Erin Rewatches: Enterprise s4, plus wrap-up thoughts April 19, 2017Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
Tags: Star Trek: Enterprise, T'Pol
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Had very little to say about most of this season. But it did have four really good episodes, so there’s that! And there’s a full How Much Of The Show To Watch guide at the end of the post.
I might post a T’Pol Appreciation Watching Guide later. With screencaps.
Erin Watches: Enterprise season 3 April 15, 2017Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
Tags: Star Trek: Enterprise, T'Pol
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Still watching, still liveblogging.
As of this posting I’m a little way into s4, and it has some eps I’d recommend, but part of my prediction was right: you could reasonably skip this entire season, minus “Twilight.”
Erin Watches: Star Trek Enterprise, season 2 April 2, 2017Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
Tags: Star Trek: Enterprise, T'Pol, T'Pol/Archer
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Second verse, same as the first! Which means lots of good episodes, some fun aliens and wibbly space things, a running theme of the writers being extremely straight dudes, T’Pol being consistently amazing, and the T’Pol-Archer friendship getting ever stronger via the magic of good writing and character development.
The first episode concludes with Archer showing up in T’Pol’s quarters, to thank her for defending them to the Vulcan High Command. They’re BOTH in pajamas. Not even in a sexual-tension way, just a “we have such a level of mutual comfort and respect that we can have a chat in our jammies without any self-consicousness about our professional relationship” way.
Erin Listens: the Magic Tavern and other podcasts March 28, 2017Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
Tags: Dan Savage, Hello From The Magic Tavern, ILLUSIONOID, Kakos Industries, Sailor Moon, The West Wing, Welcome to Night Vale
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Hello From The Magic Tavern just got so intense. There was an epic battle in episode 100…then a bunch of interludes, including one from the Cowboy Dimension that had me dying of muffled laughter at work…and now it’s officially designated Season 2, and, yowza.
If you’re not already listening (and if you’re not allergic to shows with a whole lot of butt jokes), you should start.
Deep into the backlog of Love and Justice. It’s kind of…uplifting?…to hear about how much they love Crystal. Like, I can listen to them gush about the things that were emotionally affecting, and don’t have to see the actual animation, so I can imagine they’re podcasting from an alternate dimension where it didn’t make me sad.
They’re too hard on the ’92 anime — by which I mean, they complain about things it objectively can’t help. Of course the first season doesn’t have much sense of “shared past” between the senshi and the Dark Kingdom. The animators didn’t know about it! Naoko hadn’t written it yet!
On the other hand, I regularly feel like Sailor Business (which I’m all caught up with now) is too easy on the ’92 anime. So it kinda balances out nicely.
I’m listening to both of those at 1.2x speed, because the hosts tend to meander. Same with Yo, Is This Racist? — it’s just too slow otherwise.
…also, it talks a lot about the awfulness of current politics. I kinda have to psych myself up before listening. And/or say something like “once I get through one of these, I’ll reward myself with the next Magic Tavern episode.”
More-polished and better-edited regulars on my MP3 player: the Savage Lovecast, and The West Wing Weekly. Those get played at regular speed. Both make references to the political awfulness — it’s an inherent side effect of their premises — but in measured and relatively-contained doses.
Still listening to Illusionoid, and Kakos Industries, although I stopped saving the episodes afterward. Neither one is so absorbing that I’d want to do a re-listen.
…in fact, the only series on this list where I’m holding onto the episodes is Magic Tavern. Did a re-listen just a few months ago, in preparation for Yuletide fic. It’s highly re-listenable.
Related, a couple anons on FFA were talking about Republic of Heaven Community Radio, and one mentioned the weaknesses in book 2. I stepped in with this:
Honestly, I’d go back and give it a full-body rewrite if canon hadn’t been such a painful kick in the teeth.
I can see the soft spots, can feel when the pacing sputters, I know there are ways it could have more consistency and stronger throughlines. I just…don’t have the stomach to go near it.
That’s not an empty promise — anyone who knew me from fake-news fandom might remember that I did a full-body rewrite on a longfic there. But, yeah. Not in the cards, not this time.
Erin Rewatches: Star Trek: Enterprise (season 1) March 22, 2017Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
Tags: Star Trek: Enterprise, T'Pol, T'Pol/Archer
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I’m rewatching Enterprise for the first time since its original run. Have some liveblogged reactions.
T’Pol was my first One True Character — followed very shortly by Integra Hellsing, who I discovered about a year later — and T’Pol/Archer may have been the first ship I had serious Feelings about. (There are other pairings, like Dorothy/Ozma or anything in Sailor Moon, where I was already familiar with the characters by then, but didn’t start actively shipping them until later.) So this is a pretty big milestone in Personal Fandom History.
(Content note: talks about the canon mindrape, and other sexual skeeviness.)
Erin Watches: Home, Season 2, the thrilling conclusion March 3, 2017Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
Tags: Dreamworks Home, sex & gender
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Wow, the back half of this season is loaded with gender stuff.
So many references to specific Boov characters being not-male-or-female! Sharzod being a boyboygirl keeps getting referenced. A giant greenish-teal Boov we’ve seen a couple times, Traffic Cone Larry, is identified as a boyboyboyboy. Krunkle’s gender still isn’t specified, but when they reappear in 10B, Tip congratulates them with “You go, girl!” — and then remembers, and self-corrects: “Or whatever gender you are.”
Episode 9A is Sharzod-centric. Pronouns (in Boov-to-English translation) confirmed as “himhimher.” (When the writers remember, at least. In 10A, Kyle use both “heheshe” and “she” two minutes apart.)
…btw, Larry thinks Tip’s pronouns are “it.” Although that was a Boov-only conversation, meaning he could’ve been using a Boov pronoun for Things Without Genders. I bet there are a lot of traditional Boov who think only magnificent genders “count.”
The Seven Magnificent Boov Genders appear to be a septinary system, so I dither about how to frame all this in human terms. Trans readers, what would you go with? All these are technically canon nonbinary characters, but not necessarily trans characters, because it’s easy for Boov to be nonbinary-cis.
Still! Just going by what’s confirmed so far, it’s cool.
And Krunkle’s ambiguity leaves the door open for them to be non-septinary trans, which, uh, might be my new headcanon. (Oh did say Krunkle’s gender is “the rarest”….)
Sidebar: Sharzod has been gendering Tip as a boy (did we know this already?), not like an insult or anything, but like a sincere belief. The joke plays as Wacky Misunderstanding via Clashing Cultural Gender Norms…until Sharzod makes a statue of Tip (for important plot reasons) and the statue is not “Tip’s normal appearance, which Sharzod perceives as male.” It’s “Rule 63 Tip.” It was sculpted with masculine-by-human-standards features that the actual Tip does not have.
The Doylist explanation is that the writers were poking fun at Tip not performing her gender to Earth-US-human standards, and didn’t consider that this makes no sense coming from a septinary-gendered alien. I…may have to write a fixit for that.
And finally: episode 8A opens with a game, where Oh is playing a human woman (we know “human” because of the balloons stuffed in his dress) and Tip is playing as a Boov gender (“I bet you say that to all the boyboygirls”).
It’s not something the show is likely to go anywhere with, but I could get kinda attached to a nonbinary!Tip headcanon. I’ve talked before about wanting fic that explores how the human trans community interacts with the seven magnificent Boov genders…wasn’t thinking of Tip specifically coming to identify with one of them, but now? Bring on the boyboygirl!Tip.
In non-gender observations….
There’s a “we bought a pet without reading the fine print, and it turned into Little Shop of Horrors” storyline in 8B. It’s executed really well for something so tropey…but one of the tropes it invokes is a Mysterious Old Blind Chinese Salesman stereotype. No, show! Bad! They’re aliens, you don’t have to racialize them at all, and you definitely don’t have to do it for things like this.
Two separate incidents of humans crashing their cars, nearly injuring Boov, because they were watching cat videos on their phones. Is that a thing now?
Along with the episodes that focus on Sharzod and Krunkle, there’s a Kyle-centric film-noir parody, and a Smek-centric quest for friendship in which he gets a whole song. Solid material for fans of everyone in the beta cast.
Episode 13A reveals that the Boov have invented hammerspace. Tip runs around stuffing random things into Oh’s “cloud storage,” starting with the junk in her room and escalating all the way to a shuttered building.
It’s all very Homura. (Until she breaks hammmerspace, anyway.) Who wants to write me that crossover?
Disappointed in 13B. The theme is one we’ve seen before — Oh going through some alien life change (meeting “the one”, getting the flu, etc) that threatens to displace his friendship with Tip — so obviously at the end of the episode it turns out nothing changed. Not that you can’t repeat themes, and a fresh twist on this one would’ve been a worthy season finale…but instead Oh is going through “booverty,” and they blow the whole thing on icky puberty jokes.
Overall: happy with season 2! Would mostly rewatch. Especially the one with DieAnne.
Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh s2 is out! February 11, 2017Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
Tags: Dreamworks Home
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I’m torn between wanting to binge the whole season overnight, and wanting to savor it one episode at a time. At this point I’m halfway through.
The good: References to book continuity. References to season 1. DieAnne is back! The Tip-Oh friendship is strong as ever, shattering some egregious tropes along the way. Lots of good lines, and the occasional bursting into song.
The bad: Some wince-worthy gender politics. Lots of bodily-function jokes. I can’t tell if there have been more in general this season, or if I just blanked the last round from memory. In specific, all of episode s04B is an extended fart joke. Was that necessary, show?
Any reference to the seven glorious Boov genders is catnip to me, and episode 01A gets right to it: Boy Boy Girl Band, featuring a singer named Boy Boy George.
“Their Boov hearts are breaking from disappointment!” “That’s a THING?!” “Yes! It totally is.”
In other noncishetero news, Oh gets a crush on a human boy in 02A (in the process of trying to flirt on Tip’s behalf). The boy doesn’t return it, and is pretty weirded out, but it feels like that’s because Oh is an alien — there’s no reference to gender being the weird part. I mean, very likely they kept it vague for the sake of plausible deniability, but. The lack of no-homo’ing is nice.
Oh’s impression of Tip with a crush: “I am going through human puberty emotions!”
When it turns out the boy only likes Tip because she’s cute, she gets a great outburst: “Cute is an accident! Personality is hard!”
I think the animators have gotten bored with drawing the standard Boov shape all the time. They’re going really wild with exaggerated body shapes, nostricle styles, and random colors and features.
Time loop in 02B! With bonus rips in the fabric of spacetime, temporarily fixed with duct tape.
Okay, background: the original novel has a sequel, in which Tip sneaks off to visit the Boov colony on a moon of Jupiter, and Oh struggles to invent a time machine which can retcon all his mistakes from the Gorg invasion. Here, there’s a time machine, but it doesn’t reference anything else in the books — Oh whips it up overnight when Tip has a bad day.
Lovely continuity with s1 in 03A. PomPom the pageant contestant reappears, as does the magnificent DieAnne from the Angerdome, with more muscles than ever. Tip becomes DieAnne’s peace mentor! It’s a tough job! DieAnne still tries to solve everything with punching! This is 100% going to be Jasper in a few seasons of Steven Universe, you watch.
Bodyswapping in 03B, with an impressively solid plot reason why it takes ages for people to notice that a cat brain is in Tip’s body. And then it plunges into horrifying chimera territory when the cat starts talking. Not okay!
More book-references in 05B, which features a group of Boov-hating preteen boys. Softened from the original, though. Instead of being an angry resistance in an underground hideout because the Boov invaded their planet and kidnapped their families, this is far post-invasion, and they’re mad because a Boov broke one kid’s bike.
Okay, you know the trope where a villain tries to sabotage a friendship by telling the people lies about each other, and it drives a wedge between them for long-term angst, even though the whole plan would fall apart if the friends just had a five-minute conversation about what was going on?
The boys try that on Tip and Oh. And it fails miserably, because they always talk to each other, and sort out the problem within like thirty seconds. This is great.
“Slushious is kind. She would never use baby ducks for evil!”
Slushious gets an AI voice in 07B. Cool! …It’s a female voice, and it exists for the sake of a plot about her becoming murderously jealous of Tip’s friendship with Oh. Less cool.
So it has a couple episodes that are incredibly skippable, but the good bits are excellent, and I’m excited to binge and/or savor the rest of the season.
Erin Watches: Sailor Moon Original Flavor January 14, 2017Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
Tags: Sailor Moon
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As promised, I gave Sailor Moon Crystal s3 a chance.
…and then ended up bailing again after 5 or 6 episodes.
The new stock footage was mostly good, but, guys, they used it in the opening sequence. They couldn’t even be bothered to draw enough original high-quality footage to make a theme song!
Which gives you an idea of how deep the laziness runs in the rest of the show. So much claustrophobic cropping and other cheats, instead of drawing establishing shots, or scenery at different perspectives, or any motion as complicated as “picking something up” or “swinging a sword”. It’s painful.
In related news, I hadn’t watched any of the original series in years, but the first two seasons of the new Viz dub are up for free on Yahoo. So I’m checking out selective episodes. Starting with the ones that DiC never dubbed (because, uh, I had not actually gotten around to seeing those at any other point in the past ~20 years).
The animation is wonky and cheap in its own way — lots of exaggerated comedy faces, simplified motion (waving a pencil up and down on a piece of paper = writing!), fading from one scene to another instead of animating the transition, general sloppiness. But the direction is light-years better. It’s so refreshing.
Take the ski-contest episode (season 1, episode 38). They use shortcuts, like panning over a still image to set a scene, or having the same roll of background whip past while a character is skiing in a straight line.
On the other hand: Lots of establishing shots and different angles on the scenery! The characters move like they have human muscles! Hair and clothes blow realistically in the wind! Crowd scenes are populated with extras! Someone bothered to design outfits, instead of only ever drawing the characters in their school uniforms! Luna moves as if the artists have seen a cat at some point in their lives!
Usagi transforms while she’s in winter clothes, and obviously her stock henshin footage starts with an ungloved hand, so they show her yanking off her ski glove first. It’s such a little gesture, but they thought it was worth the care and effort to draw. That’s a level of care Crystal never shows.
I thought I was gonna have trouble with the voices. Some of the actors in the original dub left such an impression that it’s hard to shake, even if you’re still mad about how messed up the translation got. Was a non-British Luna just going to sound fundamentally weird?
Guys, new Luna sounds perfect.
She sounds like Pearl from Steven Universe, to the point where I looked up the actor and was surprised it wasn’t the same person. Apparently there’s a really good way to sound like a fussy, by-the-book mentor who doles out ancient secrets to her frustratingly flighty charges, at least until she gets caught off-guard by the details she herself is just finding out.
I’m liking the rest — of the handful of episodes I’ve watched, anyway. The girls are good, especially Makoto and Rei. Beryl is perfectly evil.
The one voice that has been weird…is Zoisite. They’re dubbing him as a guy, so obviously he’s gonna sound different, but in the Japanese he has this higher, androgynous bishounen voice, right? And the guy doing his English voice sounds unnaturally deep. Not deep like a baritone, deep like a teenage boy who’s self-conscious about his voice cracking and is overcompensating by pitching it extra low.
I’ve been working through the backlog of the Sailor Business podcast, which is episode-by-episode reviews of the original series, and a lot of fun. (Full disclosure: I listen at 1.2x speed. They talk slowly, okay.)
The hosts don’t do a lot of research, and in the beginning it’s frustrating when they go on a tangent about being baffled by something you already know. But eventually they build up enough of an audience that they’ve got a wide base for crowdsourcing explanations.
One of the guys is really into Ami/Makoto, and keeps pointing out moments when they’re notably together. Even taking the Shipper Goggles Welded On into account, it’s impressive how much quiet subtext there is when you take it scene-by-scene.
Me, I’m getting a resurgence of Rei/Usagi feelings. They’re so intense about each other! The initial bickering for bickering’s sake develops into a relationship where Rei has a ton of respect and admiration for Usagi, while Usagi trusts Rei to keep her honest, and come through with more straightforward support when she really needs it.
They just, augh, they love each other so much you guys.
So they made a Cat in the Hat Christmas special in 2012… December 9, 2016Posted by Erin Ptah in Erin Watches.
Tags: Christmas, Dr. Seuss, the gays
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…in association with this TV series, and the art is this unholy hybrid of Flash animation and Dr. Seuss’s original drawing style. It’s such a trainwreck. Especially when you compare it to something like How The Grinch Stole Christmas, which animates Seuss’ character designs with so much love and care in order to make them work.
Although I do give them points for making the reindeer look like actual caribou, not Rankin-Bass-esque white-tailed deer standing in snow.
Early in the episode, the plucky kid heroes arrive home, and one of them goes “Look! Our dads are bringing in the tree!” Smash-cut to two clean-cut men, one black & one white, carrying a giant fir.
I was briefly so excited. Casual same-sex couple in a children’s show, and not just any children’s show, but a Seuss adaptation?!
…and then the moms showed up, and eventually it sank in that these weren’t the divorced moms spending Christmas with their exes and the kids to round out the blended family, these were just two unrelated heterosexual couples, having Christmas dinner in the same house for some reason.
Which makes it all the more annoying that the Cat (voiced by Martin Short) is played with the most exaggerated, campiest, lispiest voice you could imagine.
Sigh. I’m gonna go look up shippy Cat/Grinch fanart, just to cleanse my soul.