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I found this neat essay about Tom Cruise in M:I6 that made me think about Quinn:

Cinema Sangha wrote:

Acting isn’t about pretending. Acting is about truth, and it’s about discovering the truth in yourself and presenting it through a fictionalized lens.

Tom Cruise inhabits a world very different from our own. His truth is not our truth. And I don’t mean this in some hacky class war way. I mean it in a spiritual way, he exists on a different wavelength than the rest of us. Tom Cruise could have been President – his tragic flaw is that he fell in with a bunch of hucksters and scumbags and ended up being the only person to benefit from their scam system.

When he walks into the room he brings with him this energy that is palpable and exhilarating, and it isn’t a messy ball of energy, randomly bouncing about. The energy that Cruise carries with him is focused and disciplined. Tom Cruise doesn’t not know how to do things. Tom Cruise just hasn’t learned something yet, and there’s a huge mental difference between those two concepts.

No actor has ever run with such truth and honesty.

Tom Cruise is ambition in human form. He’s the anthropomorphic embodiment of achievement. He’s work ethic made flesh. It’s not that things come easy to Tom Cruise, it’s that working for things comes easy to Tom Cruise.

In the moments when he runs, Tom Cruise is clearly in a state of singular focus, with all of his attention – all of that intense energy that swirls about him like electrical storms around a mountain top – beamed in at one spot ahead of him. This is the truest moment for Cruise, when he is all about achieving the next step, and then the next, and then the next. This is his soul on screen, a man aimed forward, launched like a missile, existing only for each pump of the leg, for each arm gracefully knifing through the air. … om-cruise/

There is nothing that Quinn Mallory doesn't know how to do -- just things he hasn't learned how to do. Yet. There is a huge mental difference between those two concepts. I think this is as true for Quinn as it is for Ethan Hunt, and I do see the mid-50s Tom Cruise character as a representation of who Quinn would be today. And this essay had me wondering, what's the difference between the two characters?

Looking at the actors, Tom Cruise's confidence is cocksure yet scrambling; he's perpetually emphasizing the strain it takes for his Ethan Hunt to pull off the impossible feat that he must in order to disable a nuclear missile or fry a bomb injected into his skull. It's not that Ethan is destined to win; it's that he's prepared to endure insane physical distress and suffering like a human crash dummy until he staggers towards victory and from MI:4 - 6, Cruise has played Ethan with a certain weary resignation to the next beating he'll have to go through.

In contrast, Jerry O'Connell's confidence is unsteady and nervous. Jerry's hypercaffeinated twitches and gesticulating indicate that Quinn isn't entirely sure he can muddle through, is less-than-sure he can survive the next round of lunacy and he takes on Sid and tries to save Daelin and wins over the Oakland Raiders with a low-key astonishment that his crazy gambit actually paid off. When Jerry runs, it's with a panicked desperation aiming at whatever direction is away from danger.

Ethan Hunt is never running away. Even if someone's chasing him, he's running to something -- a trap, a friend, a plan. His fleeing is methodical and strategic. Ethan Hunt is a secret agent. Quinn Mallory is a college dropout who can occasionally ascend to being Ethan, but even if Quinn is Ethan, Quinn is a fundamentally dysfunctional Ethan Hunt, much as Jerry O'Connell's career trajectory was a shabby Tom Cruise impersonation.

Tom Cruise's truth is in running, in his willingness to commit and plow through each step towards his goal. What is Jerry O'Connell's truth? I have no idea, maybe that's why he never became a leading man film star. What is Quinn Mallory's truth?

To me, there are two definitive Quinn-scenes: "Gillian of the Spirits" where he sits quietly with Gillian and looks at this flawed, troubled, broken, lost little girl and tells her with earnest sincerity and full honesty that that she has a gift and a purpose. On one level, he's heartening a desperately needed ally; on another, he is simply calling it as he sees it; there is no false sentiment or comfort in his words. He means it.

Then there's "In Dino Veritas" where after being absent for most of the episode, Quinn reappears and starts looking around the cave the sliders have been trapped in. The sliders regarded the cave with helplessness and fear. Quinn looks around and sees points of egress and opportunity to escape, each look granting him new information to put together a solution and a plan with Jerry performing Quinn's calculation and problem solving in silent perfection.

Quinn's truth is in looking at people and their surroundings and seeing their meaning, value, purpose and importance -- and I suspect that this is not Jerry's truth as much as it's John Rhys-Davies' truth which he imparted to Jerry as his unofficial acting coach.

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Has anyone ever seen the Netflix show Sense8?

I finished season 2 and the finale movie last week.  It's a really interesting show in that I'm not sure if it's great or if it tries too hard.  There's definitely some cool action sequence (it is the Wachowskis after all), but the mechanics of how the sensates work don't make a lot of sense and isn't consistent.  And I'm not sure they accomplished the kind of world-building that I think they wanted to do.  But visually, at times, the show looked great.  Even when the show would devolve into huge orgies, making me uncomfortable whenever I tried to watch on my iPad at the gym smile

Anyone else watch this?  Curious to know others' thoughts.

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I haven't seen SENSE8 yet, but I'll get to it. I'm a big fan of writer J. Michael Straczynski's comic books (SPIDER-MAN, THOR, MIDNIGHT NATION, RISING STARS, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, SUPERMAN EARTH ONE) and I liked BABYLON 5. I miss his comic book work; his output had slowed to a crawl for many years and then he admitted that he'd been going blind, making it hard to write, but an experimental surgery restored his sight and then he felt the need to move on from comics and film and move into prose. I'm not clear if he's staying in movies or TV.


I like to watch XENA: WARRIOR PRINCESS and Nickelodeon's NINJA TURTLES on my iPad in the gym. The intense physicality of those shows gets me energized. I also liked watching TOMB RAIDER (2018).

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How essential is it to watch the classics when it comes to television?

My niece was intrigued by THE X-FILES and BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER, both of which were important and vital fantasy shows. But is there anything either show has to offer in terms of storytelling (ongoing mythology, progressive character development) that isn't done with a more skillful touch in SUPERNATURAL and SHADOWHUNTERS? It's not because TXF and BVS were poor; later shows learned from where previous shows stumbled while growing from their strengths. I adore THE FLASH TV series on the CW but have only ever been able to struggle through two episodes of the 90s show.

Shows like THE PRISONER, BABYLON 5 and the 60s STAR TREK and DOCTOR WHO are a fascinating form of televised theatre and stand the test of time as a compelling artifact, but it is really hard to get through MACGYVER or MATLOCK in a post-CSI era.

NINJA TURTLES has had so many incarnations -- but I really can't recommend that a potential new fan read the unreadable Mirage comics or delve into the childish and repetitive and clumsy 80s - 90s animated series and the 2003 series is rather dour and slow and the movies are extremely mixed. Really, the best incarnation to watch is the 2012 Nickelodeon CG series which is visually up to date and picks the strongest elements of all previous versions.

What are the classics we can't miss and the classics we should feel free to skip? It's hard to recommend that anyone watch SLIDERS when FRINGE is available and on blu-ray; it's tough to send anyone to DAWSON'S CREEK when we've got RIVERDALE -- newer isn't always better, but older isn't always relevant.

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I'm watching Man in the High Castle on Amazon Prime.  I loved the book, and I think the show is just okay.  Spoilers for Season 3 if you're watching it too.

But the book dealt with parallel universes.  Not just in the fact that it took place in one but characters in the book were capable of traveling from their world to one where the Nazis lost the war.  The show expands on this quite a bit with more "travelers".  But season 3 moves to the idea that the Nazis want to conquer other worlds.

My problem with this is my problem with the Kromaggs.  Even if the Nazis could build a machine to travel between worlds, and even if they had the complete element of do you even go about conquering an entire planet?  The Nazis won World War II with the help of the Japanese.  In the show, they're potentially going to be in a fight with the Japanese.

I don't know how they have the manpower to think they can take over an entire world *and* fight a war at home.  I think it's an idea that sounds scary on paper, but it's something that would be almost impossible to pull off...even once.  Let alone "the Nazis conquer the multiverse"

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Update to my last post -

They actually referenced the absurdity of the plan in the episode, blaming it on fascist megalomania.  They also made it fairly clear the plan wouldn't really work even if they wanted it to.

So props to them on that.

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After 20+ years, I finally watched Babylon 5. Started it earlier in the summer and just finished it yesterday. I wanted to know where I stood with the whole DS9/B5 debate, even though I'm not a JMS fan at all.

My thoughts:

The whole idea that DS9 ripped anything off is BS. The shows have some vague similarities, but nothing that looks as though anyone from DS9 had access to a B5 show bible and copied stuff. Some of the similarities wouldn't have even been in the early plans for B5 because they came about after major cast shakeups and changes in direction.

I think this scandal was probably great publicity for JMS and his show, so he ran with it. Ultimately, there isn't anything there.

The show itself was okay. Not great, not horrible. The writing could have benefitted from some more polishing most of the time. It wasn't horrible, but it didn't change my world at all. Season 1 was boring. Seasons 2 and 3 were the best. Season 4 was kind of a mess, and kept resolving the series prematurely (I understand why, but I'm just judging what's on screen now). Season 5 was a waste of my time, and the actual series finale (filmed a year before) felt like it could have remained a "lost episode" without much harm. The second to last episode actually felt more like the end (as did a few episodes in season 4, for that matter)

Overall, B5 is okay. I still like DS9 better, but that's to be expected, since I've been a DS9 fan for decades. But I just liked the vibe of DS9 more. I liked the cast and the interactions more. I liked the arcs more. But I acknowledge that DS9 had a huge Star Trek foundation to work with, and more money, etc. It had advantages going in.

I don't think it really has to be as either/or as fans have made this debate over the years. They're different shows. Nobody stole anything. There's no need for animosity of any kind. JMS is still not my favorite person or my favorite writer. I think he's highly overrated, but there's really not much to get worked up about here.

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I agreed with Informant on this, so I'm either having a mid-life crisis or I'm sick. (I am a bit feverish.) The only real point of disagreement -- BABYLON 5 was excellent in the era in which it was made where shows that attempted ongoing arcs, political allegory, social satire and character development tended to end up like, well, SLIDERS. Since then, the highly advanced stage theatre of the show has aged poorly and it's a product of its time.

It's strange -- Informant has actually seen more of B5 than I have, which is to say I watched maybe four episodes of the final season and then skipped ahead to the finale and have never felt the need to watch what I missed.

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Wait... I didn't have to watch season 5 in order to get my B5 street creds? Why didn't I know this before?!

I think that the show was a part of sci-fi television's evolution for sure. It, along with DS9 and The X-Files, showed that the longer arcs could succeed, and science fiction tv didn't need to be a shallow way to pass a lazy Saturday afternoon.

That said, I don't think that I would have considered the show great, even back in that time. While a lot of the show's ideas were interesting, the execution of those ideas was often sloppy. This isn't something that can be blamed on budgets or limitations of technology. It was about the decisions being made. Some of the show's huge weaknesses can he chalked up to uncertainty regarding its renewal. But many smaller cracks in the overall structure were just bad construction.

No show is perfect. Ultimately, it comes down to personal tastes and whether or not the good outweighs the bad. I don't feel like I wasted my time watching the show, but I don't think that I would feel a need to recommend the show to others, the way I would with shows that really inspire me or get me excited.

Re: Random Thoughts … es-the-cw/

I really liked the 4400.  Not sure it would've made sense to do a sequel series, but I'm interested in a reboot.

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The CW needs to stop rebooting shows.

I'm not sure that The 4400 needs a reboot. Networks do similar shows all the time, and they really never work out.

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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.

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As a big fan of Buffy, I offer a third option... None of the comics are canon. The Buffy comics were horrible on every level. Even worse than the final season of the TV series. So in my head, the comics don't exist. I don't care if Joss was involved. He went nuts and I don't have to buy into everything he says.

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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.

215 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2019-01-06 23:47:04)

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One of the guys who wrote those comics is actually a showrunner now for Fear the Walking Dead.  And previously he was with that ABC fantasy one about all the disney characters.  The name escapes me.  So there was some talent behind it but I guess it wasn't everyone's cup of tea.

edit: Once Upon A Time

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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.

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I can't speak for the Angel comics. The Angel series lost sight of its mission pretty early on and was a stinking mess of a series. I usually pretend that series never happened, and that Cordelia just escaped Sunnydale and lived happily ever after.

But the Buffy comics simply weren't Buffy. The themes weren't there. The storytelling style was completely different. The characters weren't themselves. Nothing about the continuation that I read felt like Buffy at all. And this wasn't just a difference in platforms, because other Buffy comics were great. And no matter how well the comics sold, I know a large portion of the TV fandom that rejected it.

The beautiful thing about all of this is that none of it is real. We can process this material however we please. I reject a season and a half of the actual series, because it was crap. When I'm feeling charitable, I acknowledge the whole series, but use my own season 8 to repair the damage in my own mind. I still enjoy Supernatural, but consider the original series to have ended with season 5, and each showrunner's stretch to be its own sequel. Arrow ended with season 2. The Flash/Supergirl musical never happened. The X-Files revival consisted of only a few episodes, each set in a different universe, unrelated to the original series.

I was randomly reading my first Buffy season 8 script the other day, because I was sitting in a car by myself for a long time and got bored, and I'd been reading this thread. Aside from some spelling/grammar problems, and maybe a few lines that I might revise if I had another pass at it, I found that I still enjoyed that script. I'm just going to choose to buy into the version that brings me joy, and ignore the one that has Dawn as a centaur, and Buffy and Angel destroying scenery while having flying/orbital sex. smile

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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.

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Informant wrote:

I'm just going to choose to buy into the version that brings me joy, and ignore the one that has Dawn as a centaur, and Buffy and Angel destroying scenery while having flying/orbital sex. smile

Oh, my.

Earth Prime | The Definitive Source for Sliders™

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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.

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I started and finished "Umbrella Academy" from Netflix.  I thought it was pretty fun, and I'm looking forward to another season.  Has anyone else seen it?

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Hmm. Many, many, many years ago, when I was in college and chatting with one of my friends who was still in high school:

TASHA: "Dude!! I had sex with Gerard Way! Oh my God his penis is SO HUGE and he told me I was so hot he'd risk the jail time to stat-rape me."

IB: "Oh. Did you... did you want to?"

TASHA: "He's a STAR, totally, and besides, I got backstage to his show and we were both wasted. He gave me his email the next morning but yeah right. The important thing is that I'm so hot I'm worth risking jail to fuck."

IB: "Did he say anything about the next issue of his UMBRELLA ACADEMY comic? It's been late."

TASHA: "No. We didn't really talk."

IB: "Damn it. Just to be clear, he didn't force himself or -- ?"

TASHA: "No, it was more like I forced him."

I want to watch it at some point, but not right now because my archnemesis is in the show and I worry that it could be triggering to see her perform in anything. ("What? You know someone who's in UMBRELLA ACADEMY? Who?") Well, one of my quirks is that I have a number of friends who are actors and we like to hang out, eat pizza or ramen or raw fish and discuss acting (body language, vocal inflection, space, expression, etc.). As a socially awkward person, actresses are a wonderful resource for me to become a more polite and considerate person in my interactions with others.

TRANSMODIAR: "So, these performers are all young... ?"

IB: "Uh, I guess. I can be a little juvenile, so I tend to draw younger people to me as friends."

TRANSMODIAR: "And they're all girls?"

IB: "Hmm. Yeah. All of them."

TRANSMODIAR: "Attractive?"

IB: " ... that has nothing to do with anything. These are all sexless, platonic friendships. We just eat and talk and then go home separately. Most of them are pretty happily boyfriended. Women always treat me as one of the girls."

TRANSMODIAR: "Send me pictures!"

Anyway. I've found these friendships very rewarding -- but there was one that started out well and then went really bad. There was this one actress -- I'm going to call her Anne Hathaway. We would hang out and do the usual thespian-oriented chatter, and Anne would occasionally ask me for some favours. She'd ask me to write reviews of her acting troupe's work so she and her team could feel good about themselves and I was happy to do that because they do good stuff.

She would ask me to track down extremely obscure and difficult to locate plays for her acting workshops, and I was happy to do that as well. I went to journalism school so I know how to find documents. Working on had taught me how to assemble scanned sheets into a reproducable, readable digital file. All I asked in return: for each favour, I asked that Anne accompany me to a stageplay, watch it with me and then talk about it with me afterwards over something nutritious and vegetarian. Or provide a complimentary ticket to the show for which I'd found the text.

I delivered but Anne didn't. On four occasions, Anne showed up to our show late and ignored me when I spoke to her afterwards, instead talking to other people and acting like I was some unwelcome stalker as opposed to someone with whom she'd made plans. At one point, we had dinner plans after a theatre festival event; I met her at the event and she walked off, went home, and didn't bother to tell me that dinner had been cancelled.

After that, Anne failed to provide the tickets in exchange for the texts I'd procured. I'd find things for her and her immediate follow-up would be to treat me like a stranger she barely knew.

This really hurt me and I told her I was angry. She told me that she was sorry, she was just very easily distracted due to a busy work schedule. I could never let go of how I went out of my way to help someone who treated me with complete disdain and disinterest and disregard and she really dented my self-esteem and I dislike Anne Hathaway intensely. I declared her my archnemesis and told my niece all about it.

LAUREN: "Anne being someone you don't want to spend time with does NOT make her your archenemy."

IB: "I know! I said archnemesis."

But I know I was being ridiculous. These days, if one of my actress friends responded to a favour by acting like they didn't know me, I wouldn't tell them off or confront them. I'd just quietly end the association and I have a lot in my life to keep me busy. I have a niece, my studies in Bootstrap and vector imaging and I don't depend on any one person's regard for my sense of self. And yet, recently, when having dinner with my friend Emma the Osteopathy Student --

EMMA: "Hey, you like superheroes. Have you seen UMBRELLA ACADEMY?"

IB: "I have not. Anne Hathaway is in it. I saw her on the cast list. I don't want to see her. It could be triggering for me."

EMMA: "Anne Hathaway's not in this show -- oh, you mean that actress you call Anne Hathaway. Shit, really!? Who does she play?"

IB: "Woman Number Three."

EMMA: " ... uh... oh. I -- I remember who she is. You know -- it's... it's not a very big role."

IB: "She's clearly a pivotal player in the series."

EMMA: "She is barely in the show."

IB: "She's clearly a cameo to seed a larger plot with a mythology on which Woman Number Three is the crux of all things!"

EMMA: "She's like an extra."

IB: "An extra source of grief!"

EMMA: "Yeah, okay."

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Ha, that's actually a pretty great story smile

But is your nemesis Emmy Raver-Lampman?  She literally plays "Number Three"

(As a fellow journalist, you don't have to answer that smile )

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I’d rather not say. It’s not that I wouldn’t like to destroy my archnemesis, split open her psyche, shatter her career and such — but I have a lot of other actress friends and would like to keep the ones I have and find a few more. I wouldn’t want my friends to fear that should our friendships ever take a turn for the worse, I might seek revenge by attacking their reputations or careers as that would induce present and future actresses to keep their distance. Instead, I’d rather they see that this woman upset me, and that my approach is to steer clear of her and when I talk about her, I alter certain details to make her unidentifiable.

She isn’t actually credited as Woman Number Three, I changed the name because I’d forgotten her character’s name as given on the sheet. It’s a generic term I use like saying Brandon Routh auditioned to play Cop Number Three or Bystander One.

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Haha, that's completely fair.  I assumed based on the way you spoke about her that you weren't going to say.  But when you said she was credited as "Woman Number Three" I immediately checked to see whether Allison was Number Three and she was.  So it was either a Freudian slip or a coincidence.

There also aren't a ton of women on the show, despite Ellen Page getting top billing.  So it'd be Ellen Page, Emmy Raver-Lampman, or Mary J. Blige if you're talking about main cast.  If it's a guest character, there's a handful of people it could be.  Four of the seven "recurring" characters (according to Wikipedia) are female.

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Nobody should think my not denying a failed friendship with Raver-Lampmann is in any way a confirmation of my archnemesis' identity. I'm not keen to allow people to identify the woman in question via process of elimination.

It would be hilarious, though, for people to imagine that Ellen Page and I were sitting down every four weeks to eat vegan burgers and talk about the art of acting and that she stiffed me on show tickets after accepting my help with tracking down obscure texts and that I spent months wandering about my day wondering why Ellen Page didn't think I was worth her time or friendship.

The reason why (not) Anne Hathaway's behaviour freaked me out so much: I was pretty awkward with women in college and grad school to the point of wanting to tell a classmates I that I liked her writing/editing/interviewing/personality but being too shy to approach, so I would meander in their vicinity and be unable to communicate or if I did, I would say something creepy and disturbing like indicating I knew their bus routes or where they lived (because I'd heard them mention it while circling without landing).

As an adult, a bunch of female friends explained why this was disturbing and I knew afterwards to be direct and make it easy for anyone to walk out of a conversation and to be careful not to indicate in-depth knowledge of strangers until they weren't strangers. And it meant a lot to me to have so many close female friends. It told me that I had repaired a defect in my behaviour that caused people alarm and made them feel threatened.

When Anne acted like she didn't know me and ignored the fact that we'd made plans and ignored me when I tried to talk to her, it terrified me. Were we actually friends or had I misread something? Had we actually made plans to meet or was it some sort of delusion? Did she actually promise complimentary tickets or was that my assumption? I would nervously review text messages and emails and call my friends to ask if they had any memory of Anne.

She really disturbed me and her behaviour would remind me of how awful I'd been to women in my early 20s and the combination of anxiety and paranoia and shame would make me deeply depressed and I despise Anne for making me feel that way when the actual reality was: she asked for help, she agreed to hang out and hand over show tickets in return, she took the help and didn't live up to her end -- partially because she was yes, tired and overworked and distracted -- but also because she took my help for granted, didn't have much interest in the person helping her and doesn't see keeping promises as meaningful commitments to uphold.

But, as I said, if that were to happen today, it wouldn't bother me (as much). I wouldn't make a scene or tell the person off in some quietly furious confrontation like I did with Anne. I'd just quietly fade out of their life and not be available to them going forward.

I've run into Anne a few times since then at various acting events (I'm not an actor, but I learn a lot from them). I've coldly studied the space behind her left shoulder if I have to look in her direction at all. I've told our mutual friends that if they want to talk to her, they can go right ahead. I, however, will go wait in the car. Whenever Anne she sees me, she tends to do her stuff and dive for the exit at which point I linger in the room for 10 minutes so she can get a few blocks' distance.

She still triggers a lot of anxious mistrust in me and I'm not keen to invite her into my living room and even if I did invite her, she wouldn't show up or would show up late and then act like I was an unwanted stranger and ignore our mutual agreements and have no regard for my contributions to her life and career and cause me so much distress that I wouldn't be able to appreciate the show.

I used to feel the same way about Jerry O'Connell. It took exactly 15 years to wear off.

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Out of curiosity, does anyone here subscribe to anything on Patreon?  And if there are creators whose work you engage with frequently, but don't support, why?

I'm just curious because it always amazes me how some stuff with seemingly loyal, hardcore followings... sometimes for underserved, specific content, manages to snag such few patreon subscriptions.  It doesn't seem like people feel the need to support stuff just for the sake of doing so.

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I don't currently support any artists on Patreon. I'm thinking about it, but I guess what it comes down to is that I'm uncomfortable about making a regular, monthly, standing contribution to a single artist.

I'm a huge fan of writer Peter David; I have yet to join his Patreon. At $12 a year, the benefits of seeing selectly private blog entries isn't worth it to me. At $60 a year, I get his select blog entries and his family photos... which really doesn't do it for me. At $240 a year, I finally get the content I'd want: entries about writing, a monthly Q&A where I can submit questions he'll answer, a chapter a month of his autobiography -- but $240 is just too much annually.

I would also like to support Eruditorum Press, but for $60 a year, I get progress reports and previews of the material I will later buy in book form. That doesn't really do it for me either.

I guess what I would really want and what I would be prepared to pay for -- for $60 a year, I want Peter David's blog entries on writing and to see the Q&As on writing. For $120 a year, I want the blog entries, the opportunity to submit questions and one short story a month. For $240 a year, I want the blog entries, Q&A access, one short story a month and a digital copy of any of his new books and comics during the year. And for Eruditorum Press, for $60 a year, I want... honestly, I don't know what Eruditorum Press could offer me on a subscription service. I will buy all Eruditorum Press books, so I guess a Patreon could automatically send me any and all ebooks for $60 a year, print copies and ebooks for $120 a year and make sure to publish up to four a year or offer a refund.

I'm not a wholehearted fan of the WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE podcast, but I think their Patreon is great. They release a regular and free fictional podcast. For $60 a year, you get behind the scenes notes. For $120 a year, you get the behind the scenes notes, four bonus episodes, a small item of merchandise, access to pre-sales for the concerts and a 10 per cent discount on merchandise. If I were a bigger fan, I would find this very reasonable.

With this in mind, for MY Patreon:

$60 a year gets you two SLIDERS scripts a year, taking place after the events of SLIDERS REBORN and featuring Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo's new adventures in the restored multiverse with Sliders Incorporated. The premiere has Quinn throwing out his back and realizing at he's over 50 and wondering how he can keep sliding.

$120 a year gets you four SLIDERS scripts a year: two REBORN scripts and two scripts set in a reboot continuity where college student Quinn discovers sliding in 2020 and begins sliding with Wade, Rembrandt and Arturo.

$240 a year gets you personal letters from Quinn, Wade, Rembrandt or Arturo (choose one), one a month as your personal penpals, plus the four scripts.

$360 a year gets you all four scripts and four letters a month from the characters.

$480 a year gets you a podcast between me and Transmodiar as he chastises me for the foolishness of this endeavour and castigates me for writing fan fiction after he told me to do original work. Also, you may commission a SLIDERS adventure of your choice for a script!

For $720 a year, you get to see the cease and desist letter from NBCUniversal when they shut me down for unauthorized use and profit of their property and you get to hear Transmodiar laugh at me when this happens plus all of the above.

And at $960 a year, you get to see me realize that all my writing on SLIDERS has always been a gift. Something to hand over freely to the fans. You see me realize that the scripts, the reviews, the blogs, the message board posts – they are a gift to myself and a declaration that yes, this 90s show was silly and poorly written and badly acted for the bulk of its run, but it was special and full of potential and populated with great characters and it was not only loved with sincerity and earnest truth, it was worthy of love and had its later-era creators given it the attention and care it deserved, it would have been a wonderful show that would have stood alongside THE X-FILES, LOST, MACGYVER, SUPERNATURAL and the greatest and most overlooked TV series of all time, SHE SPIES and at this point, I give all the money back.

("What is SHE SPIES?" It's about three lady spies. It's a tongue-in-cheek CHARLIE's ANGELS with a lot of fourth-wall breaking and self-awareness and hand to hand combat. I'm overexplaining it. Women. Punching! Villains!)

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I support one creator on Patreon.  I would do more, but I'm on a fixed income.

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I've given through PayPal to places but not patreon. Still, it always intrigues me when I see some of these podcasts with fairly big followings, and of high quality content, but so few actively contributing.  I think people are super reluctant to give out of any sense of 'support' if they are getting most of the content free anyway.

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Arguably true but unsettlingly mercenary. I think it's more what Quinn said in "Luck of the Draw": he said to Wade, "You don't get something for NOTHING" -- which is to say that when you charge a price, you need to offer, as John Rhys-Davies would put it, "value for the money" where the customer receives something they would not have without paying for it and something worth the money that they paid to buy it. The problem -- for me -- is not that the free Eruditorum Press blogs isn't worth supporting financially. It's that if I am to offer them money, they must provide in exchange something I wouldn't otherwise have that makes me feel I made a good purchasing decision.

I am constantly seeking to get as much as possible in return for the money I spend. I feel good about my monthly Netflix subscription and make sure to use it to justify the cost. I pay for health insurance and I'm constantly looking into how to take full advantage of it, getting as many pairs of glasses as I can, as much dental care as I can.

If they want $60 a year, I want all their ebooks for that price. If they want $120 a year, I want all the ebooks and a selection of three of their print books each year. If they want $240 a year, I want all the ebooks and all the print versions and a monthly Skype panel with the bloggers. And so forth. I'm not paying Peter David $120 a year for the privilege of his family photos -- but I would pay him $120 a year for blog entries on writing, everything he's published that year in a digital format and access to his monthly Q&As. If I pay money, I want a product that matches my estimation for what that money is worth. I think the markup on these products for these prices would be sufficiently renumerative for these content producers.

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An interesting article: … -casualty/

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Well, it can come down to quality. I recognize that networks think in terms of ad revenue and audience demographics and points and yes, that's all very important, but the public image of the Sci-Fi Channel: they produce poor, underbudgeted projects funded at the bare minimum that actor and crew unions will permit, and when shows aren't massive, LOST-level successes, they don't give their shows any support, make no effort at marketing and won't put in the work to make their shows good or even known to the public. Syfy, post rebranding, has maintained the same reputation.

BATLESTAR GALACTICA challenged it thanks to multiple producing partners to aid in financing the show, but even after that, Sci-Fi/Syfy continued to produce financially malnourished projects like FLASH GORDON and PAINKILLER JANE. Shows that built a following like THE EXPANSE and DARK MATTER were cancelled with no concern for closure.

Over time, whatever audience Syfy sought saw them for what they were -- a network with neither investment nor loyalty in their shows or viewers. A network so indifferent to their flagship series SLIDERS that they let it end on a cliffhanger. And audiences moved on to shows produced with something resembling love and care and commitment both creatively and financially.

In recent years, Syfy's limited investment has been taken up with the studios assuming the cost of producing shows like WYNONNA EARP and CONTINUUM. Syfy airs them and earns ad revenue but sees nothing of the projects' gross profits in streaming and international sales. Syfy tends to do better with shows they don't own. Syfy's brand identity is hopelessly entangled with the slapdash horror movies that David Peckinpah would rip off for Season 3 of SLIDERS and reflects the Peckinpah attitude of indifference and negligence.

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ireactions wrote:

Well, it can come down to quality. I recognize that networks think in terms of ad revenue and audience demographics and points and yes, that's all very important, but the public image of the Sci-Fi Channel: they produce poor, underbudgeted projects funded at the bare minimum that actor and crew unions will permit, and when shows aren't massive, LOST-level successes, they don't give their shows any support, make no effort at marketing and won't put in the work to make their shows good or even known to the public. Syfy, post rebranding, has maintained the same reputation.

BATLESTAR GALACTICA challenged it thanks to multiple producing partners to aid in financing the show, but even after that, Sci-Fi/Syfy continued to produce financially malnourished projects like FLASH GORDON and PAINKILLER JANE. Shows that built a following like THE EXPANSE and DARK MATTER were cancelled with no concern for closure.

Over time, whatever audience Syfy sought saw them for what they were -- a network with neither investment nor loyalty in their shows or viewers. A network so indifferent to their flagship series SLIDERS that they let it end on a cliffhanger. And audiences moved on to shows produced with something resembling love and care and commitment both creatively and financially.

In recent years, Syfy's limited investment has been taken up with the studios assuming the cost of producing shows like WYNONNA EARP and CONTINUUM. Syfy airs them and earns ad revenue but sees nothing of the projects' gross profits in streaming and international sales. Syfy tends to do better with shows they don't own. Syfy's brand identity is hopelessly entangled with the slapdash horror movies that David Peckinpah would rip off for Season 3 of SLIDERS and reflects the Peckinpah attitude of indifference and negligence.

Well, in fairness to SyFy, they have showed a willingess to spend at times.  Defiance being one of them.  Krypton.  That George Martin series (that went nowhere and  they burned off).   12 Monkeys was not cheap, even if it wasn't big budget.  Let's call that medium.  Channel Zero and some of the other stuff, Happy, both weren't low-budget.

And, they did go through a phase with some big, expensive miniseries.

Frankly, I think part of their issues are that a lot of their big bets imo at least tend to be more niche, and specific.  Obviously, they are a genre networks, so I can see where it'd make sense to them, but I think they have to be broader in their flagship series.  Stuff that folks outside of hardcore sci-fi fans can get into. 

I can see the argument for the opposite direction, but I don't think that's worked for them, and I am not sure they have always been great at making programming decisions in that area.

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Just to clarify what I mean by broad:  TNG, Orville, Sliders, Stranger things, The Magicians to me are broad sci-fi.  Whereas something like Happy, or Blood Drive or Channel Zero, Defiance or more hardcore genre shows.  I tend to think they've leaned too much to hardcore stuff.  They should focus more on pulling in channel surfers, imo.

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Yeah, you could be right. I'm not sure what to add, but what you write about broad and hardcore sci-fi prompts a memory of Temporal Flux's impeccable wisdom. TF once remarked that FOX struggled to market SLIDERS. FOX was thrown off by how SLIDERS was a science fiction series and FOX couldn't figure out which demographic to sell the show towards or how to make it fit the category of action-adventure -- except, to TF, television that works has only one meaningful genre, one significant element above all: characterization.

Professor Arturo is a genius who failed to gain recognition for his brilliance; Wade Welles is a dreamer who failed to find direction in life; Rembrandt Brown is a musician who failed to hang onto his 15 minutes of fame; Quinn Mallory is a failure who failed to create anti-gravity -- but he may have discovered something else instead. Whether it's broadly science fiction, hard science fiction or a romantic comedy/workplace dramedy/mockumentary/mumblecore/improv/whatever, it can exist against in-depth or subtle science fiction. What really matters are characters that the audience care about and want to invite into their living rooms on a weekly basis.

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ireactions wrote:

Yeah, you could be right. I'm not sure what to add, but what you write about broad and hardcore sci-fi prompts a memory of Temporal Flux's impeccable wisdom. TF once remarked that FOX struggled to market SLIDERS. FOX was thrown off by how SLIDERS was a science fiction series and FOX couldn't figure out which demographic to sell the show towards or how to make it fit the category of action-adventure -- except, to TF, television that works has only one meaningful genre, one significant element above all: characterization.

Professor Arturo is a genius who failed to gain recognition for his brilliance; Wade Welles is a dreamer who failed to find direction in life; Rembrandt Brown is a musician who failed to hang onto his 15 minutes of fame; Quinn Mallory is a failure who failed to create anti-gravity -- but he may have discovered something else instead. Whether it's broadly science fiction, hard science fiction or a romantic comedy/workplace dramedy/mockumentary/mumblecore/improv/whatever, it can exist against in-depth or subtle science fiction. What really matters are characters that the audience care about and want to invite into their living rooms on a weekly basis.

Yea, TV is all about characters.  And Sliders really nailed that.

To me, SLIDERS, even today, would be difficult to pull off on network television.  I think part of FOX's struggle was that they were trying to hit numbers that something of SLIDERS' ilk was not really going to capture without out-of-this-world creative execution (which would require incredible skill and luck).

It's not meant for network tv, and even though the Orville got a renewal, thanks to strong VOD numbers, that barely is as well.  Look at Timeless, too. Sci-fi on network is tough.   That new, formulaic 911 show on FOX beat out the latest X-Files ratings.  And the latest X-Files became more niche than what it once was (which was more Twin Peaks-ish).

I guess I am saying, there is a place and audience for SLIDERS, but it's not on network tv.  The appeal of a show, even if it's broad sci-fi, isn't broad to the point where it's easy to get the numbers those networks were and are looking for.  Sliders in it's original form would have been perfect if Netflix at the time (a large audience, but not an ad-supported model, rather premium).  But that middle ground didn't exist.  And a lot of households didn't even have cable (which pushed series budgets on cable, like sci-fi's, down).

A lot of the appeal of the original sliders was the teamwork and chemistry between the cast, and viewers who like odd, quirky things. Who like to think differently.   I think as well as it did in lasting three seasons at about eight-and-half million viewers, the market for what most executions of it could deliver wasn't going to be big enough to do the 11m+ FOX probably wanted because it's very hard to change a market.  Viewers are who they are.  It really needed the in-between model we have today for television programming for it to have been sustainable economically back then.

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If Sliders came out today, I think its best bet would be to be somewhere streaming or on a network like AMC.  In either case, it would need to be even less formulaic than it was since TV has moved so far towards serial storytelling.  AMC has done stuff like Into the Badlands or Humans (and quirky stuff like Lodge 49), and it's known for "smart" storytelling that Torme would appreciate.  If I were producing Sliders today, that's where I'd go after if I were them.

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Sliders doesn't lend itself to serialization very well.  The entire setting changes every time they slide.  That renders almost all long term storylines moot.

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It renders a lot of long term storylines moot but characterization remains.  The main characters still grow and change even if the setting changes.  It would be like a show that's about a journey.  Sam and Dean go to a new place each week with very few recurring characters, but the brothers still grew and evolved.  Preacher is essentially about a road trip, and it's setting/background characters change each season.  Even something like Star Trek has the crew going to a new planet each time (looking more at Discovery than any of the older shows since it's more serialized).

I do think that a modern re-telling wouldn't necessarily need to be one world per episode.  I think it might be interesting to stay on a world for 2-5 episode stretches and then move on.  For example, if they were to do a 12-episode season and visit four worlds per season.  I think it would allow for more drama and less deus ex machina to get the sliders out of a jam each week.

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Even something like Star Trek has the Federation.  Actions the characters take can have larger implications than just their ship that came come back to affect them.  Sliders basically precludes any sociological impacts like that.  Any recurring storylines have to be psychological, affecting individuals rather than institutions.

It might be amusing to have Sliders who don't like each other but are nonetheless stuck sliding together.

242 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2019-06-01 13:34:02)

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Just to add to the list of other failed sci fi on network tv... Minority Report, Terra Nova, Extant, Almost Human, The Reverie. 

The stuff that seems to work on broadcast network tv that might be considered sci fi seens to be more the 'spooky'/mystery stuff (Fringe, X-Files, Lost, which isn't really sci-fi).

FOX is taking another stab at sci-fi though. Surprisingly. … lease-date

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Outside of CW shows, and a few others, Don't most scifi sjows that make it past the 4 yr mark completely collapse in yr 5 due to cast changes or concept changes, Sci Fi channles run of Stargate and SGA suffer from this along with, Sliders, Farscape,Lexx, Andramada, Earth Final Conflict, Xena, just to name a few

244 (edited by RussianCabbie_Lotteryfan 2019-06-05 12:11:16)

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syfy cancelled Deadly Class (which did decent for them) after just  one season (they didn't own the show).  And they axed Happy as well (which did well on netflix but not so great on syfy).  So they are starting to move away from their bigger bets, and probably go back to cheaper stuff.  And only stuff they own if it has any sort of expense to it.

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This isn't the first time I've said this, but every time I read a particularly bleak period of superhero comics, I keep coming back to the sliders. GREEN LANTERN saw 99 per cent of its cast killed off and its storytelling engine destroyed when the title character became a psychotic mass murderer due to the mid-90s team wanting to shake up the book and not considering the loyalty readers felt towards Hal Jordan as Green Lantern.

BATMAN saw Bruce Wayne becoming an emotionless weirdo with a completely deadened, inhuman persona that made him unlikable to the vast majority of his readers, a trend sparked when superstar writer Mark Waid told one story -- one -- where it's revealed that Batman keeps secret files on all his friends with tactics to kill any of them should they turn against humanity, a story so influential that every subsequent writer wrote Batman as coldly plotting every friend's demise until Waid apologized and begged his fellow writers to stop doing that.

GREEN ARROW was blown up in a massive explosion.

All of the above has happened to the sliders too, but the sliders have the most commonalities with Spider-Man. Since Spidey's publishing career began in 1962, Spider-Man has faced dinosaurs, Dream Masters, deadly amusement parks, tornados, desert wastelands with water witches, dragons, intelligent flames, killer robots, Victorian era murder mysteries, giant bugs, radioactive worms. underground predators, planet-destroying pulses, zombies, hallucinogenic fogs, symbiotic parasites desperate to reproduce, vampires, super-intelligent snakes and animal human hybrids. I'm not entirely sure why he's constantly fighting symbiotic parasites desperate to reproduce and vampires -- Spider-Man writers seem inordinately fond of Venom and Morbius the Living Vampire, but there it is. As if desperate to complete the list, in 2013, Spider-Man was merged with another person and then his personality was 'lost.'

And then they all came back. GREEN LANTERN revealed that Hal Jordan had been infected by a raw manifestation of psychic fear and was healed, and the people he killed were shown to have been kept in stasis and he revived them. Batman acknowledged that he'd had a mental breakdown and went on a year-long trip with Dick Grayson and Tim Drake to revisit all the people and places he'd trained with to become Batman and healed. Green Arrow turned out to be alive after all. Spider-Man got his body and his life back although he still had to keep fighting symbiotes and vampires.

There is something fundamentally comforting and reassuring about the Marvel and DC Universes as crazy, genre-conflicting worlds where terrible things happen, but heroes generally make it through and no matter how lost or damaged a character might be, they always come back.

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One of my actress friends is in this comedy short involving parallel universes.

(We had coffee twice. I don't want to oversell our association.) …

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I went to San Francisco last week. I feel like a bad fan because it wasn't until the last day that I realized:

1. I was in the birthplace of sliding
2. I could've gone to some filming locations

I know they only shot a couple scenes for the Pilot in San Fran, but do we know where I could've gone?

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I would have gotten a pretzel and thought of the taste test. I would have visited the Presidio which isn't quite like the version we saw in "As Time Goes By." I would have admired the Bridge and made sure the colours were right while making sure that no action sequences happened there because Slider_Quinn21 thinks it's a cliche. I would have passed the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge where Quinn and Smarter Quinn were fighting with empty cars.

I would have also visited the Castro District and gone to the corner of 20th and Castro as that's where the primary access point to the Sliders Incorporated headquarters is located.

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I did have some thoughts about the Azure Gate Bridge when I saw the Golden Gate Bridge.  I thought briefly of apes and terminators and Magneto when we went over the bridge itself.  I did visit the Presidio but don't remember it from As Time Goes By.

I also thought about the Pilot, amongst other things, when I was in Golden Gate Park.

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Jerry O'Connell will be doing a taping soon for two weeks of "The Jerry O Show" -- a daytime talk show.

Seems like a test for a permanent series, or perhaps something they are keeping in mind if Wendy Williams decides to stop hosting (she is producing the Jerry O Show).