Archive for television

I Loved My Visit to Black Mirror’s San Junipero

Black Mirror San Junipero episode

Black Mirror: San Junipero hit all of my (and Finn’s) sweet spots!

I think part of the positive reactions might be due to the fact that Black Mirror is pretty consistently bleak, but reality right now is practically a Black Mirror episode, so an episode that was (possibly) hopeful was such a nice gift.

And yes, the concept’s been well covered, so I understand why some may feel that viewer’s reactions to that concept are overblown, but many viewers may not be deeply read in scifi, so their “mind blown” reactions are understandable and a perfectly good thing.

I am fine if people discover, say, robots through Star Trek or Westworld without going back to read Asimov first (or at all) if Asimov doesn’t appeal to them (and no I’m not saying San Junipero is about robots).

We each have limited time to read and consume media, I don’t think it makes someone less of a genre fan or their love of or reaction to something less valid if they only have experience with recently produced media and not the foundational classics or the past century of fiction.

Yes, knowing the whole history of robot fiction might enrich one’s experience of a new robot story — or at least allow one say clever literary things like “this story was in dialogue with the works of Obscure Author, exploring the metaphor of so and so.”

But it also might not. And in the end, I love the possible conversations a story like this might spark among a group of friends around a table (in between Instagramming whatever artisanal fare they are eating, of course).


Jessica Jones’ Broad Shoulders

Jessica Jones, Jessica Jones.

Jessica Jones on Netflix

On the one hand, this is just a superhero television show, so expectations shouldn’t be too high. On the other hand, it is a FEMALE superhero television show, and that is extremely rare, and so it carries a lot of hopes and expectations.

On the one hand, it is a gritty and fresh take on the genre with a kickass anti-hero and an unflinching look at the aftermath of abuse and the burden of power, and addresses issues of rape and stalking that are too often ignored. On the other, it is a derivative noir with an anticlimactic ending and problematic depictions of stalking which is made even worse by the fact that, it BEING so rare to have female superheroes, having her opening storyline focused on stalking and rape and romance is itself a bit sexist (as Christy noted, “Daredevil and Vincent D’Onofrio… If only Vinny’s sole reason to engage was because he’d been in love with the hero. But it wasn’t, was it?”).

Yet I can’t imagine telling Jessica’s particular story without showing this chapter of it up front. So in the end, I felt that, other than fixing a few plot issues and making the stalking less sympathetic in parts (based on comments I’ve seen sympathizing with him), the real need isn’t to change Jessica’s story, but to have enough shows with female hero leads whose stories aren’t centered on romance (whether good or gone horribly wrong) that you can have a show like Jessica Jones and allow it to simply be an action drama without it having to carry such heavy hopes and responsibilities and expectations.