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Musing Over Recent Geeky Media - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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April 13th, 2009

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02:19 pm - Musing Over Recent Geeky Media
Doctor Who
Over the weekend, xtricks and athenian_abroad watched the latest Doctor Who episode Planet of the Dead with the three of us. Although I've heard various negative comments in reviews, I rather enjoyed the very thinly disguised Lara Croft clone as a temporary companion. It was a far from exceptionally episode, but enjoyable, except for one point. It's been quite a while since I've seen quite so stereotypical a magical negro on TV. The psychic gave useless pronouncements designed largely to inform the audience, while speaking in a very faint Caribbean accent. Also, as athenian_abroad pointed out while we were watching the episode, the woman and her husband also spend the entire episode sitting on the back of the bus, while the other characters actually do or attempt to do something useful. There were other far more active black characters, but I was still deeply unimpressed.

Speaking of being unimpressed, in addition to being fairly objectionable (best described by catvalente in this absolutely marvelous post about Dollhouse), I also do not remotely trust Joss Whedon to be smart when making this series. If Whedon was smart, the cryptic pronouncements given to him by dolls who have allegedly been programmed with secret messages would be simply another layer of deception, where the Dollhouse would be feeding (ex)-agent Ballard messages that would keep him waiting for more, tell him nothing remotely useful, and lead him off on the wrong track, or perhaps even aim him at their enemies. The fact that Ballard slept with Mellie after finding out she was a doll is a perfect way to both messing with Ballard's head, and making him complicit in the vileness that is the Dollhouse. Sadly, I don't expect Whedon or Fox to be anything remotely like that good. I also never expect to learn why the Dollhouse is spending so much effort on (ex)-agent Ballard now that he's in full-blown conspiracy-nut mode, and thus harmless because both the FBI and the press would treat him as a complete nutcase even if he found out something useful.

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
In vivid contrast, I quite liked the finale of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles - excellent, and very unexpected. I don't expect there to be another season (but still hold out hope that the SciFi (ie SyFy (ugh)) channel will buy it. A season starting with John Henry in the future taking the fight to future Skynet, before going back to the "present" to deal with present day Skynet, while Catherine Weaver and John Connor look for him, and Sarah Connor, Cameron now hooked up like John Henry, and James Ellison working to stop Skynet present and future from causing more trouble would be fascinating. Sadly, I expect all of this will only exist in fanfiction. Also, this is yet another episode where all three of us agree that John Connor has absolutely no chance of ever having a normal sex life. In any case, I'm also still in love with my idea for a post T:SCC tabletop RPG, where the PCs are time patrol agents in mixed human/machine teams from a future where the Judgment Day war didn't happen, who are attempting to keep things that way.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative

(4 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:April 13th, 2009 11:07 pm (UTC)
I would say in the episode's defence that the actress concerned -- Ellen Thomas -- probably spoke in her natural accent. I have seen or heard her in other things and do not recall her using any other.

[User Picture]
Date:April 14th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
I realize that this may come off as confrontational, so please bear in mind that I'm sort of playing Devil's advocate here. I find discussions of racism fascinating

Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar... it could just as easily be argued that an older psychic lady and her husband were sitting near the back of the bus (because they chose to) doing very little (because they were older and not as energetic as the younger people), and pointing out that they happened to be black shows an unnecessary preoccupation with race. I see black people choose to ride at the back of the bus all the time when they'd be more than welcome to sit wherever they'd like. Would you assume in such an instance that their location implied racism on the part of the driver or other passengers?
[User Picture]
Date:April 14th, 2009 04:14 am (UTC)
That back of the bus comment is merely icing on an already exceedingly dubious cake. The older psychic woman is an absolutely classical "magical negro" stereotype.
[User Picture]
Date:April 14th, 2009 06:18 am (UTC)
I took the season finale of Terminator as a definitive End of Series, but it is true that John Connor could eventually get sent back to the present, restoring the series structure.

One interesting thing about the future that John Connor and Weaver jump to is that that John Connor is not the leader of the resistance in that future (since there is clearly an established resistance and John Connor doesn't exist there).

The non-sex scene was fantastically perverse.

On Dollhouse, I think Ballard is definitely being played, although it seems likely that NSA agent/ head of security guy was playing Ballard rather than the Dollhouse proper. I thought this episode was okay, although Sierra in the NSA building didn't make much sense. Given that she just needed to see the name, why did she need to steal the sheet in a way that exposed her and risked her not getting out with the information, etc. etc?

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