the point of Catherine Zeta Jones, apart from, yeah, she's a stunning-looking woman. Na, und? Her acting talent has to stretch to the breaking point to achieve merely adequate and I wish she'd stop even attempting to sound American. It's not the hybrid accent that bothers me (glass houses, eh?) but the fact that she keeps managing to pronounce the same bloody word three different ways within the same bloody sentence. Call it Keanu Syndrome -- they're fine when they just stand there looking beautiful and mysterious, but should never attempt to do anything like open their mouth.

Oh, and speaking of "everyone's in it, and their little dog, too" -- do go see Love, Always. I was going to give it a miss, as it looked all sappy and Bridget Jonesish from the previews (No, I didn't really warm to Bridget Jones. But you know, I liked Solaris, so what do I know?). It's much less sappy than it seems (though it skates a bit close from time to time and I could have done without the Heathrow bookends) and very very funny, especially if you know anything at all about British politics and bloody bleeping music contests. As seems to be my lot in life (at least as far as seeing a film in an actual cinema is concerned) I was absolutely hooting in places where everyone else was silent. Bill Nighy is just brilliant, as is the ever-glorious Emma Thompson. That damn woman can rip your heart out without even opening her mouth.

There's lots more, but I'm shutting up now. See a lot of you on Friday and remember: "FS Con 2003: I'll be in the bar."

:: fialka 8:06 PM [+] ::

:: Thursday, October 23, 2003 ::
up in the air -- it's a plane! it's a pig! it's...

... me blogging about a show on a major network. And not being snarky about it. And it's not even genre. Whoah. What's up with that?

I can't tell you how long it's been since I've *watched*, let alone liked anything on the three US majors. Now obviously, since I like it, sharp objects are probably being sharpened. So before The Big Sword of Stupidity descends from up above and severs this one from the schedule, let me introduce you to Karen Sisco.

I have a three ep rule: hook me by then, or I'm off. Sisco got me in the first three minutes. She's got a raging libido. She drinks scotch. Sometimes, when things are really crap, she drinks scotch alone in the dark. Oh yeah, and she's a US Marshall, which means she's all about The Job, the gun, and a seriously dry sense of humour.

And the walk. Deah gott, the walk.

"Karen Sisco" spins off from Elmore Leonard's "Out of Sight" and having not seen the film, it's hard to know how much to credit producer Jason Smilovic and writer Bob Brush for the character herself. I do, however, give them kudos for not filing those razor-sharp Leonard edges down to nothing more than hot-babe-with-big-gun.

The show itself feels quite deliberately like a 1970s Aaron Spelling production (the credits alone give that away), but Karen is not exactly one of Charlie's Angels. She's dark, compact, relentlessly straightforward and relies on no one but herself (she doesn't even have a partner.) Minus the flowing blonde locks, minus the jiggle, she's the sexiest thing I've seen on network television in...well, ever.

It's the walk. Deah gott, the walk.

I can't remember where I've seen Carla Gugino before (though I know I have) but it's really to her credit that "Karen Sisco" is as interesting as it is. I will happily admit that this is pretty formulaic writing: whip the plot along to cover the holes and hope people enjoy the snappy dialogue enough not to notice. (Speaking of -- darlings, 516 is the area code for West Palm, not Miami. If you're going to place card a location, you are going to have to take 43 seconds to look the area code up. That huge snort of derision you heard last week was brought to you by the residents of at least three Florida counties, plus the entire former audience of Miami Vice.)

However, there's something to be said for the effort the show puts in to do the formula well. The dialogue *is* snappy enough to cover most of the holes, and the acting is surprisingly good for this sort of fare. And really, that's why I'm recommending it. In something that's going to be as flatly episodic as this, I need the characters to hook me hard. And, despite being unoriginal, they do. Gugino and the equally laconic Robert Forster in the sidekick role (in this case, Sisco's PI dad) spark wonderfully together. Bill Amos as yet another black-guy-as-chief would be terrific if they just filled out his role enough to make him a human being instead of a politically correct casting decision, but the show is only three eps in so there is still hope. (No qualms with PC casting thing either if it gives a good actor a job, but why is it always just the one? The show's set in Miami for frell's sake, why are all the rest of the cops -- and robbers, so far -- *white*? Mr Smilovic, Mr Brush, while you're looking up the area code for Miami, how about checking out the demographic info?). And even if Karen Sisco herself is pretty much the stereotypical tough-ladycop-who-just-wants-to-be-wuvved; Gugino's deft hand with the actor's paintbrush gives the character a surprising array of colours. Beneath the cool opaque exterior, Karen's lonely heart glows like a dying coal. Enquiring minds want to know.

And of course, there's the walk. Deah gott, the walk.

All in all, any show that sets its female lead up to be desirable to grown men with brains rather than drooling adolescents with overworked right hands is worth keeping around, at least for a season or two. So I'm spreading the word. Karen Sisco. Have a look.

:: fialka 2:49 PM [+] ::

:: Thursday, September 18, 2003 ::
apropos of some kvet-- er, discussion that's been floating about.

Farscape, Season 4. {Jewish mother} Vere, oh vere did it all go wrong? {/Jewish Mother}

Well. It's not *all* wrong. If this was my first season watching, I'd either think Farscape was pretty good or it was incomprehensible. Actually, it wasn't my first season and that is pretty much what I think. Mind you, those first three seasons are a hard act to follow, and we're an insufferably demanding audience .

I can't make this brief, but I'll try not to make it excruciating. Bail now, ye faint of eyeballs.

Oddly, if I count them up, this season was pretty much the same as others for me -- one ep I hated with the fire of a thousand suns, two I disliked which others loved, two I thought could easily have been done better, six I thought were utterly brilliant, and the rest falling in between really good and OkeydokeWhat'sNextWeek. My disappointment with the totality of the season is greater than my disappointment with the sum of its parts. And to be honest, if I hadn't been up to my ears in SFS.com and desperately waiting for the ratings every week, I'm sure I would have relaxed and enjoyed it all a lot more.


For me, it has to do with a failure of coherence, the way the season hangs together (or doesn't) as a whole, especially in retrospect. I don't blame the cancellation for the glitches; the season was largely in the can before that happened, and aired largely unchanged. The child's tile, Jool, and the stuff on Arnessk being dropped bothers me not at all. They're tangential to the season; I assume they were either ideas meant to be developed next year, or the byproducts of the need to let TM go without killing Jool. I've never expected to see the Pathfinders again either; they served their narrative function by giving Zhaan a dignified death. It would be great if they reappear, but it's just a bonus.

Each year, in retrospect, has a throughline that's easy to see: the first is about the development of the crew into a family, the second is Crichton's madness, the third is the fulfillment of The Relationship with its attendent disastrous consequences. The fourth appears to be about a different descent into madness, one in which Crichton takes everyone else along. Or it could be about the entire crew finally becoming more dangerous than either the PKs or the Scarrans. It's about fragmentation, definitely, in more ways than were intended. I can tell you that it all leads up to the nuclear weapon in the flowers, but I can't *quite* chart how it got there. Which is the problem. In the end...I'm not really sure what it was supposed to be about.

In previous seasons, the one-offs felt like pauses, little stops for breath along the larger journey. So brilliant was the execution of the 2nd season that we didn't even realise those one-offs were giving us clues to the overlying story. This year though, the one-offs were less like pauses and more like starbursts -- we suddenly wound up Somewhere Else, literally and emotionally, and it took a bit of doing to find the arc again. It's not really about whether or not the production team were flying by the seat of their pants -- they were in S2 as well -- it's about continuing to fly in a single direction, and whether someone is there to make the catch.

The summer vacations, Aeryn's desperate bargain to save her child, the need to teach John to withstand intense heat (to take the three most glaring examples) -- these are seeds that should have come to fruition this year. They're set up as part of the overall seasonal arc, as things that will drive the story forward to the final trilogy. Except, they don't. It bothers me that those were dropped, because it makes them appear shovelled in. And they were interesting choices, they should have been followed through.

It is possible that the answer to the the summer vacation *was* given, at least in Aeryn's case in Promises, it's just that it didn't explain her constant begging for John's forgiveness from NE on. She came back as she left, dissociated and impenetrable. It was the Aeryn we first met back in 101 -- the stone-cold killer ready to give her life for the cause. All well and good.

It's in Natural Election that it all falls apart. Once the rift becomes about 'who's the Daddy' and Aeryn says she doesn't know, in terms of the larger narrative, that argument loses its impetus to keep them apart. What's odd is that NE brings up another point, a much deeper rift to explore. When talking about threads that were dropped, 'there's no difference in my mind' is a big one. This conflation of the two Johns, when it was precisely John's insistence that they *were* different which drove her from Moya, speaks of something like a mental breakdown on Aeryn's part while she was gone (which Promises already prepared us for). The absolute realist is flatly denying reality, which tells us she hasn't come to terms with Talyn John's death after all, therefore setting this up as The Really Big Issue for them to confront. Good. Nice conflict. But John never seems upset about *that*, which goes against everything we know about him from Fractures on. We lost 'that wasn't me' and as the season moved on nearly every tag was a conversation between John and Aeryn, which quickly became circular and repetitive; the same question about the baby asked over and over while the more important one -- you do understand that I'm not *him*, that I can't pick up where he left off? -- was tossed aside.

And that's where Aeryn disintegrated, for me. Promises works -- that's the Aeryn I know -- but from Natural Election onward I can only occasionally bridge the Aeryn that left with the Cher doll that came back. "Selfless Aeryn", no matter what else she became -- including John's completely besotted lover -- was always first and foremost a soldier. The label Zhaan bestows upon her couldn't be more perfect, for not only is Aeryn selfless in her continual willingness to give her life to protect the others, but she begins the series literally selfless, without concept of herself as an autonomous person, distinct from her function as part of the Peacekeeper whole. Aeryn's struggle isn't just about learning to love and be loved, it's a struggle for identity; to separate the warrior from the Peacekeeper, and the woman from both; to define what is Aeryn Sun. Throughout everything, even John's death, she is and remains a soldier -- practical, pragmatic, proactive, the consummate strategist. Aeryn loves John with every fibre of her being, but that won't stop her smashing a rifle butt into his face if that's what it takes to get him home.

I lost the warrior in Natural Election, pretty much never to be retrieved, and for me, that has a great deal to do with my uncomfortable reaction to this season. It was a starburst so far from the natural throughline of the character that even though I did recognise her in some of the subsequent eps, she never really seemed to find her way home.

There's a stellar moment in IP2 where Aeryn, knowing John is dying, is running around Furlow's facility placing bombs. For one moment she stops and nearly breaks down as the truth finally hits her, then she takes a deep breath and finishes the job. That's the Aeryn I know. What I didn't recognise was the dark-haired chick nattering with Chiana while there was an enemy destroying the ship. It's indicative of a general problem with a lot of the freelancer eps this year -- a misapplication of elements that would have been fine in another context. I'm not saying Aeryn can never talk girly with Chi -- just NOT in the middle of a battle. It's such a startling and unexplained break of character that the feeling it was A Big Clue to Aeryn's-Not-Really-Aeryn overshadowed and skewed my perception of her for the rest of the season.

I would also have to say it's exactly what I feared with the freaking pregnancy -- for almost the entire season Aeryn became someone who was done *to*, no longer someone who does. Even when she did get to be active, she'd gone from rockhard soldier to John's pretty gun-toting girl; from the two of them fighting side by side and back to back, to Aeryn standing three paces behind him; from warrior woman to gangster's moll.

Aeryn's newfound communion with her inner girlygirl made sense on rare occasion -- in TF, for example, when she is clearly unsettled by Earth and trying on our stereotypically 'female' persona along with Olivia's clothes. I recognised her in that ep. I recognised her in WSS2 as a traumatised, possibly psychotic version of the Aeryn from IP2. But for the most part, no. Who was that woman sitting in the window of Moya, thinking learning English would bring her closer to the man floating in space without a tether? I don't know.

I think I can see what TPTB were trying to do -- reverse the status quo, have Aeryn following John down corridors saying 'we have to talk' instead of him following her. No problem there, it's a good place to go. But Aeryn wouldn't be good at making first moves and she wouldn't be patient with rejection and she most certainly wouldn't be having the same conversation over and over, ep after ep, knowing she didn't have the only information John seemed to want -- the name of the father. She would have attacked John as a military objective, strategised, made her moves, pulled back to a position of safety when rebuffed, tried plan B...etc. That could have been pretty cool. Unfortunately both plan A and plan B seemed to involve a lot of mooning and sitting in corridors. I guess that's a pregnant soldier's idea of ambush.

And again, 'who's your daddy?' was the least important, and least interesting question to ask this season, certainly not worth the unprecedented amount of front-and-center screentime devoted to it. It's this that skewed the season so badly, robbing the writers of time to explore the other characters or develop some of the seemingly pertinent ideas tossed out in the first half. All the focus on 'who's the daddy' *might* have been worth it, if they had had it up their sleeves to make the father someone other than John Crichton, but -- alas -- they did not. Worse, the answer to *which* John Crichton was buried beneath the avalanche of action from BHTB on, so that by the time a semi-answer was shoehorned in, the question had become meaningless. I won't even start on the mistake of reconciling J & A by answering a question that had never been asked at all.

And yes, there is the matter of pulled punches. It was never like FS to bring up a huge issue and then pull punch on the answer, let alone to do it with so many things that would have driven the story beautifully right through the final eps and on into next season. The end of an ep like MAA should not leave D'Argo exactly where he was at the beginning. (Actually, no ep should.) How cool would it have been, in a season that placed him in the position of Captain, if he were left with the question of whether his lack of control of his temper had cost him the woman he loved? How cool to let Stark be not just mad, but bad and dangerous to boot. How cool if Aeryn had to make good on that foolish, desperate promise; if Scorpius had actually had something on her, and some discernable purpose for wangling his way on board. And how could John be scripted to say 'it was never Aeryn' -- such a delicious possibility, and one which would have immediately righted so many wrongs -- when apparently it always was?

Last, I don't believe the writers simply got lazy. If anything, the opposite -- the ending scripts have an aura of feverish overwork. And after all my kvetching I should add that what I did love, I loved very much.

And now I'll shut up. {G}

:: fialka 12:57 AM [+] ::

:: Wednesday, May 21, 2003 ::
and so it goes

(For some reason this didn't post the day I wrote it. Ah well, better late etc.)

Farewell to the Buffster, farewell one and all.

To comment without specific spoilage: close enough to what I expected to satisfy, different enough to surprise. All hail the return of Clever Dialogue Saving Us From Sentimental Hogwash And Just In The Nick of Time. While I still think 'The Gift' would have been the perfect way to end Buffy's story, this ending makes sense for the redefinition of certain central themes that has taken place since then. Largest disappointment: having coaxed ASH back from England, they utterly failed to give the poor man something to do.

And in that, there are echoes of FS season 4: the story grew too big for the confines of 42-minute installments, pushing everyone but the lead character to the edges of the screen. John/Buffy spread too thin, taking up too much space, leaving no room for the others to breathe. Their angst becomes repetitive while the other characters fade away -- until the final run of eps when they're frantically pulled back and herded into place. Never mind the how and wherefore; if the midseason didn't flesh things out it's too late. Everything is movement now.

Buffy, knowing it was ending, did a fair job, but like Farscape, the season felt uneven -- the story moving in fits and starts, the character development less organic and more strategic than earlier seasons. Again, too much sense of pieces being moved into place. I forgive Farscape a bit more, as they didn't know it would be their last season, and uneven as it was, this was a good way for BtVS to go out. Somewhere, there is an ode to the Buffster, but it doesn't look like I'm going to write it. I refer you to Cofax, left, for a wonderful elegy to what has been, overall, a wonderful show.

A genre series coming to a planned, willing end before it outlived itself...in this year of untimely cancellations, that's a gift right there.

:: fialka 11:58 AM [+] ::

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Comments by: YACCS