Nerd Homework: Supernatural Seasons 9 & 10

I don’t have a lot to say about these seasons. As I said when I talked about 7 and 8, the show is in such a comfy easy to watch hang out space at this point, it’s hard to talk about.

Characters come in and out, storylines intersect. Rowena is an OK big bad, but she’s a come down from Crowley at his peak and Dick Roman and Metatron.

The wonderful musical episode is in this run and I think it’s pretty perfect. From the way the girl’s act, to the weird Rushmore tributes in it, to Dean’s indignation that someone is telling his story with showtunes.

Season 9 has way too many backdoor pilots, it feels like almost every other episode. Season 10 settles in a little bit more, and frankly, I think the best thing the show’s done in it’s second half is give the boys the Men Of Letters bunker. The home base was such an injection of joy to the series, it really restarted things.

Dean’s story of grappling with the mark of Cain is the better spine of season 10 than the Rowena and Crowley stuff. And not only because the great Timothy Olmundson (and his wonderful hair and beard) plays Cain. Although it is always great to see Olmundson, and he’s able to modulate his performance to Supernatural’s particularly odd frequency, somewhere between melodrama and utter silliness. (Of the main cast, I’d say Misha Collins manages it best. Jensen Ackles right behind him.)

I’m disappointed in how Charlie came to her end, although I wish we’d gotten more time with Styne clan. The very idea of Sam and Dean fighting Frankenstein’s is wonderful and they were so quickly checked in and out.

I realized that I actually picked an auspscious year for watching this show. Between Good Omens and His Dark Materials there’s a lot of angel shit in the air and I am a big fan of that sort of thing.

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36 45 Books In 2018: #32 Needful Things By Stephen King

I hate that it took me 30 years (or really, 15, since I had the correct reading level) to get into Stephen King’s work. Now, for the past year, each time I’ve read one of his books, I’ve wanted to kick my own ass for not reading it earlier, and Needful Things was not an exception. (I don’t love it the way I love Wolves Of The Calla or The Stand, but it’s really good fun.)

The beleagured town of Castle Rock, Maine, (HEY! I KNOW THAT PLACE NOW!) has had it’s peaceful October interrupted by the opening of a new novelty shop which is run by the mysterious and charming Leland Guant. As more and more people find their way into Needful Things, the odd and violent small town grudges and battles of Castle Rock explode into terrifying violence.

The only townsperson not brought under Guant’s sway is Sheriff Alan Pangborn (HEY I KNOW HIM!) and I made a deliberate choice to read this one first, even though chronologically, it’s technically the “last Castle Rock Story,” I figure it will make reading all of the others more fun for me, as I draw connection back through it’s prism.

But I do love King’s formula, and his characters, but mostly that formula. The slow escalation of uneasiness into violence into chaos. Needful Things executes the formula beautifully, and gives us some really great characters to boot. Gaunt’s a fun villain, all calculated malice and greasy cajoling. Pangborn is a cool choice for a hero, a skeptic who’s seen to much to really be a skeptic anymore, but also you know, skeptical. (So, you know, a Scully…)

And there’s some really scary shit in this one, which just had me grinning, we’ll see how I sleep after reading it, but you know, it is what it is.

I’ve never been happier to let go of a project than when I decided to do some more King reading than continue with the epics. This should be a lot of fun for us all, it also means that I’m going be increasing my goal by another nine books. YAY!

Up next is Different Seasons, so also Stephen King,  but different because short stories and no monsters just people being shitty. (I actually already finished “Rita Hayworth And The Shawkshank Redemption.”)

Nerd Homework: Battlestar Galactica

All this has happened before, and will happen again, so say we all.

This was the third time I attempted to watch the show that everyone I know who has watched has said was incredible except for the end that we don’t talk about. (NO not that one, the other one.) Previous attempts had ended halfway through the first episode of the miniseries because I was bored, or confused or uninterested.

I don’t think I was ready for this show before. I hadn’t passed through the proper gateways of nerd-dom. I’d done Lost and Doctor Who, the Whedon-verse, but not Star Trek or Dune, both of which I think are seriously important building blocks for BSG. 

Anyway, this attempt was sparked partially by this “Nerd Homework” project and partially by, what else? This Is Rad! (seriously, I should send Kyle and Matt flowers or something.) They’re doing a series of episodes on BSG and I like to understand what they’re talking about.

Anyway, the show, which blew me away, from the minute I let myself get past that halfway mark, which, still, I gotta say, does not blow me away. (I can’t tell you, how little, even now having seen how it all plays out, I care about watching Gaius Baltar and Caprica Six hook up, or Starbuck run laps.) (Well that second one is a lie, I’d watch Starbuck do anything, but we’ll get to that.)

The first two and a half seasons are tightly plotted beautifully executed drama, the second season and a half are bonkers religious allegory masking as science fiction, which I am also deeply into in a totally different way. (As I have learned, from this and Dune and Ender…I’m going to have to give C.S. Lewis’s space trilogy another try, I guess…)

I’m obsessed with this cast and have a new ride or die ship (Adama/Roslin is 100% goals. They’re love is adult and slow and beautiful and PERFECT! Fight me!) And a new fictional love of my life.

It’s time to talk Kara Thrace y’all. It’s time to talk about frakking perfection in execution of a character. There is no longer Poe Dameron. Or Maergary Tyrell. Or Dick Grayson. Or Blair Waldorf. Or Luca Kovach. There is only Starbuck in all of her hotshot, hard drinking, authority disrespecting, foot stomping, resurrected savior glory. Katee Sackoff gives one of the most stunningly immersive and consistent performances I’ve ever seen in my twenty something years of TV watching.

And of course, as a shiptastic garbage person, I found my stupid brain trying to pair her off. And there just isn’t anyone good enough for her. She’s amazing. And certainly neither dumb good dude Lee Adama nor useless (AND ACTUALLY A CYLON!) Sam Anders are anywhere near her level of awesome.

I will be cosplaying her.

It will be glorious.

I see why people don’t like this ending, it’s a little too on the nose and clean for a show that was always a bit more opaque and grey.

I’ll return to BSG someday, and analyze it more, focus on other aspects. But I’m glad to have watched it now. Also, it’s reignited my love of “All Along The Watchtower” a family fave since childhood.

I don’t know what the next step of the project is going to be. I have The Dune Chronicles to finish, and I realized it’s been a year since I fell in deep with The Dark Tower, so I think another seminal book series might be the way to go. (Earthsea or Pern maybe, I’ve been so heavily into stuff created by dudes, something lady driven will be nice for a change.) I also might go back to Star Trek and go for Deep Space Nine, as I know that was also a Ronald D. Moore joint, and as I understand it explores some of the same themes as BSG. We shall see.  

Nerd Homework: Inuyasha

key_art_inuyasha

As an ongoing part of trying to expand my horizons and become the best fangirl I can be, I’ve committed to doing some Nerd Homework this year. Primary Objectives are: The Dune Chronicles, Star Trek and anime.

As a part of the more anime portion of this project, I watched (at Aless’s recommendation) Inuyasha, which is long and amazing.

The set up is relatively convoluted. 500 years ago in the feudal era of Japan, a priestess named Kikyo fell in love with a half-demon named Inuyasha. They apparently betrayed one another under the auspices of a sacred jewel. Kikyo died, and in her final moments, wished that noone else could access the jewel. Cut to modern times, Kikyo is reborn as Kagome, and on her fifteenth birthday, the jewel reappears and Kagome is pulled through a magical well into the feudal era, where she frees Inuyasha, and shatters the jewel and they begin a quest to find the shards of the jewel.

Umm, so yeah, that’s just the beginning, they wind up fighting another demon named Naraku, teaming up with a lecherous young monk and a badass demon slayer, Kagome gets romantically stalked by a Wolf Demon. Kikyo comes back as a lonely and really annoying sort of ghost. There’s a lot going on.

loved this show. I loved the crazy twisty romances, the childish humor, the adventure. It was very long, and it pretty much ate my life over the past two weeks as I dove into it. (At the detriment of being caught up on anything else. This is the reason I haven’t watched Jessica Jones season 2 year…) I don’t know what my next Anime adventure will be. (I’ve got some Star Trek pushing to do. I fell hard into TNG in the fall, dropped off on it, and am now making the final push through it’s last 2 seasons…) but push on I shall.

I’m open to recomendations for anime though. Keep in mind how much I loved Sailor Moon and Inuyasha, these are the things I like…