Slider_Quinn21 will not stop talking about THE ORVILLE, so I am going to watch it specifically and only because he keeps bringing it up. :-D
When you pay money to attend a school that allows and even celebrates students wearing blackface to intimidate minority students from other schools, you're going to develop that reputation.
Look, I'm inclined to think anyone who wears a MAGA hat and goes to that school is awful, Season 3 awful. But we can't determine whether or not Sandmann harassed Phillips on January 18 at the Lincoln Memorial based on headwear, academic enrollment and events that didn't take place on January 18 at the Lincoln Memorial.
Sandmann could be a racist and bully who burned down my house and stole my car and stabbed my grandmother and drank my last ginger ale, but he could be all of those things while still committing no acts of harassment on that Friday in Washington. And I actually do think Sandmann drank my last ginger ale. Someone did.
If you can contradict Informant's assertions based on the footage, please do; if not, then I don't really see what grounds you (or I) have for disagreement.
You have issues. Seriously, if this is your gut reaction to any story that you know your masters want you to disagree with, you need deprogramming. You've been trained like a lab rat to not go for the cheese.
For the record, I don't side with whoever is white. I don't care who is white. I side with a ton of black people, but they're all of the race traitors that your side is allowed to use slurs against, so they don't really count. I side with a lot of gay people, but they're all the self-hating traitors who your side is allowed to spit on. I side with a lot of strong, amazing women, but they're all the mindless little whores that your side is allowed to threaten to rape. Hell, I follow and even respect some self-professed liberals, with whom I probably agree on very little... But they're all the alt-right extremists that your side is allowed to threaten with violence, but is most certainly never EVER allowed to actually listen to.
This reaction of yours just once again proves that it never mattered what I actually said to you in any of these conversations. You just talk to the version of me that the media has told you to believe in. You're in a cult, dude. And this isn't about what you believe, it's about what you've been trained not to hear. I've never said a racist word in my life, so how did that reaction end up in your head?
Informant, I apologize. It was a reaction. It wasn't a position. "OF COURSE Informant would take the side of whoever was white, he always sides with cops when any cop shoots a black guy. Oh. Facts are on his side in this one. Oh, thank GOD I didn't weigh in or I'd never hear the end of it." (Looks like I will anyway.)
I thought it was funny to point out my immediate thought process, a process which I withheld from public consumption until afterwards. I wouldn't present my immediate reactions as actual opinions because such reactions aren't always informed or correct. I thought it was self-mocking. Instead, I have hurt your feelings. I'm sorry. I don't think you're a racist. I don't really know what I think of you, I find you something of a wildcard.
You're the guy who recognizes Bryan Singer as a sexual assaulter but doesn't see Donald Trump as the same. You said Henry Cavill couldn't play Superman because he was American; now you find Cavill's performance excellent. I'm never sure about anything with you and my mental image of you is often contradicted by actual reality.
I feel like there might be one key incident to explain you to my personal satisfaction, but I've never figured it out – your reaction to the character of God on SUPERNATURAL in "Don't Call Me Shurley." You asserted that God in this episode was merely pretending to be depressed to spur other characters to action. The episode, however, is quite clear that God is being entirely candid about his exhaustion and exasperation and subsequent episodes reinforce this.
You had a view of God; the onscreen depiction contradicted your view, so you declared God to be lying in order to match your personal framework for the character. It says something, I'm just not sure what and may spend the rest of eternity contemplating what your deal is based on this anecdote. Regardless, I certainly respect your analysis, writing and thought processes even if I often find the end results ones that I reject.
And regarding this matter in general: at the outset, my instinctive response was to think Nick Sandmann a bully based on the images, screenshots and articles. But I didn't say what I thought because I don't trust my reactions to screen captures -- not after a deeply unpleasant incident with Kari Wuhrer.
Back in 1998, before Season 4 had aired, I raged about Wuhrer's inability to hold a rifle convincingly and posted a mocking screenshot of her ineptitude on her fan site, screeching about how she clearly didn't take her profession seriously and didn't care about the show and was part of the all-out assault on SLIDERS' values, storytelling, legacy, platform and cast.
Wuhrer responded and apologized (yes, really) but noted that as an actress, she depended on the on-set weapons handler to show her how to handle guns for that scene; she couldn't simply summon that knowledge out of thin air. She also said she'd been working with the new writers on making Maggie's character more likable and would be grateful if SLIDERS fans gave her a chance to change our minds. (Actually, thinking back, her agent may have been typing all this.)
During Season 4, fans were livid over Jerry's hungover performances and screencapped frames where he looked sleepy -- except some of these supposedly dead-eyed images were sometimes taken from episodes where he was actually pretty good (that week) but blinking at an opportune moment for a mocking still.
In a former iteration of this forum, a poster who went by "breederbutter" called Cleavant "the racial hire" and a terrible actor who should never have gotten top billing and selected a Season 4 clip to indicate Cleavant's bad acting -- a clip where Cleavant's reaction to a squib for a gunfight was slightly muted. It's a selective shot that doesn't reflect Cleavant's skills at all.
And in this recent situation, we have people reading a lot into Sandmann's facial expression in a select frame that may or may not reflect the subject's inner thinking or intentions. Sandmann has posted an explanation (which I skimmed and which others have found credible with the full footage).
My opinion? I don't have one -- I shouldn't be offering any opinion until I have an hour and 46 minutes to watch the footage and I'm not sure I want that to be my job. If Informant's watched the footage in full and thinks Sandmann's personal account is reasonable and correct, then I'm going to defer to him on this one. If pilight wants to watch the footage and debunk Sandmann's account, please do, but I am getting the sense from the various mea culpas that history will be on Informant's side this time.
Sooooooo... I have not seen the footage. This is the sort of story I just don’t have the mental bandwidth to engage with right now and I have no opinion. Nevertheless, reading Informant’s post, I had two separate reactions. My first reaction was thinking that OF COURSE Informant would take the side of whoever was white. (Sorry.)
Informant would say he's siding with Facts and if he is, then he may well be right at which point my second thought was: THANK GOD I didn’t weigh in on this situation (and still haven’t) because if I’d gotten it wrong, I’d never hear the end of it from Informant.
I liked the premiere too, but I don't understand the uniforms. Is the Enterprise the only ship that is using the new uniforms? Why does Pike go back to the "old" uniform by the end?
The simplest explanation within the previous TREK shows: Starfleet rolls out new uniforms gradually as we saw with THE NEXT GENERATION where even after the TNG outfits were redesigned for Season 3, numerous crewmen and officers were still wearing the Season 1 - 2 uniforms (because the costume designers didn't have the budget to replace all the costumes immediately). This was also present in DEEP SPACE NINE where the DS9 crew met the TNG cast and the TNG cast were in still in the old uniforms. The initial implication was that the DS9 uniforms were for space station staff, but by GENERATIONS, the TNG cast had made the switch indicating that the uniforms were changed slowly. In-universe, I assume Starfleet has new uniforms come out gradually so that they can identify any problems before wider distribution/replication. And Pike accepts an older uniform because he wants to indicate that he's part of the Discovery crew while he's acting captain.
One of the Shatner novels (SPECTRE) has Spock commenting that Starfleet constantly tweaks the uniforms because regularly making little adjustments to the workplace lets employees know that their supervisors are paying attention and invested in their working environment.
Re: The Writer's Room: Thoughts on imagination and creativity (10 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)
To switch gears — one of my favourite TV shows is ALIEN SURF GIRLS, a 26 episode Australian teen drama with a captivating concept. It’s about two aliens from a distant planet, Lumina, who are discorporate beings of energy and visit Earth for a school project in secret. They’re only coming to research the Earth’s electromagnetic and gravitational properties. Adopting human form as two teenaged girls, Zoe and Kiki pass through the small coastal town of Lightning Point. They see the beach, the crashing waves and stunning horizon and athletic exhillaration of surfing and they fall completely in love with water.
ALIEN SURF GIRLS is one of the worst television shows I’ve ever seen. The title is inane. The characterization is nonsensical with the scripts confused as to whether Zoe and Kiki are similar to humans or energy beings in human-shaped shells. The plot that gets them stranded on Earth involves a dog biting the card-shaped key to their spaceship. Each week, some random piece of technology (a microwave, a radio) causes Zoe or Kiki to lose human form which is played as some massive threat when it’s at times indicated to be their natural state. There is no conflict, no drama, no rising stakes, no explanation for why the girls are desperate to get home, no consequence if they remain on Earth — it’s terrible.
But... I just really like the concept of two scientifically minded aliens visiting Earth on a disinterested mission of dispassionate study only to see water and fall head over heels in love with surfing. An idea like that deserves a better story.
Hey, Slider_Quinn21 -- since you've seen FALLOUT now -- what do you think of seeing Ethan Hunt in this movie as an image of what Quinn Mallory would be in his forties? Posts below:
Ha, I'll be honest, I didn't see it. But I feel like you see things through some really unique eyes, especially when it comes to seeing Sliders in everything.
That being said, I think if I force myself to think about it, it does have a certain truth to it. Quinn and Ethan are both leaders of a team that has operated successfully for a very long time despite very low odds of success. They're both comfortable in situations where they're clearly in over their heads, and they seem to thrive on unpredictable and dangerous situations.
I suspect that when you think of Quinn, you think of him in from ages 20 - 24: the brilliant but shy scientist of Season 1, the driven but inexperienced genius adventurer of Season 2, the unconvincing action hero of Season 3 or the emotionless weirdo of Season 4 -- whereas these days, when I think of Quinn, I think of the 45 year-old version in my fanfics and while you script-edited the last one, it's unreasonable to expect you to go to that as your default for Quinn.
But another area where I think of Quinn as sort of the dollar store version of Ethan (or rather, a more dysfunctional, far more imperfect version) -- I don't consider my Quinn (or any Quinn) the leader of the team. The Professor is the leader whereas I can't really see any version of Tom Cruise's MISSION IMPOSSIBLE where he isn't in charge (regardless of whether he answers to Anthony Hopkins or Laurence Fishburne or Alec Baldwin).
I'd like to move back on topic, but I didn't get around to seeing AQUAMAN.
Well, I enjoyed DISCOVERY's Season 2 premiere. It's curious how Season 1 was so divorced from THE ORIGINAL SERIES in production design and mythology and now they're attempting to dovetail with it. It shows a very different hand at the helm -- except it also doesn't because Gretchen Berg and Aaron Harberts hadn't been fired when this premiere was written and filmed; it was only with Episode 6 that Kurtzman was fully in control -- although he did direct this episode and may or may not have engaged in re-edits and reshoots. I'm starting to wonder if every season of DISCOVERY will start with the showrunner's departure after the first few episodes.
My God. RIVERDALE used to be about high school students in a small town. Now it's this... I don't know, horror-crime show with supernatural overtones investigating a homicidal version of DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS and... what?
I made mini hamburgers for lunch today following a White Castle-esque recipe. I actually do order mini hamburgers in restaurants sometimes so that I can hear someone's voice saying, "Sliders." I've always joked that SLIDERS should be revived with Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo running a hamburger joint that specializes in miniature burgers.
The thing that struck me was, whoever was making the decisions about Ghostbusters heard the audience, respected the audience, and adjusted the plan accordingly. Meanwhile, I've spent a lot of time recently hearing about studios/producers/directors/actors not only ignoring the fans of franchises like Star Trek and Star Wars, but insulting them or attacking them. It's so against the spirit that built these fandoms.
I'm not saying that Kurtzman doesn't have talent as a writer. I just don't think that any decision surrounding Star Trek has been a good one for a long time now. I think they need to stop what they're doing, step back, and start over, the same way Ghostbusters has. If CBS is getting super awesome numbers with Discovery (which we have no way of knowing), then I'm wrong and they should just keep going while I walk away. But if they're not seeing a big response from viewers, it's not the audience that is broken.
Well, so far they have:
(a) Fired the Season 1 showrunners of DISCOVERY.
(b) Promoted the back room producer who didn't make any of the decisions for Season 1 to run the show.
(c) Commissioned an eighth season of STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION.
(d) Rehired Patrick Stewart.
(e) Commissioned an animated STAR TREK comedy series.
(f) Cancelled STAR TREK IV(2) -- although that was Paramount, not CBS.
Anyway. I'm going to consider DISCOVERY's second season to be the first season of ALEX KURTZMAN's STAR TREK. Hopefully, it'll be the Kurtzman who wrote for FRINGE and TRANSFORMERS PRIME and not... TRANSFORMERS: REVENGE OF THE FALLEN or THE MUMMY, both of which seemed to leave him with post traumatic stress.
My machine allows me to brew 16 ounces, but I see what's going on here. Because, pre-wirecutting, the Keurig 2.0 didn't accept common refillable pods, I bought the official Keurig My K-Cup Universal Reusable Filter ( https://www.keurig.ca/accessories/my-k- … sal-filter ). This reusable pod has about twice the height of a standard coffee pod and when you insert it into the pod basket, it lowers the latch and retracts needle (which a normal-sized pod won't do). The Keurig 2.0 detects that a larger-than-normal pod has been inserted and unlocks the 16 ounce option.
I bought four of the standard size, non-Keurig brand refillable pods today and put one in. These pods aren't long enough to trigger the latch and retract the needle, so the machine detects a normal size pod and limits you to 10 ounces. However, I tried putting the official pod in but without the lid, instead dropping in the smaller pod into the larger pod casing. This unlocked the 16 ounce brew option as well.
Anyway. If you've got a magnet in there doing the same thing as the larger pod, I think you're fine. As for me -- even my largest travel mug can only hold 10 ounces of coffee with enough space left for cream.
Well, Kurtzman was the showrunner with JJ Abrams and Roberto Orci for Season 1 of FRINGE (before they ceded it to Joel Wyman and Jeff Pinkner for the rest of the series). Kurtzman wrote Season 1, Episode 19 which had an exchange in which Olivia and Peter encounter a man who claims to have information about a process of genetic alteration:
OLIVIA: "What process?"
GRAYSON: "To create super soldiers."
GRAYSON: "Yes. Like Khan Noonian Singh. To defend us in the coming war."
OLIVIA: "What war?"
PETER: "I'm sorry. Khan?"
PETER: "As in THE WRATH OF... ?"
PETER: "Let me guess. This war, it's against... "
GRAYSON: "The Romulans. Renegade Romulans from the future, here to change the timeline. The sworn enemy of the Federation.
PETER: "The Federation. That would be the United Federation of Planets."
PETER: "Hmm. And you know this because?"
GRAYSON: "I am the son of Sarek."
PETER: "Which makes you Spock."
PETER: "Well, Mr. Spock, thank you for your time. We'll let you get back to the bridge now."
GRAYSON: "Live long and prosper."
The thing about STAR TREK in its modern incarnations is that Alex Kurtzman didn't make the decisions with which you take issue. STAR TREK (2009) going back to Kirk, Spock and McCoy recast and redefined was the studio's decision with JJ Abrams. DISCOVERY being set before THE ORIGINAL SERIES was Bryan Fuller's choice. DISCOVERY dismissing the anthology format was CBS.
Kurtzman has been a producer's screenwriter who executes his marching orders such as being told to make Kirk less like Shatner's character and more like Tom Cruise in TOP GUN or to make Spock angrier -- albeit with the view that by STAR TREK BEYOND, they'd be more like their TV counterparts.
It's been that way for most of his career. Kurtzman got his start on HERCULES: THE LEGENDARY JOURNEYS where he was parachuted into Season 4 when series lead Kevin Sorbo had suffered a series of debilitating strokes and couldn't be on set for more than an hour a day. His work has often been defined by labouring within pre-existing circumstances such as writing TRANSFORMERS movies based around action and 'comedy' sequences the director had already visualized or being forced to rewrite a monster movie into a Tom Cruise action vehicle or being given Electro, Green Goblin, Rhino as well as plans for spinoffs with the Black Cat, the Chameleon, Sandman, Mysterio, the Vulture, Dr. Octopus and told to write AMAZING SPIDER-MAN II out of it.
Your nemesis J. Michael Straczynski has talked a bit about writing for hire under such circumstances. In these situations, writers like Kurtzman must accept all the notes, even the ones that contradict each other ("We want Peter to investigate his father's legacy and we want to be ready to cut those scenes!"). Writers then try to execute these instructions in as professional and responsible a manner as one can. Kurtzman and his then-writing partner Roberto Orci were appreciated in Hollywood for providing producers and directors with the material they asked for without complaint.
When left to their own devices on the TRANSFORMERS PRIME animated series, Kurtzman and Orci delivered an updated yet lovingly reverential take on the franchise that was pretty well-received and in stark contrast to their feature film work. When working on STAR TREK comic books, Kurtzman took the opportunity to do a belated NEXT GENERATION finale. JJ Abrams took the blame for INTO DARKNESS' problems, saying that he'd asked his friends to write the scenes they did and he'd misguided them.
With DISCOVERY, Kurtzman has said that he was only involved in post production. I say wait for Season 2 before you judge Kurtzman as that's the only STAR TREK in which he's been making decisions as opposed to executing someone else's. It could be another TRANSFORMERS where the feature films he scripted as a hired gun were critically lambasted while the animated series he controlled as showrunner has received near universal acclaim.
I’ve read some reports that the magnet can damage the internal carafe sensor, so I decided to hold off. I did disassemble the upper lid on the K400 and found the two wires that, if looped together, tricks the machine into thinking that a carafe is present. However, I didn’t have a wire stripper on hand.
I also don’t buy pod-packed coffee, only reusable pods, and I’ve yet to find a locally sold carafe-sized pod. The official reusable k-cup only brews 12 ounces of coffee at the most. And the only locked function in the menu that I see is for brewing carafes. Also, the Keurig 2.0 carafe is an insane $40 and buying one reusable coffee pod for $20 was already pushing it.
I think, now that the machine is unlocked, I’ll buy the four-pack of refillable coffee pods for $15 and if I need to make coffee for guests, I’ll pre-load those pods and load them in one after another.
And now, for Tech Talk with Quinn Mallory:
I adore coffee and have always been fascinated by Keurig coffee pod machines. I have, however, refused to buy one because the cost of coffee pods versus the cost of drip coffee was unworkable -- although, I confess, I ruin a LOT of coffee. Sometimes, the paper filters collapse inside the coffeemaker and the brew is filled with grounds. Sometimes, I miscalculate the water to ground coffee ratio and end up with too strong or too weak a result.
And, when wandering through my thrift store, I spotted a Keurig machine for $20 which was far more tenable than the $120 or so cost of most of these machines. So I bought it and bought some refillable pods as well (four for $15).
I got home and was horrified to discover: the reason this machine cost $20 is because it was made when Keurig tried to prevent customers from using coffee pods from manufacturers who hadn't paid Keurig a licensing fee by including a scanner that looks for infrared ink on licensed pods. The machine will refuse to begin the brewing process if the scanner detects a pod without the infrared ink made by a company that didn't want to pay Keurig licensing fees for putting hot water through ground coffee.
I grimly refunded my refillable pods and bought a single official Keurig refillable pod for an insane $20 -- if only to make sure the machine worked. It did. But this annoyed me so much that I started looking at hacks to overturn the DRM restrictions. Some hacks involved buying a licensed pod and taping the infrared inked label to the scanner lens, some involved using neon marker or neon-coloured adhesive paper and a clip.
One involved disassembling the machine, locating the cable that sent data from the scanner to the processor and cutting it to permanently bypass the DRM protocol. I felt Quinn Mallory would do the last one, so I took apart my Keurig 2.0, cut the wire and promptly lost the screws needed to reassemble it and spent some time on my hands and knees locating them on the floor.
Anyway. I guess I'll go run some descaling solution through the machine. Who knows what's been through it?
I recently re-read all the post-show BUFFY and ANGEL comics from Dark Horse and IDW. On the whole, they were quite good with some tremendous ups and a few startling lows. They offered a nice continuation in a different medium that originated from two shows that ended just fine as they were. However, they left me with the impression that Whedon doesn't give a crap about ANGEL as a series.
Any Buffyverse comic reader should start with the ANGEL comics from IDW which are set before the BUFFY comics. ANGEL: AFTER THE FALL does a great job of following up on the Season 5 ending with Los Angeles and Angel Investigations plunged into hell. It's a great situation that brings Wesley back as an unwilling liaison between Wolfram & Hart and Angel.
The LA in hell setting feels like a new status quo to the point where the inevitable reversal is a little disappointing. The first 17 issues of the ANGEL series are a great success, but what follows is a mixed bag between three different writing teams with every different dialogue styles. Joss Whedon was not supervising IDW's output and the stories are somewhat schizophrenic, although the conclusion with #44 and the YEARBOOK is actually quite satisfying. A wobbly flight that sticks the landing.
BUFFY: SEASON 8 is from Dark Horse and completely under Whedon's supervision (with multiple writers executing his direction). It starts out beautifully. The global adventures of Buffy and her army of Slayers are splendid and full of Whedon's trademark humour and darkness. However, around the 3/4 mark, when the Slayers start unleashing Indian gods and Buffy and Angel are having orbital sex and procreating new universes, the epic scale starts to muddle the characterization. Angel is possessed by a parallel universe and kills Giles, a moment that's so unclear and confused that it doesn't land at all.
From this awkward conclusion, however, a great status quo is set up for SEASON 9. We have the BUFFY series where Buffy is trying to rebuild her new life in disgrace and failure while coping with how due to the cataclysm of Season 8, all magic is gone from reality. It's a grounded, back to basics season with some excellent character arcs. The real standout, however, is ANGEL AND FAITH, in which Angel seeks to redeem himself for Giles' death by completing every pursuit and mission that Giles ever left unfinished.
The arc of Angel and Faith tracing Giles' path through life is beautiful for both characters. Writer Christos Gage gives vivid definition to their sweet and platonic friendship that was hinted at on TV but never fully realized due to Eliza Dushku being a guest-star. Gage's snappy dialogue and masterful control of pacing and tone leads to a spectacular conclusion. He seemed to out-Whedon Whedon in converting Whedon's chatty, conversational writing into the comic book format and do so far better than any other writer in SEASON 8.
As a result, Whedon moved Gage off ANGEL AND FAITH to write the main BUFFY series in SEASON 10 and Gage brings the same excellence to BUFFY with the gang restoring magic to Earth but now struggling to work out all the new rules.
Unfortunately, ANGEL AND FAITH suffers in SEASON 10 from losing Gage. Gage's successor, Victor Gischler, doesn't write like Gage and also doesn't write like Whedon. Gischler's dialogue is subtle and minimal where Gage and Whedon are bombastic. Gischler's pacing is slow and deliberate where Gage and Whedon are driven and speedy. Gischler's humour is low-key and thoughtful where Gage and Whedon go for belly laughs.
It's weird: ANGEL AND FAITH (S9) was illustrated by Rebekah Issacs who created more cartoony approximations of Angel and Faith, but her body language and Gage's dialogue made them seem so much themselves that it didn't matter. ANGEL AND FAITH (S10) is drawn by Will Conrad who has a very photorealistic approach to likenesses, and yet, these note-perfect renderings of Angel and Faith feel like comic book approximations. Gischler is a subtle writer and Whedon's style and characters weren't built for subtlety. Gischler is a good writer, but he's the wrong writer for this book.
SEASON 8's 40 issues of BUFFY had numerous writers, but on every issue, Joss Whedon was credited as "Executive Producer." Even though Whedon didn't write all 40 scripts, all 40 issues feel like they're by the same team of voices if not a single voice. Whedon was rewriting and polishing all the scripts for SEASON 8 and SEASON 9. In contrast, SEASON 10's ANGEL AND FAITH has nothing of Whedon's voice despite the same Executive Producer credit.
Gischler revealed in an interview that he had no contact with Whedon for SEASON 10, only editors who'd spoken with Whedon. It looks to me like Whedon, busy with AGE OF ULTRON at the time, had been about as involved with ANGEL AND FAITH as he was with AGENTS OF SHIELD (barely if at all) and he either devoted his time to editing BUFFY or BUFFY as written by Gage didn't even need Whedon.
SEASON 11 is another year where Whedon's involvement seems low; Christos Gage wrote a 12 issue BUFFY arc where supernatural beings are being rounded up into camps. Over in ANGEL (without Faith), Angel and Illyria/Fred were sent into a time travel adventure; their 12 issues would not interact with the BUFFY situation at all. The BUFFY storyline was relevant, tense, taut and Gage's excellence shined with or without Whedon who didn't seem to promote this run of comics much.
In contrast, ANGEL in SEASON 11 as written by Corinna Behko had none of the TV show's quick wit or humour and the time travel storyline had Angel and Illyria visiting points in their history and avoiding any time-altering behaviour -- which led to the story-arc being a meandering, pointless affair. The tail-end of this 12 issue arc led to Angel revisiting the night he became a vampire and murdered his father and sister, but putting this emotional situation at the end left no space to fully explore it.
There was also a romance between Angel and Illyria/Fred that could have been a fascinating exploration of ANGEL's polyamorous nature (already established on TV with Darla and Drusilla) -- but compressed to an issue and a half, it was sudden, unearned and underdeveloped.
In interviews, Behko said that she received instructions to sideline the Angel character from BUFFY's stories through a time travel plot and that she worked primarily with her editor to devise arcs based on this mandate-- which indicates at least to me that Whedon had next to nothing to do with the SEASON 11 ANGEL series.
Looking back, Whedon has often seemed distant from ANGEL. In Seasons 1 -- 3, producer David Greenwalt ran the show and Whedon was more focused on BUFFY. In Season 4, Greenwalt moved on and Tim Minear took over as showrunner as Whedon's attention was on FIREFLY. With Season 5, Jeffrey Bell was showrunner.
I get the sense Whedon wasn't involved with ANGEL on a day to day basis. Despite promoting the Season 5 finale, Whedon didn't even fully write the ANGEL series finale or direct it, leaving both to Jeffrey Bell. Actor Vincent Kartheiser (Connor) said that he barely saw Whedon on set during Kartheiser's time in Season 4.
Whedon had perpetually stepped back from ANGEL, letting Greenwalt, Minear, Bell and Boreanaz control the character and series. With the ANGEL comics, Whedon was hands-off again. He gave direction for BUFFY; he gave none to ANGEL aside from taking away the best writer ANGEL ever had and moving him to BUFFY.
This has me thinking that while Whedon created and understands the Angel character, he doesn't have a strong sense of the ANGEL series. This is reflected in how the theme in Season 1 of helping individual guest-stars fell away in Season 2 as newcomer Tim Minear pushed for more of a myth-arc focused on the regular cast. This is seen in Season 4 when Angel went from a moody twentysomething to a gregarious team dad or in Season 5 when he ran a law firm.
None of these directions are wrong; they just reflect how Whedon himself didn't seem committed to any particular route. In SEASON 10, the ANGEL comic was blandly professional but lacking the strong individuality Gage brought to the title. SEASON 11's ANGEL comic was written to keep the character present in publishing but absent from BUFFY's arcs with global implications.
And for SEASON 12, there is no ANGEL series at all, only four issues of BUFFY published just before Dark Horse lost the BUFFY license. This is the finale. Christos Gage is credited with the scripts; he and Whedon share credit for the story. Whedon communicated in interviews that he was a co-writer on this one and Gage confirmed that he and Joss would agree on a plot, Gage would write the script and Whedon would revise it before it went to the artist.
SEASON 12 folds Angel back into the BUFFY cast as a supporting character. And this finale series is a great piece of work, putting a lovely bow on both the ANGEL and BUFFY saga and confronting the dark future that was shown in the FRAY mini-series which foretells death and destruction for Buffy and all her friends.
Angel has a beautiful S12 moment where Buffy, Angel and friends travel to the future and learn how the final battle between Slayers and demons played out. The future records that all Slayers lose their powers and Buffy sacrifices herself driving all demons off Earth and into hell. This leads to the future in FRAY where Slayers have been gone for centuries and what demons are present are too weak to be any serious threat. Buffy accepts her fate, but Angel refuses to play along with how history is written, declaring that he intends to fight the battle, defeat the demons *and* save the Slayers. He's spent most of his life being told to follow his destiny and all it ever did was make him realize the value of free will.
Gage and Whedon co-wrote these issues, so I'm not sure who's responsible for what, but Angel truly came alive again as a warrior surrounded by adult children, his taciturn pseudo-militarism a delightful contrast to the goofiness of Buffy, Xander, Willow, Dawn and Spike. It either confirms how vital Gage was to ANGEL -- or it suggests that Whedon fully grasps how to write Angel as a supporting character but can't wrap his head around Angel as a leading man.
It's sad that the BUFFY comic got veteran Buffyverse writers while the ANGEL comic seemed to get less experienced talent. The BUFFY title got Whedon himself and he brought in BUFFY TV staffers Drew Goddard, Drew Greenberg, Steven S. DeKnight, Jane Espenson and top comic talent like Jim Kreuger, Brad Meltzer and Brian K. Vaughan and then Andrew Chambliss (who went on to run ONCE UPON A TIME).
However, with ANGEL, Whedon selected Brian Lynch to write the IDW series because Whedon had read and enjoyed Lynch's SPIKE comics as opposed to anything specific to ANGEL. For SEASON 9, it was Dark Horse editor Scott Allie who selected Christos Gage, a Marvel Comics writer with no Buffyverse experience, to write ANGEL. When Gage proved successful, Whedon moved Gage to writing BUFFY for SEASONS 10 -- 12, a promotion that made it seem like Whedon didn't consider ANGEL worthy of Gage's time and talent -- or maybe Whedon didn't really understand ANGEL well enough to make decisions for its benefit.
It's okay, Rob. I understand.
Mitt Romney was right about Russia. I laughed at him then and I was a dumbass to do so except Russia had yet to target the US electoral system so publicly. Romney was right, Obama was wrong, and Romney was also right when he condemned Trump during Trump's campaign.
That said, there was a curious hypocrisy to Romney calling Trump out for his "greed" given that Romney made his fortune by buying American businesses with borrowed money, then saddling those businesses with the debt of buying them which drove them out of business and their workers out of a job even as he called himself a "job creator."
Anyway. From "Gingerbread":
BUFFY: "My mom said some things to me about being the Slayer. That it's fruitless. No fruit for Buffy."
ANGEL: "She's wrong."
BUFFY: "I battle evil. But I don't really win. The bad keeps coming back and getting stronger. Like that kid in the story, the boy that stuck his finger in the duck."
ANGEL: "Dike. It's another word for dam."
BUFFY: "Oh. Okay, that story makes a lot more sense now."
ANGEL: "Buffy, you know, I'm still figuring things out. There's a lot I don't understand. But I do know it's important to keep fighting. I learned that from you."
BUFFY: "But we never... "
ANGEL: "We never win. We never will. That's not why we fight. We do it because there's things worth fighting for."
I didn't read the Countdown series. How did it display Kurtzman's fandom? Because I have never seen it on screen. Data using B4's body to come back was pretty much implied at the end of Nemesis, when B4 starts to sing the song that Data had been singing earlier.
The COUNTDOWN comic resulted from fans asking Kurtzman how the TNG cast would factor into STAR TREK (2009); Kurtzman's response was to produce the COUNTDOWN comic in which Picard, Data, Spock and LaForge try to save Romulus -- and even as I type this, I realize that it doesn't matter because ultimately, you don't think Kurtzman is a fan and I respect that. I just think that a guy who passed out photocopied pages of Diane Duane's SPOCK's WORLD novel to Zachary Quinto and Ben Cross on the set of STAR TREK (2009) is clearly a fan of something.
Perhaps Kurtzman is just not a fan by Informant's standards. Kurtzman is more a fan of THE ORIGINAL SERIES and the first six movies than anything else.
I think that Kurtzman, as a TV producer, has a view of what is meaningful difference and diversity and DS9 and VOYAGER are not it. In the podcast, Kurtzman emphasizes that DS9 and VOY were "very different," so I'm thinking that from a marketing standpoint, both DS9 and VOY indicated that STAR TREK was a show about a crew in space. In contrast, Kurtzman's LOWER DECKS series is going to be an animated sitcom that's more BROOKLYN NINE NINE than DISCOVERY.
If the new Picard series has even a slight resemblance to TNG, it'll be nothing like DISCOVERY. Under Kurtzman, TNG-2.0 is (possibly) going to be about a retired old man trying to gracefully accept that he's been unretired and that we need him back. (Stewart reportedly reviewed Kurtzman's story ideas and told him, "I love it all. We will do none of this.") DSC2 is going to be a post-war space adventure.
Kurtzman talks a bit in the podcast about how he started working on DISCOVERY after directing the train crash that was THE MUMMY. Humiliated and depressed, he accepted a role as DISCOVERY producer. However, he feared his black mood infecting the production and benched himself from writing and directing. He restricted himself to working on post production. From the edit bay, he watched Burnham gradually recovering from her depression and felt hope for himself and watching the show was helping him recover.
In Season 2, he took a small step out of the edit bay, directing the Season 2 premiere -- shortly after which CBC fired Aaron Harberts and Gretchen Berg for abusive behaviour in the writers' room. Kurtzman realized he had been so unhappy during Season 1 that he'd failed to notice how equally unhappy his writers were. He took point on DISCOVERY as showrunner and later called Patrick Stewart's agent about a new NEXT GENERATION show. I don't think he loves STAR TREK the way Informant does, but I think it's safe to say that across six TV shows and 13 films, there is no one way to love TREK.
Good to know that as the United States faces judicial lunacy, gerrymandering, the collapse of its foreign relations, a government shutdown with federal workers expected to labour for free, a supposed bid for border 'security' that has TSA agents working for nothing, and an investigation into the president being compromised by Russian intelligence -- well, we can always count on Americans to zero in on the dumbest and most irrelevant piece of trivia they can possibly find and make it their central area of focus.
ireactions cannot stress in the name of all that is holy that no one poster's view, including this one, represents the view of the SLIDERS community.
I think Kurtzman is right. I agree that from a writing standpoint, DS9 and VOYAGER were *about* different things. But in terms of scripting, both shows featured characters speaking in extremely formal, structured, corporate vocabularies with a very uniform approach to conversation. Both shows featured interstellar combat with the same style of steady, deliberate model work, people standing on the bridge reporting on what’s happening outside with and with slight forays into CGI. Both shows featured gunfights with a very similar fight choreography of people moving walking slowly between action sequences and holding still to fire phasers and then walking slowly to the next point of cover. For the longest time, both shows had most the cast wearing the same style uniforms.
Given that VOYAGER was set so distantly from DS9 and featured a ragtag crew of Marquis and Starfleet who would likely never see home again, VOYAGER should have been much more informal and more like FIREFLY or BATTLESTAR GALACTICA than DS9. Which is probably why Ronald D. Moore quit VOYAGER to make BSG.
Both shows were spinning out of THE NEXT GENERATION and extending the visual aesthetic of their parent show. Whatever DISCOVERY’s faults, it isn’t scripted, shot, lit, edited or designed to look like STAR TREK (2009). And Kurtzman is a fan; nobody obsessively reads STAR TREK novels and provides the plot for the COUNTDOWN comic to resurrect Data in B4’s body without being a fan. He’s just been, I think, quoted without the nuance needed to deliver his point.
Longtime members of the SLIDERS community know that in the past, I experienced blackout rages over certain situations. At a crisis point of rage, the moderator banned me from this board for a period of time saying I needed a break. I expressed my grief over this to Matt Hutaff who was his usual unsympathetic self, snapping, “YOU are the moderator; you banned YOURSELF!” But it was good, it gave me some time to get my brain in order and no longer have such outbursts, except I had one recently over Temporal Flux.
I posted in a Facebook group a link to my David Peckinpah essay. One response was from someone I shall name Frederico Herrera. He said that he found Temporal Flux's behind the scenes info untrustworthy, saying TF's information about John not getting along with the writers and Kari not getting along with Kari was so anecdotal that TF couldn't possibly have found out any of it. Frederico Herrera added that there was no way TF could know that "Easy Slider" was sold to Peckinpah based on Peckinpah's obsession with motorcycles because there was no proof that Peckinpah was the showrunner for Season 5 and that the only trustworthy source for SLIDERS information was EarthPrime.com and proceeded to call me "a fucking idiot" for trusting TF who could be anybody.
As someone who spent a lot of time converting the Sci-Fi Channel's press clippings into EarthPrime.com content and as someone who has always treasured TF as the kind, avuncular older friend I needed when I was a kid, Frederico Herrera had made me absolutely furious. I admit I don't know how TF landed most of his scoops, only some, but Matt has talked to several producers and writers from Seasons 1 - 5 and I've talked to Torme and Robert Floyd. The only informational point of disagreement EP.COM has ever had with TF is on whether or not "Net Worth" was initially meant for Season 3 and TF ended up being right on that one. Regardless of the conflicts between the EP.COM team and Temporal Flux, we have all at one time or another described TF as the de-facto expert on SLIDERS.
Frederico Herrera's attack on TF enraged me and I proceeded to engage in a campaign of vengeful retribution. Which is to say I posted a link to the Sci-Fi Channel press clippings, describing some of the interviews and then noted, "It's pretty funny that Frederico Herrera calls Temporal Flux a liar for sharing the Kari/Sabrina conflict and directs everyone to EP.COM for the real story. EP.COM has two interviews I personally added to the site where Kari describes the feud."
I later posted a link to TF's Ultimate FAQ on SLIDERS and remarked, "I know Frederico Herrera will call TF a fraud and a sham and say his FAQ is bogus, but I refer to the FAQ constantly when working on EP.COM to see if any of our scoops were actually found first by TF and he's often beaten us to lots of things."
I posted a link to the original pitch for "Easy Slider" and remarked, "It's pretty funny that Frederico Herrera calls TF a liar who can't possibly prove that David Peckinpah had control of SLIDERS in Season 5 and advises everyone to check out EP.COM for the real truth instead. EP.COM has notes on this story from Peckinpah's assistant who explains that Peckinpah bought this Season 5 pitch because it involved motorcycles which was one of his obsessions."
I posted a link to Tracy Torme's 2000 interview on EP.COM and added, "It's pretty funny that Frederico Herrera calls TF a liar for saying Conrad Bennish Jr. was planned to return in Season 5 and advises people go to EP.COM instead for real behind the scenes info. EP.COM has an interview with Torme confirming that Jason Gaffney was booked to return for Season 5."
I later posted a link to "Slide Effects," the story Tracy Torme conceived to resurrect the original cast in one episode which I wrote into a script and then commented, "I hope all of you enjoy it and I'm sure Frederico Herrera will call me a liar for putting Torme's name on this story and urge everyone to go to EP.COM for the real truth which would be great since EP.COM has the interview where Torme described the plot of this script."
I later posted a link to the Robert Floyd interview, describing how Floyd first appeared on this very forum and then noted, "I'm sure Frederico Herrera will call Floyd a liar since I think Frederico Herrera considers anyone who knows something he doesn't to be a liar."
I later shared the story of how I had seemingly damaged my DVD of "The Guardian" from the COMPLETE SERIES set and bought a Season 3 box set only to find the damaged DVD just needed a good cleaning, and how I'd offered the Season 3 box set to anybody but there'd been no takers and that perhaps giving anyone a Season 3 box set was akin to a hate crime and a physical assault and would Frederico Herrera like to have it?
I later posted a link to Slidecage's review of the Season 3 box set and said I would like to give away my Season 3 box set and that surely Frederico Herrera deserved first dibs on it.
I later posted a link to the aborted SLIDERS 2013 pilot script and talked about how much I enjoyed working on it and how, despite not working out, I was happy to have fostered my friendship with Slider_Quinn21 and Informant during that time and that I still enjoy reading it now and then and that I'm sure Frederico Herrera couldn't possibly understand because Frederico Herrera struck me as someone who only wanted to be around people he considered stupider than himself and therefore probably couldn't make friends.
I later posted a link to the "Net Worth: The Quinn and Wade Edition" script and talked about how much fun that was to write and then said Frederico Herrera probably couldn't appreciate it because he struck me as someone who was incapable of loving anyone or anything.
Eventually, Frederico Herrera posted in the Facebook group. "I have been tagged with at least TEN NOTIFICATIONS today," he wrote. "Nobody needs this on Christmas Day! If you want to keep posting links to EarthPrime, LEAVE ME OUT OF IT!"
The moderator placidly informed me that the war was over and to stop posting every other hour and to stop mentioning Frederico Herrera in Facebook posts for no good reason whatsoever and I agreed.
I feel we have all learned something from this incident. Specifically, we have learned that despite the issues Temporal Flux and Matt Hutaff have with each other, Matt has obviously been very respectful when speaking of Temporal Flux during our many years of conversations. We have learned this because insulting TF apparently drives me into absurd fits of rage (that are hilariously stupid and ineffective) that Matt has never had to experience.
Re: The Writer's Room: Thoughts on imagination and creativity (10 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)
I definitely think SLIDERS REBORN is ultimately mine. MATT HUTAFF's SLIDERS REBORN and NIGEL MITCHELL's SLIDERS REBORN would've been very different.
The George Lucas collaboration with his friends Spielberg, Coppola, the Hyucks and his wife is fascinating to me because you can compare those results to Lucas working alone. Another fascinating but never quite documented collaboration: William Shatner's STAR TREK novels in which he wrote plot outlines featuring Captain Kirk in the 24th century, co-writers and veteran TREK novelists Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens would write the prose, and then Shatner would revise the draft and rewrite all of Kirk's dialogue.
The combination was beautiful: you had a husband-wife team with an encyclopedic knowledge of TREK and an obsessive love for all the shows and movies and the ability to write vivid pastiches of every character. And then you had the lead actor himself presenting a prose version of his own performance and working with two brilliant SF writers to bring his scenes and concepts to life.
The prose read entirely like the Reeves-Stevens' previous TREK novels, but they were keen in interviews to declare that these Kirk books were not stories they would or could write themselves. They also refused to reveal which ideas and words were theirs and which were Shatner's, saying all three had agreed on the ideas and words that were published regardless of who suggested them.
There were insights into Kirk that felt very much like they came from the actor who had played him for decades. Why was a maverick, rogue, rebellious personality like Kirk working for what was essentially the military?
How would Kirk feel about the corporate structure of the NEXT GEN ships? What would Kirk do if he were to retire happily? How would he deal with truly becoming a senior citizen? What would Kirk be like as a husband? As a parent? What would a Kirk-Picard friendship actually be like? The answers felt true. Shatner understood the lead character, the Reeves-Stevens team understood the vast universe around the character and the combination was everything Shatner's STAR TREK V wasn't.
MATT HUTAFF's SLIDERS REBORN would have been a reboot in which older versions of the sliders discover sliding at their present day ages instead of in 1994 with the explanation that in 2001, a restored Quinn had to "kill" sliding in order to end the Kromagg threat. I really like it as a reboot concept and found it hilarious that with the exception of matching previous continuity, it's the same concept Temporal Flux offered for a future reboot with the original actors. I find Matt doesn't think like a fan; he thinks like a TV producer, and this will serve him professionally but wasn't where I wanted to go for fan fiction.
Nigel felt my outlines were too dense and that the results would be unreadably long and he eventually disengaged from the material (while still continuing to review scripts). And this is because Nigel is a novelist. He is not a screenwriter. He doesn't think in terms of film and TV being the edited highlights. Nigel thinks in prose. He didn't grasp why I was outlining events that would take place "off camera."
NIGEL MITCHELL's SLIDERS REBORN would have been a series of novels. And the final SLIDERS REBORN novel in Nigel series, I imagine, would have been more like an anthology in which each of the four characters gets a novella with their individual plot.
And Slider_Quinn21 -- I actually don't know what his SLIDERS REBORN would've been. Certainly, I appreciated his contributions. He spotted typos, he pointed areas where the exposition was confusing or absent, he noted when characters changed the topic of conversation without a transition. I think, because I was sending Slider_Quinn21 script pages instead of outlines, he was less inclined to change the story and more interested in making it as readable and understandable as possible.
Working on the first three scripts and the novella had been very taxing and draining and exhausting. Matt and Nigel made it manageable by helping me find solutions even if they likely never understood how much they helped as they probably only recall telling me something didn't work and why and offering me solutions they knew I didn't want. I think they didn't understand that identifying problems was extremely helpful even if I'd make my own solutions.
Nobody worked with me on the fifth script in which I wanted Quinn to meet Mallory. The convolutions to justify the tangled knots to bring Jerry O'Connell and Robert Floyd in the same room were absurd and I ended up rewatching "Obsession" and choosing a psychic from a single scene to be the antagonist of this script to rationalize an otherwise nonsensical plot. Tellingly, the fifth script is one where Mallory is really a hallucination and it's really a conversation between Quinn and himself, which is probably why it's the worst of the six.
Looking back, it may have been a missed opportunity. I probably should have asked Robert Floyd to work on it with me as it was interviewing him that made me write this fifth installment. Admittedly, I don't know what kind of cache that would have provided; the majority of the fans view Floyd as Jerry O'Connell's scab which I've always found unfair. It probably wouldn't be quite the same as, say, James Marsters and Juliet Landau writing comics featuring BUFFY and SPIKE.
That said, Floyd is quite present in all the REBORN scripts, not because of anything he contributed specifically to REBORN, but because REBORN is an attempt to pastiche Jerry O'Connell's voice and mannerisms just as Floyd sought to impersonate Jerry while making sure that copying someone else's voice and body language was just one aspect of playing a character, and the scripts are very informed by Floyd's choices.
Writing the first two scripts was fun and easy. Writing the third, fourth and fifth installments was all very tiring and I was ready for it to be over by 2016. But I was pleasantly surprised to discover that working with Slider_Quinn21 was a joyfully effortless breeze, probably because Matt and Nigel's work on the outlines had smoothed out all the plot problems in advance and Slider_Quinn21 and I could relax and focus entirely on dialogue and 'acting.'
I feel Slider_Quinn21’s contributions to SLIDERS REBORN could potentially seem understated, but the sixth script is the best one. Part of that it’s because it featured the sum total of all our respective talents: Matt’s hyperrational sense of plot, Nigel’s imaginative world-building, my commitment to typing it all up in a script.
Without Matt and Nigel, there would have been no clear vision of REBORN, but I think the sixth one is the most enjoyable to read because Slider_Quinn21 has a very firm grasp of how readers engage with text and absorb information and process prose and dialogue gave the final script a crisp, direct quality that made all the crazy ideas fun to read. Slider_Quinn21 had this commitment to clear, understandable, simple, straightforward description while appreciating that it was a novel in screenplay format.
There was a lot of overly dense, confusing description in the second half of the script where the sliders confront all the Season 3 monsters and Slider_Quinn21 helped clarify a lot of it while also noting when the action had dragged on for so long he’d lost track of what was going on. And he had the patience to indicate readability issues on some of the earlier scripts which I went back and touched up. I suspect that I will never be as readable again as I was for that final script.
There was also this delightful moment where he pointed out to me that my Arturo dialogue had become extremely overwritten with me giving the Professor so many big words and such an overexaggerated accent that he’d become a caricature of a caricature.
I’d given myself a December 31 deadline to post that script, but SQ21’s editing led to me publishing it four days earlier.
Slider_Quinn21 expressed a desire to do more SLIDERS stories together after REBORN and I felt it was time to move on, possibly from writing SLIDERS, possibly from writing entirely. But it was truly a golden age and I always look back at that period fondly and with great warmth and appreciation for Matt, Nigel, Robert Floyd, Slider_Quinn21... and, oddly but appropriately, David Peckinpah.
I'm sorry you've not been well. What's going on with you? And your brother? And your father? And your curse of MacGyver?
I suspect that the lower resolution is a problem on a Note 8 because you have a 6.3 inch screen. I have a 5.1 inch screen and 720 pixels is still a lot of pixels.
Do you have any status bar burn in? Or burn in from the Always On Display and the navigation bar? Or is the slight pixel shifting that Samsung programmed in adequate for preventing burn in? The S7 uses capacitive buttons without a navigation bar, but I've disabled Always On and the status bar.
It's pretty great to have 4GB of RAM. I'd accepted that my Moto G5 Plus needed me to run the lite versions of Facebook and Messenger and constantly having to clear the RAM and close all apps and restart at night so it'd be smoother in the morning. The S7 doesn't need any kind of maintenance that can't be set and forgotten.
Re: The Writer's Room: Thoughts on imagination and creativity (10 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)
I've been thinking about co-writers lately. I think I may be the sort of writer who can't function without one. I remember gravitating to Matt as my co-writer initially for SLIDERS REBORN because he'd asked me to write six reviews of six Season 5 episodes for EarthPrime.com. I wrote a review of "Please Press One" which was an incoherent rant about SLIDERS in Season 5 and Matt informed me he would need to rewrite it heavily to make it match the writing style of EP.COM. Matt and Mike Truman shared some of their reviews and I proceeded to write reviews of "A Current Affair," "The Java Jive," "The Return of Maggie Beckett," in a closer approximation of their style and then I went back and re-did the "Please Press One" review.
And then Matt lightly edited my reviews but did something that seemed to make him unusually nervous as he kept asking me over and over again if it concerned me -- he added jokes to the reviews. He added a wisecrack for "Please Press One" about how the sliders had successfully created a few odd jobs for some general contractors at Data Universal by blowing up a few walls. He added a longing remark to "A Current Affair" that a few revisions would have made a good episode great, even first season great. My latter reviews had tapped into EP.COM's sardonic voice, but Matt added some beautiful notes about how Diana had a mind-expanding, life-altering experience in "Map of the Mind" that she'd totally forget about.
I loved his additions. I wanted Matt to rewrite everything of mine for the rest of my life. Which led to me asking Matt to do the same for my SLIDERS REBORN outlines, an experience that I'm sure took years off his life.
I think the defining moment of our collaboration on SLIDERS REBORN was when Matt reviewed the novella, a story in which Mrs. Mallory is buying lemon bars at her favourite bakery when she is approached by a stranger. This man she doesn't know tells her the story of five seasons of sliding and how all the odd events of Seasons 3 - 5 were due to a cataclysmic multiversal event, and he's fixed it by erasing himself from reality and he now only exists as a paradox. The multiverse is stabilizing, and this remnant can only choose one person to remember him. He chooses Mrs. Mallory. She recognizes Quinn as her son and embraces him.
Matt gently pointed out all the problems here. The story took him about half an hour to read, which meant it would be at least an hour and a half to listen to. Why would Mrs. Mallory tolerate 90 minutes of a crazy person telling her an insane story? The means by which Quinn rebuilt reality made no sense whatsoever. The multiple reality warping machines involved seemed to have arbitrary and contradictory purposes. Matt asked to be let off this project and I agreed... but I also agreed with all of his criticisms and rewrote the draft.
The story was the same, but instead of Quinn talking to Mrs. Mallory, it was now Quinn in a mental ward telling his story to a doubtful psychiatrist who would raise all of the plotholes in Quinn's story in dialogue that I copied verbatim from Matt's emails. This forced Quinn (and me) to explain the plotholes and offer a rationale and led to a plot twist at the end that surprised me but which the subsequent readers seemed to like. Matt's criticisms were exactly what I needed. I would later ask Nigel Mitchell to help me with world-building, but I constantly returned to Matt for criticisms that I personally found very constructive.
"I have no time to revise a piece of non-canon fanfic and Wade Welles is dead, god damn it!" he would exclaim, but then proceed to grimly chat with me about SLIDERS REBORN and express exasperation, disbelief and frustration towards plot points I would immediately rewrite while reminding him that in SLIDERS, all fan fiction is canon and that "Requiem" point-blank established that Wade was still alive.
The fifth SLIDERS REBORN script was edited by nobody as Nigel felt he'd given me what he could by that point and it is the worst installment of all of them. The sixth script, I felt, was the best one as it benefited from Matt's spirit of oversight, Nigel's imagination for world-building and also Slider_Quinn21 who reviewed each page of script. Slider_Quinn21 noted when jokes didn't land and also reminded me to do things like explain how the Season 3 monsters could exist to descend upon San Francisco and that the sliders couldn't use road salt to fight the giant slug from "Paradise Lost" as no store in the Bay Area would carry it.
I have serious doubts that my writing is fit for human consumption without collaborators. I think I'm a bit like George Lucas: the first STAR WARS film had the benefit of consultation from Lucas' friends Spielberg and Ford Coppola as well as an uncredited dialogue rewrite from Willard and Gloria Hyuck. The prequels were Lucas writing mostly alone and it shows in some of the most incomprehensible, unsayable dialogue ever performed on the silver screen. "Are you sure we shouldn't be screenwriting partners?" I asked Matt awhile ago. "Quite sure," he assured me. "And you say that like we haven't already; the amount of time I put into SLIDERS REBORN was INSANE." And, not wanting to deprive his children of their father, I agreed.
I think I need a collaborator. I'm not quite sure what I would actually need from this collaborator, however. Matt pointed out logical errors and, in his way, would prod me towards my own solutions. Nigel had this Douglas Adams type of daring inventiveness. Slider_Quinn21 understood how to make a story readable and understandable. I told this to Matt once and he remarked that it was nice to hear that he was 33 per cent of a man. These three people could not have been more different, and the only reason they consented to endure my neediness and absurdities is because they loved SLIDERS too.
I wonder if the key might be for us to all become our own co-writers. Maybe it's up to me to do what Matt, Nigel and Slider_Quinn21 did for me but on my own.
I think forming your own personal canon is very reasonable. SLIDERS is special in that all SLIDERS fan fiction is canon, even the one where Quinn and Wade have a fight for no reason and Wade gets shot in a robbery and Quinn writes and sings her a song to help her recover (try to imagine Jerry O'Connell singing). The STAR TREK novel fans are currently upset that a new Captain Picard series will ignore all the post-NEMESIS novels, to which I'd note that the novels continue to exist to be read and enjoyed regardless of whether or not the new series deals with them. The X-FILES comics were much more respectful of the mythology than the TV show and offered something of a conclusion to the myth-arc and I think most people who read it choose that over "My Struggle IV."
I quite like Informant's BUFFY scripts. I wouldn't compare them to the BUFFY comics; I wouldn't even consider them in opposition as much as heading in opposite directions.
Topic: David Peckinpah's SLIDERS: A Vision of COMMUNITY (0 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)
Murder Most Foul" is one of my favourite episodes of SLIDERS and possibly one of the finest episodes of the series. It is beautifully filmed, cleverly conceived, sharply written and delightfully performed. Fans have often watched it, expressed great appreciation for it and then wondered: how can this uplifting, thoughtful, imaginative episode be David Peckinpah's script?
Throughout Season 3, the SLIDERS confronted horror movie villains, dragons, Mad Max photocopies, intelligent talking flames and deathtraps. David Peckinpah commissioned these episodes. The average Season 3 script was an unedited, unrefined mess with characters not being given names or introductions ("Rules of the Game"), nonsensical exposition ("The Dream Masters"), clumsily considered world-building ("Electric Twister Acid Test"), witless exposition (Elston Diggs), and a startling lack of imagination and ideas ("Desert Storm") -- all of which were David Peckinpah's responsibility as showrunner.
Peckinpah's stewardship of SLIDERS was so lax that poor safety standards got actor Ken Steadman killed on the set of "Desert Storm." Peckinpah's oversight of SLIDERS was so vacant that the first 13 episodes overspent the season-long budget so badly that the back nine were operating under severe cost restrictions. In Season 4, Peckinpah used SLIDERS to express violent sexual fantasies towards Sabrina Lloyd and curtailed a season-long arc in order to annoy his story editor, Marc Scott Zicree. In Season 5, Peckinpah bought a pitch for "Easy Slider" in order to give his mistress (not his wife) stuntwork for an episode.
David Peckinpah clearly did not care about SLIDERS and was grossly incompetent -- and yet, "Murder Most Foul" is great. Why?
The Initial Explanation
Some people like Temporal Flux argue (quite correctly) that Peckinpah, a cop show veteran, wrote "Murder Most Foul" in a genre he knew well -- crime fiction. But "Murder Most Foul" is so intriguing, so innovative in its concepts that it goes beyond a firm grasp of procedural tropes. The science fiction in this story is brilliant. Mental fractures. False personalities to give the conscious mind a rest. The characterization is wonderfully contradictory and truthful: Arturo is humiliated by a fall into garbage and a bad temper but is nevertheless a brilliantly problem-solving detective even when he's not in his right mind.
Rembrandt intimidates a secretary into giving the sliders information while still being Rembrandt. There's young Trevor's wonder and joy towards the sliding concept. There's Quinn's cleverness and Arturo's strength of character saving the day.
"Murder Most Foul" is everything an episode of SLIDERS should be written by the man who destroyed SLIDERS. How is this possible?
A Terrible Loss
The terrible truth of Season 3 is and always has been this: David Peckinpah was a *great* writer. A brilliant director. A capable, skillful talented man who truly understood the TV medium. He introduces guest-characters correctly. Names and points of distinction so the audience will remember them later. He knows how to stage confrontations. He knows how to tell stories through action and dialogue. He even does the thought-provoking ending as the episode ends with us looking at little Trevor, the first of a new generation of sliders. Trevor was named after one of David Peckinpah's sons.
The sad fact is that David Peckinpah had *all* the skills needed to make SLIDERS great. He was a fun guy to work with. A gifted storyteller. Decades of experience. He had also known hardship; Peckinpah was a recovered drug addict who put his recklessness behind him to be a good father to his four children. He was sober for 20 years. And then, shortly before being assigned to SLIDERS, Peckinpah's 16-year-old son, Garrett, died of meningitis.
This broke Peckinpah. He fell apart psychologically and fell back into his drug addiction. He had a two-year development deal with Universal and they assigned him to SLIDERS -- a show that Peckinpah simply didn't care about. It is unlikely Peckinpah cared about much of anything at this point. His son had died. It left a hole in his heart that never healed. Note how Peckinpah was generally vindictive and angry towards people who made his working life challenging. Sabrina Lloyd. John Rhys-Davies. To those who asked little or nothing of him, Peckinpah was perfectly amiable.
The midpoint of Season 3 was the "Exodus" two-parter, a production commissioned largely to hire Roger Daltrey and his band, The Who. The filming was an excuse to have a rock band perform for the cast and crew over two weeks of binge drinking with making the actual episodes as something to do between the performances and the parties. According to Temporal Flux, Peckinpah used SLIDERS as a line of credit to feed his addictions and loneliness. He started cheating on his wife with would-be actresses. His presence on SLIDERS was as a figure of indifference and laziness and vindictiveness towards people who demanded his efforts (John Rhys-Davies, Sabrina Lloyd, Marc Scott Zicree).
But he was a great writer. And when writing scripts, he couldn't hide that. "Murder Most Foul" and "Dinoslide" are well-written stories. "Genesis" is actually quite good in its execution even though the content is misguided. His work on SILK STALKINGS and FARSCAPE was solid. Peckinpah brought his A-game to the scripts he wrote with his own hands. He just didn't care to bring that same A-game to the other scripts on his show. He was not careful or considered in commissioning stories, he was not deliberate or attentive in reviewing teleplays, he was not interested or invested in revising or editing them. This attitude was present throughout the rest of SLIDERS' lifetime and quite sadly, throughout the rest of Peckinpah's life as well.
Where SLIDERS Was Born
Some time after SLIDERS, Peckinpah moved from Los Angeles to Vancouver. His stated reason was to rent a home and create a personal space to work on film and TV projects. But the reality was that it was simply a drug den and now he was far from the family and friends in Los Angeles who had monitored him and reduced the harm he was causing himself.
SLIDERS fans have compared Peckinpah to the devil, described him as a villain and a monstrosity who should burn in hell. The death of Ken Steadman and the cover-up that followed is most certainly on him given that he commissioned "Easy Slider" to grant his girlfriend stuntwork when she was not part of the stunt union. Despite a man's death due to lax safety standards, Temporal Flux reported that Peckinpah perpetuated the same laxness as late as Season 5.
In the end, Peckinpah was a broken and very sad man. He lost his son and he lost himself. He never addressed his grief; he never learned to live with it; he never moved past it. All he ever did was medicate his loss and in the end, it killed him. In 2006, Peckinpah experienced heart failure brought on by a drug overdose. He died in Vancouver where SLIDERS was born. He died alone, apart from his family, distant from his friends and a joke to the majority of his viewing audience on his highest profile production.
A Forgiving Family
Shortly after his death, Peckinpah's family posted on the SLIDERS forums, hurt and upset by the fans' vitriol. One of his other sons shared on IMDB the tragic story of his father's decline. For all of Peckinpah's many, many faults and infidelities, Peckinpah had loved his wife and children dearly and they forgave him his misdeeds. Informant remarked, "What you have to understand is that when you produce a show like SLIDERS, you are leaving behind a legacy. People really need to put some thought into what the hell they're making if they don't want that legacy to be people making fun of their work.
"I have no doubt," Informant continued somewhat facetiously, "that David Peckinpah was a solid citizen. Unmatched in his moral integrity. The last good man on Earth. His show still sucked."
Informant's right. And yet -- I find myself contemplating the legacy of Ed Wood, often considered one of the worst screenwriters and directors to ever lens a film. Students of Wood have enjoyed affectionately poking fun at his disastrous projects while wondering -- is it possible that Wood's vision was actually worthwhile and meaningful and he merely lacked the ability to turn that vision into an enjoyable, professional product?
A Multigenre Vision
What was David Peckinpah's vision for SLIDERS? Had he been engaged, focused, devoted and invested, how would his vision of SLIDERS be realized? Certainly, he liked monster movies, he liked genre pastiches, he liked references to popular films -- so what would his work have been if his work had truly grappled with the SLIDERS format, an infinite storytelling engine that could most definitely render his ideas?
I think David Peckinpah's SLIDERS would have been like COMMUNITY, a sitcom in which the students of a community college regularly step outside the dramedy format to engage in parodies of Hong Kong action movies, procedurals, APOLLO 13, Westerns, post-apocalyptic dramas, superheroes, space opera, martial arts movies, documentaries and more. In each of COMMUNITY's parodies, the characters were modified slightly for the genre while still emphasizing their core characteristics and how suited or unsuited they were to the material. SLIDERS' genre pastiches were often presented as bloodily savage horror whereas COMMUNITY maintained its comedic bent, a choice that would have been far more suited to SLIDERS' light comedy origins.
When writing the final SLIDERS REBORN scripts (my fanfic magnum opus), it was always my wish to bring the Season 3 monsters into a script featuring a restored Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo and find some way to make them part of SLIDERS' grand tapestry while presenting the Season 1 - 2 mythology and characters as the core and definitive version of the show. In incorporating the monsters and finding non-violent ways to defeat them, SLIDERS became a Peckinpah-style pastiche -- a pastiche of the superhero movie. The content led to an unexpectedly celebratory attitude towards Peckinpah's ideas, and I decided to include a note at the beginning of the script dedicating the story to his memory.
In the end, David Peckinpah had a truly unique vision of SLIDERS that was paradoxically derivative. Had he committed to executing his vision as loving homages rather than clumsy ripoffs, SLIDERS would have thrived. Plugging the sliders into popular films didn't have to be empty so long as it was done with some irony and humour, and it could have been well-received by genre fans just as the parody episodes of COMMUNITY proved so popular that they became the majority of the show.
Andrew Chambliss is the showrunner you're referring to. He's a good writer. Not to denigrate Informant, but overall, the reception to the post-show BUFFY and ANGEL comics have been very warm. ANGEL #1 - 17 sold well and drew rave reviews as did the SPIKE spin-offs. The first 3/4 of BUFFY: SEASON 8 was a smash hit, the latter end was acknowledged by Whedon himself as having gotten away from him. ANGEL #18 - 22 were universally panned and #23 - 44 had very mixed reviews. The subsequent BUFFY series and ANGEL & FAITH series under the SEASONS 9 - 11 banner were well-received; the SEASON 12 finale of four issues also got very good reviews.
It reminds me a bit of the virtual seasons of SLIDERS except where each virtual season of SLIDERS existed in opposition and contradiction as unofficial products, the Buffyverse comics were sanctioned and the Dark Horse line had the involvement of the series creators and some of the actors throughout.
Like any comic book series, the BUFFY and ANGEL comics had their ups and downs. The main problem with the comics -- if you consider it a problem -- is the same problem with THE X-FILES comic books, with SLIDERS REBORN, with STAR WARS and STAR TREK novels and with most post-series media tie-ins: they are oriented towards fans. The Dark Horse BUFFY comics are about the mythology of the Slayers; the IDW ANGEL comics are very much about the mythology of Wolfram and Hart's plans for the apocalypse and Angel.
In contrast, the BUFFY TV show was about what it was like to be clueless in high school and the ANGEL TV show was about Angel as the world's oldest college graduate (as Angel after nearly three centuries of life had accumulated quite the mastery of languages, history, theology, [magical] engineering and warfare but was deeply isolated). The BUFFY and ANGEL comics did not have the wide thematic resonance of a general audience TV show and that's going to rub certain audience members the wrong way because the priorities are very different.
Buffy in the TV show was a small-town vigilante; Buffy in the SEASON 8 comics was commanding a global army. The Buffyverse felt adjacent to our world on TV, but the comics were clearly a superhero(esque) universe.
The BUFFY and ANGEL comics were prone to the absurdities of superhero comic books and that can also alienate some of the audience. The (non-immortal) characters stopped aging, remaining a year or two older than their final TV appearances even as time moved forward. Los Angeles became a hell dimension for a season. Vampires became exposed to the general public with Harmony becoming a reality TV star. Angel became a celebrity supernatural investigator and had a movie made about him.
There's also stuff that could never have happened on TV within production limits and censor restrictions. Angel got a pet dragon (the one he tried to kill in the ANGEL finale until he realized the dragon was a benign creature under mind control) and named the dragon Cordelia. That's unaffordable for TV. Giles was killed off and resurrected as a pre-teen child which wouldn't have ever happened on TV because you'd alienate the actor. Angel moved Angel Investigations to London, England, also unaffordable for an LA production. Wesley returned as a ghost, but was permanently killed off after the first 17 issues of the IDW series, but I can't see that happening on TV without Alexis Denisoff wanting to leave. Angel had threeway sex with Kate Lockley and a lady werewolf (due to Illyria's telepathy going haywire). Buffy had sex with a woman a few times and Informant had a stroke over it. Dawn became a giant.
But there's also stuff that would have been inevitable had the TV shows continued. The epic scale of the Dark Horse BUFFY comics became, at least for me, unrelatably distant from reality by the end of SEASON 8. SEASON 8 ended with magic being (mostly) removed from Earth and the Slayer line 'ending' in that all the awakened Slayers would remain but going forward, there would only be one per generation once again instead of a global army. The Slayers collectively rejected Buffy and Buffy became a semi-normal woman working in a coffee shop who hunted vampires after hours.
In a text piece in the final SEASON 8 issue and in interviews, Whedon admitted that being the general of an army was not something many young women were dealing with in their lives and he'd taken Buffy too far from normalcy. Also, Fred came back to life. That was always in the cards.
SEASONS 9 - 10 were good (I haven't read 11 - 12 yet), but suffered from having lost the Sunnydale location. Because Whedon was overseeing the Dark Horse comics as the lead writer and working with a team of writers on each issue, there's a coherence and focus and a unified voice to the Dark Horse run that the IDW comics couldn't match.
The IDW run of ANGEL had an excellent opening arc of 17 issues with various spin-offs that showed how after ANGEL's finale, Wolfram and Hart had sent Los Angeles to hell, cut it off from the rest of the world and had Angel depowered and dealing with the fallout. Issues #18 - 44, however, were a very mixed bag. After the first story-arc, a new writer, Kelly Armstrong took over only to leave abruptly after five issues, leading to her plots being abruptly truncated and dismissed.
The subsequent writer, Bill Willingham, also left prematurely, due to his anger towards Dark Horse using the Angel character. His arcs were wrapped up by another writer in yet another confusing and muddled conclusion. The subsequent writers, David Tischman and Mariah Huehner, were also suddenly cut short by FOX relocating the ANGEL license to Dark Horse.
It's strange: the majority of these issues are actually fantastic! Angel becomes a public figure and adored as the hero who saved all of LA from hell. Angel starts working with the city to police the supernatural. Angel is kidnapped by a corporation seeking to sell immortality. Angel is sent to the future in which Wolfram and Hart rule the world. But each of these arcs ends with an incoherent concluding issue where the writer who originated these plots is suddenly out the door and a multi-issue finale is now one installment.
However, the IDW run did a finale YEARBOOK issue that offered some nice notes of closure to the run as a whole. Also, there were several SPIKE mini-serieses that were excellent. IDW's ANGEL #18 - 44 are regarded by many fans as non-canon because Whedon only worked on #1 - 17, but there's a lot in #18 - 44 that are worthwhile from Kate Lockley's role to Connor joining Angel Investigations. The ANGEL & FAITH comic has built on some of that, so it is bizarre to me that Whedon fans insist that the Dark Horse comics are ignoring them.
Most of the comics have some artistic difficulties at the outset. Every time a new artist starts drawing Angel, they seem to draw on publicity photos either from Season 1 when David Boreanaz was lean and trim and youthful or from Season 5 in which Boreanaz is heavily muscled and more weathered. After a few issues, the artist finds a midpoint where they draw Boreanaz at a midpoint -- in which case the publisher might as well stipulate that Angel is to be drawn as Boreanaz in Season 3 which is where the artists end up anyway.
Every once in awhile, there will be a cover or a page where an artist uses a reference photo that's from a different year than what's used for the rest of the issue. It's distracting. The likenesses for the other characters are generally consistent except that occasionally, artists accustomed to drawing well-endowed superheroines give Buffy, Faith and Willow the wrong proportions. Thankfully, Dawn and Fred have avoided this.
Anyway. There was a very devoted readership to the Dark Horse and IDW comics with a run that spanned from 2007 to 2018 and you don't get an ELEVEN YEAR run of comic books in this extremely meager publishing market without being extremely successful. Readers should, of course, form their own opinions and it is perfectly valid for Informant to say that the BUFFY and ANGEL comics weren't good, but the Buffyverse comics were a massive hit, a sales spectacular and sorely missed by their adoring readers.
The only reason SEASON 12 is the last one is because FOX decided to move the license from Dark Horse to a publisher called BOOM! (as FOX owns a share of the latter but nothing of the former). A new licensee generally cannot make use of material created by the previous licensee (although IDW and Dark Horse were gracious enough to do so), so BOOM! is doing a modern day comic book reboot of the property.
I’m okay with this so long as you apply your view of the comics’ canonicity to ALL the comics in entirety. That’s at least consistent and reasoned and fair across the board.
There is a certain hypocrasy in my protesting fans being obsessively pedantic, but one area of fandom that deeply annoys me -- the arguments over canonicity in spinoff materials. In this case, I'm referring to the BUFFY and ANGEL comics set after the shows ended their runs. For reasons too stupid to contemplate, comic book publisher Dark Horse only bothered to license BUFFY from FOX to do their SEASON 8 - 12 storylines. As a result, rival publisher IDW snapped up ANGEL. Joss Whedon wrote the initial issues of the BUFFY comics before having other writers come in to execute stories with his oversight.
With ANGEL -- well, they initially started with publishing stories that were set either during the run of the series or some unspecified time after, but then Whedon enjoyed the SPIKE: ASYLUM mini-series by writer Brian Lynch that he asked IDW to have Lynch script Whedon's plots for a comic book season of ANGEL. The first 17 issues were based on Whedon's outlines, at which point Whedon had to devote most of his attention to BUFFY and TV and film work and IDW's ANGEL line fell off his radar. IDW moved on and hired noted comic book writer Bill Willingham to take over ANGEL's monthly comic. The IDW line neither acknowledged nor contradicted the Dark Horse BUFFY comics.
But then a development arose: the villain of Dark Horse's BUFFY: SEASON 8 was revealed to be Angel. Fans were confused: how did this tie into the IDW ANGEL comics? Was Dark Horse ignoring IDW? As if to fan the flames, ANGEL writer Bill Willingham declared that he had never consulted with Whedon or Dark Horse, that he had no idea what was going on in their comics and he had no intention of coordinating with them whatsoever. Dark Horse fans started jeering that the IDW comics were not canon; IDW fans were hurt at their patronage being dismissed, BUFFY and ANGEL fans in general were very confused.
IDW editor Chris Ryall explained in an interview that Willingham had spoken without discussing the situation with his editors first. Ryall clarified: the ANGEL series was set immediately after Season 5 of ANGEL whereas the BUFFY comics were set several years after Season 5. Therefore, ANGEL's comics had plenty of time to catch up with the events of the Dark Horse comics. In addition, Ryall was certainly reading the Dark Horse comics and editing Willingham's material to avoid contradictions. When asked about canonicity, Ryall said he didn't see it that way: he was producing stories that explored ANGEL's concepts and characters, but he did note that characters who had appeared in pre-Whedon ANGEL comics had appeared in the 17 issues Whedon had overseen at Whedon's request.
The Dark Horse BUFFY comics later revealed that Angel had not become evil; he was pretending to be a villain to keep other villains away from Buffy and he made vague reference to the events of the IDW comics. In addition, Dark Horse granted IDW a special dispensation to use the character of Willow in an ANGEL comic storyline and Willow's guest-appearance reflected her SEASON 8 situation, a gesture to assure fans that IDW and Dark Horse were working together. Bill Willingham, however, was unapologetic for his behaviour and quit the ANGEL series in mid-storyline. Other writers finished his arcs.
Eventually, Dark Horse renegotiated with FOX and licensed ANGEL as well, conceding that their initial contracts had been shortsighted. IDW wrapped up their ANGEL arcs in a grand finale and Angel returned in Dark Horse's ANGEL AND FAITH series which made vague references to the events of the IDW series but wisely didn't tie itself too closely to those developments as those comics would potentially not stay in print. In addition, ANGEL & FAITH featured Angel in London, England -- the LA events weren't relevant to the specific stories at hand. Nothing in ANGEL & FAITH contradicted IDW.
Despite this -- the vast majority of BUFFY and ANGEL comic fans declare that the IDW stories are not canon and constantly attack the very good work in those stories as immaterial and unworthy. This despite the fact that IDW and Dark Horse coordinated their material, that Spike guest-starred in SEASON 8 reflecting his IDW characterization just as Willow reflected her Dark Horse characterization. Writer Brian Lynch is regularly mocked for featuring his original IDW characters in the Whedon-plotted IDW issues despite doing so at Whedon's request.
There has not been a single point of contradiction between the ANGEL stories published by IDW and the BUFFY and ANGEL stories published by Dark Horse. And the motivation for this dismissal towards ANGEL's first post-show series is simply the cult of personality surrounding Joss Whedon and his lack of involvement with the latter-era IDW material has many readers arguing that it is automatically inferior. It's a really ugly side of fandom.
The finale was a very interesting and strange choice and I’m curious how you reacted to it. It was very obvious when the trailer first hit that the situation was not what it seemed. Setting aside the unlikeliness of DC turning any broadcast version of Batman into a murderer executing cops and criminals alike, the previous episode had shown Dick walking into a house where Trigon, as Rachel’s father, clearly had something like her telepathic abilities. Any subsequent episode trailer that featured Dick returning to Gotham City to confront Batman as opposed to confronting Trigon was clearly going to be a hallucination. It was never in doubt, but the marketing hyped it as Batman versus Robin.
With that in mind, how did you feel about the story? Interestingly, it wasn’t meant to be the season finale, but the creators found the conclusion so compelling that they decided to make it a season cliffhanger and make their planned finale into the next season premiere.
TITANS and SMALLVILLE have a very similar visual aesthetic of hyperstylized camerawork, hyperstylized dark lighting and as with SMALLVILLE, the TITANS cast are mostly in street clothes instead of ARROW and FLASH style costumes (although there are costumes). I think TITANS is a good show, and any problems with it are more due to the source material and the rights difficulties rather than the creators.
From what I can tell, TEEN TITANS was originally created because DC was hoping to package some of their underused/underselling copyrights into a bundle and hoped that Robin, Kid Flash and Aqualad, neither of whom they thought could sustain independent titles, might band together. From there came additions with Wonder Girl (added in their debut issue), Starfire, Cyborg, Raven and Beast Boy as it's helpful for a team book to have characters who aren't controlled by whoever's writing the Batman, Flash and Aquaman titles. The lineup eventually solidified with Dick Grayson, Wally West and Donna Troy as the core members.
TEEN TITANS came into its own when competing with the X-MEN comics in the 80s, but by the 90s, the 'teen' part of the property had eroded as the Batman titles had assigned the Robin role to Jason Todd and necessitated a new identity for Dick Grayson, Flash had aged Kid Flash into the actual Wally West and Wonder Girl had grown up too.
While some efforts were made to have new characters take over as the Teen Titans of TEEN TITANS, the original lineup inevitably reasserted itself and the comic dropped the TEEN from the title and featured Dick Grayson, Wally West and Donna Troy while a new title, YOUNG JUSTICE, featured Robin (Tim Drake), Impulse (Bart Allen), Superboy (Kon-El) and the new Wonder Girl (Cassandra Sandsmark) -- as well as Arrowette, Secret, Empress, L'il Lobo (don't ask) and Red Tornado -- again, because it helps the writer of the team book if he has some characters over whom he has full control without needing to check in with the Batman/Flash/Superman/Wonder Woman offices.
The point I'm making: TEEN TITANS was less about having a clear vision for a team book than slamming together some underused copyrights and hoping something publishable would emerge. The creative direction of focusing the comic on teenagers was lost over time. And as a TV show, TITANS is about having those copyrights together while clearly not having full access to other aspects of the DC properties and the results are... peculiar.
They're aiming the show at adults, so they've lost the teen aspect to begin with. They don't have access to the Wally West character. The lead character of TITANS on TV is Dick Grayson, a hard-boiled, cynical, isolated police detective who is trying to fight crime while leaving behind a vigilante past. Why is this character of a procedural bent being plugged into a world of alien visitors like Starfire, supernatural myths like Raven, paranormal beings like Beast Boy in addition to the street crime drama of Batman? I could ask the same of every other character on the show.
The rights situation also leads to some bizarre scenes such as depicting Dick Grayson's childhood with Bruce Wayne except Bruce Wayne is only ever seen at a distance or from behind and for some reason communicates with Dick through handwritten notes when they're LIVING IN THE SAME HOUSE. There's the science fiction technology of Starfire that's an awkward fit with revealing that an interstellar race was concerned with a supernatural threat on Earth. There's the street crime episodes of Dick's arc that's an awkward fit with the Raven/Trigon mythology.
Setting all that aside -- all the actors are highly compelling, they have great chemistry together and the series is gripping, dark, and well-written, but TEEN TITANS is a very odd comic book and TITANS' oddities reflect the source material's issues.
Stephen Amell said in his podcast with Michael Rosenbaum that his contract is over as of this year and he hadn't decided if he wanted to extend ARROW, but it would be his decision. LEGENDS' ratings are dire with Season 4 struggling to crack one million viewers.
I wonder if they'll do something like JURASSIC PARK III (which I've never seen) where they highlighted an actor's absence from the previous installment (which I also never saw):
Symposium Leader: "Does anyone have a question?"
The entire audience raises their hands.
Dr. Grant: "Fine. Does anyone have a question that does not relate to Jurassic Park -- ?"
Several audience members lower their hands.
Dr. Grant: " -- or the incident in San Diego. Which I did not witness."
The entire audience except one person lowers their hands.
Since I don't know what happens on Punisher season 2, I'll have to speculate. Maybe Jigsaw has driven Frank to some sort of safe house. In Daredevil, you have Karen call Frank. She apologizes for calling him, but he's her last hope. There's nowhere to turn and Kingpin is going to kill her. She expects it to work, but Frank declines. He comes off like a jerk. Like, of course, he won't come. What does she mean to him? Why would he risk his life for her? Click.
In the Punisher, around episode 10, Frank gets that call. He's hidden away. If he moves, he's dead. And if he's dead, Karen's dead. He can't leave. So he pretends like he doesn't care. Because pushing away people is what he's good at. Episode 13, Frank shows up to the hotel, and he sees that Karen is okay. That Matt is protecting her from the rooftop. She handled herself.
This is a pretty good idea, but it's not without its problems. The audience loses focus on how Matt is clearly losing his mind as he abandons his identity and is increasingly suicidal, on how Fisk has gone from a jumpsuit and a half-eaten TV dinner to living in the lap of luxury, on how Karen is outgunned and Matt is concerned for her safety but distant from her situation -- and instead, the focus becomes entirely on Castle even if he's only heard in a voiceover. Why is Frank behaving out of character? Why has the show rendered him in a fashion completely against his love for Karen in his previous appearances?
It's (gleefully and cleverly) calling attention to a problem that serves only to distract the viewer when it's preferable to move this issue to the realm of what TV Tropes calls Fridge Logic, something you only wonder about after the credits have rolled and you're getting something to eat.
But you're probably right. Don't reference it and no one asks the question. Because, realistically, Frank would risk anything to save her. Since he doesn't show up, he's either saved her in the background or, for Daredevil season 3, he simply doesn't exist. (Thanos!)
If Netflix weren't urgently exciting the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I'd expect one of those ONE-SHOT type short films where Frank we either have the story you described above or we see Frank surveilling Karen throughout Season 3: he uses a sniper rifle to take down gunmen chasing her, is crouched behind a porch when streetpunks menace her on the street, he's impersonating one of the FBI agents searching the church and misdirecting them, he's listening quietly when Karen reveals how she got her brother killed, etc..
But this raises its own problems too: if Karen's danger is retroactively reduced because Castle was lurking slightly out of frame the entire time, it diminishes Season 3's sense of threat. Also, there's a certain comedic goofiness to this blatant retcon that might be awkward for a militaristic, serious series like THE PUNISHER.
This reminds me of an episode of SMALLVILLE where Oliver (please try to think of Justin Hartley) is looking to murder Lex Luthor and Clark is trying to prevent this passively by refusing to hand over a router that could lead to Lex's location. Oliver agrees to let Clark handle it, but then speaks with a subordinate who informs Oliver that he has copied the data from the router. This would be the unplugged, disconnected router that Clark was holding in his hand which this anonymous suit claims he could somehow read and clone without ever going near it. It makes no sense whatsoever.
The reason for this error: the subordinate was supposed to be Cyborg and his ability to interface with any technology remotely and power it regardless of its disconnection, but actor Lee Thompson Young backed out at the last second and with no time for a rewrite, Cyborg's dialogue was given to another performer.
Regardless, it reminds me of my old SLIDERS standby when asked how the cast could alternate between the same outfits and how the Professor always had a tailored suit -- all plot and production problems are just one missing story away from being explained.
Yeah, and I get that these shared universes can't always be guest starring and spinning off and crossing over. But that's why I think they need to get creative with dialogue. There are a hundred reasons why Frank wouldn't appear, and they just need one of them. You could do 90% of those reasons without Jon Bernthal showing up. Have a scene where Karen is on the phone with Frank and tells him to stay away. Or, heck, have Frank be her escape plan...she just needs to take care of one more thing first (which leads her to the church and the rest of the season). Have her try Frank and he can't answer (cliffhanger to Frank season 2 to some time when he's away or in danger). Maybe the phone she tries for him doesn't work (he gets a new phone).
I can't see this working at all. Frank loves Karen. I don't know that it's necessarily romantic, but there is a devotion. A caring that goes beyond pleasantries and deeply into respect, appreciation, longing, and there is nothing Karen could say that could keep him away if she were in danger nor would he keep his distance even if Bullseye's only trying to scare her. And if Frank doesn't answer Karen's phone call or isn't at her doorstep within an hour of a voicemail, then Frank is being written out of character.
There is no way to mention Frank briefly and have him be unavailable when a person he cherishes and treasures and to whom he has the utmost loyalty and respect is being hunted without having Bernthal onscreen to establish that he's physically unable to get to Karen for whatever reason and the only way to make that plausible would be to turn it into a PUNISHER story when it's a season of DAREDEVIL. I don't think Frank is in love with Karen -- I don't think he's over his wife and he may never recover from her loss, but (by process of elimination), Karen is the most important person in the world to him. Could YOUR wife convince you to stay away if she were in trouble?
What explanation would satisfy? Frank had food poisoning? Constipation? Flu? Silent retreat in the wilderness? Would any of these convincingly keep Frank away?
Of course, I didn't even think of it...you had to...so maybe they didn't need anything
This is pretty much they were going for, I think. They couldn't come up with a convincing answer, so they decided not to raise the question. If Bernthal had been available, they probably could have done a few episodes where Frank is helping Karen but Frank is injured or arrested by the Fisk-corrupted FBI and taken out of the series until he escapes for the finale and helps Matt get through security to confront Fisk in his penthouse. You could even do a thing where Frank sizes Bullseye up, determines that he can't beat him and leaves it to Matt and Matt's supersenses, choosing to focus on helping Karen instead. But the actor was filming his own show.
If I HAD to explain it, I would probably say that there were many, many, many more attempts on Karen's life than we actually saw onscreen and Frank was dealing with them off camera so covertly, so quietly and in such a black-ops manner that nobody ever knew he was there. A similar joke was made in an AVENGERS comic (actually, it was an issue of THE ULTIMATES) where Hawkeye yells at Quicksilver for not helping out in a battle against Ultron and Quicksilver says that he saved Hawkeye's life 30 - 40 times at superspeed and he's annoyed that Hawkeye isn't grateful. Or that episode of COMMUNITY where Jack Black was edited into flashbacks or that episode of LOST that I can't remember, but I know you like LOST references.
And now for Tech Talk with Quinn Mallory:
I remember the exact moment I gave up on the Moto G5 Plus smartphone. I was making a two hour drive down an express highway when the podcast player went dead while Google Maps was guiding me towards my destination. Watching the road, I swiped my finger across the fingerprint sensor to switch to the previous foreground app -- the podcasts -- so that I could hit play. In mid-switch, the phone proceeded to shut down Google Maps. I think what it came down to was that 2 GB of RAM just wasn't enough for Android to multitask anymore. The phone had been lagging a bit until an Android update at which point the Moto G5 Plus dispensed with freezing, unresponsive UI performances by simply quitting apps.
So I sold it. That and fifty bucks bought me a refurbished, slightly scuffed, mildly chipped Samsung S7 with 4 GB of RAM and state of the art flagship hardware from 2016. It's pretty good and the camera might liberate me from carrying DSLRs and camcorders going forward -- but a few things alarm me.
The first is that the phone has a subtly curved edge around the screen. The result is that tempered glass protectors either don't attach securely or attach but create distortions of air pockets down the sides of the screen. The only workable screen protection so far has been a gel-film protector that adheres to the screen with liquid and can curve to fit the rounded surface -- and such protectors guard against scratches but offer no real drop protection. I didn't realize the phone lacked a flat design suited to tempered glass and I've dropped my phone a lot over the years.
I recall shattering the screen on my Samsung Galaxy S3 twice in my pre-tempered glass days. However, it occurs to me that the S3 used Gorilla Glass 2. The S7 uses Gorilla Glass 4 which is estimated to be six times less breakable and scratchable than Gorilla Glass 2, so maybe the stronger glass, my protective film and the TPU case can handle my life. That said, I've used gel-film with liquid installs on my tablets. They adhere permanently to flat surfaces. On the curved surfaces like the rears of my tablets, however, they've always peeled loose over time. The curve on the S7 screen is so subtle and slight I didn't notice it until I tried to apply a tempered glass protector, though -- maybe it'll hold.
If it peels off, however, I'll have to turn to my last resort -- a liquid screen protection fluid that supposedly applies a microscopic coating to glass to guard against scuffs and scratches and (in theory) drops. But for all I know, it could be mineral water in those tubes.
The other thing that weirds me out is how crazy heated the phone got. My Moto G5 Plus had a metal backing (on a plastic frame) and always felt cool; the S7 got really warm as it was downloading Google Play app updates. Eventually, I found the battery settings and switched on the CPU limiter. I also turned off the Always On display because I'm nervous that that's a recipe for burn-in. The screen offers a 1440 resolution but lets you dial it down to 1080 and 720. I set the screen to 720 pixels wide and... couldn't tell the difference between that and the highest resolution, so I left it on low if only to take it easy on the graphics processor. The phone has cooled now, but for an hour or so, I was wondering if it would burst into flame like a Note 7.
I had to connect the phone to my computer to activate immersive mode and hide the status bar to prevent burn-in. Samsung has kindly opened up themes for their Android build, so I chose a Google Pixel style theme and installed Nova Launcher which mimics the Google app launcher and also installed Google Messages, Calendar and Clock. The software looks like a Pixel now.
Informant, do you have the option of changing the resolution on your Note and can you tell the difference?
Karen will be in PUNISHER's upcoming season, but I'm not sure how much she'll be in it as the actress was busy filming DAREDEVIL.
My guess -- and it is just a guess -- they simply couldn't get Frank's actor in Season 3 to the degree in which they would have needed him. He's a difficult character to bring in for a cameo and usher away if Karen's in danger and you'd spend the rest of the season wondering why he didn't come back. So rather they decided not to raise the issue at all. It reminds me of when Worf got married on DEEP SPACE NINE and production could only secure appearances for Riker and LaForge, which would leave the audience wondering if Picard, Data, Crusher and Troi didn't like Worf anymore, so rather than bring up a question that could not be satisfactorily addressed, it was set aside entirely.
We might find ourselves watching THE PUNISHER and wondering where the hell Karen is when Frank needs her, as both the new season of PUNISHER and the last season of DAREDEVIL were filmed at the same time leading to actor unavailabilities.
Hey, Slider_Quinn21 -- since you've seen FALLOUT now -- what do you think of seeing Ethan Hunt in this movie as an image of what Quinn Mallory would be in his forties? Posts below:
Allison Mack's defense lawyers have decided to try to argue that blackmailing people into sexual slavery isn't illegal:
The expectation for reshoots is that they're for a limited number of insert shots for pre-existing sequences such as, say, one shot of Captain America sitting at a table. Under this expectation, actors usually aren't asked to retain their principal photography look as a wig or a slightly different figure or a computer-generated jawline isn't going to be noticeable in brief shots added to otherwise complete scenes.
In the case of FANTASTIC FOUR and JUSTICE LEAGUE, the stories were radically restructured in the reshoots with completely new scenes that don't fit into the principal footage. The majority of Superman's scenes in JUSTICE LEAGUE were filmed by Whedon.
I am guessing that the original material with Superman set in a soft cliffhanger where the he'd fought off the Anti-Life Equation (which had infected him in the BVS Knightmare sequence), but Darkseid would be coming to Earth after Steppenwolf's failure and Darkseid might retrigger the Equation and turn Superman into an agent of Apokolips with the plot to be resolved in JUSTICE LEAGUE II. But when Zack Snyder decided to leave both JUSTICE LEAGUE and the DCEU, WB decided to reshoot all of Superman's scenes to offer conclusive closure. Just a theory, of course.
While Paramount was within their rights to refuse to shut down M:I's filming, they'd better hope they never need WB to do them a solid. Admittedly, Paramount might safeguard against that by making sure to contract their actors to maintain their filming appearance any extensive reshoots -- or by having a policy of hiring directors and writers to make movies and then let the resulting product stand or fall without attempting to turn the project into something else mid-filming. WB could have asked a new director to resolve the hypothetical Snyder plot without him.
Also, Kara spent most of her life hiding her powers and subsuming herself into a human identity while Superman has embraced both his human life as Clark and his Kryptonian side as Kal-El.
My opinion is that SUPERNATURAL is not the real world and that a planet Earth with monsters and angels and demons roaming the streets, even in secret, would be in a very different political place from our world. Dean has spent most of his life living off the grid; I can't imagine him bothering with politics.
I think trying to figure out if he voted for Trump or Clinton or third party or whatever is searching for something that just doesn't exist -- and honestly, I don't think we should bring it into existence. For all my Views about Informant, I would prefer that Informant could look at Dean and see whatever he needs to see. It's already tough for him when Superman is presented as an alien citizen of the world who was raised by a hologram of Jor-El instead of being Clark Kent raised by Jonathan and Martha Kent in Kansas. I would not wish to add to his burden.
There's also the fact that many, many, many different writers and showrunners have written for Dean and many fans have reacted to Dean differently and created their own Dean.
For example, Lauren's personal vision of Dean: he's bisexual. I cannot see this at all; Dean to me is one of the most hilariously, ridiculously heterosexual men on television and while I don't think he's homophobic, he's averse to homosexuality. It makes him uncomfortable. If he saw two men kissing, he would avert his eyes, apologize for his discomfort, declare he's trying to give them privacy and then say something like, "My problem, not yours. You do you, boys."
I don't really see Dean as a sexual harasser, either. Yes, Dean is very into casual sex, but Dean's attitude to women seems to be to approach with a compliment and a willing smile and then let the woman make the next move or fail to in which case he immediately moves on to another prospect. Dean is also deeply, innately unattracted to women who are unassertive; if a woman didn't seem interested in flirting back with him, Dean would lose interest straightaway. Dean wants women who match his sex drive.
I do think the mustache was necessary for Cavill. He's a dark haired white guy. Tom Cruise is a dark haired white guy. I need to be able to tell them apart when the camera is flying around them; I need to know who's fighting who.
According to McQuarrie, when JUSTICE LEAGUE producer Chuck Roven approached him about needing a shaven Henry Cavill, McQuarrie decided the plan was this: McQuarrie would suspend production on M:I, Cavill would shave and perform his reshoots for JUSTICE LEAGUE and then begin to regrow the mustache and resume filming M:I.
The slight growth in facial hair would be multiplied digitally for the M:I footage in order to match previously filmed material with Cavill and his mustache. Adding facial hair digitally is much easier than removing it, especially when there's a starting point in hair-to-skin texture that merely needs to be magnified. Roven and WB agreed to pay Paramount the $3 million for this added special effects cost.
But then Paramount stepped in, informing McQuarrie that he would not be permitted to shut down M:I filming for the benefit of another studio's film. They refused to even discuss it, considering WB's problems not their concern and not moved at all by McQuarrie's wish to be kind to his fellow filmmakers. McQuarrie expressed great regret and disappointment over this.
if you plopped me down in one of the countries where my ancestors came from. I might have a curiosity about those cultures in some way (though I really have no more or less interest in my ancestral cultures than I do any other cultures, so I may be a bad example), but they are not my culture, and those lands are not my home. I have more connection to my Asian neighbors across the street who don't speak a word of English than I do to a random person from Ireland.
The pre-1944 Superman was a very different character from the post-1986 Clark Kent. Jonathan and Martha Kent had died when Superman was 18 or so. The characters were at most cameos. There was the sense that Superman (as opposed to Clark) had an amiable but distant relationship with his parents; he never mentioned them, it was like they didn't exist -- and there was the sense that Superman based his identity on the databank in his spaceship and the Fortress of Solitude and spent most of his childhood in hiding until his parents died and he made his debut as Superman.
However, this was undermined in 1944 when Superboy debuted and showed Superman's career as a teenager and depicted Jonathan and Martha Kent in a loving, close relationship with their adopted son. The Superman and Superboy comics were hopelessly at odds, having teen versions of Lois and Clark meet each other in contradiction to their first encounters in the Superman comics. Superman's origin story would be updated with his Superboy career in flashback issues, but Superman and Superboy would continue presenting two irreconciliable versions of their lead character and his life with Superboy as a very American and human character and Superman as an extremely alien character for whom "Clark Kent" was a constructed psych experiment. There was the (probably unintended) implication that the death of Jonathan and Martha would lead to Superman drifting from his humanity except in terms of the "Clark" identity.
The Superboy adventures were (retroactively) declared to have taken place in a "pocket universe" separate from the main DC Universe, although this had less to do with the Superboy/Superman contradictions and more to do with explaining how the Legion of Super Heroes could have featured a Superboy who never existed after the 1986 reboot. The 2010 Secret Origin mini-series, however, restored Superboy to Clark's origin story and fit in a lot better with the modern Clark Kent than the pre-1986 Superman.
Anyway. My point is that the alien Superman is just as valid a take as Clark Kent of Kansas. Yes, Clark Kent has become the main personality and this has ultimately proven to be a good move and a natural progression for the character. But every adaptation should feel free to choose whatever aspects of Superman suit its purpose whether it's the alien Superman or the human Clark and SUPERGIRL, in depicting Kara's role model, chose to have Superman reflect more of his Kryptonian heritage in his dialogue which served as an effective contrast to Kara being more defined by her human connections.
There's another DOCTOR WHO blogger, Elizabeth Sandifer who referred to SLIDERS once and called it one of the most "punchable" TV shows she'd ever had the misfortune to watch. I've often wondered what her TARDIS ERUDITORUM blog would be like if she'd been interested in SLIDERS and also, what would it be like if she reviewed SLIDERS REBORN on her hypothetical SLIDERS blog? It'd probably be like this:
From Earth 11314, a parallel universe in which Eruditorum Press focused on SLIDERS instead of DOCTOR WHO:
Reality Can Be Rewritten 4 (SLIDERS REBORN), Posted by: Elizabeth Sandifer
SLIDERS REBORN -- probably the single least readable thing I'll cover on this blog -- is an unlicensed series of screenplays by Ibrahim Ng published as a fan endeavor in 2015. Not unreadable due to content but size: it's 436 pages of script and also a 6,500 word novella. The provenance of it is interesting -- series co-creator Tracy Torme pitched a story (but not *this* story) to EarthPrime.com, to be published as a PDF format screenplay, but it was never completed.
Separately, the Canadian writer Ibrahim Ng pitched a story to the same website about Quinn Mallory in 2015, to be published as a PDF format screenplay, but couldn't complete it due to what Ng termed writer's block. However, the webmaster shared Torme's story ideas with Ng and Ng was inspired to complete Torme's story, but his adaptation process changed the material so much that it isn't at all Torme's story anymore.
Let's get one thing out of the way -- these are extremely dense scripts. On top of that, the plot elevates fanwank to a profound art, relying heavily not only on Seasons 1 - 2 but with heavy references to scads of continuity errors in Seasons 3 - 5. This is not in and of itself a problem, except that it seems to be the entire point of this story -- to try to fit absolutely as many existing pieces of SLIDERS together as is possible.
I'll attempt something resembling a summary of the plot. In 2015, all the sliders are alive and well and home on their Earth of origin which is uninvaded by Kromaggs. Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo are living normal lives. Quinn is still sliding. But when reality starts breaking down around a teenaged girl named Laurel, the gang reunite and slide off into the multiverse to investigate. They find that across three Earths, millions of digital clocks have been distributed, all identical and counting down in perfect sync to what many believe is doomsday.
The clocks turn out to be a plot from Smarter Quinn from the Pilot to collapse reality and create a new multiverse as this one is damaged due to the reality warping weapon that ended the Kromagg war between Season 5 and this story in which Quinn had to choose a single branching point as a starting position for new parallel worlds and chose the day of the first slide.
As a result, the current multiverse is damaged with the inability to split off and create new branching paths, something Quinn-2 intends to fix destructively Quinn-2 attempts to destroy the multiverse; the sliders try to stop him, the result is that the multiverse is saved but San Francisco is now merged with over 1,000 parallel versions of itself leading to another confrontation and Laurel is Quinn's daughter from "Love Gods" and what is this I don't even.
Despite this, underneath the hood is the thing that distinguished the Pilot episode from, say, clumsy knockoffs of the Pilot like David Peckinpah's "Genesis." For all the flaws, this is striving to be a story about characters. It's the final and definitive redemption of Quinn Mallory where Quinn earns a meaningful conclusion to otherwise aborted mess that is the SLIDERS saga. SLIDERS REBORN itself is an absolute mess, but it's a mess driven entirely by scene after scene after scene of Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo bantering, cracking wise, and bouncing off each other.
Let's look at the plot. It's absurdly over the top, yes. But nevertheless there is something irritatingly, compellingly... cool about it. I mean, look, I'd be lying if I didn't say that there was something kind of intriguingly awesome about the entire basic idea of this story. How could I possibly say otherwise?
I must be at least a half million words into a massive exegesis of everything involved in SLIDERS. Like I'm going to pretend taking SLIDERS apart and putting it back together stops being interesting or valid just because it has a plot.
One can't even easily mount the main distinction I've sought to make over the past in terms of continuity about the difference between a unitary SLIDERS explanation and playing around with possibilities. SLIDERS REBORN tries to lay down precisely why episodes aired in the wrong order on the FOX Network, why characters like Ryan and Henry disappeared, why the hotel set of Season 5 became such a fixture and how all the sliders can be alive.
REBORN resurrects the original cast and hits undo on much of Seasons 3 - 5, but it also goes out of its way to leave other stories, even Seasons 3 - 5, in place. This isn't some horrific land grab to collapse the possibilities of SLIDERS. It's the exact sort of thing that one opposes those land grabs in order to allow -- some fans expounding their pet theories. So is there any basis to object to this beyond being unreadable to any but the most SLIDERS-fixated?
One possibility, at least, is based on the contested nature of the epic. Epics, especially within sci-fi/fantasy, are a common trope that's been plaguing SLIDERS since "The Exodus Part 2." I'm certainly not going to criticize epics in the general case, but there is something troubling about the idea that they're the pinnacle of the genre. By their very nature they imply unity and singular vision. That infuriating belief in absolute, fixed truth.
To some extent, this is a conflict embedded in the very fabric of SLIDERS. SLIDERS' debut came in a period where America was coming to terms with the fact that post-Vietnam it was becoming a supporting player in global affairs instead of a superpower. In 1995 that was a difficult proposition, not least because America still had an awful lot of empire. But fundamentally, SLIDERS was science fiction coming from the perspective of a country that was giving up the idea that it had a singular vision of the world.
But that anti-imperialism, in SLIDERS, always contrasted interestingly with the fact that SLIDERS' central character was an obvious heir to the same Victorian tradition that oversaw the height of the British Empire. Quinn Mallory, as we've said before, is ultimately the Victorian inventor rebranded as the American whiz-kid. He is at once of the imperial past and rebelling against it, an attempt to salvage a secret history of the American era that provided a way forward.
This is a tradition that still exists in SLIDERS. The whole "the little people are the most important people" ethos that runs through "Gillian of the Spirits" and "The Young and the Relentless" comes directly from this aspect of the show's history. Quinn Mallory, to start at least, was interesting not because he was a pivotal figure in an interdimensional war but because he was a college kid who couldn't control his sliding machine. He was consciously designed as the opposite of the traditional "great man" of history -- indeed, under the Professor's tutelege, Quinn became a figure who had clearly chosen to rebel against greatness in favor of the mercurial.
And to some extent we can just set this up as a tension that plagues SLIDERS. It constantly gets pulled towards epics when what it does best is something else. No, more than that -- when its soul, its original concept, is a reaction against epics. It's worth looking, though, at the sort of epic that a SLIDERS epic tends to be.
SLIDERS' epics hinge on the fact that sliding, normally an exploratory, open concept, is curtailed to one sort of plot (a fugitive hunt or a war). It's a narrative collapse -- a story that appears to threaten the end of SLIDERS and REBORN is no different, threatening the end of the multiverse and of sliding. This is the first type of epic SLIDERS ever did. I mean, it faked and blustered its way to an epic with "Invasion," but its first real epic was "The Exodus" where the whole point turned out to be that taking SLIDERS and adding an epic chase after a psychopathic serial killer was absolutely horrible.
Put another way, SLIDERS epics can and do work, but when they work by threatening a narrative collapse. Or, as with "The Guardian," they work by wedding the epic structure (a new rebel facing his enemies) to something profoundly non-epic (the rebel is a bullied boy and his enemies are schoolchildren) -- and relishing in the tension this creates.
So what's the Ibrahim Ng epic? Let's look at him as a whole. One of his most steadfast assertions, which carries through virtually everything he says about or in SLIDERS -- and I’ve read virtually all of it -- is that he is not a science fiction person and doesn't like science fiction all that much. This claim must come off strangely to anybody who is not Ibrahim Ng, since reading his material it’s self-evident that he is, in fact, a science fiction person.
Surely only a science fiction person would ever come up with the premise of "Revelation," in which a rogue slider attempts to collapse all realities using a clock counting down to doomsday that's been mapped to 18 billion points in space-time across three parallel Earths. I mean, a merged San Francisco that's a bustling metropolis of overlapping parallel realities played as an infinite wonderland of boundless possibilities -- that's something only a sci-fi person could ever come up with.
Certainly his audience is overwhelmingly comprised of sci-fi people. I mean, this goes without saying, yes? Someone whose writing credits exist entirely in spin-off media of a sci-fi show (with one web series fanfic) is clearly and self-evidently a sci-fi person, right? Well, sort of right.
See, the real point Ng is making when he says he’s not a sci-fi person and SLIDERS isn’t a sci-fi show is that in his view SLIDERS is a actually a situation comedy series in the tradition of M*A*S*H, COMMUNITY and THE ADDAMS FAMILY. Which, again, he’s not wrong. The logic of SLIDERS is, as we’ve said before, is not that of a STAR TREK series that Seasons 4 -- 5 so lazily cloned. SLIDERS as conceived is really a traditional Rod Serling anthology of eccentric spaces and portals to other worlds.
That’s not the only tradition SLIDERS comes out of, of course -- it also owes a lot to STAR WARS and FLASH GORDON and any sci-fi property that features individuals in strange worlds revolting against the establishment. But in essence it’s always been science fiction with the attitude of THE TWILIGHT ZONE and the comedy of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE.
And yet something about Ng’s point rankles. Less because of the very savvy point that SLIDERS is not a straightforward science fiction show is somehow incorrect, but because of his claim that SLIDERS is not for sci-fi people but rather for situation comedy fans -- viewers who would want to see dorky genius Quinn oblivious to Wade's interest while labouring under the Professor's harsh tutelage and stumbling over Rembrandt who's there for no reason.
SLIDERS REBORN caters entirely to an audience that wants to see Professor Arturo struggling to eat seaweed salad and Rembrandt blundering through a spy story parody. Look through Ng's forum postings: you'll find endless ranting about his horror and exasperation with fanfic that resurrects each dead slider and resolves each unfinished plot point by point through science fiction means. Ng protests that the people are the point of SLIDERS, not the sci-fi. He also rails against fans who think these fanfics are a worthwhile starting point for a new TV series as the average viewer wouldn't understand them. But wait. We’re conflating two things here -- science fiction and sci-fi people.
At the heart of this is a complex interplay between the idea of science fiction as an iconography and as a genre. Because science fiction as a genre -- i.e. as a narrative structure with a given set of conventions -- is actually a relatively narrow thing that existed in the early-to-mid 20th century. And it’s a weird little beast based on problem-solving and manipulation of ideas. The only time SLIDERS really fixates on this is in the nadir of the series mythology in Season 4 with the Kromagg Prime arc.
As we’ve observed before, since STAR WARS, science fiction has really been a set of images and ideas. If it’s not too much to look ahead, let’s think about "As Time Goes By" especially as it’s the episode most similar to SLIDERS REBORN. One of the most interesting things about that episode was the way in which the three Earths in the story swung back and forth between being an emotional love story in sci-fi terms and being a series of chase scenes and action sequences, and the way in which these styles were used as a source of tension.
The latter is what sci-fi usually is these days. In contrast, sci-fi people think that sci-fi is about the particulars -- that the mark of a good sci-fi story is the nature of the idea. And that’s just not the way it works, except in marginal cult shows that cater to those sorts of people. (This hermeneutic also explains all the detailed contrivances that fans conceive to resurrect Colin from being unstuck and split Quinn from Mallory.)
And the thing is, for all that Ng rails against sci-fi people in favour of sitcom antics, Ng blatantly is a sci-fi person. In all of his work, it’s the sci-fi concepts that ultimately justify his ridiculous action sequences where the SLIDERS topple a dragon with aspirin in bulk and defeat killer robots with golf balls from Doppler Computers (which has become the Costco of SLIDERS). Which, fine. I mean, I’m not going to knock it, being, by any reasonable definition, a bit of a sci-fi person myself.
But it remains the case: Ibrahim Ng clearly cares about sci-fi and has no interest in *only* writing about four old friends hanging out. He often joked that SLIDERS should be rebooted with the sliders running a hamburger joint, a joke that's actually present in the final chapters. But in the end, Ng didn't write the sliders as a fast food workplace comedy; he dived straight into science fiction and depends on it totally to justify otherwise unjustifiable sitcom scenes. His dependency on sci-fi comes through in every review, every novel, everything.
So why does he declare that he doesn't like science fiction and isn't a sci-fi person? Well, mainly because he isn’t quite one. Yes, he’s got all the trappings, but he prefers situation comedy. What we have is a writer who acts like a sci-fi person in every significant sense, except that he happens to be really attracted to sitcom conversations *about* sci-fi situations. And he’s attracted to them in a very fundamental, abiding sense such that he builds vast metaphorical labyrinths (a city of sliders and infinite parallel worlds made up of SLIDERS stories!) to justify scenes where the Professor and Quinn sit in a shopping mall talking about doomsday scenarios.
This is, in a nutshell, what reading SLIDERS REBORN is like. It’s not that the scripts don’t have good ideas. The idea that the multiverse is dying because Quinn instinctively used a machine for rebuilding reality to save his friends at the expense of all else based on choosing one single decision point from which all other realities would unfold is… compelling. The means by which Quinn ultimately saves all reality has a certain crisp logic that would make a lawyer weep with joy. The way in which Ng incorporates the Season 3 monsters into the more scientific bent he prefers for SLIDERS is beautiful as is his open acknowledgement that the 'science' of SLIDERS is really the science of stories. All the little moments shine.
And this, in the end, is the problem with SLIDERS REBORN. It's not an epic; it's a series of little moments, sketches with the sliders, welded to an epic plot. And so SLIDERS REBORN isn't falling into either epic shape. It's a story of little scenes, not big ones, that tries to explain everything. And it has a certain arrogance: even as REBORN goes out of its way not to erase any other stories, it still tacitly demands that it be allowed to serve as the key that interprets them. It's exactly the sort of sci-fi epic that SLIDERS resists.
The theory SLIDERS REBORN advances is ultimately not about SLIDERS at all and entirely about *the* sliders, the four characters as played by four actors whom Ng clearly loves (despite his frustration with Jerry O'Connell, the rendition of Quinn is flattering). Paradoxically, the conclusion culminates in a sea of computer generated monsters attacking a city -- a story that ultimately goes against the aesthetics of SLIDERS while admittedly retaining the ethics of SLIDERS. And, of course, it’s unfilmable.
Ng has fallen into the trap of believing that CGI is free, and so writes a script with jaw-dropping visual excesses that are almost as bad as "Dinoslide" infamously knocking the back end of Season 3 badly off budget. And the plot is SLIDERS by Numbers in a way that not even David Peckinpah scripts usually manage. But the biggest problem isn’t any of that. It’s that there’s nothing to it beyond the characters bantering.
Ibrahim Ng, by all appearances, seems to think that the heart and soul of SLIDERS is nothing more Wade sniping at Arturo, Rembrandt's pratfalls, Quinn's incompetent brilliance and a vaguely anti-authoritarian bent. There are no character arcs here. Ng’s script ultimately thinks having chatter is sufficient, and doesn’t care about piddly little things like drama.
And the result is a vision of SLIDERS that is simply inaccessible and unreadable to anyone who isn't already a massive fan of SLIDERS, a startling failure given Ng's persistent claims that SLIDERS' return must be an entry-level, ground floor product. It's a very strange situation that despite this, SLIDERS REBORN is actually inaccessible not only to a casual audience, but to many fans who may not have a detailed recall of every episode.
And so it’s tempting to throw Ng onto the same pile as far too many people on message boards who genuinely believe that the secret to SLIDERS’ future success is to somehow film a direct follow-up to "The Seer" with an onscreen resolution to every unfinished plot in Seasons 1 -5. Because SLIDERS REBORN is really no different in its desires; despite Ng protesting endlessly that it would be absurd to complete the Colin spy plot in 2015, he's done precisely that except he's done it with a throwaway joke and a comedy voiceover from Charlie O'Connell and had the sense to let those resolutions happen 'off camera.' Ng's focus ensures that nearly every scene features Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo front and center and he pushes his obvious continuity fixation into wisecracks rather than an all-consuming focus.
SLIDERS REBORN is a project I have more than a small measure of sympathy for. One that was not so much misguided as too weird and too difficult to work with for massive success. This doesn’t erase its value -- the fact of the matter is SLIDERS REBORN is a delightfully niche product and a lovely read. So is "Slide Effects" and his rewrite of "Net Worth" and his attempt at a 2013 reboot. Really, you’re cheating yourself if you don’t read his stuff -- I can’t imagine many people who like SLIDERS who wouldn’t love Ng’s work.
And this is where we’ll leave him -- if only because he's concluded his SLIDERS writing. He doesn’t want to be part of SLIDERS’ story anymore, having resigned from the REWATCH PODCAST and chosen to end his run on SLIDERS with the REBORN finale. So we’ll leave him out of it from here. But let’s be clear. We are not leaving him in any sort of failure or ignominy. No, no.
Ibrahim Ng gets the proper send-off; the farewell to one of SLIDERS’ oddest minds. Because he had a vision of SLIDERS that still fascinates, even if it does not consistently appeal. Because there was never anyone like him before, and will never be again. Because, in his own way, he seemed to love all aspects of SLIDERS from Henry the Dog to the super-intelligent snakes well beyond anyone else who ever wrote for SLIDERS. And because even though he’s staggeringly, epically incapable of presenting a vision of SLIDERS that would appeal to a 21st century audience, even in his inability, he remains impeccably fascinating.
So farewell, Ibrahim Ng. You were SLIDERS’ greatest crazy person.
And now for Tech Talk, with Quinn Mallory:
I've never had much use for a smartwatch, but I did have use for a fitness watch for tracking my steps, heartrate, sleeping patterns, calories burned, etc.. When the world was going nuts over the Apple Watch, I instead got an open box Fitbit Blaze which didn't have apps. You couldn't answer texts or talk on the phone -- it was just a fitness tracker that had a colourful screen that snapped into a wrist-strap and helped me figure out how much I could allow myself to eat. Fitbit released the Ionic, a square and huge smartwatch with a discrete GPS and a development platform for apps that were... not awesome. Fitbit released the Versa, a rounded and compact smartwatch that relied on the phone for GPS and had a development platform for apps that were still... not awesome.
I was content with my somewhat clunky but oddly charming Fitbit Blaze -- until a new announcement of Fitbit OS 3.0 for the Ionic and Versa with a new app for the Versa that could monitor your physical readings when you were sick and then, in the future, warn you of an impending illness so that you could take preventative measures via extra sleep, vitamins and herbal supplements. I immediately ran out and bought a Fitbit Versa for this feature. Only to discover -- this app, Achu, isn't an app for the watch. It's a (hideous) clockface. And the data the Achu uses to offer its assessments (on this clock face) is actually gathered by an Android app tracking your Fitbit readings -- and Achu would have worked just as well with the Fitbit Blaze.
......................... anyway. I sold the Fitbit Blaze for 53.2 % of the money it cost to buy the Versa.
Re: The Writer's Room: Thoughts on imagination and creativity (10 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)
My niece and I were recently having a conversation. She told me that she's in the process of separating her online handle from her real name because, as a film student hoping to enter the industry, she doesn't want her real name to show up in association with her fan fiction. "Are you ashamed of your writing?" I asked her. "I mean, your descriptions could use some work, but the stories are solid like Dean and Cas being ice skaters."
"I just don't want that stuff to represent me," she said in a slightly evasive fashion. So I turned it around, asking her: should I be worried that my name is on my SLIDERS REBORN scripts? She replied that I wasn't looking to get into the film industry and even if I were, those scripts wouldn't be a problem because SLIDERS REBORN actually looks like scripts. They were written in screenwriting software. "Also, I've looked through your stuff and there isn't anything to be embarrassed about. I mean, you basically wrote STAR TREK novels. They're media tie-ins. If there were SLIDERS novels, you could probably have sold them."
"So what you're saying," I said cautiously, "is that your writing is embarrassing in a professional context because it delves into your fetishes and your desire to see two attractive men kissing and having sex whereas my writing is acceptable because it's an attempt to meet the professional format and falls within the content restrictions and also because my material isn't particularly romantic and not at all sexual."
"Yes," she said.
Hunnh. I have to say, it really bothers me that she doesn't feel comfortable putting her name on her writing, but there is that old saying that autobiographies can lie but fiction reveals all. I, personally, am very proud of what my fanfic says about me and it's a significantly more flattering image than the flawed reality of the actual me.
I'd like to re-present "Net Worth: The Quinn and Wade Edition," a rewritten version of the Season 4 episode of "Net Worth" now featuring the original cast and offering a vision of how "Net Worth" was originally a Season 3 story called "Onliners" that would revisit the Quinn and Wade romance in an internet-fuelled version of ROMEO & JULIET. There has been great confusion surrounding the history of "Net Worth" and whether or not it came out of Season 3.
In 1997, shortly before Season 3 aired, a preliminary list of Season 3 episodes was released online. This list included an episode called "Onliners," but no such episode ever aired. Temporal Flux later explained that his contacts in the SLIDERS production office had told him that "Onliners" would have been an internet-driven version of ROMEO AND JULIET and explore Quinn and Wade's potential romance. It was scrapped when John Rhys-Davies was fired.
TF believed that "Onliners" was retooled into "Net Worth," the internet-driven ROMEO AND JULIET story of Season 4 which would explain many odd aspects of "Net Worth," particularly how the Rick and Joanne guest characters were used in ways that would could only have been effective had they been Quinn and Wade doubles.
At various points in the aired "Net Worth," Rick is referred to as a genius. In the script, he makes references to alternate dimensions without having been introduced to sliding. Joanne displays an obsessive fixation on computers and bonds over the subject with Rick. In one scene, Maggie indicates in-depth knowledge of Joanne despite having only met her one scene previous; a deleted scene has Rick cracking wise to Quinn about talking to himself -- all of which seemed to be artifacts of Quinn-2 and Wade-2, the doubles, being abruptly rewritten into new guest characters and Wade's dialogue assigned to Maggie.
However, in a rare instance of Temporal Flux seeming to be flat out wrong: EarthPrime's Matt Hutaff contacted "Net Worth" writer Steve Stoliar. Stoliar said he had no recollection of "Net Worth" having ever been pitched in Season 3 or having ever featured Quinn and Wade doubles. In addition, Matt had many discussions with a Season 3 producer who also had no memory of any story called "Onliners."
TF himself had never found a script for "Onliners" and wondered if it had been a verbal pitch, something not committed to paper like the plans for Logan St. Clair's return.
It was peculiar, however, that Tracy Torme remembered "Onliners" in his 2009 interview and had once held hopes for producing the unused story as a comic book. Was TF was mistaken? Had "Onliners" had been an unrelated story? Could Steven Stoliar have somehow forgotten "Net Worth"'s origins? The matter seemed destined to remain unresolved, although it's impossible to watch "Net Worth" without feeling that Rick and Joanne's characters have been produced with a search and replace function pasting their names over Quinn-2 and Wade-2.
Later on, however, Matt unearthed a Season 3 progress report dated March 1997 from the SLIDERS production office. This report indicated that (a) "Onliners" had been retitled as "Net Worth" (it's a good pun) and (b) "Net Worth" had indeed been commissioned as a Season 3 script with a production code K1811 -- but cancelled along with "Heat of the Moment," another script (by Tracy Torme!) scrapped because of Davies' departure. This document was written about two to three months after John Rhys-Davies was fired. TF had proven correct. "Net Worth" had been a Season 3 pitch featuring Quinn and Wade.
(Shock! Gasp! Temporal Flux had proven correct on a matter involving SLIDERS? The de facto expert on the series knows his stuff when it comes to the show?)
As a writing exercise, I took Stoliar's Season 4 draft of "Net Worth" and rewrote it into "Net Worth: The Quinn and Wade Edition," featuring the original sliding team in the plot of "Net Worth" with every scene reworked and rewritten but featuring most of Stoliar's dialogue and action. Originally, it was a very speculative piece of writing on what could have been; now it's a speculative piece of writing on what was meant to be.
Conversation with the niece!
IB: "So, something I noticed in the episode with the resurrected zombie boyfriend and the serial killer shopgirl -- "
IB: "Well, at two points in the episode, Jack and Dean have a clear line of fire to take Harper the Serial Killer Shopgirl out -- but they don't take it. They're keen to stop the zombie boyfriend, but the direction and the blocking and editing are very careful not to show them being physically aggressive towards a woman."
LAUREN: "Well, yeah."
IB: "And a couple seasons ago -- the British Men of Letters organization turned Sam and Dean's mother into a brainwashed assassin who'd killed any number of Sam and Dean's friends. So when they corner the lady who runs the Men of Letters, Sam should be well within his rights to execute this psychotic murderess -- she's declared honest-to-God, all-out war on hunters which is the moral equivalent of sending a sniper after firemen and paramedics. But Sam waits for the lady to pull her weapon BEFORE he shoots her."
LAUREN: "Yeah, it's totally justifiable -- but the show just doesn't want to show men killing women onscreen. Because even if it's not real, it's still -- it's a really disturbing image in real-world situations because in real life, when men kill women, it's about power and dominance and control and SUPERNATURAL doesn't want to endorse that or have footage for that."
IB: "Well, for the third time -- Harper is a serial killer."
LAUREN: "Oh, like Sam and Dean haven't murdered lots of people."
IB: "Like who!? I mean, there was that lady whose blood Sam drank, but she was possessed by a demon -- and there was the werewolf mercy killing -- "
LAUREN: "How about that Frankenstein family member who got dragged into breaking into the bunker?"
IB: "Oh, that's fine."
LAUREN: "How was that fine!?"
IB: "He was part of a home invasion! I'm sorry, but you invade someone's home, you die. Sam and Dean will never feel safe in the bunker again!"
LAUREN: "Oh, I hate the bunker. Sam and Dean are supposed to be working class heroes; I don't like them being heirs to the Men of Letters legacy."
Re: SlidersCast: Rewatching the show one podcast at a time (49 replies, posted in Sliders Bboard)
I think it would be best if SLIDERSCAST never returned. Look, I love Jim Ford. He gave me the idea for introducing Quinn Mallory's daughter to SLIDERS REBORN. He plugged my "Slide Effects" script. He plugged SLIDERS REBORN in a special message recorded for the twentieth anniversary and argued that it's not technically a non-canon story since all fanfic is canonical in SLIDERS. And Dan Kurtzke has his moments ("Tuesday Floozeday!") and they had Annie Fish guest-star on the podcast.
But let's look at their results: they don't adhere to any kind of schedule, regularly giving the impression that SLIDERSCAST has been abandoned. Dan is clearly not engaged with SLIDERS at all, spending every episode bringing up the most asinine complaints (he protests that the sliders just shouldn't get involved in any plots and hide out in a bunker or something). Jim is solid, but this is a podcasting pair who failed to discuss the MASSIVE visual differences between "As Time Goes By" and "Double Cross," who completely missed the huge production changes and characterization alterations between "Luck of the Draw" and "Into the Mystic."
Why are Jim and Dan reviewing episodes of SLIDERS when they can't seem to invest in the viewing experience of SLIDERS enough to grasp the obvious and glaring? What is the point of a SLIDERS podcast that analyzes SLIDERS in such a clumsy, incapable, incompetent fashion?
Jim and Dan should move on. Dan clearly wants to do a STARGATE podcast, Jim would clearly enjoy that too -- so I suggest that they leave SLIDERSCAST behind (I mean, they have already) and do their STARGATECAST. That'll be fine. I would even start watching STARGATE just to enjoy their STARGATE podcast. It's not that Jim and Dan are bad podcasters; they're just bad SLIDERS podcasters and they would be great if tackling content for which they *both* had passion and interest. Only one person in SLIDERSCAST is actually interested in SLIDERS.