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iain banks

Finding a Literary Agent

Posted on 2014.11.24 at 11:15
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I'm about 60% through the redraft process, so I thought it seemed like a good idea to start looking into agents and publishers that accept sci-fi/supernatural fiction.  I had a look a year or so back and found that the few that do accept unsolicited manuscripts from first time authors clearly state "No sci-fi or vampires - we don't deal with that shit" on their websites.  So rather than trawling through Google in search of agenst/publishers that might be sympathetic to my genre-mashing novel, I've decided to investigate places that have comprehensive, up-to-date lists of places that writers can submit to, and what sort of works they are looking for.

As far as I can tell I have two options:

The Writers' And Artists' Yearbook 2015

The annual edition of the best-selling guide to all aspects of the media and how to write and get published, the Writers' & Artists' Yearbook is now in its 108th edition. Acknowledged by the publishing industry, authors and would-be writers as the indispensable companion to navigating the world of publishing. The 80 articles are reviewed and updated each year to provide inspirational and how-to guidance on writing for newspapers, magazines, scripts for film, radio and TV; advice on writing and submitting plays, poetry, non-fiction and fiction of all genres - from fantasy to thrillers to romance; how to contact publishers and agents; managing finances as a writer; negotiating legal issues, such as copyright; understanding the editing process; self-publishing and conventional routes; digital and print. Every single one of over 4,500 listings of who to contact, where and for which disciplines across the whole media, are reviewed and most updated, with new listings added every year. The combination of up-to-date listings information and expert advice, make the Yearbook a topical and reliable resource; the perfect gift for every writer every year.

Or this website:

http://www.agenthunter.co.uk/

Finding a literary agent used to be an almost random process: a question of sticking a pin in a book or a process of random Googling that ends only when exhaustion sets in.
No longer. We make it easy to find your agent. You can simply call up our literary agents list (here) and start to refine it according to your own personal search criteria. So, for example, you can search for agents who:
- have an active interest in your genre, whether fiction or non-fiction
- are seeking new clients
- are perhaps somewhat newer to the industry (and therefore more anxious to build their client lists)
Indeed, you can go further than that and seek out:
- the agents who represent your favourite authors
- agents who release a lot of information about themselves - their biographies, likes and dislikes - so you can be sure that you have good compatability with that person before you approach them.


I can't find any solid information on which is preferable (I'm leaning towards the book at the moment - there's something a bit fishy about the website), so I was wondering if any of my writer friends on LJ have had experiences with either, or know of any similar resources out there?


goth aphroditemf

TV: Gotham

Posted on 2014.11.20 at 12:30
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Eight episodes in, and Paul and I have decided to give up on Gotham.  Initially we were intrigued by the premise of a Batman prequel, documenting the origins of many major characters from the comics, as well as giving insight into how Gotham City descended into crime-ridden squalor following the deaths of Bruce Wayne's parents.  But the "Villain of the Week" structure is already getting tedious and predictable.  A nondescript killer emerges, then is investigated, chased and (usually) shot dead by Jim Gordon and his sardonic amoral partner.  Every.  Fucking.  Week.

There's also the overriding arc of Penguin rising through the criminal ranks, but this is a slow-moving plot that isn't as engaging as a character like the Penguin deserves.  Kid Bruce Wayne has the odd scene where he pins pictures to a board and roots through old files to get to the bottom of the conspiracy surrounding his parents' murders, but again this isn't really as engaging as it should be.

The characters from the comics like Gordon, Penguin, Catwoman, Alfred, Riddler etc. are the most interesting but they're vying for screentime with a dull Crime Family fued headed up by Fish Mooney (an irritating, one-note performance from Jada Pinkett) that doesn't really seem to be going anywhere interesting.  It's a shame that the show's character development and plotting are lacking, because visually it does a good job of depicting Gotham as a dark-yet-camp sprawling metropolis riddled with corruption.  




We've had the Four Lions blu-ray my brother bought me one Christmas sitting on our "to-watch" pile for several years now.  We didn't know very much about it, other than that it's a British comedy about suicide bombers.  It wasn't this unsettling premise that turned us off of watching it for so long, it was our general disaffection with British comedy movies that left us dubious.  I don't know what I was imagining - maybe like The Full Monty, but with jihadists.  Such a lot of contemporary British comedy uses the same "quirky gang of working-class underdogs on a quest" formula that the Full Monty perfected - Kinky Boots, Made in Dagenham, Pride, Calendar Girls, The Boat that Rocked, Billy Elliot, Bend it Like Beckham, East is East, Brassed Off - that I mistakenly concluded that Four Lions must surely be a particularly risque variation on this theme.  I was certain it would be a series of tedious jokes punctuated with some moments of introspection that ultimately would conclude in warm and fuzzy moral message with all the terrorists seeing the error of their ways and high-fiving into the sunset to the sounds of Elton John.

Except I failed to realise one crucial thing: This film was written by some the guys behind sitcom Peep Show (a modern take on the odd-couple format that revels in the awkwardness and mundanity of the lives of suburban 30-somethings, sort of like an anti-Friends) and political satire In the Loop.  Oh, and it was co-written and directed by none other than Chris Morris, the man behind infamous satirical comedy Brass Eye (notorious episode "Paedogedden!!" is one of the most complained about shows ever on British TV) and sardonic hipster-hating sitcom Nathan Barley.  Had I knows this information beforehand, I wouldn't have been so tardy in watching Four Lions.

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I had a fucking superb shopping trip today.  Yes, my favourite band (Pink Floyd) released a new album, on the exact same day that my favourite actor (Michael "I will fertilise you with my eyeballs" Fassbender) had a new movie out on blu-ray.



We're going to watch the movie later.  Sorry, Walking Dead, you have been relegated to Tuesday night.  Despite being a huge fan of the X-Men movie franchise (and, to a lesser extent, the comics) a failure to obtain a babysitter meant that we didn't see the Days of Future Past in the cinema.

Although I already have the Floyd album as WAV files, it was nice to get my mitts on a physical copy, and sit salivating over all the photos of 90s Floyd.

I noticed that Machine Head have a new album out, and I still haven't got round to buying the Sunn O)))/Scott Walker album.  I'm willing to bet that both of these will usurp The Endless River in my Album of the Year list.

Other purchases:

- tons of healthy food, because Paul and I plan to attempt to lose some weight.
- some boots and a cat mask for Scarlett, because she's dressing as Catwoman for Superhero Day on friday.   


YET ANOTHER INTRO

Back in July, I posted the following forecast on A Fleeting Glimpse Pink Floyd Forum:

I expect the new Floyd album to be pleasant and easy to listen to, impeccably recorded and with exemplary musicianship, but all very dry.
Roger's album I reckon will be a huge plate of What The Fuck Is He Thinking?! 
So that's my prediction...
Floyd album = Lovely but dull.
Roger's album = almost unlistenable, cringe-inducing yet sort of interesting in the way a village drunk is.

Though I might have to wait until the year 2020 to find out if I was correct about Roger’s eternally forthcoming solo album, the anticipation leading up to the release of The Endless River is finally over.

Having now heard The Endless River, I stand by my original prediction.  It’s not a terrible album by any means.  Indeed, it’s arguably superior to any of their post-Waters output in that it sounds timeless and elegant when compared with the 80s onslaught of A Momentary Lapse of Reason, and the excessively poppy and radio-friendly Division Bell.  Even the teasers that on their own sounded dated - such as “Anisina”’s opening, with its predictable chord progression - actually work within the context of the album as pieces that revisit their past glories.  Many of the hallmarks of the beloved Floyd albums of their experimental early years and ’70s heyday are present and correct –celestial synths, neat guitar arpeggios giving way to soaring soloing, understated drums, ambient passages, and an appropriate arrangement into suites connected by a unifying theme of togetherness and a lament for the loss of a fallen comrade.  It’s clear that the album is aimed squarely at the faithful Floydian fanbase, so kudos to the lads for not shooting for lowest-common-denominator music consumer.

But, alas, this revisiting of the past is where the album fails to be entirely convincing.  The familiar Floydian tropes are so obvious that it comes across at times like a self-referential construct, as though the band and their producers were actively attempting to tick boxes in an effort to make something that sounded as Floyd-like as possible.  It’s no surprise that the album was originally assembled from outtakes by successive producers Andy Jackson, Phil Manzanera and Youth, as a sort of Frankenstein’s monster cut-and-paste job.  Manzanera even admitted that as a Floyd fan, he was “very conscious of doing something that would not be considered appropriate for Pink Floyd” (Prog magazine, October 2014).  It’s obviously very lovingly presided over by three dedicated uber-fans, but one can’t help but wonder whether this production team put more hours into the piece than the remaining band members did.
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Best of luck to all my LJ friends who are taking part in NaNoWriMo this year - there are quite a few of you, I see!  I'm too busy with my never-ending redraft to take part by embarking on a new project, but I am going to use the 50,000 word target as an incentive to get cracking with sprucing up my book.  I've re-drafted 50,000 words out of 100,000 so far, so if I stick to the 1,667-words-per day target I'll hopefully get it finished by the end of the month!  This will presumably be easier than writing something from scratch.

I'm trying to even out the word count for each chapter.  I know there are no set-in-stone rules for chapter length, but I think my book flows better if I keep them roughly even.  So far the nine chapters I've redrafted have all ended up around 5,500-6,000 words, whereas before some were less than 3,000 and others were 8,000.  However, the chapter I'm currently working on is a whopping 11,000 words so I definitely need to cut some stuff out and move other bits around for the sake of brevity and to maintain tension.  

For my newer LJ friends, the book I'm redrafting is something I wrote over a six-week period in 2012, when I was completely clueless about writing.  Subsequently correcting all my mistakes (info-dumping, head-hopping, over-reliance on exposition, poor world-building, character inconsistencies, etc.) has been a gruelling task, compounded by the fact that I failed to properly research the time periods that the novel takes place in, so it's riddled with historical innacuracies.

The book is about a scientist from mid-21st century Britain who inadvertently winds up in Victorian London when a time-travel test mission goes wrong.  She loses her time machine, and is aided in her search for it by a vampire from Elizabethan Yorkshire.  It's a bit of a mash-up of genres, with elements of sci-fi, supernatural, historical, and romance.  


zombie aphroditemf

Halloween Costumes

Posted on 2014.11.03 at 08:33
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I was going to dress as Marceline the Vampire Queen from Adventure Time, but somewhere along the line ended up looking more like a member of Turbonegro.



Marceline the Vampire Queen:



Turbonegro:




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goth aphroditemf

Halloween and Henna

Posted on 2014.10.31 at 19:40
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I gave Scarlett an option this year - pumpkin or gingerbread house. I was pleased she opted for the gingerbread house, pumpkin carving is such a messy business.



I'll post photos of our costumes after my cousin's annual Halloween party tomorrow night.

Also, my brother and sister-in-law are back after two years working and travelling in Asia. They brought Scarlett a huge haul of gifts, including some henna. Here's the results of our henna painting session:




ripper street

Ripper Street Season 3 Trailer

Posted on 2014.10.25 at 07:40
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The first trailer for season 3 of uber-bloody Victorian cop drama Ripper Street has been released!



Happily, it looks just as lavish as before, and with a satisfying amount of shouting and face-punching.

Sadly though, no sign of my favourite character, Jedediah Shine.  I'm hoping he hasn't been written out completely and he pops up like an unusually ripped and sweaty pantomime villain at some point because I feel he's just too good a creation to cast aside.

*Sigh* I suppose in the meantime I shall have to console myself by endlessly staring at season 2 gifs...



iain banks

Scary Books

Posted on 2014.10.25 at 07:32
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In honour of Halloween next week, a list of some of my favourite scary/creepy/gothic/horror books:



Pet Sematery by Stephen King
The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks
House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski
Dracula by Bram Stoker
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
The Vampyre by John William Polidori
Carmilla by Joseph Sheridan LeFanu
Salem’s Lot by Stephen King
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson
It by Stephen King
The Trial by Franz Kafka
American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris
The Hellbound Heart by Clive Barker
The Complete Tales of Edgar Allan Poe
Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
Lord of the Flies by William Golding
1984 by George Orwell
The Magic Cottage by James Herbert


goth aphroditemf

From Egypt to Essex

Posted on 2014.10.23 at 19:24
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Here's a news story that encompasses several of my favourite things - my hideous/beautiful home county of Essex, ancient Egypt and What the Fuckery.



A 3,000-year-old Egyptian sarcophagus has been found in an Essex pensioner’s drawing room.
The ancient artefact, dated from between 1,000 BC to 700 BC, was found when the executor of an unnamed woman’s estate asked auctioneers to value a number of items left in her house.
The 6ft tall coffin was discovered on September 20, standing upright and propped up against a wall in the property on the north Essex coast after the owner had to move into a nursing home.

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In August Cambridge auctioneers, Willingham, sold the 3,000-year-old Egyptian sarcophagus belonging to eccentric adventurer, Captain Tiger Sarll, for £12,000.
It was sold by his granddaughter 37 years after his death in 1977, after being his Bradwell-on-Sea cottage for decades.
“To find two in the same county in such a short space of time is the chance of a lifetime, it’s like waiting for the number 69 bus – nothing for ages, then two come along at once,” added Mr Stacey.
The sarcophagus found last month will be going to auction in November when it could fetch between £4,000 to £6,000.

Full story

So... in a small seaside town in Essex, two ancient Egyptian sarcophaguses were found within months of each other?!!  Ah, it's so nice to read some news about Essex that doesn't involve drunken morons or benefit fraud.

Also - what the heck, you can buy an actual sarcophagus for £6000?!  This is going straight to the top of my "shit to buy when I'm no longer a plebian" list.  I'd rather have one of those babies than a car.


It's here!  It's here!  I don't think I've been this stoked for a film since Prometheus!  Finally Ron Howard has unleashed a trailer for his movie In the Heart of the Sea.  It's based on one of my favourite historical books, and concerns the fate of a crew of a whaling ship who are attacked by a whale and then resort to cannibalism as they slowly starve to death over 90 days stranded in the middle of the Pacific.



It looks like Ron's added some Hollywood razzle-dazzle, but most of the scenarios shown in the trailer seem to match up more or less with the events of the book.  I notice the trailer doesn't show the actors in the state of emaciation that they reached, and only briefly hints at the cannibalism element.

I tweeted Ron Howard to voice my approval:

ronhowardtweet


goth aphroditemf

Writing: Using Tumblr as a resource

Posted on 2014.10.16 at 13:10
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Initially I wasn't really sure what to do with my Tumblr, but now I've got into the swing of posting/re-posting historical, literary and writing-related stuff, with the odd Game of Thrones or Ripper Street gif/picspam thrown in for added manflesh.

I've found some superb writing resources on Tumblr, and since I know I've got a bunch of writer friends on LJ, I thought I'd share some links!

My personal favourites:

http://neil-gaiman.tumblr.com/ (Neil fucking Gaiman)
http://amandaonwriting.tumblr.com/ (prompts and inspirational quotes, the author also runs creative writing courses)
http://maxkirin.tumblr.com/ (tons of info, all arranged in a delightfully eye-catching design and presented by the lovable Max)
http://medievalpoc.tumblr.com/ (useful information on representing people of colour in historical and fantasy fiction)

Some other handy blogs:


http://writingquotes.tumblr.com/ (inspirational quotes)
http://its-a-writer-thing.tumblr.com/
http://thetrolliestcritic.tumblr.com/ (submit questions)
http://referenceforwriters.tumblr.com/
http://fuckyeahcharacterdevelopment.tumblr.com/
http://thewritingcafe.tumblr.com/ (submit questions)
http://writingwithcolor.tumblr.com/ (submit questions, will also critique the representation of people of colour in your writing)
http://mattwritesthings.tumblr.com/
http://queryquagmire.tumblr.com/  (written by an editor about working in publishing)
http://fictionwritingtips.tumblr.com/  (written by a YA author)
http://thewritershelpers.tumblr.com/ (submit questions)
http://characterandwritinghelp.tumblr.com/ (submit questions)
http://fixyourwritinghabits.tumblr.com/
http://thewritewire.tumblr.com/
http://simplewritingtips.tumblr.com/ (prompts)
http://writing-questions-answered.tumblr.com/ (submit questions)
http://anomalously-written.tumblr.com/

And because Livejournal is still my first love, here's the awesome Little Details LJ:

http://little-details.livejournal.com/

Also, here's joeybug's excellent website, which documents her adventures as an indie author and offers some great advice if you're planning on self-publishing:

http://www.joeypaulonline.com/


For all my Floyd-loving friends who are interested in reading about the making of their new album, The Endless River, here's the scans of the article and review which appear in the latest issue of Prog magazine:

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I recently read Twilight, since it seemed unreasonable to make fun of it all the time having never read the thing.  Also, I'm a sucker for anything vampire-related.  As much as I try to justify it though, I still feel a little ashamed that I read this book while I have books by Neil Gaiman, Ray Bradbury and HP Lovecraft sitting in my "to read" pile.

In case you are one of the lucky few who have managed to completely avoid any knowledge of this, the first of four books in the series, here's a brief (yet concise, because nothing much actually happens) synopsis:  Bella is an annoyingly clumsy and self-conscious teenaged girl who moves back to her childhood home in Washington state.  At high school she meets the gloomy-yet-ridiculously-handsome Edward, and inexplicably falls in love with him despite his dickish personality.  Turns out he's - gasp! - a vampire.  The pair go on some tedious dates and she learns about his super-powers.  He introduces her to his family, all of whom are completely void of personality and are uniformly supermodel-beautiful.  Bella keeps nearly dying in a series of ludicrous scenarios, and Edward repeatedly saves her life.  Because he loves her, he secretly spies on her and watches her while she's sleeping and she's not even remotely creeped out about this.  Then a random evil vampire, for no apparent reason, becomes obsessed with evicerating her so Edward has to save her yet again.  With the threat neutralised, they go to the prom, where Edward has beef with Bella's friend Jacob because he's a werewolf and everyone knows vampires hate werewolves, and also because Jacob has a crush on Bella and has much better abs than Edward.  The end.



Credit where it's due, the book is less shit than the horrible movie.  This is partly because book readers don't have to look at Kristen Stewert and Robert Pattinson's gormless faces.  Also, a significant appeal of the book, presumably, is Bella's intimite inner-monologue, in which she divulges the extent of her romantic feelings towards Edward and her insecurities about their relationship.  While her frequent references to how insanely good-looking he is get boring pretty quickly, and the level of slushiness will make you vomit in your mouth, the first-person narrative succeeds in making book!Bella slightly more endearing than her film counterpart.  Kristen Stewert's lack of likability or acting ability no doubt exacerbates this.

However, the first-person point of view is actually one of the book's biggest downfalls, as far as I'm concerned.  I get that the reader is supposed to identify with Bella as an outsider discovering both the vampire mythology and first love, but to me she is one of the least interesting characters. What I'd really like to read about is the adventures of these vampires, who are up to a thousand years old, not about Bella revising for her trigonometry test or ruminating over which blouse goes best with her jeans.



The Twilight vampire mythology gets a lot of stick for a number of reasons - it's silly that all the vampires are so good-looking, the sparkling looks hokey in the movies, their virtual indestructability means they are never in any real peril, the idea of immortal vampires eternally going to high school makes zero sense, etc. - but at least it's an original take on an idea that's been milked for centuries by writers and film-makers.  The problem I had was that the vast histories of these vampire characters are only briefly skirted over, because the reader only ever learns what Edward directly tells Bella.  And even these scarce morsels of backstory are messed up - about three quarters of the way through, Edward explains that Carlisle (his maker/adopted father) was made into a vampire in 1663, when he was a kind of Witchfinder General figure looking for vampires in the sewers of London. HISTORICAL INACCURACY ALERT!!! a) The witchhunts had pretty much died out in England by the mid 17th century. And more crucially, b) Bazalgette's London sewerage system wasn't built until the 1860s. Seriously, how hard is it to Google this stuff?!



What makes the disservice done to the vampire characters even worse is the amount of time devoted to Bella's circle of high school friends.  The way they are written makes me wonder if Stephanie Meyer was ever a teenager at all, or if she was born middle-aged and assumes that teenagers all behave like conservative small-town bores.  I was reading the book thinking, "OK, so... which one is the funny one?"  There is NO HUMOUR in this story whatsoever!  Not one teenager EVER makes even a remotely pithy comment.  They are all studious, and clean-cut, and square.  So fucking square.  None of them have sex, or do drugs, or drink, or smoke cigarettes, or party, or break the law, or play video games, or play in bands, or dress inappropriately, or flunk classes.  They all love their parents and believe in God and wait until at least the third date before kissing (without tongues).  I know Stephanie Meyer is a Mormon, but come on, I've seen SLC Punk, even Mormon teens know how to get into scrapes and piss their parents off!   (Also, there are no teens from ethnic minorities, and no gay/bi/trans characters.  Really, Ms. Meyer?  REALLY?!)  

Perhaps the lack of enticing manflesh is why Edward, who listens to a diverse mixture of music (from heavy metal to classical), writes piano concertos and plays baseball, is a more intriguing prospect to Bella than the dweebs she goes to school with?  This doesn't, however, answer the question of why Edward is a hundred-year-old virgin who is keen to date a seventeen-year-old, and wants to wait until they're married to consumate their relationship.  Give me the promiscuous, morally ambiguous, wise-cracking vampires of Buffy or True Blood any day over the neutered vegetarian vamps of the Twilight universe.



Having said all that, there is something weirdly compelling about Twilight that I can't rightly put my finger on.  To say that it's an easy, straightforward read that doesn't present any challenges is probably the closest I can come to explaining why I finished the book and didn't once throw it across the room or call Bella a fucktard (oh wait, actually, I did call her a fucktard a few times).  Maybe if I could invest in an idealised teenage romance between two straight-laced, incorruptable virgins I could take it more seriously, but it's so far removed from my outlook on how a relationship should function that I just can't relate to the central characters.  


goth aphroditemf

A First and an Eightieth

Posted on 2014.10.04 at 07:40
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I was thinking, a huge number of my family members have birthdays in September.  Then I realised that this is true of the Western world in general, because these are the people whose parents conceived them over the previous Christmas and New Year.  I'm fairly sure Dylan was conceived on my birthday in January.

Anyway, last week it was my paternal grandmother's 80th birthday and we had a huge surprise party for her with a live singer and a magician.  Nan (as I call her) has four kids, fourteen grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren, so along with assorted partners, extended family and friends it was quite a crowd.  I'm amazed that she didn't suspect anything, especially since she reads all our Facebook pages!!

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And this week it was this little muscleman's first birthday:



He already had a small party on Thursday (his actual birthday) and we're having the main party today.  Which means I'd best be off - there's cake-baking to be done! 


goth aphroditemf

Four Year Wedding Anniversary!

Posted on 2014.09.25 at 09:50
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This happened four years ago today!

IMG_0024

The elderly couple downstairs recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.  When I congratulated the lady she said to me, "When you two have been married for as long as us... you'll fucking hate him."  Hahaha!  


jonanddanyGOT

TV Shows I'm Investigating

Posted on 2014.09.21 at 08:16
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Now that Breaking Bad, True Blood and Dexter, three of my most beloved shows of the last decade (despite the descent into mediocrity of the latter two) have concluded, I need some more shows to fangirl over.

These are the shows that are currently dear to my heart:

The Walking Dead
Ripper Street
Game of Thrones
24
True Detective
Doctor Who
American Horror Story
Paul and I actually gave up on the last few episodes of AHS: Coven, but a lot of people are saying it had an awesome ending, so I'm tempted to revisit it before AHS: Freak Show starts.
Utopia
Bonkers British dystopian thriller about a group of nerds who meet online, find a comic book manuscript that reveals a secret conspiracy, and are then pursued by psychotic assassins.  I kid you not, the most violent TV show I've ever watched.  You watch it thinking, "Oh no, surely they won't go there... Oh fuck me, they just did.  They gang-raped that turtle."  Except they don't actually rape a turtle, I made that shit up.
Inside Number 9
The League of Gentlemen's take on the Twilight Zone-style anthology series.  God, there were some moments in the first season that were among the best stuff I've EVER seen on TV.  It's hilarious and scary and off-the-wall and I can't recommend it enough.
Black Mirror
Charlie Brooker's technical sci-fi anthology series.  It's so disturbing that I've had one episode saved to Sky Plus for about a year now because I'm too nervous to watch it.
Broadchurch
British cop drama about a murder investigation in a small seaside town.  There's an American re-make coming, and both star David Tennant, AKA the tenth incarnation of Doctor Who.  You know, the sexy Doctor.


These are the ones I'm planning on investigating:

Constantine
Sleepy Hollow
Hannibal
The Tunnel
This is the British remake of Scandinavian cop drama The Bridge, which was also remade in America.  Stannis from Game of Thrones is in the British one, and apparently he actually smiles and everything.
Outlander
Time travel!  Scotland!  Castles!  MEN!  I've seen one episode so far and I'm enjoying the tone, the lovely music and scenery, and the no-nonsense female lead.  I confess, I have quite a weakness for Scottish accents too.  And this has actual Scottish Gaelic dialogue, which sounds like a sexed-up version of Elvish!  I have high hopes for this one.
Peaky Blinders
British period crime drama with Cillian Murphy.  Fun fact: The show's name comes from the delightful practice of hiding a razorblade in the peak of a cap and headbutting people in the eyeballs with it.
The Hollow Crown
This is the history of the Medieval Kings of England, told through Shakespeare's historical plays, with an all star cast.  Season two is gonna feature Benedict Cumberbatch as Richard III, in some sort of history nerd-girl's ultimate wet dream.


These are the ones I've tried and dismissed, or given up on:

The Last Ship
Alarm bells should have rung when the words "Executive Producer: Michael Bay" appeared at the start of the credits.  The premise is interesting - a US naval ship carrying a group of shifty scientists is on a top secret mission in Antarctica.  When they finally break radio silence after three months, they find that over 80% of the world's population has been killed by a super-virus and they're forced to fight evil Russian stereotype villains like it's 1987 all over again.  But explosions and boat-porn can't make up for the ridiculous dialogue, boring characters, and "Team America - Fuck Yeah!"-style patriotism.
Vikings
On paper this sounds awesome - It has Vikings, sex, bloodshed, and one of Alexander Skarsgard's multitude of obscenely handsome brothers!  But somehow it just seemed tedious.  The dialogue was stilted and the acting as wooden as an axe haft.
The Hundred
Again, an interesting premise - Earth is rendered uninhabitable by radiation, so all of mankind is forced to live on a big-ass space ship for generations.  Eventually they decide to send 100 supermodel teenagers to check things out down below.  I've never seen so much exposition in the opening of a show.  It was like, "Oh hey, check it out, that's the girl who was secretly smuggled onto the ship, no one knows who her parents are!" or "I know you were imprisoned for killing your father, a crime you say you didn't commit, but don't take it out on me, your ex-boyfriend!"
Arrow
Yet again, a promising outlook - it's based on a really cool DC comics character that hadn't thus far been explored on screen.  Green Arrow is a billionaire playboy douchebag who is stranded on an island for five years and emerges a badass vigilante warrior with archery skills that would make Robin Hood ejaculate.  But yet again, it's a potentially good concept for a show ruined by overblown music, badly written, unlikable characters, horrible dialogue and shitty acting.  I knew I was going to hate it when Green Arrow returned home to his mansion for the first time, a girl ran down the stairs, and he said, "Hey, sis!" like we the viewers wouldn't have figured out she was his sister some other way.  Oh, and it's another show where every single person looks like a supermodel, which I loathe.
In The Flesh
Now, this is an odd one, because I really liked the first mini-season of this show.  It's a gritty British zombie apocalypse drama that focuses on the zombies who are cured and then forced to return to their families and communities, who despise them because of all the bad shit they did when they were zombies.  The cast is amazing, the characters endearing and multi-faceted, and it's heart breaking stuff.  But maybe that's the problem - it's just a little TOO bloody grim to the point where it depresses me to watch it.
Once Upon a Time
We really persevered with this one - two whole seasons, each over twenty episodes long!!  I really think that ten-twelve episodes is the optimum length for a season.  Hell, a lot of British shows are only six or eight and they still manage to cram in all the necessary awesomeness.  Anyway, the absurdly long seasons, child-friendly Disney tone, insane over-acting (especially the Evil Queen), tacky FX and lack of compelling storylines were really beginning to grate.  It's a shame to abandon it after this long, because there were a few characters I was really attached to, like Rumpelstiltskin and Belle, but I just can't bear it any more.
Legends
We watched the first episode, and it's basically a very derivative, far-fetched cross between 24 and The Bourne Identity, which has been utterly decimated by critics.  The thing is though, Sean Bean plays the lead, and he's AMAZING in it, so my shallow side is half-tempted to watch it anyway, just for the Beanster.


I completey forgot to post this!  Here's our recap of the True Blood series finale.

http://godhatesfangspodcast.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/god-hates-fangs-podcast-58-thank-you.html

It's predominately negative.  The show used to be such an outrageous and funny celebration of the unconventional, so to have it end in this mundane way seemed unbelievably unimaginative.


http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/sep/15/stephen-king-most-hated-words

It seems that Mr. King and I share a dislike for the phrase, "At the end of the day".  I shudder just to type it.  I despise the way that people throw it in before a statement as if it somehow magically gives them the final word in an argument.

Other words/expressions I loathe...

"It's my prerogative" - Too easily bandied about, and often misspelt or mispronounced.  .
"Trigger warning" - I realise these are often there for a valid reason, but the internet seems to have become oversaturated with them recently, to the point where a fairly innocuous post might have a warning that states it contains, say, catweasels or Marmite or buttons.
"I could care less" - Instead of "I couldn't care less", which is what the phrase actually means.
"Literally" - When something is not literal.
"Random" - When something is not at all random.
"110%" - Mathematically impossible.
"Yummy mummy" - Ugh, this is like saying "Oh hey, I see you have a child and yet somehow manage not to look like a coma patient.  Good for you."


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