meganbmoore: (Default)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
Jane the Virgin and Happyland are two shows that I hadn't really intended to check out, neither sounding very appealing to me, but I watched the pilots out of boredom and really liked them. The main protagonists of both series-Jane in Jane the Virgin and Lucy in Happyland-are very goal-oriented young Latina women raised by their single mothers, who they are generally more mature and together than. Both mothers-Xiomara in Jane the Virgin ans Elena in Happyland-have lied to their daughters about the identities of their fathers, neither mother wanting to tell her daughter that the last contact they had with the fathers was the fathers telling them to get abortions after learning about the pregnancy, but the real identities of the fathers are revealed in the final moments of both pilots.

But that's mostly where the similarities end.

Jane the Virgin
is a case of everything wrong in concept and everything right in concentration. The show is about a 23-year-old waitress named Jane who live with her mother and grandmother. She works at a hotel owned by Rafael and "jerk" (according to both) who she had a crush on when she worked at his country club several years pre-series. Since she was young, her grandmother (who only speaks Spanish, but seems to understand English fairly well) has drilled into her the importance of not having sex until marriage. While there's certainly a religious aspect to this, Jane's grandmother's primary concern seems to be that Jane not also end up a single teenaged mother, and Jane's take on it seems to be that the best way to make sure nothing like that upsets your plans for your life is just to not give it a chance to happen. (I suspect that, to some degree, Jane also sees herself as having ruined Xiomara's life, though Xiomara doesn't seem to have that view at all.) Jane has her life planned out in incredible detail, and her boyfriend, Michael, a police officer, loves her enough to go along with it.

Things get off track when her gynecologist, Luisa, having just had a very soap opera shock the night before, gets her patients mixed up and accidentally artificially inseminates Jane. The woman who was supposed to be artificially inseminated is Rafael's wife, Petra, and Rafael is Luisa's brother. Rafael is a cancer survivor, and because of chemotherapy, he's now sterile. The sperm sample Jane was inseminated with is his only sperm sample, and Petra decided to have herself inseminated to keep Rafael from divorcing her before their 5th anniversary, after which, she gets a much larger divorce settlement. Petra is also having an affair with Rafael's best friend, Roman. Michael is investigating Roman for possible connections to a major drug dealer. Jane initially seems to be leaning towards getting an abortion, but on learning that Rafael wants to have a child and being (falsely) reassured that Rafael and Petra's marriage is happy and stable, she decides to carry the baby to term, and then give it to them to raise. (Because, I mean, Rafael could apparently never consider adoption? The "BIOLOGY ONLY" thing there is my only real beef with the show so far). Jane's father, Rogelio, is the star of the telenovela the whole family is addicted to, and now that he's a moderately mature adult instead of a scared teenager, he wants to get to know his daughter. Xiomara has mixed feelings about this, but not about possibly jumping his bones again.

There's a "Sexy Latin Narrator" to help us keep track of all of this, and more. A lot more. A part of the "lot more" is Bridget Regan running around as a bisexual lawyer in excellent suits and fabulous hair. I know there are some here who will consider that to be very important information.

lengthy-ish, but only really spoilery for the pilot )

Then we have Happyland. Happyland is about workers in a Disneyland-style theme park. The main character, Lucy, grew up in Happyland because her mother, Elena, has played Princess Adriana in the park before Lucy was born, and Lucy works at the park too. Initially, Lucy is the backstage manager for the shows, but she gets forcibly promoted to "character work" early in the series. Her best friends, Will and Harper, are also Happyland employees, and are dating, though Will sometimes forgets which girl he's supposed to be in love with. (Harper rightly interprets this as a problem with Will's priorities that he needs to figure out, and not as something to blame on Lucy, or hold against Lucy.) Lucy Has Plans for her life and doesn't intend to spend her life at Happyland like her mother, Elena. It's hard not to compare Happyland and Jane the Virgin because of the similarities in the heroine's lives and backgrounds, and because Happyland wants to do some of the same things as Jane the Virgin, but doesn't do them as well, though it's still a good-and addicting-show with plenty of soap opera elements.

shorter, but with more spoilers for both shows )

is scheduled to have an 8 episode season, leaving 3 left to air, and 4 for me to watch. CW picked up Jane the Virgin for a full season, so it'll probably be 20-22 episodes. I'm not to sure about it as an ongoing series as opposed to a miniseries, but I have high hopes.

I also watched this week's Sleepy Hollow and greatly enjoyed it, despite the fact that the show is in danger of having a White Dudes problem. I don't have much to say about it, but suspect I'll be much more opinionated about the next episode. I need to catch up with How to Get Away With Murder and Madam Secretary, but they both take themselves more seriously than my current frame of mind wants. (I'll get over it.)

(no subject)

Oct. 28th, 2014 08:27 am
skygiants: Betty from Ugly Betty on her cell phone in front of a cab (betty on the go)
[personal profile] skygiants
So the basic plot of Nnedi Okorafor's latest is that a bunch of superpowered shapeshifting aliens show up and make first contact in Lagos, Nageria. (This is after hanging out for a while in the ocean, where they grant a bunch of non-human entities their heart's desires, including murderous sea creatures, adorable optimistic bats, and a MURDEROUS STRETCH OF ROAD WHO LIKES to EAT PEOPLE.)

Eventually an alien ambassador comes out of the ocean, mostly in the shape of a woman although this occasionally varies. Various citizens of Lagos rapidly become embroiled in first-contact drama to a greater or lesser extent, including primarily

- Adaora, a successful marine biologist whose increasingly religious husband just tipped over from 'disapproving' into 'abusive'
- Agu, a soldier who's in major trouble with his unit for trying to stop his superior officer from raping a civilian
- Anthony dey Craze, a successful Ghanaian rapper who ... actually pretty much seems to have it together, Anthony's doing OK

but also

- Adaora's kids, who think shape-shifting aliens are THE COOLEST THING
- an evil priest, who wants to convert the alien
- an asshole medical student, who wants to kidnap the alien
- the asshole medical student's cross-dressing buddy, who's torn between Project Kidnap the Alien For Cash and Project Pride Parade For Self-Respect
- the rest of the Lagos undercover LGBT student alliance, who are spearheading Project Pride Parade after taking the presence of an alien without the ability to shift sex and gender as a sign that it's time to come out of the closet once and for all
- a number of fans of Anthony dey Craze who have turned up for his surprise house concert and are sort of confused about why there's now an alien and a riot instead
- a number of military police, who REALLY DON'T HELP with the confusion
- the President of Nigeria, who is unfortunately out of the country and therefore has to spend a long time playing catch-up
- several Nigerian gods, who decide the rising chaos is a great opportunity for them to come out and play

Adaora, Agu and Anthony are definitely a little more protagonist-y than everyone else, but this is a book about a city first and foremost -- a city full of human beings who react to an amazing event in ways that are wonderful and ways that are horrible. There's a LOT of ways that are horrible. Many of the named characters who are not Adaora, Agu and Anthony don't come out of things so great, and the alien ambassador is Increasingly Disappointed In Us All, which leads to an ending that is certainly not grimdark and has a lot of hope in it but that I have some moderately conflicted feelings about.

Still, as a book that centers its miraculous happenings specifically in Lagos, in the strengths and problems and wonders of Lagos, I appreciate it a lot. There's nothing generic about this first contact.

manga: Akatsuki no Yona Vol 1-8

Oct. 26th, 2014 10:15 pm
meganbmoore: (lucy loves this book)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
Akatsuki no Yona is an ongiong (not-yet-licensed in the US, manga series with a currently-airing anime adaptation. There are currently 14 volumes of the manga, but only the first 8 currently have scanslations.

Set in a fantasy version of ancient Korea, AnY is about Yona, a pamper and shelter princess who is in love with her cousin, Soo-Won. Her father detests violence, and has a reputation as a weak king because of it. Yona and Soo-won grew up little different from siblings,a long with Yon's bodyguard, Hak. This is angsty epic shoujo, so of course Hak is in love with Yona, but has apparently never considered expressing it, considering soo-won to be the better match for Yona. The only problems in Yona's life are her red hair (which she hates) and the fact that her father disapproves of her interest in Soo-Won . (He completes approves of Hak, of course, because the mangaka wants to make sure we know what pairing to root for from the start.) That changes one night when she witnesses Soo-Won murder her father, and is forced to flee the palace with Hak.

While on the run, Yona and Hak meet a priest who tells them about the legend of a redhaired king who was served by the four dragon gods, and that the descendants of the dragons still exist, and are waiting for the king to be reborn so they can serve him and help him save the kingdom. Yona decides that a redhaired princess will do just as well, and she and Hak set out to find the descendants, along with the priest's adopted son, Yoon, a self-proclaimed Pretty Boy who serves as den mother for the protagonists, providing all the food, cleaning, medical ministrations, and lectures for the group. (Yoon is also the youngest character. Yoon is very long suffering, and justifiably makes sure everyone knows it.)

Most of the translated volumes are Yona seeking out the descendants of the dragons and winning them over (this ranges from "YOU HAVE RED HAIR. I SHALL SERVE YOU FOREVER." to "Look. I literally fled the country to get out of this destiny thing. THERE SHALL BE NO DESTINED SERVITUDE." She also learned that while her father may have been beloved to her, he may not have been a very good king, making little effort to ensure laws were enforced outside the palace, and providing little defense against attacks from other countries. Before she flees the palace, Soo-Won also tells her that her father had murdered Soo-Won's father years before. I'm operating under the assumption that, having spent more time away from the palace than Hak and Yona, Soo-won had been much more aware of the problems in the kingdom than they were, but hadn't decided how to act until learning about the fratricide. Yona now finds herself in the opposing position: her father was beloved to her, but the country might be better off with Soo-Won as king, and she doesn't actually know much about ruling or politics herself, only having concerned herself with frivolous things before Soo-won's betrayal. She set out on a quest to find the dragons' descendants, but without an actual goal in mind after that. (Hak is having an easier time with the "Soo-Won betrayed us and hurt and killed people I love. I shall kill Soo-won" mentality. Much easier.)

All of this is interspersed with numerous adorable flashbacks of Yona, Soo-Won and Hak growing up together and being adorable babies. And some less-cheery flashbacks for Yona's followers. The anime also frames the first two episodes with flashforwards of Yona and her followers going to war. The last time I got into a manga series this much this quickly was 7 Seeds about a year and a half ago. The only issues I have with it is that it has a very dire case of "Only One Woman." There was an elderly female pirate captain for one arc, but she doesn't seem likely to return, and the only other female character who looks like she may actually shows up from time to time is the wife of a general who Soo-won wins over. Aside from the flashforwards, the first three episodes of the anime are pretty faithful to the first several chapters of the manga. The flashforwards give me hope that the anime intends to actually have a conclusion, as opposed to following the ever increasing trend of just adapting a series to the end of a certain arc and then stopping without resolving a significant amount of the plot.

Akuma no Riddle icons

Oct. 23rd, 2014 07:58 pm
meganbmoore: (2 of a kind)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
145 x Akuma no Riddle 

akuma-82 akuma-70 akuma-24

here ) 

Sleepy Hollow 2.5

Oct. 22nd, 2014 08:56 pm

(no subject)

Oct. 22nd, 2014 12:40 am
skygiants: Natsu from 7 Seeds, looking determined, surrounded by fireflies (survive in this world)
[personal profile] skygiants
Dear Yuletide author,

First of all, thank you so, so much for signing up to write for one of these awesome fandoms! I'm going to be incredibly happy whatever you do, so please don't stress out too much about any optional-details-are-optional below. If you have fun writing, that will make it the best present for me. :D

General stuff that I like includes women having relationships with each other -- romantic, friendship, mentorship, really intense and personal enemies, it's all good! -- plus in general ensemble stories, sibling dynamics, found families and friendships, and people growing as people. I SUPER LOVE flawed people being flawed, and ridiculous people being ridiculous. (This definitely doesn't mean I only want comedy stories -- I am pretty much up for anything, tonally -- but I do think that humans are always a little bit ridiculous, and ... most of my requests are for canons that are full of ridiculous people, so.) I am also, for the record, SO DOWN for crossovers, always and forever, if you happen to be inspired to write one.

I would prefer not to see any characters bashed, especially female characters, and although I'm happy to run with creepy or dark explorations of fictional universes if that's what you want to do, I'm generally not a fan of the gratuitously graphic.

And now for the specific requests! )

Thank you so much, mystery author! And again, whatever you write, I will be SO EXCITED BY IT. I'm super excited already! You can tell by the fact that I can't put down my allcaps!

(no subject)

Oct. 20th, 2014 08:14 am
skygiants: Mosca Mye, from the cover of Fly Trap (the fly in the butter)
[personal profile] skygiants
I've been tackling a project at work recently that has to do with the Lindbergh kidnapping case, which is one of the reasons I've been waxing extremely nostalgic about one of my favorite childhood authors that nobody else has ever heard of: Anne Lindbergh, who I didn't realize until I was much older was actually the daughter of Charles and Anne Morrow. Which has no relevance to her books at all, really, except for the cognitive dissonance; Anne Lindbergh's books are charming and SUPER WEIRD eighties and nineties middle-grade fantasies that seem about a billion worlds away from the 1930s and controversies about airplanes and fascism.

My favorite -- which I've just reread -- is called Three Lives to Live. This book has actually been a huge influence on the way I write, and also the way I edit. It's written as protagonist Garet's 'autobiography' for a 7th-grade school project, which means about a third of the book is complaints about her English teacher criticizing her for not doing what "The Professional Writer" would do. At one point the teacher complains that Garet needs to use more active speech verbs than 'said'.

Garet's response is to rewrite the offending passage, like so:

"I wouldn't want to risk it. I bet you wouldn't either," I chirp.
"I would so," she blubbers.
"You would not," I yelp.
"How much do you want to bet?" she queries.
"I'll bet a million dollars," I coo.
"You don't have a million dollars," she yawns.
"Then I'll bet anything you like," I yap.
"You don't
have anything I like," she bellows, "so I guess I won't bet after all."
"Chicken!" I grin.

I THINK OF THIS EVERY TIME I'm about to recommend to someone that they vary their word choice in a dialogue section. There's a lot to be said for the invisible said!

(The seventh-grader whose autobiography involves a lot of bodice-ripping from a love-crazed duke suggests that Garet add 'breathed throatily' to her collection of speaking verbs. I love that seventh-grader.)

...meanwhile, the actual plot involves Garet's relationship with the rest of her family: her grandmother, whom she lives with, and her twin sister, Daisy, who isn't actually not her twin sister, she just came down the laundry chute one day a few months ago. Their grandmother refused to provide any information and insisted that Garet just had to adapt to having a sister in the house. Garet is not adapting to having a sister in the house. Daisy is prettier and smarter and weirder and gets EVERYTHING, including a canopy bed and a laptop computer, ugh! (Sidenote: the book was written in 1993, and I'd forgotten laptop computers were already invented then!)

Then about midway through there's the reveal that spoilers get hilariously weird below below! )

I had not forgotten how much I loved this book, but it's nice to be confirmed in how much I love this book! I'm kind of sad now that it's much too late to nominate it for Yuletide. MAYBE NEXT YEAR.


Oct. 18th, 2014 08:02 pm
meganbmoore: (levy writes)
[personal profile] meganbmoore
1. I had 3 friends join Flight Rising during the registration window, and 2 even joined me in Water. I am very eager to see what you guys do with your lairs.

2. Speaking of Flight Rising, just as I was finally getting used to the last new genes, they came out with a new one.

3. I've now checked out Akatsuki no Yona, Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works, Your Lie in April, and Shirobako for this season's new anime, and only have the second season of Psycho-Pass and In Search of the Lost Future left to check out. Though I probably shouldn't be starting new series when I haven't finished any of the four from last season that I'm still catching up on (Ao Haru Ride, Glasslip, Barakamon, and Gekkan Shoujo Nozaki-kun. At least I ran out of Fairy Tail to binge on, at least until Hulu adds more.

4. John Grisham apologized for his comments about child pornography that were made earlier in the week, but I'm about as convinced by it as his disgruntled fans appear to be. I ranted about it a fair bitthe other day on twitter, but dude, you can't really take some of that stuff back, no matter how much crow you eat.

5. I don't have a link for it, but apparently Adam Baldwin is working on something or other for Dark horse. Oh, to live in a world where you lost jobs when you attack a woman and sic 200k followers on her and act like the death threats she receives for it were all in her head because her ex-boyfriend decided to air her dirty laundry (real or fake) and you decided she was corrupt. (I assume everyone is familiar with GamerGate. If not, just go search any combination of "GamerGate" Adam Baldwin" and "Zoe Quinn." Warning for ending up with awful anti-women/female gamers treatises, including gifs and photo edits that appear to want to portray Baldwin as a heroic hunter of women. First example google gave me. I've seen much worse, that one is mild and missable if you don't get the context.


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