GAME OF THRONES – WHO WILL SURVIVE SEASON 7?

All Men Must Die – this we have learned season upon season in the realms of Westeros. From poor old dead Ned to the deep fried Queen Margaery we have lost some true gems of the seven kingdoms. Of course we have also seen some well deserved gruesome exits – who can blame Sansa for smiling as the hounds turned on their master? And is if it is wrong to cheer when a sadistic king who tortures whores for fun is poisoned at his own wedding, well then I don’t want to be right. The question, now that Season 7 is approaching at dragon speed, is who will survive the the year, and who will die before the credits roll?

Here are my predictions for the survivors and casualties of the upcoming season.

 

MOST LIKELY TO DIE IN TRULY GRUESOME GOT STYLE

1.Cersei

Because once you go full Disney villain you don’t get a happy ending.

2.Grey Worm and/or Missandei

Because it would be oh so Romeo and Juliet, except for, you know, the eunuch problem.

3.Brienne

Because someone we adore is bound to die, and she is just as noble as Eddard – and look how well things turned out there.

4. The Mountain

Clegane Bowl. It’s gotta happen. And we all know who’s gotta win – pass him a chicken. No! Make that two…

5. Littlefinger

Because Sansa is pretty badass now, and he has played her one too many times. Plus he is trying to divide the Starks – and if we have established one thing, its that Jon Snow doesn’t suffer fools. Hear that Olly?!

 

MOST LIKELY TO SURVIVE THE SEASON

1.Jon Snow

Because he can’t die twice. He isn’t Buffy Summers for crying out loud.

2.Daenerys

Because dragons.

3. Tyrion

Because we would riot. Plus I think he will die saving everyone next season *sob*.

4. Jorah

Because Dani told him not to die. And he would rather disembowel himself that disobey her. Plus now that he has greyscale his death would be way too predictable

5. Melisandre

Because the night is dark and full of terrors, and her mysterious story doesn’t even feel half told. She will have a chance to redeem herself in the war to come.

Here end my predictions. Valar Morghulis fellow Thrones fans. We meet again when winter has come – in July.

62 THOUGHTS I HAD WHILE WATCHING THE HANDMAID’S TALE

1.Starting with sirens just in case you don’t get how dark this is gonna get.

2.And a car chase down a deserted highway, to make sure you are well and truly scared

3.A child hears the gunshot that kills her dad. If you thought this was heart-warming family drama, change channels now.

4.Somehow the blazing sunlight makes the content all the more dark.

5.How do you run from evil when evil is the law?

6.Answer: you don’t. You get caught.

7.Offred’s body is dragged off camera – her past life has been taken. In its place – a handmaid.

8.So starts the inner monologue of Offred (the coiled spring of terror that is Elizabeth Moss) ‘I had another name but it’s forbidden now’.

9.‘If I get trouble i will give trouble back’ a climate of fear. The handmaid is afraid of the wife, the wife is afraid of the handmaid. What is the husband afraid of in this man’s world?

10.‘A return to traditional values’ but what about the values they have forgotten? Such as human decency?

11.‘Ofglen is not my friend…I sincerely believe that Ofglen is a pious little shit with a broomstick up her ass’. Even her friends are forced and fake.

12.The body shows obedience. The eyes tell a different story

13.The commander’s driver is ‘low status, hasn’t even been issued a woman’ anything female is a status symbol. A belonging, not a being.

14.Offred’s face fits perfectly with the inner voice, a true masterclass in reaction.

15.Well hello Rory Gilmore, aren’t you a long way from Star’s Hollow?

16.The painful half scripted small talk is as controlled and restrictive as the costumes. Notice how the hats ensure their heads are cast down – a woman’s place, blinkered, like a carthorse.

17.The supermarket feels out of place – modern clean and shiny, in a world attempting to go back in time.

18.‘I don’t need oranges, I need to scream’ the jolly music juxtaposes barely hidden rage.

19.Capital punishment. Of course. A return to ‘traditional values’ .

20.Blink and you flashback to indoctrination. A Trunchball who escaped the children’s story and graduated to a purer form of evil

21.Poussey from Orange is the New Black is another famous face emerging in the dystopian dark. A friend from a past life of freedoms curtailed.

22. All is said in secret glances, nothing is permitted

23. First they come for the birth control, then they come for you

24. ‘Dirty women’ ‘sluts’. This is all sounding horribly relevant

25. You will serve the men and bare fruit, but only at the correct time as decided by anyone but you.

26. Hiding evil behind the bible: ‘blessed are the meek’ they say as they maim and destroy. No bible endorsed this. Humanity picks and chooses, and then destroys.

27.The rebel who spoke out is mutilated for her crimes ‘if my right eye offend thee pluck it out’. I guess they forgot the part about love thy neighbour.

28. The handmaids are a flash of red in this world of blues and greys – their hearts still beat, even chained.

29. Back to indoctrination, and the one eyed former rebel shares her story of gang rape ‘who led them on, whose fault was it?’ victim blaming in its purest form.

30. Atwood herself makes a blurred cameo: the author slaps her protagonist, forcing her to point the finger at the abused rather than the abuser. Tow the party line, or you are next

31.Back to the present and the ‘ceremony’ is about to begin. Notice there is no mirror in Offred’s room – even her image is not her own.

32. The wife is stoic, the handmaid a rabbit in headlights, the husband – late.

33.The church music accompanying the ceremonial rape of the handmaid deepens the horror of this abuse of both body and scripture.

34. Hands are held, clothes are kept on, faces blank as paper. Even the husband shows (almost) no pleasure in the act. This is not about pleasure, but functionality.

35.The flash of red lays on the consummation bed as the rapist leaves in silence and the wife orders her servant out. The wife cannot blame the man, so blames the handmaid. It is always easier to blame the woman.

36.In her own bed, hair free of restraints, Offred looks almost like her former self, but for her terror. ‘I think about the moon. they haven’t changed that’. Thank heaven for small mercies.

37. Drowning in state enforced abuse she runs for air, then returns to her prison for fear of discovery, Even one moment of freedom could end end all hope.

38.Back to the past, and the one-eyed rape victim retreats into delirium – the only freedom she has left.

39. The incentive to obey is unveiled – those who won’t comply are sent to the colonies where (presumably due to global warming – thank you Trump) their skin will peel off until they die. Yes, that would certainly help enforce their tyranny – obey or die.

40. The future breeding mother wants her own mother.

41.The curtains are once again drawn on Offred’s true self, as the memory of her last friend reminds her why she needs to ‘keep her shit together’. No compliance = no escape, no daughter.

42.Sarcasm is the last defence of the beaten down ‘my pleasure’ says Martha ‘go to hell’ thinks Martha. No translator needed.

43.What do the three bells mean? Nothing good, we can be sure.

44.I am thoroughly sick of adverts by this point.

45.Guided by guns, the fairy tale figures of the maidens gather like a chained army.

46.Whispered conversations are all they can afford. Begging for news, always under his eye.

47. Then the worst is revealed. the one eyed survivor of the centre, heavy with prescribed child cheerfully (and crazily) informs Offred that Moira, her last true friend, is dead. Will her hope die with her friend?

48.But fake friend Offglen has noticed her pain, and rather than judgement she shows concern. Is she friend of foe?

49. The meaning behind the bells is revealed. A rapist. A raper of handmaidens. To rape a handmaid is apparently the rapist’s fault, whereas, as we know  by this point, to rape any other woman is her fault *PAUSE WHILE I THROW THINGS AT THE TV IN DISGUST*

50. A circle is formed and rage is rallied. This time the handmaid’s are ending a life, not creating one. All the suppressed rage is released on the convicted man.

51.This, then is justice, and how they keep the downtrodden on the floor- moments to release their rage and hatred, followed by calm subservience.

52. Offred offloads her fear pain and hatred, then when the whistle blows, begins to hate herself for what she briefly became.

53.Another flashback, to the moment she discovered her beloved baby had been conceived. She fears losing it, like so many have. Of course she did lose it, but not in the way she feared then.

54.Was there ever a before? Ofglen reveals her true colours through memories of salted caramel and sex. ‘They do that really well, make us distrust each other’. Divide and conquer.

55. True selves are revealed. Horror stories shared. Loved ones lost ‘they weren’t gonna let one of us get away’. One of us. The worst club to belong to.

56. ‘It was nice to finally meet you’ how long has it been since either of them truly spoke?

57.There’s an eye in your house’ one more reason for Offred to hide her fighting spirit deep inside. Lock it up, but never throw the key.

58. The world blurs. Which eyes are THE eyes. Who must she hide from. Where is safety.

59. The music twists and turns in a discordant dream. This house is not a home.

60.Offred is sent to her room, ever obedient Offred complies.

61.But her name isn’t Offred.

62. ‘My name …is June’

THE 10 MOST ANNOYING GAME OF THRONES CHARACTERS

In just a few short months the world of Westeros will once again grace our screens.

What the war to come will bring we cannot tell …except that many beloved and hated characters will surely die in increasingly grisly ways – it is known.

Beloved heroes such as good old dead Ned fall victim to George R R Martin, but then so do deliciously evil dogs like the late and not-so-great Bastard of Bolton.

To celebrate our much anticipated return to the seven kingdoms here is my definitive list of the ten MOST ANNOYING inhabitants of the realm. Not necessarily the villains of the piece in every instance, but certainly protagonists for whom the god of death would be wise to hurry the hell up, if he hasn’t called already.

Robyn Arryn

The breastfeeding brat from the Vale. Lover of moon doors, Littlefinger, and most of all, himself. He couldn’t make the bad man fly (praise the gods), but he could display bad judgement at every turn, and a wilful disregard for snow sculpture. The cad.

Joffrey

As well as being a psychotic spoilt brat (I’m sensing a theme here – parenting skills must be pretty dire in Westeros) Joffrey boasted: lack of empathy, sadism and an arrogant entitlement, which sever to render him the most slappable resident of King’s Landing – which explains why not only did our beloved imp sock it to his royal highness once, but twice. On behalf of each an everyone of us, I thank you sir.

Shae

Oh Tyrion. You are afraid your despotic daddy will kill me ? Just because he is all powerful and has said repeatedly that he will? Don’t worry my lion, I will kill them all through sheer wishful thinking and my collection of floaty dresses. And if he does come for us? I will willfully misunderstand your attempts to save my life and sleep with your beloved papa. Because that’s how Shae rolls.

 

Stannis

I applaud the man’s appreciation of grammar, but COME ON. You have Davos on one hand, and a red witch on the other. It’s pretty obvious who you should be listening to. But no. You burn your own daughter alive on the advice of a lady in red .Not exactly majestic behaviour my liege, and your sorry end could have been avoided had you applied your not inconsiderable intelligence to matters of life and death instead of semantics. Just a suggestion

The Sand Snakes

I am including Ellaria in this, because lets face it with their lack of characterisation in the series they are all pretty interchangable. in the books these women are enigmatic ninjas. In the show they are foolish b-movie porno wannabes. Thank the lord Olenna showed up to get them in line. Oh and killing Oberyn’s brother because he didn’t wanted to slaughter an innocent girl? Waaaaaay too far guys. Not cool.

Game of Thrones game of thrones hbo ellaria sand indira varma GIF

Olly

What the hell Olly?! Your family is killed so you turn on the man who took you in and tried to make peace in the land? No child was ever so hated. By the old gods and the new, your ending was deserved.

Loras Tyrell

Apparently all the Tyrell brains go to the women of the clan. Margaery becomes Queen and warns brother to be more subtle in his illicit trysts but no, he plays right into Cersei’s hands. Without his weapons the captive knight of the flowers is merely a wilted rose for Margaery to tiredly rescue from the Sparrow’s clutches even as she too is in the talons of the faith militant due to his failure to heed her warnings. Not the brightest torch in the castle then.

The Waif

What in seven hells is her problem? From the very first she marks Arya as a target, waxing lyrical on how a girl is not up to the challenge. Then she giddily rushes off to assassinate her rival, whom she had been PROMISED she could kill, meaning she has asked in advance for this extra special treat? A girl is not amused.


Tommen

The boy’s lack of spine is infuriating. He won’t stand up to anyone. Not even a crown upon his his little head gives him the power to rescue his beloved wife, or to stand up to his own mother, or even to stand up FOR his mother after mr faith militant himself parades her naked through the streets! As a king the boy wonder is dead flop (pun intended – too soon?). Margaery has more gumption in her little finger.

Bran

Hold the door

Hold it yourself you disobedient entitled lordling *sob*

Technically a hero of the piece, so this choice is perhaps controversial, but hear me out. If he hadn’t climbed the wall against his mum’s wishes he wouldn’t have fallen. If he hadn’t sent Rickon away he might have lived. If he hadn’t disobeyed the three eyed raven then his most loyal protectors, Summer and Hodor, would still be growling and Hodoring respectively.  In fact Hodor would have retained all his marbles and still be named Willis. FOR SHAME BRAN.


Here ends the official record of ye moste irritating inhabitants of yonder seven kingdoms.

Valar Morghulis. All men must die, but some deserve their fate more than others.

5 REASONS WHY BIG LITTLE LIES WAS UNMISSABLE

I did not expect to like this show, let alone to be so gripped by it that come the finale I was glued to my screen clutching a glass of red with my nails bitten to the quick.  I was prejudiced by the ‘Girly’ (how I hate that word) book covers, and assumed the show would be sugary sweet and a tad sickening.

Boy was I wrong.

Here are 5 reasons why the show was, in fact, hide-behind-the-sofa scream-at-the-screen incredible:

1 The focus on female friendships

The women are the storytellers here, and the narratives are revealed by them, as and when they choose. Why do Celeste and Madeline so readily embrace Jane into their elite friendship group? Simply because Jane stopped her car upon seeing another woman in difficulty. A chance encounter is the start of their friendship, and the instrinsic feeling we have sometimes upon meeting a fellow human being that this is person is a friend. It can’t be explained, and no one tries to here. Madeline decides that Jane=friend and embraces her whole-heartedly, defending her from the wolves at the school gates. The dissection of the day over coffee (or something stronger) may seem self indulgent to the outside world, but in fact it is a strong coping mechanism. A problem shared becoming less of a problem, and more of a plan. The friendships here are gutsy and devoted – think less Gilmore Girls and more amazons armed with sharp tongues and chardonnay. And the odd gun.

2. The music

The moment I knew for sure that this was something truly special was when the credits of the first episode rolled and a PJ Harvey track blasted out of my speakers. Music sets the tone (quite literally) for the drama itself, and the soundtrack for this series has always been on point. It is like invisible theatrical scenery, heightening all the unsaid thoughts and feelings week by week.

3. The cast

Stars of subastance:

Nicole Kidman’s strong Celeste beaten down to the quiet fragile flower that blooms in public but cowers behind closed doors.

Resse Witherspoon’s perfectionist woman scorned determined to fight the good fight and only cry when no one can see

Shailene Woodley’s troubled secret-keeper, desperate for confidants but scared of secrets she needs to share.

A cast of superwomen. I should have known this would be something special when I saw their names on the posters . Someone give them all Emmys for crying out loud.

4. Hard-hitting issues

The problems these women share are not small . This is not a schmaltzy happy ever after small town drama.

Jane is dealing with the aftermath of a brutal rape,  and fears that her son, the product of the rape, could be guilty of the violent accusations levied at him by other mothers, because of his genetic code.

Madeline’s first love left her and her baby to fend for themselves, then 16 years later moved back to town with his young, bohemian beautiful wife (the impeccable Zoe Kravitz) and their new new child, who JUST HAPPENS to be the same age as her first child with her new husband. And yet he can’t understand why she is so upset whenever she sees him. Th past back to haunt her in human form.

Finally Celeste’s happy marriage is a lie, with domestic violence rife at the root. This is dealt with the delicately and is never over simplified. Is there love in their marriage? Sure. Does she fight back? Yes. But the extent of the physical and emotional abuse is drip-fed to the viewer until we are screaming at her to run for her life.

5. The finale

So many times you invest body and soul (and many hours of your life) into a TV series, only for the ending to be a damp predictable squib barely worthy of air time. The butler did it. It was all a dream. Or in the case of LOST: ‘we never had a plot – eat that suckers’.  So as I made myself comfortable for the series conclusion it was with a fair amount of trepidation that it would not live up to it’s own high standards of storytelling. I needn’t have worried.

*spoilers following – you have been warned*

I had guessed that one of Celeste’s cherubic twins would be for Amabella’s abuser – if a child witnesses abuse it becomes normalised so it was not far-fetched for at least one of the husband-from-hell’s progeny to emulate the behaviour so regularly displayed by his father.

I  had also predicted that Perry would prove to be Jane’s rapist. We knew from her tale that the perpetrator was a groomed professional who switched from nice as pie to psychopath next door in less than 60 seconds. Add that clue to the fact that he and Jane had NEVER BEEN IN THE SAME ROOM TOGETHER and it looked certain. I loved that this truth was never spoken aloud. Jane’s face upon meeting him again said everything the women needed to know, and it seemed fitting that it was the women that took him down en masse.

The only plot point I could not foresee before the big reveal was the identity of the murder victim.  I wanted it to be Perry – no one deserved the gruesome end more after all! But I was scared that Celeste or Jane would be in the body bag, as so many abuse victims are only free from their abusers in death. I was so relieved to be wrong on this count, and oddly satisfied that Bonnie gave the final push. Defending the women that scorned her for her husband’s actions showed her goodness and worthiness more than any dinner party ever could. When push came to shove she was one of them.

Even though I guessed 2 out of the 3 big reveals, I was left satisfied rather than disappointed. I had not guessed the answers because they were spelled out, but because they made sense. This was not a dumbed-down ending, but a finale for which the foundations had already been  laid, as far back as episode one.

The show may be called ‘Big Little Lies’ but at it’s heart it was about stone cold truths, and the friendships that allow them to be revealed.

 

 

 

 

 

AFTER BROADCHURCH…

To say I have enjoyed this series would feel wrong. The aftermath and investigation of a brutal rape is never enjoyable to witness. However this series has gripped me where the last left me cold.

Hardy and Miller dealt would the rape case with both passion and compassion, whilst shutting down the inevitable nay sayers:

‘But she is sexually active’ ‘’But she had sex already that day’ ‘But she was drunk’ ‘But she’s not that pretty’ ‘But she can’t remember’ ‘But she could be lying’ ‘But she’s not very nice’.

Is it any wonder that so many women do not report rape, for fear that the investigation and trial will be just as de-humanising and traumatising as the assault itself.

Broadchurch dealt with the case cleverly – not showing the actual attack, but examining the aftermath under a microscope. The victim wasn’t our idea of the ‘perfect victim’ – a term is as grotesque as it is ignorant. She wasn’t a virginal 18-year-old with model looks, in jeans not anything revealing, who abstained from alcohol and maintained a Polyanna disposition at all times. The ‘perfect victim’ does not exist. Real victims do , and that Trish was flawed (i.e. human) made the story much more powerful.

Sure she had been drinking, she was having sex with her friend’s husband, she was an older woman, she had had sex earlier that day, she couldn’t remember all of the attack. She is still rape victim.

As Coleman tells a sceptical officer: ‘when you’ve completed your sexual offences training, Katie, you’ll understand that we always start from a position of believing the victim’

Coleman and Tennant (as Hardy and Miller) maintain the chemistry that lies the beating heart of the brutality – the lighter bubbles in the dark seas of Broadchurch. I particularly enjoyed Miller’s stunned exasperation when Hardy exclaims: “I’ve been too nice to people, Miller, it does no good”.

However the finale wasn’t perfect for me.

The skin-crawling toe-curling rapist who groomed the perpetrator gave a speech to boil the blood of the coldest heart, but a speech that felt a little too contrived for my tastes.

His villainy was so calculated as he stated rather than confessed his crimes. He would likely have been diagnosed a sociopath before trial, the lack of human feeling he exhibited as Miller hissed and spat that the bodies of his victims DID NOT BELONG TO HIM.

After a series which examined the investigation and aftermath of sexual assault so thoroughly, such a two-dimensional villain felt a little disappointing.

Rapists are not all disney villains, or we could spot them a mile off. They hide in plain sight. Some have warped ideas about consent, others long for power (which was hinted at here but not properly unpacked).

It would be easier to believe all rapists were sociopaths. But the world is darker than that.

However, in spite of this single criticism, I feel Broadchurch ended on a high.

Perhaps not a perfect finale, but a fitting conclusion to a narrative and performative triumph.

And no, of course they couldn’t go to the pub!

WHY WE NEED MORE GIRLS IN TV GALAXIES

Everyone was telling me I would love it. It seemed to come up in conversation, and people couldn’t believe that I hadn’t added it to my science fiction binge list already.

So finally I caved, like the weak-willed TV addict I am, and decided to give ‘The Expanse’ a go.

On paper it looked like the perfect show for me: intellectually stimulating sci-fi, heavy on the politics and less concerned with prosthetics-based aliens. IMDB describes it as sci-fi meets detective novel meets conspiracy drama.

I managed two episodes.

Surprised? So was I. But while intellectually and visually stimulating, this futuristic show was incredibly backward in one very important way: women.

In the very first episode it becomes clear both the main characters are male, which I have no issue with. Some main characters are men, some are women, that isn’t the issue. My problem is not with the gender of the protagonists, but with the scarcity of women in the show, and how the few that are present are depicted.

Of the two (yes count them, TWO) female characters we  meet , one is merely a sexual partner for our wayward hero (and is unlikely to be making further appearances in the series based on the narrative) and one is the tough-cookie chief engineer (so far, so Voyager) who wastes little time before criticising her sole fellow female crew-mate. Pretty sure this soundly fails the Bechdel test.

Now things might improve in the following episodes – maybe the female villain we glimpse on occasion will become of greater importance, and maybe the beautiful errant daughter we have not met yet will be more than just arm candy for the heroes of the tale, but the point is by the end of episode 2 I didn’t care. I was already alienated (pardon the pun).

I had thought we were past this – with shows like Buffy, Firefly, Dollhouse (anything by Joss Whedon) evening the gender divide in science fiction, and fantasy shows expanding the female reach in lands unknown. But maybe we haven’t come as far as I had thought.

When I was a mini geek girl glued to every Star Trek franchise going I had very few heroines to choose from, and allied myself with every Deanna Troi or Jadzia Dax going, eager to follow the narratives of people like me, to see my own gender included, even if only in a small way. The Expanse gave me that same desperate feeling.

Now there is no problem in having all-male shows, don’t get me wrong. But science fiction has been male-centric since its inception, and I don’t think it is asking too much to include women in the vastness of the space they inhabit. Think of the stories that could be told if women were more than pawns, sex toys or 2D villains.

But for now at least, it seems for every Buffy the Vampire Slayer, their is still a girl getting bitten. For every Cersei Lannister, there is still a Deanna Troi, sipping hot chocolate and begging to be called upon.

Maybe, next time the apocalypse comes, take a leaf out of Whedon’s book, and beep HER instead of HIM.

 

8 REASONS TO LOVE STRANGER THINGS

I’m late to the party on this one, but my belated joy is so great having binge-watched that I am compelled to share my brand-new fan-girl obsession.

Opening credits
A tardis ride back to the sounds and aesthetics of old-school video games. Geek nirvana.

Timewarp
Somehow this sci-fi horror hybrid is made 100 times more immersive and believable by being set in the 80s. Perhaps because they can’t look up a demigorgan on wikipedia yet. Perhaps because they have to use landlines. Things were scarier before DVDs people!

Eleven
The most powerful character is a pre-teen girl with cravings for junk food, a shaved head and a telekinetic power . She is what the Spice Girls were singing about  way back in the 1990s. Who wouldn’t suffer nose-bleeds in payment for super psychic strength?  Though we could all do without the bad people, those rotten mouth-breathers huh?

Monster
The demigorgan – or whatever it prefers to be known as (it just growls assume it doesn’t mind) is legitimately terrifying. It is reminiscent of the alien from…well…Alien. It is satisfyingly other in its aesthetic, but recognisable as a monster nonetheless

Wino Forever
Winona Ryder – from Heathers to Scanner Darkly I have always been a fan. It is a delight to see her revived as the grieving yet hopeful mother who harnesses power in her desperation.

Funny Peculiar
In spite of being hide-behind-the-sofa-worthy it also manages to be truly funny – mainly through the character of Dustin, who has ALL the best geek powered one liners:

Dustin: ‘You always say we should never stop being curious, to always open any curiosity door we find.’
Mr. Clarke: ‘Dustin…’
Dustin: ‘Why are you keeping this curiosity door locked?!’

Shades of Grey (Not 50)
Stranger Things is bold in that it allows it’s characters to be both bad and good. Sure there are downright villains – the demigorgan and Eleven’s skin-crawling ‘papa’, but Steve is both a misogynist teenage idiot and a chivalrous atoning hero depending on your current episode. Similarly Lucas is pretty rubbish in the friend-stakes on occasion, but pulls through when it counts.

The End
No spoilers here, but it is suitably satisfying without tying the narrative into an overly-neat bow. Questions are both answered and left open – Season 2 anyone?

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUFFY – SLAYING VAMPIRES AND THE PATRIARCHY SINCE 1997

20 years ago this week Buffy The Vampire Slayer aired for the first time, and for many of geeky girls like me life would never be the same. For once a girl who could both save herself, and struck fear into the hearts of the enemy

 

And to be this fearsome slayer did she have to give up her femininity and masculine-it-up? No she did not

She is unashamedly super girly AND stake-wielding. AND she doesn’t feel the need to sign up to the stereotypical roles women have have been expected to perform in the past – she is far more in vampire-filled crypts than in the kitchen.

 

She slays demons, social norms and society’s expectations. She also gives damn good advice to fellow members of the sisterhood:

In celebration of Buffy’s twentieth birthday (rather than sitting around and remembering how old I now feel) I have collected a compilation of the chosen one’s best zingers – because sometimes vampires, the patriarchy, and the world in general need a lesson from the Buffy Summers School of Etiquette.

1.”I may be dead, but I’m still pretty. Which is more than I can say for you”

2.”Your mouth is open, sound is coming from it, this is never good”

3.”Let me answer that question with a head-butt”

4.”I see one more display of testosterone-poisoning, and I will personally put you both in the hospital”

5.”The only chance you had with me was when I was unconcious”

6.”You’re THAT amped about hell? Go there!”

7.”But what else could I expect from a bunch of low-rent, no-account hoodlums like you? Hoodlums, yes, I mean you and your friends, your whole sex. Throw ’em in the sea for all I care. Throw ’em in and wait for the bubbles. Men, with your groping and spitting. All groin, no brain. Three billion of ya’ passin’ around the same worn out urge. Men… with your sales.”

8.”I’ve had a lot of people talking at me the last few days. Everyone just lining up to tell me how unimportant I am. And I’ve finally figured out why. Power. I have it. They don’t. This bothers them”

Happy Birthday Buffy.

THE CASE OF THE DISAPPOINTING SHERLOCK

Oh Sherlock, how the mighty have fallen.

When it blew onto our screens one winter long ago back in 2010 it was a breath of fresh air. In an age of reality shows it was pure intellectual escapism.

Back then, in that no-so-distant past, Benedict Cumberbatch was merely an unknown actor with a rather unusual name. Martin Freeman was ‘that-guy-off-‘The Office’.

Now they have risen to super-stardom on the back of Holmes’s coattails. Freeman is better known as the bumbling Bilbo Baggins, and Cumberbatch is never off our screens – silver or small.

What made the show (and thus its actors) critically acclaimed, was its writing. The mysteries, lifted straight from Conan Doyle’s masterful works and transported to modern day London were like a drug to the viewer – we were drip-fed clues and hints, both as to the character of the Baker Street men, but also, more importantly, to the solutions of their cases. Our glimpses inside the brain of Sherlock Holmes were beautiful excursions into a superior mind, and whenever the oh-too-brief series ended we mourned to be back once more in our banal reality

Yet this season left me feeling, not cold, but disappointed. Certainly there were good moments; the take-down of the media despot, Molly’s near miss with death, and of course, any moment Mrs Hudson was on screen.

Yet the show, which made it’s actors household names, appears to have suffered from their star-status, and, dare I say it, from it’s own success.

Holmes and Watson, men of mystery, with intriguing pasts we may but glimpse as they scour the streets of London for the criminal underworld, have lost their sheen of secrecy.

What was a show about criminal intrigue is now about the Holmes/Watson Bromance. The show has become, in a sense, conceited, refusing to step away from the looking glass and examine the crimes outside 221b because the leading men are too damn fascinating.

Even Moriarty’s reappearance couldn’t bring life to the love-in.Miss me? He asks. Of course we miss him, but not so much we want him shoe-horned in from the dead with no reason apart from being Sherlock’s sister’s Christmas gift.

Episode 1 was all about the end of Watson’s marriage and the destruction of the bromance

Episode 2 was Watson’s dead wife instructing them on how to get back together

Episode 3 was a trip along the Holmes family tree, tied tp in a neat little bow by the newly dead Mary, who reminds us yet again who these great men are.

What happened to the crime? The puzzles? The clues?

Why did Mary have to reappear to sum everything up like we were all imbeciles?

Why didn’t we get to see more of Molly and Mrs Hudson (the best 2 characters)?

Why, if the game is truly afoot, do we never see it played?

Holmes has gone from scientist to subject, beneath his own microscope. It is far from the worst thing on TV, but it is no longer the best. Step away from the mirror and turn to the window Sherlock – it’s elementary my dear.

48 THOUGHTS I HAD DURING THE NASHVILLE SEASON 4 FINALE

  1. So its finally. here. The finale. Will Maddie see the light? Will Juliette bring her marriage back from the dead? And, most importantly, will Gunner ever deserve the wonder that is Scarlett?
  2. The answer to that final question is ‘Probarbly not’, but lets watch anyway.
  3. I hate seeing Deacon and Rayna on the ropes. It makes the universe seem wonky.
  4. What is Cash’s deal? What is she getting out of her destruction of Rayna’s family?
  5. I’m liking the newly Gryffindor-ed Will. Brave looks good on him. Some fights are worth fighting
  6. Layla is such a sad character. if she loves Avery she is gonna lose. If she doesn’t she has already lost.
  7. Is Deacon Instagram-stalking his own daughter? Dedication to the cause, right there.
  8. Juliette wanting to wear her pjs to her Oscar’s party is ALL OF US.
  9. Layla leaked the story?! There is justice, then there is revenge.
  10. So Autumn thinks Scarlett is ‘Playing a head game’ does she? Well someone certainly is…
  11. Ooooooh Will’s ex is back. And he’s single. Reunion?
  12. ‘ I always thought y’all were pretty great together’ me too Luke. Me too.
  13. As the true story of Jeff’s death breaks: ’How did they find out. And why now.’ Good question Glenn. Good question.
  14. ‘I can’t be anywhere near her if this is true’ WOW. Ok, lying Layla just lost my sympathy.
  15. Rayna is such a fierce mother -‘and you’re ok with that?!’ WELL DONE. Just because it happens, doesn’t mean we have to accept it.
  16. ‘She won’t give us any kind of platform…luckily we found one of our own’ WELL SAID SIR
  17. The exes as ex exes? Surely not (if only because it is really hard to understand grammatically)
  18. Layla’s web of deceit is unraveling. Juliette was a horror with a heart of gold. Layla is a sugary case with a bitter pill inside.
  19. Oh Maddie. Talent doesn’t make you wise
  20. Avery to Layla: ’This whole nightmare she’s wrapped up in…it was you, wasn’t it’ Ding ding ding jackpot.
  21. She was a victim, then she became a predator. That was when she lost: one doesn’t fix the other.
  22. I think Scarlett’s manager has become her therapist
  23. The one time a teenager doesn’t check her phone huh Rayna? Sod’s law
  24. And it’s finally time for Will to face his demons
  25. ‘you’re scared aren’t you’ oooo nice shot cowboy. Put the face to the cause.
  26. Give that man a standing ovation
  27. ‘I’m a horrible person, and these people worship me, because they don’t know that’ No Juliette, you used you act horrible because you were broken. Atoning is good, self loathing is not.
  28. Scarlett when Gunner is a jerk for the thousandth time: ’No – you listen’ the wallflower fights back.
  29. Nothing more powerful than opening your heart.
  30. Daphne is a very underrated character
  31. Seriously: her voice is pure old school country. An old soul looking like the littlest girl
  32. And now Juliette is baring her soul. All of the feelings. I am so proud of her.
  33. No no no Maddie DEACON SAVE HER
  34. ‘It’s your choice’ – why Deacon I do believe you said the three magic words
  35. Though it is sad the only way they felt they thought Maddie would come home was the threat of sexual assault. Still…
  36. FULL ON CRYING AT RAYNA’S FAMILY REUNION
  37. I. Can’t. Cope.
  38. Musically the Ex’s are far and away my highlight. Their chemistry and talent is undeniable.
  39. AND NOW GUNNER & SCARLETT
  40. Quite a kiss – take that Autumn Chase.
  41. This episode is an emotional rollercoaster
  42. What
  43. No
  44. No no no
  45. Juliette can’t die?
  46. AND THAT’S HOW YOU END THE SERIES?
  47. WHAT THE HELL NASHVILLE
  48. *Cries into plaid shirts, whisky and guitars*