Posts tagged with "buffy" - Faerye Net 2010-08-30T14:25:45+00:00 Felicity Shoulders Fantasy trope: the possessing progenitor 2010-08-30T14:25:45+00:00 2010-08-31T12:10:12+00:00 <p><em>This post contains a slight spoiler for </em><a href="" target="links">Girl Genius</a><em> by Phil &amp; Kaja Foglio. If you haven&#8217;t already read this webcomic, press that link (it&#8217;ll take you to the beginning) and do. I&#8217;ll wait. </em>Girl Genius<em> was steampunk before steampunk sold out!</p> <p>This post also contains a spoiler for the <a href='' title='More info about this book at' rel='powells-9780886776121'>Mage Wind Trilogy</a> by Mercedes Lackey. But if you were going to read that, you probably already have.</p> <p>Oh, and a wee spoiler for Buffy Season 1.</em></p> <p>I hereby predict this post&#8217;s length will only exceed its spoiler warnings&#8217; by a small margin.</p> <p>I was reading the latest installment of <em>Girl Genius</em> when it struck me that one plot point in that fine comic is familiar from another story: the evil sorcerous (wyrd scientist?) ancestor who can possess his or her present-day progeny. This was used to great effect in Mercedes Lackey&#8217;s Mage Wind trilogy. When the good guys and I found out that the evil mage we were up against had <em>slain the Last</em> (and most powerful)<em> Herald-Mage</em> in a previous incarnation, we thought all was lost. It was a pretty effective way of increasing the creep-factor on an already very creepy foe. In <em>Girl Genius</em> it operates a little differently and over only one generation, but it&#8217;s the same general idea. In <em>Buffy</em>, too, a witchly mama did once switch bodies with her child.</p> <p>I wonder if I&#8217;m overlooking (or haven&#8217;t read) other examples of this trope in fantasy. In sci-fi, I think the equivalent would be making clones of yourself in order to prolong your life, whatever the clones think &#8212; which has definitely been done. I think the fantasy version is more intriguing, and here&#8217;s why:</p> <p>It&#8217;s a pop-psych truism that people fear becoming their parents. This trope hooks right into that fear, as well as another potentially unhealthy dynamic: the parents that want their children to be carbon-copies of them. Sure, it&#8217;s icky that your pediatric neurosurgeon dad wants you to be a pediatric neurosurgeon. But it would be even ickier if he wanted to steal your body and do his own pediatric neurosurgery with it, destroying or sidelining your spirit and desires, robbing you of your free will and your natural human span. (This is the subtext that the <em>Buffy</em> episode makes into text.)</p> <p>As if that weren&#8217;t enough psychoanalytic reason for this trope to send a shiver up the fantasy fan&#8217;s spine, the multi-generational version offers a healthy dollop of the &#8220;sins of the father&#8221; thing that&#8217;s so popular in Judeo-Christian circles. Sure, as people are so fond of pointing out, <em>they</em> didn&#8217;t commit genocide, or enslave anyone, or cut down the oak forests of Ireland, or what-have-you. In a fantasy setting, however, your link with those pasts are not theoretical. In any world with sympathetic magic, blood does tell.</p> Top 10 Best Practices for TV on DVD 2006-07-11T21:30:44+00:00 2008-06-08T13:53:08+00:00 <p>I am more or less a sucker for TV on <span class="caps">DVD</span>. It&#8217;s so convenient, so portable, so crisp, so <span class="caps">FULL OF DELICIOUS CONTINUITY</span>. However, it is still a young medium, relatively speaking, and maybe there is some feedback the studios would like from me. Out of the goodness of my heart, and not because it annoys the stuffing out of me, I&#8217;d like to share some constructive criticism.</p> <p>Really, it&#8217;s constructive! You&#8217;ll notice some of them are things <span class="caps">ONE</span> company or series is doing <span class="caps">RIGHT</span>!</p> <p><b>Top Ten Best Practices for TV on <span class="caps">DVD</span></b></p> <p><b>10. &#8216;Play all&#8217; button.</b><br /> <em>(MVP: Babylon 5)</em> Sometimes you just want to have a gargantuan view-a-thon, and this easy-to-implement feature facilitates that. One button, and the entire <span class="caps">DVD</span> of episodes plays.</P> <p><b>9. Episode list on packaging.</b><br /> <em>(MVP: Xena)</em> This helps a lot when you&#8217;re trying to find a specific episode quickly, and there&#8217;s no reason <span class="caps">NOT</span> to do it.</p> <p><b>8. Don&#8217;t quote the series on the packaging, or, worse yet, the discs.</b><br /> <em>(LVP: Angel)</em> Umm, does anyone realize that people who want to watch the TV show may <span class="caps">NOT</span> have watched the TV show? Some seasons of Buffy and Angel have totally vital and spoily dialogue plastered across the packaging, or on the discs where you&#8217;re <span class="caps">REALLY</span> likely to see them.</p> <p><b>7.Spoiler-free menus.</b><br /> Similarly, we&#8217;re pretty much stuck seeing the menu, so if you could choose images that don&#8217;t give away that Character B is a vampire or that A and C are getting together&#8230;that would help.</p> <p><b>6. Skippable intros.</b><br /> <em>(MVP: Everything Joss.)</em> We promise we know your studio&#8217;s name and musical sting, and that the <span class="caps">FBI</span> and Interpol frown on thus and so, and that you aren&#8217;t responsible for anything Ted Raimi says. We don&#8217;t need to see it 6 times per viewing of the season.</p> <p><b>5. Quick menu switching.</b><br /><em>(LVP: Buffy Season 2)</em> Again, we are going to see this <span class="caps">OVER</span> and <span class="caps">OVER</span>. It&#8217;s swell you sprang for a <span class="caps">CGI</span> swoop-shot through a cemetery, but by root and twig, we don&#8217;t need to sit through it every time we press a button!</p> <p><b>4. <span class="caps">STOP</span> the foldfests.</b> <br /><em>(LVP: Buffy, Angel, early seasons of Xena)</em> Many shows are in these gigantic folding cardboard monstrosities. There are a lot of ways to deal with the problem of packaging 6 or more discs attractively, but I think the <em>Firefly</em> approach of slimline cases and the <em>Babylon 5</em>/late <em>Xena</em> book-style packages are the way to go. The <em>Xena</em> discs even click in place nicely and don&#8217;t fall out all the time!</p> <p><b>3. Clear episode progression.</b><br /><em>(LVP: Buffy Season 3; <span class="caps">MVP</span>: Xena)</em> Episode numbers, a clear linear pattern to the episode titles&#8230;any of these will do. Instead, we often have four episodes, one in each quadrant, and they don&#8217;t always progress in the same manner from series to series or season to season (<em>Buffy</em> Season 3 had a different pattern from any other <em>Buffy</em> season.)</p> <p><b>2. Silent menus.</b> <em>(MVP: Xena)</em> Remember, again, we will hear this <span class="caps">MANY</span> times. If you choose a good atmospheric bit from an episode, it will have lost all meaning by the time we watch that episode, and in any case, we&#8217;ll be sick to death of it. <em>Xena</em> compromises by playing the (beautiful) theme music on the disc menu, but having blessedly silent episode menus, so we can get a drink, go to the bathroom, and generally settle ourselves without a 30-second loop of effects and music driving us mad.</p> <p>No one has this last one yet, and I think movies as well as TV shows need this all-important feature:<br /><b>1. Mute-able characters.</b> <br />I don&#8217;t want to listen to Jar-Jar Binks or <a href="" target="links">Kennedy the Annoying Girl</a> in the comfort of my own home. I could probably get wonko to watch Babylon 5 if Sinclair spoke in subtitles for all of Season 1! Give us more freedom. After all, we bought the damn thing!</p> <p>If a decalogue is too much for the studios, I&#8217;ll cut it down to two general reminders: We may not have seen it before, and we will see it over and over again.</p> If I were a supervillain... 2005-05-10T23:52:47+00:00 2010-08-03T12:57:08+00:00 <p><em>No, folks, I&#8217;m not dead, I&#8217;m just raking in the overtime. I promise Marcel&#8217;s mousy meanderings will conclude at some point. However, my own maunderings being more mollifying if they have some motive other than mollification, I shall merge this message with some musings.</em></p> <p>I have been thinking recently about what I&#8217;d do if I were a supervillain. Now, don&#8217;t think I&#8217;m taking the term &#8216;supervillain&#8217; in its strictest sense. Costume strictly optional here. But it&#8217;s fun to think, if I were a villain &mdash; a type from movies, from pulp, from comic books, from TV &mdash; what type would I be? After long consideration (okay, about two bites of yogurt), I&#8217;ve decided I would be the villainess who says many witty, strange, or cutting things and is utterly mad. The quotable crazy, shall we say.</p> <p>Now, this is not just because it suits my rather mad personality. This is not simply because my favorite villains ever are Callisto from <em>Xena</em> (&#8220;I never drink intoxicants, Theodorus. I like to experience life in all its agonizing glory. I don&#8217;t want to dull the sensation for a second.&#8221;), Drusilla from <em>Buffy</em> (&#8220;Miss Edith speaks out of turn. She&#8217;s a bad example, and will have no cakes today.&#8221;), and Harley Quinn from the Batverse (&#8220;I love museums. Do you think they&#8217;ll be mad that I drew raccoons on the abstract paintings?&#8221;)&#8212; and do <span class="caps">NOT</span> make me choose an order on those. It is not merely that I am fascinated by fictional madness, its wellsprings, meanings and clarity. I have a really practical reason for this.</p> <p>If you&#8217;re crazy enough, they can always foil your plan without you looking like a pseudo-competent poser. Cuz, you know, <em>crazy</em>! Even more importantly, if you&#8217;re quotable and lovable enough, the fans adore you. And if the fans love you and the writers can defeat you, you will never, ever die.</P> <p><em>P.S. What kind of villain would <span class="caps">YOU</span> be, fair reader? Bond? Buffy? I bet EMeta would wear gold lam&eacute; and debilitate the heroes with his horrible word-play attack. The <span class="caps">PUNSTER</span>!</em></p> Lucid Dream Experiment #7 2004-08-27T14:39:29+00:00 2010-08-03T11:19:58+00:00 <p>At the insistence of <a href="" target="links">sister sledge</a> and the instigation of brother wonko, I am posting another attempt at <a href="" target="links">lucid dreaming</a>.</p> <p>The night&#8217;s dreams did not get a scintillating start, as I first dreamt my co-workers and I were having a competition to see who was best at using the new photocopier. At some point in the wee sma&#8217;s, however, things got interesting. </p> <p>I found myself in a clearing in a South American rain forest, outside some sturdy temporary housing built for a scientific expedition of which I was a member. Three of us stood about in the clearing, discussing our latest discovery: me, my brother (Nope, I don&#8217;t have a brother. Good catch!), and some incarnation of Joxer, the bumbling good-natured Ted Raimi character from Xena. Whatever we&#8217;d discovered, it was pretty neat, so we piled into the expedition&#8217;s airplane to carry the news to the outside world.</p> <p>This airplane was bright yellow, along the lines of a biplane, but terribly small. The pilot had his own cockpit, but there was one long cockpit that seemed much like a burlap sack into which the rest of us had to fit. Whether burdened by the excess people or by the conventional reluctance of things that <em>should</em> fly to do so in my dreams, the little toy biplane simply would not take off. We taxied &#8217;round and &#8217;round, until finally we heard that a terribly dangerous gang of bikers (Yes, bikers in a jungle. Your point?) was on its way to pillage and destroy indiscriminately.</p> <p>Suddenly, taking off seemed a little more crucial than it had when only Science had been at stake! We taxied around a bit more, and managed at last to gain the air. We were rising, rising, out of the clearing and high into the air. The bikers roared into the clearing below, and just as we were about to be lost to their sight above the trees, the plane blew up.</p> <p>Luckily, we all seemed to have rainbow guidable parachutes for just such an eventuality, and were tethered together. In fact, my companions seemed so unconcerned I concluded the plane had been meant to explode all along. We glided along towards the river, and the bikers changed course to intercept us.</p> <p>We landed without event on an old wrecked riverboat mired at an angle in the mud. A number of vague acquaintances of ours were there, seeking a hiding place from the bikers. They were friendly enough, but very impractical, as their wearing black suits in the jungle attested, and while they had handguns, they seemed to know little about them, and kept pointing them at friendly people, including myself.</p> <p>The bikers appeared, lining up between us and the sheltering jungles, their laughter as deep and menacing as their engine sounds. <em>I really don&#8217;t want to die like this,</em> I thought. <em>Piffle, you won&#8217;t!</em> I replied, <em>Do you <span class="caps">REALLY</span> think this is happening?</eM> <p>Well, when I put it like that &#8212; I hazily grasped that this was a dream, and, as if in automatic response to the realization, I raised one fist and blasted up through the roof, flying swiftly and surely into the air. (Much easier than usual!)</p></p> <p>Suddenly, as I paused in midair above the boat, two things happened. The dream started trying to take control back, and I decided I had to rescue my friends. My lucidity began to fade, but the dream came up against the thorny problem of having a heroine flying confidently above the banks of the Amazon. So the dream settled the matter at once, and suddenly I was blonde and wearing a suspiciously familiar red and blue costume with a distinctive golden &#8216;S&#8217; shield on the chest. I swooped back through the hole I&#8217;d made in the roof and rejoined my friends.</p> <p>My brother looked at me, and I realized with a bit of a shock that my brother was Joss Whedon. He didn&#8217;t seem at all surprised that I was Supergirl &#8212; but, of course, supplied the dream, I had saved his life a bazillion times, of course he knew. He had only saved my life once, when we were kids, from a vampire &#8212; and he&#8217;d created an entire television franchise about a blonde superpowered girl who <em>can</em> kill vampires without her brother&#8217;s help <em>just to needle me</em>.</p> <p>With a grin at my pesky kid brother, I zoomed out of the wreck and started laying waste to the biker gang with casual ease and flying super-strong fists.</p><p> Then I woke up. It was a good dream.</p>