Buffy

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.

 

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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.

FUNNY WOMEN

For a long time the world of comedy was exclusively male. If the status quo was questioned, then the party line was that “women can’t be funny”. Yeah. I know, They look pretty stupid now don’t they, with queens of comedy ruling both the silver and small screens. The celebrate this revolution I thought I would share with you my all time favourite  TV funny women, and the characters they made comedy gold.

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Tv’s Underappreciated Performances

We all remember the stars, the title roles heavy with critical acclaim and sparkly awards. Let us take a moment to appreciate the smaller roles, and the breathtaking, scene-stealing, and generally awe inspiring performances, which these smaller (but not less bright) stars provide.

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Halloween Hot List

Festive treats courtesy of the small screen- because there is more to Halloween than ‘Hocus Pocus’. Sort of.

 

Sabrina the Teenage Witch

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Did you prefer Hilda and Zelda? Was Libby really just misunderstood? How awesome was 90s fashion? Discuss.

 

Pretty Little Liars- Halloween Specials

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Hot costumes, revamped credits and the threat of yet another pretty dead body (yet somehow Emily still lives. How is that fair?). Aria’s costume game is fierce btw. Totally stealing the Gatsby look.

 

Buffy the Vampire Slayer

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Anything with Spike and Dru for the win. The creepy costume shop episode is pretty festive, or if you feel like screaming your Whedon-fanatic head off watch ‘The Gentlemen’ with the lights off *hides behind the sofa*

 

Gilmore Girls

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Ok, so it’s  not fright night material. But check out any autumnal installment and count the pumpkins on show. Seriously. Bumper crop in Stars Hollow huh? Couple that with the deadly levels of candy consumption and I think you’ll agree it’s eligible.

 

Walking Dead

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Zombies. Sorry- Walkers. Lots off them. Everywhere. Just do whatever Rick says and no-one gets hurt. Except they do. Remember Beth? Still haven’t forgiven HBO. KILL CARL WHY DON’T YOU?! Just focus on Darryl and all will be well.

 

The Strain

HODELETE HFA Cory Stoll as Ephraim Goodweather in FX's "The Strain." (Michael Gibson/Courtesy FX/MCT)

Zombie Vampires. Argus Filch/ Walder Frey (delete as appropriate) as a holocaust surviving vamp hunter. Sam Gamgee de-hobbited. ridiculous scripting and terrifying monsters. Gotta love Guillermo del Toro.

 

True Blood

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The early episodes before the whole ‘fairy’ thing blew credibility out of the water. Bill, Eric and Sookie in the sexy, gritty horror fest with deep south vamps and LOTS of blood.

 

Charmed

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Every monster possible, every outfit combo imaginable. What’s not to love about the power of three?

 

Hannibal

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S0 scary I can’t bring myself to watch it. But you may be braver than me. Or have a thing for serial killers. So thus ends the list of TV terror.

 

 

WHEN GOOD SHOWS GO BAD

We’ve all been there. You mark the calendar. You cross off the remaining days with restless anticipation. You jump for joy at it’s arrival….only to be left disappointed. This is not a break up. This is a TV trauma. Just because a TV show debuts with style and originality, does not mean it will live up to its own hype. Often the new love of your life (series wise) starts to sour- leaving you cross rather than star crossed. Here are some examples of greats that outstayed their welcomes….

 

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