Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Do I Write Too Much About TV?

For a long time, I didn't watch any television. I used that time to write. But then I decided to quit being so antisocial and have found a number of shows I like. At some point I'll rave on about the perfection that is Orphan Black. I have True detective recorded but haven't had a chance to watch it. And, of course, I'm current on Doctor Who and Penny Dreadful.

Person of Interest - the first several seasons were much like the Equalizer. Good, but the idea grew stale just as it had with the original Equalizer. So in a brilliant move, they revisited their original concept and decided to explore the dystopian side. There's a machine-- now two-- that monitors everything people do. Privacy is an illusion. It would be bad enough if the government were in control of it, but in the hands of a private company, it's terrifying. Of course the team will eventually prevail, but the personal stakes for them are now dire. They can't simply hide their identities because that's what vigilante justice teams do when they're playing Batman. Oh no. Now their lives are at stake and they have to balance that with their desire to help others.

One of the reason I enjoy Person of Interest so much is that it has some of the finest female characters on television. Shaw and Root have their own dynamic duo chemistry going much as John and Finch do. They have their own lives, aims, and agendas. There have been scary, capable female villains as well.  Even their female victims don't tend to cower and scream while other people take care of the dirty work. Most are gutsy and continue to risk their lives for their ideas. I miss Taraji Henson. She wasn't just the most capable cop out there, she was also a veteran who balanced out John's "doesn't integrate well" persona. The last thing we need is television subtly reinforcing the idea that returning veterans are unbalanced.

Female characters aren't the only ones that shine in this show. Elias is chilling. Fusco may be on the road to redemption, but it won't ever be easy. They all make for a show that I'm not bored of yet. the explosions are good, but the characters are what keeps me watching.

I'm awaiting the return of Elementary. It took a while for me to get into it, but now it has far surpassed BBC's Sherlock as my favorite (current) adaptation. Can we all agree that series three of BBC's Sherlock was a disaster? It felt as if the fanboys took over the fanboy asylum this time around. They had over a year to write the script, but after the first installment, my comment was "And that's the best you could do?"  Where to begin on all the things so terribly wrong with series three? What happened to the beautiful cinematography? And what on god's green earth was that cheesy "Sex and the City" music when Sherlock entered the restaurant? Who wrote that awful dialog between Sherlock and Mycroft after the incredibly pointless Russian prison scene when Sherlock decides to come in from the cold?  But the thing I found most upsetting what the awful cheat of not explaining how he survived the Reichenbach Fall. That, Mssrs Gatiss and Moffat, was unforgivable. Because you know what it said to me? That you have no clue how it worked. You failed to discuss it with a professional illusionist before you wrote and filmed it, then afterwards realized how dodgy your physics were, so you tried to hide it by fudging the reveal. That will not stand, sirs!

That cheat wasn't the only thing I hated about series three. The incessant winking and nodding to the fans became a full-on twitch. Don't get me started about how horribly they continue to use Molly for cruel jokes. But even with all that aside, the mystery wasn't all that mysterious. Cardinal sin! You know, I could forgive the egregious errors in Hound of Baskerville, because otherwise it was well written, but this? No. No forgiveness, ever. I doubt I'll ever watch series three again. It's so sad that it's crumbling so rapidly.

Thankfully, Elementary gets stronger over time. I let go of canon and simply enjoy the performances and writing.  There's one small regret, and that's how they combined Irene Adler with Moriarty. You've read my comments on that before, but this is a different regret, which in a way shows how fond I am of what these writers are doing. There's a CFS (call for submissions) by Maxim Jakubowski for stories featuring Moriarty as the MC (main character). Since Moriarty really only appears in one canon story, and is mentioned in only one other (maybe two), there isn't much to go on. While I don't want to turn to movie or television portrayals of him for inspiration, I'm aware that those do influence how readers think of the villain, so I can't outright dismiss them. If only Elementary's Moriarty had been closer to canon! That would have been an interesting model. But no, they went so far off canon that there's no way their work can expand my understanding of the character. Rats. I know I'm in the minority here, but I did not like BBC's take on Moriarty. He didn't  in any way say mathematical prodigy to me. That leaves the current movie adaptations, which are closer to my reading of the man. With that model and the canon stories in hand, now all I have to do is think of the story.



Meanwhile, I have most of the story for Devil's Game in mind. I've spent the past few weeks trying to decide where to start it. Ill let you know when I figure it out, because that's the point where I'll start actually writing it.

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