Tag Archives: fan fiction

Workforce: A Good Movie Night, But a Bad Movie (That Isn’t Even Really a Movie)

3 Mar

Apparently, bourbon makes Tish and I both pretty giggly and pretty appreciative of bad movies.

Because we were livin’ the dream watching “Workforce” the other evening when we decided to drink a little whiskey and have a Janeway Movie Night (which is what we call any two-part Star Trek: Voyager).

And then I woke up the next day with a small, inconspicuous hangover and the aching feeling that what we had watched was not very good after all.

So, without further ado, here’s a review of “Workforce,” brought to you by Rebel Yell.

First a Synopsis:

The Cylons were created by man… Hold on… What?

Our show opens with Flirty!Janeway happily working on Caprica some alien planet as some kind of engineer.  We don’t know why Janeway is so flirty, nor do we know why she seems not to know she’s a starship captain.

Then Flirty!Janeway flirts with a lame alien dude (Jaffen), and EfficiencyMonitor!Seven shows up to quell the flirting–because it’s inefficient, of course–and Flirty!Janeway pulls some faces.  And they all go off to get their weekly injections that “protect against some radiation or something” (read: keep them submissive, complacent, etc.).

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I Guess I’ll Talk About This Thing Everybody’s Probably Talking About

25 Jan

I’m sneering about J.J. Abrams.

I’m sneering because he’s going to direct the next Star Wars, I guess.  I have a lot of issues with this:

Concern A:  What is the next Star Wars even going to be about?  Will new actors play the old characters?  Will the new movies follow a particular set of extended-universe novels?  Will anyone care?

Surely someone smart somewhere has said that a film is only as good as its villain.  Who’s going to be better than Darth Vader?  That is, who’s going to be better than Darth Vader was before the prequels came along and made him a complete lame ass?

I’m sure a lot of stuff could happen in the Star Wars universe, but as much as I loved those movies when I was a kid, I don’t think I care at all anymore.  Every time I think about Luke and Han and everybody, I then think about garish early 2000s CGI and wooden acting and bad dialogue taking the wind out of the sails of intrigue and grit.

Prequels that are different from the other thing don’t have to be all bad.  I’m watching Caprica right now, and while it doesn’t really satisfy me as something belonging to the same universe as Battlestar Galactica, I don’t hate it.  I actually like it as its own show, and I like the characters for who they are in their own show, and I like the idea of it.  I kind of think of it as really good fan fiction, where it’s not exactly canon, but it’s fun to think about anyway.

The Star Wars prequels aren’t that way for me.  I think of them as awful fan fiction that is actually canon, and it makes me want to strangle one of my favorite villains.  Instead of loving to hate him, I find myself hating to hate him and hating to love him, and hating to love him.  Basically all hate.

So here we are at some more sequels.  I’m hearing that it might be a reboot?  Why?  How do you get grittier than A New Hope?  Or flashier than The Phantom Menace?  Those are the two ways reboots occur, and neither of them makes any sense to the franchise.  Maybe it will be something in between gritty and flashy like Alias.  So we’ll have a bunch of fast-talking d-bags with a lot of drama at home?

Concern B:  I’m the kind of nerd who loves both Star Trek and Star Wars.  I love them both for their characters and their stories and their technobabble.  But I also love them both for their respective moods.

Star Wars–the original trilogy, of course–feels like a western, with gamblers and outlaws and wayward boys coming of age and crazy old coots in the desert and crazy old coots in the swamp and tall men in black suits trying to take away people’s land.  There’s something just raw and adventurous about the feeling of the original Star Wars trilogy.  Something familiar, but something exciting.

Star Trek feels like…well, it feels like Star Trek.  It’s got philosophy and utopian societies and fantastic technologies, but it’s also got just downright silliness.  Mirror universes with bearded Spock!  Janeway running around fighting gigantic CGI -viruses!  Data and Wesley! Star Trek is just such good-natured fun a lot of the time–exploring for exploring’s sake and being silly with the crew along the way.

And here’s where we come to my second concern:  I liked Abrams’s first Star Trek movie as a stand-alone piece in the same way that I like Caprica.  I like it as really good fan fiction.  But I don’t consider it canon because it simply does not feel like Star Trek.  It’s so heavy.  It thinks it’s weighty, and it acts weighty.  The Romulans incinerate the planet Vulcan, and Spock cries and makes out with Uhuru for comfort.  Meanwhile, in real Star Trek land, B’elanna Torres is telling someone to get the cheese to sickbay.

So I just don’t know what Abrams is going to bring to the Star Wars table.

But I can tell you what I wish he’d brought to the Star Trek table:  Mirror Universe!  Why couldn’t he have done a whole trilogy set in Star Trek’s established mirror universe?  With evil versions of all our favorite Star Trek characters?  Then he could have messed with the mood all he wanted, and it would’ve made sense!

The Outsider Who Is an Insider

4 Oct

On the flip side of the insider who is an outsider, we have the outsider who is an insider:

A character from outside the constructed world who is thrust into the world, often to effect some change, who has a varying degree of cognizance about his or her setting and role within that setting.

The character who inspired this post is Emma Swan from Once Upon a Time.  She lives in the TV version of real life, but her long-lost-put-up-for-closed-adoption son shows up one day to tell her everyone in his small town is a fairy tale character, they live under a curse enacted by his adopted mother, and Emma’s the only one who can save them.  We learn through her eyes–and apart from her eyes–that all of this is true.  She is an outsider because she does not actually know anything about the citizens of Storybrooke or their plight, but she is an insider by both birth and destiny.

“To my credit, the dude had a Chicago dog for lunch…”

For another example, take Indiana Jones.  While he is an expert in his field, he often finds himself immersed in other cultures, fighting to fix whatever the archaeological problem is.  This is especially the case in Temple of Doom, in which he is an outsider as a westerner but an insider as the one who can figure out the curse and nullify it.  He has special skills needed in the culture he finds himself in.

This character differs from the insider/outsider in both form and function.  The insider/outsider often comes off as rather surly and introspective, whereas the outsider/insider must be, out of narrative necessity, a social butterfly.  How would he or she ever learn about his or her new world without an amount of confidence, charm, and extroversion?

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