Monday, October 29, 2018

Supergirl season 4 episode "Man of Steel"

Hey faithful followers!  It's a Supergirl tv episode review!

This week's episode: Man of Steel

"Man of steel" does not refer to Clark/Kal. It refers to the man that will end up being our season villain, Ben Lockwood aka Agent Liberty.

Supergirl has decided to tackle relevant political and social events happening currently in this country.  I admire them for that. It heaps the criticism on them, and they might be heavy handed sometimes, or miss the mark, but I'm glad they're trying. At least someone is standing up.

That said, this week was a setup episode for our villain. They went for the familiar trope of "this guy becomes an asshole through loss" and frankly, it's an old worn out trope that isn't relevant. Most of these KKK Nazi White Supremacist types haven't lost anything. Even if they had, it isn't due to minorities or immigrants.  This episode shows Ben Lockwood slowly go from liberal and open-minded to fearful and close-minded because of aliens. Aliens take his Father's steel workers jobs and ultimately close the family factory by opening a better Nth metal factory across the street. His Father refuses to upgrade and when he decides to, his loan is denied.

The Daxamite invasion happens and his house and all worldly possessions are destroyed.

He then loses his Professor job at the local college because he has started preaching bigoted rhetoric about aliens in his class.

All of this is to show us how someone can become radicalized. They toss a fair amount of toxic masculinity in there for good measure between him and his Dad. Unfortunately,  most of this just doesn't work. His Dad was believable. Ben, well, not so much.

First of all, aliens did destroy his house and take away jobs and kind of are really the source of all the misery in his life. This mirrors nothing in reality. Immigrants aren't taking jobs or burning down people's houses. They aren't attacking people. The Nazis and white supremacists in this country haven't lost anything. It's that fear of losing things and toxic masculinity that has told them emotion is a weakness that is our current problem. Greed and lack of empathy. Xenophobia and refusing to get to know people of color or other cultures.  Not accepting change.

That's why Ben's dad was more realistic.  He's just a angry well off white dude that hates everything because it's changing and evolving in a way that scares him and he refuses to learn and grow.

Ben ends up bludgeoning an alien to death with a lead pipe and joining Lex Luthor's head lady, Mercy Graves, to create an anti-alien movement. He becomes Agent Liberty.

I really hope they don't expect anyone to sympathize with a murderer. Nothing that happened to Ben Lockwood was realistic or even close to what has caused the rise of hate in this country and no one should ever sympathize with a Nazi.

So, they tried.

They missed.

But the fact that not just Supergirl,  but Kara and Nia and Alex and others are taking a stand against hate and that the show is trying very hard to show people to stand up together is a good thing.

I do like what they are doing with Lena Luthor. They are playing her right down the middle. The business woman profiting off of both sides while not taking a side. Friends with Kara, helping Supergirl but also making money off alien detection devices as well as image inducers aliens use to look normal. She's eventually going to be pushed into a place where she's forced to pick a side.

Lena is good.

You'll never convince me otherwise.

There's my review.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Let's Talk Supergirl!

Hey there!  Long time, not post.  Life happens.



So, most everyone, critics & fans alike, agree that season 2 of Supergirl was a complete & utter disaster.  It lost it's way and became male centric & we lost our hero somewhere in the mix.

Then there was the San Diego Comic Con debacle.  It was hurtful & aimed at a specific ship in the Supergirl fandom.  The main LGBTQ ship, Supercorp.

A few of the cast apologized & fought pretty hard to win fans back.  Some stayed silent.  It definitely made me feel differently about some of the actors I had really liked.  I won't be sad if a few get written off the show.

Then, we got worse news.  Floriana Lima who plays "Maggie Sawyer" decided to leave the show.  One half of the only canon LGBTQ ship, Sanvers, was now going to be gone.   That meant the ship that the show had been pushing & promoting was now in jeopardy.  Fans reactions ranged from understanding, but upset, to calling the show runners & producers all sorts of nasty names & blaming actors that didn't even have anything to do with it.




This fandom is the first fandom I've joined since Xena. I gotta say, the Xena fandom had some knuckleheads, but I don't remember any trolls or complete jerks.  Supergirl fandom has more than a few.  It's disappointing.  Some of us do our best to call them out, but haters gonna hate.

Now, knowing Sanvers was a huge part of the Supergirl following, I think the writers, directors & all those involved have done a fantastic job of dealing with the exit of one of their actors. Many fans feel the storyline is unbelievable, but I disagree.

*********SPOILERS*********

Sanvers break up because Alex wants kids & Maggie doesn't.  That's a legit reason to go separate ways.  A real life reason.  These characters fell fast & Alex jumped the gun with the proposal, in my opinion.  Many fans cannot accept that the kids discussion didn't happen before the proposal.  I can tell you, from personal experience, this sometimes happens.  You make a commitment to someone & when all the excitement calms a little, you start talking about the important things.  Sometimes, you realize you want different things.  Like kids or dogs or to live in California & not in the same small town you grew up in.  What do you do?  Well, one of you gives up what you want or one of you leaves.

The fact is, Floriana Lima was leaving.  They had to do something.  They did a great job of making the break-up realistic & respectful.

Now, let's get to this seasons writing.

Holy Moley!  Can we say a 99% improvement!?  Um, yes. Yes we can.

Eric Carrasco, Cindy Lichtman, Katie Rose Rogers, Paula Yoo, Jessica Queller, & Derek Simon have done a fantastic job so far.  There's still a few little things here & there, but most are forgivable.  They really seem to have listened to the legit criticisms & made good course changes.  Great job, guys!  Keep it up!


This season made Katie McGrath a series regular rather than just a guest star & this Lena Luthor fan couldn't be happier!  The dynamic between Lena Luthor & Kara Danvers as well as Supergirl is what kept me with the show last season & they are really fleshing Lena out this season & building more on that dynamic.


We also added Odette Annabelle as "Sam Arias" who will later become "Reign" and she is a wonderful addition to the cast.  I already love Sam & it's going to be heartbreaking to see her transform into the "World Killer" Reign. 

The writers also seem to be pulling form source material more.  We got the "Cult of Rao" which is a nod to comic cannon.  It also gave us a peek into Kara's past on Krypton, which is something that sorely lacking last season.

The writers seem to have pulled the show back to female centric, which is what Supergirl should be.  They've given us the "Danvers sister" moments back.  They've pulled back on Guardian, thank Rao!  We are getting to see Kara struggle with being the only real survivor of Krypton.  Sure Clark is Kryptonian as well, but Kara was 12 when she left.  She understood the culture, the religion, the laws & so much more that Clark has no connection to.  For her to actively dealing with the loss of that just makes sense.  

So, I absolutely love this season so far.  In fact, I'm going to say that all 5 of Season 3's episodes have nailed it.  I can't wait for more & I'm really glad the Girl of Steel has returned.

Now, Mon-El is supposed to make a return, but I feel like this will be a very small part of this season & then we will be rid of him for good.  Just a wrap up really.  Also a way to introduce the "Legion of Superheroes" and Saturn Girl & Brainiac 5.  

There are rumors that they plan to pair up Lena & James.  Great Hera, I hope not.  Their ship name says it all.  #Lames

Overall, Season 3 has been a great watch.

I'll update more on Supergirl in later posts.

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, May 03, 2017

The Return of Supergirl

Hey, kids! Let's talk about the turn around of Supergirl since we've returned from the break.

*********SPOILERS***********

First noticable change? More Kara.  Way more Kara. More Supergirl doing stuff.  More time with the ladies in general. That's a change for the better.  Also, the return of Lena Luthor.  Clearly the break-out character of season 2.

The first episode back from the break is episode 18 - "Ace Reporter" and prominently features Lena Luthor.   We get some backstory to her character that is unrelated to her infamous brother or her villainous family.  We meet her ex, Jack Spheer, played by IZomie's Rahul Kohli.  They worked together trying to find a cure for cancer and other noble deeds.  While it was totally unnecessary for him to be a past lover or Lena's "Kryponite", rather than just someone Lena had a deep connection and bond with or someone she just trusted or someone she just worked closely and passionately with. Our female characters were once again reduced to using that trope to feed us the information.

We open the episode with Kara ready to kick ass and take names, but there is absolutely nothing for her to do.  She goes home to "grief bake" over the loss of her Catco job.  Lena pops by and asks Kara to go on another "date" with her because she fears she will fall back under Jack's spell & do something she will regret because he is a "weakness" for her.  Okay, yeah, kinda yucky, but also if you ship Supercorp, you had to grin at the fact that Lena was taking Kara along to keep her from ending up with Jack.  Just sayin'.



Kara of course goes with her and runs into her ex-Catco boss Snapper Carr, who insults her in front of Lena and all she can do is come back with a ageist slight.  She does manage to get the first question and get Snapper to shut up after trying to cut her off. Jack later states that she "grilled" him.  I guess we are supposed to believe she shined with the journalism after seeing one question. Next, we see Jack chasing Lena as her and Kara leave and asking her to dinner.  Kara, feeling like a third wheel, despite Lena asking her to go so that she wouldn't fall prey to her "Kryptonite", leaves the two alone.  Ummm....okay?



A man approaches Kara on her way out and says he has damning evidence that Jack's nanobots are dangerous & he wants to meet her alone with intel later.

So, what the writers have done is set up a scenario with Lena and Jack and Kara, in which Lena will have to choose between Jack & Kara/Supergirl.  Hmmm...interesting.  Supercorp shippers were pretty happy with Lena's choice, but it was sad to see Lena hurt again in order to help save the city. Who's the hero in this show again?

Kara meets the source who is killed by the Nanobots right in front of her and we get a cool CGI effect of Kara on fire with her shirt burned just right to show us her Supergirl crest beneath.  Cheesy as hell, but, I'm okay with cheese.  In fact, I eat it up.



Supergirl later saves Snapper Carr from the Nanobots as they kill the second source that had contacted Snapper with similar damning evidence.

Nanobots 2, Supergirl ZERO.  Hmmm....okay.   Kara/Supergirl doesn't really seem too affected by the deaths either.  No outrage, no tears, no feelings of failure.  Just a quick scene with her hand over her mouth. Um, yeah, okay.

She goes home to Mon-El and he tells her Lena called her to try and talk her out of going to dinner with Jack.  Kara rushes off to crash their dinner with Mon-el in tow.



After an awkward exchange between the characters at dinner, Kara and Mon-El break into Spheerical Industries to search Jack's computer for more damning evidence with the Security badge that Mon-El snagged off Jack.  He never seems to notice and doesn't mention it later.

Now, this moment with Kara and Mon-El was fantastic.  They are really fun to watch when they are being sleuthy goofs.  I really wish we could have seen more of this type of relationship between the characters and less of the romantic and slave-owning, self-absorbed, abusive d-bag characterization we got all through season 2. It felt very scooby-doo and it was fun.  Melissa and Chris have great chemistry together but the writers really made Mon-El completely unlikable early on in season 2 and they never came through with the hero-training/mentor relationship we thought we would see.  It could have been hilariously fun.  I was totally on board for Karamel (Ship name for Mon-El/Kara) early on, but that just wrote him as such a dick, I dropped it. Sad, really.  Unfortunate for Chris Wood, who would have shined.

Anyhoo...back to the episode. Kara and Mon-El hack Jack's computer and conveniently find a video of him injecting the nanobots into himself and becoming the nanobots Kara saw killing the two sources.

At the same time, Lena & Jack are back at L-Corp making out when Jack becomes aware of the break-in via being a nanobot and sensing it.  He stops making out with Lena and leaves her cold and confused. Poor Lena.

Kara shows up the NEXT DAY to warn Lena.  Sure glad those bots didn't seduce her into a similar fate that night.  Good thing Jack had to leave.  Whew!  It was almost bots 3, Kara ZERO.



Lena is hesitant to believe Kara and promises she will not go confront him, then, as soon as Kara leaves, she goes to confront him.  We learn that he is indeed the bot and has indeed killed the two sources but that he was not in control. Instead, his greedy coworker has been in control all along.  He was innocent and truly felt for Lena and regretted their parting and missed her but now, the greedy corporate employee of Mr. Spheer plans on making Lena a controllable bot swarm as well!

I'm glad that Corporate Greed was the real villain here.

Supergirl shows up just in time to put save Lena but put her in the situation where she has to choose between saving Jack or Supergirl.  It really wasn't much of a choice though.  Jack was nothing but a bunch of mind-controlled bots now.  She could never truly free him from them.  He pleads with her to kill him and so she does, by destroying the bots and in turn saving Supergirl, but she is badly broken emotionally.



Poor sad tortured Lena.  This character is truly one of the most tortured characters to ever exist on TV.  I really hope they don't go with the good girl turns evil because of her past tortures trope.  It would be far more interesting to keep Lena grey and struggling throughout season 3 and to see a good outcome for the character.  I really feel like that's where Xena failed.  It was a show about a character who had committed unspeakable wrongs struggling to be good and find forgiveness.  Unfortunately, she never found that forgiveness and ended up dead at the end.  Just once, I'd love to see a strong, smart, woman with a dark past come through and defeat her demons to stand in the light.  Just once.

Anyway, the next to last scene was extremely satisfying for the Supercorp shippers.  Kara shows up with flowers, Lena confesses she's afraid of who she will be when she feels again and Kara swears to always be her friend and always PROTECT her.



Lena's reaction to this is subtle but telling.  I'm pretty sure if she didn't know Kara was Supergirl (which I think she does) she certainly does now.  This scene is a wee bit subtext heavy and Supercorp squee'd with delight. Supercorp was completely robbed of that forehead kiss. We ALL saw that.

In the last scene Snapper gives Kara her Catco job back.

So, there's still some pretty big problems with the handling of the female characters & what drives them & we're still falling short there, but we are seeing the main character more & the other female characters more and less time spent on the failed romance plot.  Kara is much less isolated.  She got her job back.  Better, but we've got a ways to go.

Episode 19 is titled: ALEX

Alex is Kara's sister.  Hooray! Sister time!  Something that, once again, was a great part of season 1 that just fell away in the move to CW & season 2.  Chyler Leigh (Alex) and Melissa (Kara/Supergirl) have amazing chemistry together on screen & can really pull at your heart strings.  The sister connection feels real & it really was the heart of season 1.  We get some great scenes in this episode.  Kara & Alex & Sawyer (Alex's GF) are the main focus. Hooray!  Another female-centric episode.  Lena is also prominently featured in the side story.  Hooray!



This episode deals with cop (Sawyer) vs Hero (Supergirl) as well as Sister (Kara) vs Girlfriend (Sawyer).  Alex is kidnapped & Sawyer & Kara are at odds on how to save her as well as who has more to lose & who has the last say in what to do when it comes to saving Alex.  It was a good story idea.  Kara & Alex have always been close & allowing Sawyer, her girlfriend, a say in Alex's fate is a struggle for Kara.



I do think they really missed an opportunity to close the book on the whole first season Maxwell Lord thing here.  It would have been great to see him be the villain in this episode.  He learned who Kara was & it would have been completely buyable that he was behind this.  Most of the fans speculation lead to that conclusion.  Too bad.



Alex is a badass, btw.  #BADASSDANVERS #ALEXISABADASS

Meanwhile, Mon-El's evil Mother Rhea has tried to trick Lena Luthor into working with her under the guise of saving the world.  Lena is far too smart not to see she is an alien & not being truthful, but Rhea manages to twist her words & Lena's feelings into something that Lena appears to buy into.  We shall see.  Lena wants desperately to do good & if she thinks there's even a small chance at succeeding at that, she's going to try.  Rhea, however, is in reality, just using her to build a portal that will allow masses of the Daximite Army in to conquer Earth under the guise of creating portals to transport food & goods & emergency supplies anywhere in an instant.  I also think that once again, we are subtly told that Lena knows Kara is Supergirl BECAUSE she chooses to trust Rhea.



Lena was brought up to hate aliens.  All the humans she has trusted have betrayed her.  The only person to ever NOT betray her & to protect her & be there for her is Kara/Supergirl, an alien.  So, she decides to trust another alien. Rhea.

It's going to be real exciting to see how this plays out.

Dear Supergirl Writers, please don't go with the predictably easy "Lena becomes evil" trope.  Thanks. Keep her grey & struggling to do good despite the pain & setbacks.  Thanks.

The whole episode was pretty exciting & kept me on the edge of my seat.  It might well have been the best episode of season 2.  Keep moving this direction guys.  We might get a season 4.

I will say this.  With these two episodes, I am committed to watching the rest of the season.  I was just about to tune out, but they brought me back.  I am excited to see what the last three episodes reveal & the direction they go.  There's still quite a bit of work to do, but it really feels like they are trying now.










Friday, April 14, 2017

The Last Jedi



The teaser trailer is finally here!  It looks amazing.  I cannot wait.

We also get a teaser poster & it is also amazing.  If fact, this might be my favorite Star Wars poster EVER.



Now, let me share something with you that happened to me recently.  It's Star Wars related.  It was also one of the most amazing moments of my life.

I met Luke Skywalker.

This was a huge moment for me.  I have loved Mark Hamill since I was three years old.  Luke Skywalker has been my boyfriend all my life.  I used to imagine flying my own X-wing in the Alliance & ending up at the Rebel base & running into Luke & we'd fall in love & go on adventures together.  On the playground as a kid when anyone made fun of Luke Skywalker & say Han was cooler, I was always standing up for my boyfriend.  Defending him, as if he were standing right there.

 (Hey! It's me.)

As a young adult, after Timothy Zahn's books came out, Luke got an amazing partner in the Expanded Universe.  Mara Jade.  Mara was a tough, sarcastic, badass character.  She was perfect for Luke. It has torn at my heart that Disney just threw her away.  Luke deserves the love he found with Mara.  I'm hopeful they still work her into the storyline somewhere.  I have, of course, worked it all out in my head perfectly.  Mara saved Rey, their daughter, before Kylo killed her.  Luke assumed Rey died in the temple slaughter/fire we just saw in the new trailer.

So, yeah, I met Luke Skywalker.  I was so nervous the weeks leading up to the Convention.  So nervous I couldn't eat, I was losing sleep. I was afraid I would completely lose my sh*t when I got up to Mr. Hamill.  I kept thinking about the phrase, "Never meet your heroes."  I also kept thinking about how I had just missed Carrie Fisher last year & I simply never imagined it would even be possible to see Mark Hamill in person much less touch him.  Get his autograph or photo.  I HAD to do this.  My friends also said I HAD to do this.  Thank you, guys.  You helped me get up the nerve to do it.

T & I drove all the way to Dallas, TX.  It's about 3 hours from our home.  My parents took our fur babies in for the weekend.  THANK YOU SO MUCH, MOM & DAD & BRO!  We stayed at the convention hotel and I cosplayed for only the 2nd time in my life.  I was a gender-bent Bespin Luke Skywalker.  I was torn.  I wanted to Cosplay as Jyn as well. Jyn meeting Luke.  However, Bespin Luke has always been my absolute hero & favorite character ever.  That was the Luke that helped me through so much.  When I got depressed, or felt lost, I watched Empire.  When I was unsure or afraid, I watched Empire.  Luke's decision to follow his heart & stand with his friends, rather than sacrificing them, and facing his Father on his terms & staying true to who he was despite the elders advice & the whole galaxy ttelling him what was best for him, meant something profound to me.  Bespin Luke taught me to be true to myself & to follow my heart. So, I went with Bespin Luke.

(I still can't believe this is me)

Mark was warm & friendly.  He took my hand, spoke to me briefly, thanked me for coming to see him, I wrapped my arm around him, he put his arm around me, we smiled & I turned to leave.  As I did, he took my hand again.  I can't remember what we both said, but I remember I felt warm & genuine.

I met my hero.  He was just as I had always imagine.  It was everything.

I walked out of the photo area and there was T.  I completely broke down & cried my eyes out.

I have the picture in my living room.  I look at it every single day & I giggle.  Sometimes, I get a little misty.  9 year old me, who saw "The Return of the Jedi" and cried all the way home because she realized it was all over, would NEVER believe this.

She wouldn't believe they would name the character that stole the Death Star plans Jyn.  

Star Wars has always been a source of light & courage for me.

It continues to be.

In these insane & turbulent times in the world, I see thousands of people that feel the same.  We are the rebels & the resistance.  Films, like oral stories & written works of the past, are our rallying cries.  For some, they will always just be movies, but for many, they are our source.

Star Wars is FOREVER.

May the Force Be With You.








Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Obsessed with Supergirl, Part 2

Season 2 SPOILERS*****



Well, geez, I barely got the last post published & the writers on Supergirl have already sunk the show to its lowest point ever.  This is bad.  This is so bad.  For a show that started off so feminist & strong & girl power-y, it has done a complete 180.

Let's start with a simple description of things that often happen with female characters in movies & TV.

#1 - Trinity Syndrome.  What is Trinity Syndrome you ask?  “For the ordinary dude to be triumphant, the Strong Female Character has to entirely disappear into Subservient Trophy Character mode. This is Trinity Syndrome à la The Matrix: the hugely capable woman who never once becomes as independent, significant, and exciting as she is in her introductory scene.”





OMG, you guys, this is totally happening.  With the introduction of the white male character Mon-El, Kara has slowly been pushed to the side & Supergirl even more so, UNLESS it has to do with the relationship.  Remember in my last post how I mentioned that in some episodes the male cast members were getting something like 75% of the screen time?  Yeah.  
Now, I decided to actually time our main character's screen time without the new male "lead" in the episode "Star-Crossed".  It was about 7 minutes, give or take.
Also, with Kara being fired, the Catco/Reporter part of Kara's life has been completely & totally dropped.  The importance of reporting to Kara has just vanished.  The importance of anything in her life, other than her relationship with Mon-El,  just simply doesn't exist.


Seriously?  For real?  Ugh.  Yuck.


****SPOILERS*****

In "Star-Crossed" we learn that our new "lead" white male character Mon-El is actually the Prince of Daxam, a party planet that had slaves & kept it's people drunk, drugged & distracted in order to abuse them.  Mon-El was actively part of that.  He benefited from it.  He escaped by abandoning the woman in his bed, his guard killed a Kryptonian, stole his pod & placed the Prince inside with no arguments from Mon-El.  When he arrived on Earth, he lied to Kara.  He has been actively lying to Kara since day one.  9 months of lying, as he slowly managed to develop an intimate relationship with her.  




Let me ask you something.  Let's say you met someone that said he worked as a guard for ISIL.  He tells you that he wants a fresh start & you are wary.  Still, he keeps trying.  He often disregards your wishes (like telling everyone you are dating after you've asked him to keep it quiet for a while) and blames everything he does wrong on simply not understanding because of his raising or cultural differences.  So you keep giving him the benefit of the doubt but then, after developing a relationship & having sex you find out this dude was actually an active member & leader of ISIL.  He actually beheaded people. I don't know about you, but I would be horrified.  This isn't just a simple lie.  This is a terrifying betrayal as well as a very scary insight into the mental process of this person. Saying he didn't know any better is just not acceptable.


Now, some argue that Kara is trying to make him better & he keeps begging her to help him be a "hero", but this too is ridiculous.  It is NOT a woman's job to train a boy to become a man.  It is not the female lead character's job to train a man to be a hero.  Kara hasn't figured out how to balance her life yet & now the CW has made her main mission in Supergirl to train & better a horrible slave-owning asshole from a planet & family that tortured it's own people.  


If any characters should be helping this guy, it should be James & Winn.  Why is this Kara's job?!


Also, Mon-El never really apologizes until it's very clear that their relationship is over.  Instead, he does the classic abusive thing of laying blame on the female because of his discomfort.  


"By now the girl usually forgives the guy for whatever the dumb thing the guy has done." - Mon-El


WTF?  It gets worse.  He pretty much admits the only reason he wants to be a hero is to stay with Kara.  


"I love being the hero because it means I get to spend every single day by your side." - Mon-El


This means he still isn't getting it.  He doesn't understand what a hero is.

Kara then asks him: "Where you ever going to tell me the truth?"

And he answers: "I don't know.

Holy crap, he just admitted that if Mom & Dad hadn't shown up, he might have NEVER told her.  That's pretty F'd up.
She breaks up with him at the end only to immediately get back with him in the musical episode of the Flash.  

"I forgive you." - Kara after waking up from the Music Meister's spell.



We went from a female-centric show about a hero trying to find her humanity & balance her life, and stand up for women everywhere, to a male-centric show about a jerk from a planet of terror that needs a Mommy/Wife to show him how to be good.


Oh, Supergirl...you make me so incredibly sad.  

The ratings are the lowest they've ever been. 


 ( http://tvseriesfinale.com/tv-show/supergirl-season-two-ratings/

Geez, I wonder why?  
It's probably too late to turn this around now, but if the writers care or want to try, here's some advice:


  1. After being introduced, does your Strong Female Character then fail to do anything fundamentally significant to the outcome of the plot? Anything at all?
  2. If she does accomplish something plot-significant, is it primarily getting raped, beaten, or killed to motivate a male hero? Or deciding to have sex with/not have sex with/agreeing to date/deciding to break up with a male hero? Or nagging a male hero into growing up, or nagging him to stop being so heroic? Basically, does she only exist to service the male hero’s needs, development, or motivations?
  3. Could your Strong Female Character be seamlessly replaced with a floor lamp with some useful information written on it to help a male hero?
  4. Is a fundamental point of your plot that your Strong Female Character is the strongest, smartest, meanest, toughest, or most experienced character in the story—until the protagonist arrives?
  5. …or worse, does he enter the story as a bumbling fuck-up, but spend the whole movie rapidly evolving past her, while she stays entirely static, and even cheers him on? Does your Strong Female Character exist primarily so the protagonist can impress her?
  6. It’s nice if she’s hyper-cool, but does she only start off that way so a male hero will look even cooler by comparison when he rescues or surpasses her?
  7. Is she so strong and capable that she’s never needed rescuing before now, but once the plot kicks into gear, she’s suddenly captured or threatened by the villain, and needs the hero’s intervention? Is breaking down her pride a fundamental part of the story?
  8. Does she disappear entirely for the second half/third act of the film, for any reason other than because she’s doing something significant to the plot (besides being a hostage, or dying)?
https://thedissolve.com/authors/tashar/ 

There's also the Bechdel test: 

  1. The movie/TV show has to have at least two women in it,
  2. who talk to each other,
  3. about something besides a man.

There's also the Mako Mori Test:

  1. at least one female character
  2. who gets her own narrative arc
  3. that is not about supporting a man’s story.
Here's a great article on more ways to excel with a female character: http://www.tor.com/2015/03/04/writing-women-characters-as-human-beings/

The writer's have essentially cut off all female contact with Kara in Season 2 as well.  No Cat Grant, no Lucy Lane, her sister has a g/f now & they have cut way back on the Alex & Kara moments.  Her only other real female contact is Lena Luthor who only guest stars in the show.

As you can see by everything above, that's another serious problem for a show with a female lead.

I think it's a lost cause, but I really, really hope these writers wake the hell up & fix this show.  It had the potential to be amazing, but now it's just another male-centric trope fest.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Obsessed with Supergirl

 So, I'm completely & totally obsessed with the CW series Supergirl. I'm not sure how it happened but I know the exaxt episode it happened.  When I started the series with season 1 on CBS, I was completely unimpressed & even felt Supergirl was a little lame.

I stayed with it though & was very glad I did. The amount of girl power in the form of female actors on screen was amazing. I haven't seen that much time devoted to females on screen since Xena. Not to mention the great chemistry between them. Calista Flockhart plays Cat Grant & her chemistry with Melissa Benoist (Kara Danvers/Supergirl) is awesome. Kara is Cat's assistant. There's a whole scene where Kara gets mad at Cat & yells at her (for good reason) & Cat takes Kara out for drinks. She explains that women cannot lose their tempers at work. Men can throw chairs out windows but if a woman so much as raises her voice, she will be labeled as emotional or hysterical or unable to function in a business/upper management or CEO. Truth right there. So much truth. That relationship was an amazing part of Season 1. Unfortunately, in season 2, CBS handed the show over to the CW network & they wrote Cat Grant's character off 2 or 3 episodes in. I think this was a huge mistake.  Cat is sorely missed in Season 2.


Another great relationship is that of Kara & her sister, Alex Danvers (Chyler Leigh).  It's a very touchy/feeling relationship but one not without issues. Alex was an only child before Kal-El dropped Kara off with the Danvers. There's quite a bit of resentment about that. Right off the bat I pegged Alex as a character that might have more to add later as well. She had a certain swagger & familiarity to her. I pegged her as our future LGBTQI character & in Season 2 , we have a very realistic coming out story for this character. #Sanvers was born & the Sanvers fandom was rewarded rather quickly.  Alex telling Kara was very emotional for me, personally.


One thing that was pretty lacking in Season 1 was a complex & layered villain. We had Red Tornado, Livewire, Maxima, General Lane, Jemm, Maxwell Lord, Idigo (brainiac 8) and the big bad, Kryton's own Non & Kara's Aunt, Astra. Maxwell Lord was an alienaphobe, billionaire, tech guru.  He was so incredibly cardboard. It just never really took. Astra was a pretty good villian but she didn't make it to the end.  Non was annoying.  The Non/Indigo thing was actually kind of creepy to me.

Season 2 gives us the best possible villain of all. Lena Luthor. It's been a constant "is she , or isn't she" when it comes to her character in more than one way. Is she evil or good & is she or isn't interested in Kara/Supergirl romantically. Let me tell you, the subtext between these two ladies is DELICIOUS. Katie McGrath is the actor playing Lena Luthor & she is drop dead gorgeous. A shipper group of fans called SuperCorp has risen & I won't lie, I've joined them. Katie McGrath's Lena Luthor was what started my serious obsession with Supergirl. I had really begun to love the show because of all the things I mention above, as well as Melissa Benoist amazing & fun acting. She really is perfect in this part. However, once Lena Luthor entered the show, that was it. I'm 110% hooked. I can't miss an episode & have even delved further into fandom with vids & fanfic.



I really, really hope they keep this Lena/Kara/Supergirl storyline going for way more than one season.

Lena's possible betrayal is going to be heart wrenching, if it happens, which I really hope it doesn't.

I'm fairly certain they will never be able to top Lena Luthor. Certainly not Katie McGrath. The chemistry between the two actors is pure electricity. It makes me a bit worried for future seasons.



I'd love to see a great storyline where we thing Lena has turned bad but it's really all a set-up or is something different altogether.  Right now my running theory is that she is trying to take down her Mother because she really blames her for Lex Luthor's psychotic break & her abandonment.  In doing so she uses Supergirl.  Once Supergirl learns this, of course, she feels betrayed but in a way understands & together they figure something else out.  This psuedo betrayal with make things very complicated with her & Kara. In one of the most recent episodes Lena is shown moving the white knight next to the black queen on a chess board.  I believe that she is the black queen & Supergirl is her white knight, but it could also be that she sees herself as the white knight trying to take down the black queen, her mother.



Now, I do want to point out some of the bad.  The screen time for all the ladies dropped off big time with the move to the CW. We're talking down more than 50% on some episodes.That means all the ladies combined are only getting about 25% or less of the screen time. For a show about a lady hero with a sister with a girlfriend & a female villain with female assistant that seems incredibly wrong.  The show has focused quite a bit on a new male hero, Mon-El of Daxam, as well as Jimmy Olson & Winn becoming team Guardian. While that is all good and fine, all of that taking attention from our main hero seems like a slap on the bottom with an order to make the coffee.  C'mon guys, the show is called Supergirl. Seeing all these amazing women on screen is the real draw of the show. Focus.  The last few episodes have started to head back the other direction. I think it is in part to the female fans that are crunching the numbers and keeping the writers accountable. Thanks, gals!

Another not so fun new development is the attention focused on Kara's love life. First it's Jimmy, which wasn't overwhelming the narrative in Season 1. The chemistry between Jimmy & Kara just didn't work & I was happy to see them drop that relationship right off the bat in season 2. Unfortunately, she went directly from Jimmy to Mon-El & it HAS dominated much of the narrative. Mon-El is a frat boy. He is sold to us as a Frat boy with a heart of gold who wants to be a better person by becoming a hero. I'm not really buying what they are selling. He's a douche. Period. He doesn't seem to give Kara the depth of attention she needs, gives her terrible advice, and doesn't respect her at all. Ugh.


Now, my hopes are that they continue to play up the Kara/Lena subtext, have Mon-El slowly taper off, have the focus go back to Kara/Supergirl & balancing the hero with the human.  Stop with the relationship crap.  The Cadmus storyline is good, but I'm not sure how much longer they can drag that out.  I'm looking forward to seeing exactly what role the US President (played by Lynda Carter) plays & how that pans out.  Let's explore Kara & Supergirl and her struggle with balancing her life.  That was a fun & good storyline.  Let Kara & Supergirl grow without the need for a romantic relationship.  The dynamic with Lena is great.  Kara & Lena being best buds will lead to Kara wanting to tell Lena she is Supergirl.  Of course the DEO & Alex will all find this problematic since they don't trust Lena.  Get back to the reporter stuff.  Get back to the story fundamentals.

Whatever happens, I'm hooked...for now. Totally & completely.  Let's hope the writers realize their mistakes & it only gets better from here!

Supergirl airs on the CW Network, Monday's at 7pm CST

Friday, January 20, 2017

Heartbroken



I really haven't been able to post this.  I still can't accept it...or believe it.  It's going to be rambling & messy.

When I heard Carrie Fisher had a heart attack on a plane on Dec. 23rd I broke down and ugly cried.  I cried on & off all day.  I had a knot in my stomach, had trouble sleeping & had no appetite until they announced her passing on the 27th.  Then, I cried all day, again. I cried all week.  I find myself crying on & off as I write this.



 I can't begin to tell you what she meant to me.  I never met her & I don't know her personally, but you don't need to know someone personally for them to mean something to you.

Her death brought up many feelings.  My Grandpa Tucker's death when I was 16.  A fierce & funny personality, not unlike Carrie.  My friend Chris passing in 2012.  Star Wars fan & Leia lover.

Everybody has shared their stories & feelings.  I'm a little late because I truly just don't accept this.  I feel like we've moved into some weird alternate timeline that sucks. Really, really sucks.  I'm going to share my story, mostly for me.  It's nothing special.  It's not an extraordinary tale.  It's probably very similar to millions of others.

When I was a youngling of 3 years of age, my parents went to the drive-in, the Comet Drive-In & took me along.  That movie was "Star Wars". All I really remembered was the horrifying burned bodies of Aunt Beru & Uncle Owen, the twin suns setting & the music as Luke looks out across the desert, the swing across the chasm & the trench run.  I also remember it was raining.  I don't know if these are real memories or just the way my brain put them together.

I was 5 when "The Empire Strikes Back" came out & 8 or 9 when Jedi came out.  I remember wondering if Han was ever going to get out of that Carbonite.  I can remember running through the house shouting that a "Revenge of the Jedi" commercial just came on!  I pleaded with my parents to take me to see this film.  The Drive-In had long since closed.  The closest theater was 30 miles away.



They took me & my brother.  We went opening weekend, I think.  I remember there was a line outside the theater.  I can still remember how excited & anxious I was.

Return of the Jedi is where I thought my love of Leia started.  When she took off that bounty hunter mask after saving Han my mouth dropped open.  It was the single coolest thing I had ever seen.  Princess Leia just saved Han!  To this day, Leia in Bounty Hunter disguise is one of my favorite characters, toys, action figures ever!  A Princess saving a "Prince" long before it was hip or fashionable.



I remember the car ride home.  I cried & cried & cried.  Why?  I thought it was all over.  Star Wars was over.  The characters I loved would never return to the big screen.  Darth Vader was dead, along with the Emperor, Luke was a Jedi, Leia & Han were totally going to hook up & that was it.  The End.  I silently prayed to whatever gods could hear me that Star Wars would return someday & that Star Wars would be forever.



I remember that moment I walked into Barnes & Noble & saw that book.  The book.  "Heir to the Empire".  It had Luke & Leia & Han on the cover!  WHAT!?  I bought it immediately and thus my entrance into the Expanded Universe began.  I've read more Star Wars books than any other type of book.  Star Wars books & comics expanded the characters I loved so much.  I even had my own story of a secret & forbidden relationship between Mon Mothma & Admiral Ackbar.  Leia was fleshed out more.  She struggled to come to terms with her family ties to Vader & her Force sensitivity.  We got to read her being a leader & a politician & a badass. We got to read her using a lightsaber. Timothy Zahn took nothing away from her.



At the same time, in real life, Carrie Fisher began writing books.  Postcards from the Edge being one that eventually became a movie.  My love of Leia made me interested in the person that brought her to life.  My obsession with Star Wars spilled over into the actors real lives.  When people would make fun of Mark Hamill because he "hadn't worked since Jedi", I had a long list of his accomplishments memorized.  When people asked, "What ever happened to Carrie Fisher", I could list off all her books at what number they had reached on the New York Times bestseller list.  I'm almost impossible to beat at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit.  Life Skills.



Luke & Leia were special to me growing up because I had a brother.  People often asked us if we were twins.  That always made me smile because I would instantly think of Luke & Leia.

Above, I mentioned that I thought my love for Leia started in Jedi, and that was partially true.  I always loved Luke.  From the moment I saw him on the screen I wanted to be Luke Skywalker.  It wasn't until much later, as an adult, I realized how influential Princess Leia had been to me.  You see, I never believed I couldn't do anything a boy could do.  I didn't believe gender made a difference.  Why would I?  I grew up & was obsessed (still am) with a movie where a girl, a small petite girl at that, saves the boys multiple times & essentially saves the galaxy.  She was tortured, lost her entire planet, lost her boyfriend, almost lost her brother, found out her father was a murderous tyrant, saved her boyfriend, killed the most dangerous crime boss in the galaxy with the chains she'd been enslaved with & kept fighting until the Empire had fallen.  Why on earth would any girl that was lucky enough to have been 3 to 9 years old & grow up with Leia think any different?  Of course I never questioned what I could & couldn't do.  It confused me when I ran into these situations in real life.



As I got older, I realized that Princess Leia helped shape that attitude.  Then, there was Carrie Fisher. Unapologetic.  Free-spirited.  Not afraid to say she made mistakes. A creative. A writer.  REAL & raw.  It was very hard to separate Leia from Carrie.  They had the same strengths.  If you read the expanded universe stories, they also had some of the same weaknesses.

Carrie was never afraid to call bullshit.  She called people out.  She said what she meant.

When they announced Episode 7, I cried like that 9 year old kid leaving Jedi, but for the exact opposite reason.  My prayers had been answered.

I wondered if we'd get to see the Leia with Force powers from the Expanded Universe.  If she'd weild a lightsaber. If she was a Jedi.  I was pretty underwhelmed with what they gave her.  Cool, she's a General.  In the EU she had basically been the President of the New Republic, but okay...General.  Wow.

I watched every interview.  I stayed up until 5 in the morning watching the Star Wars Celebration live streams.  I was in heaven.

Carrie Fisher stole the show.  She was hilarious.  I don't think she really understood how much we loved her, not just Leia, but Carrie Fisher.  I hope she did.  

I wonder if we didn't ask too much.  I worry that she wasn't healthy enough for all the travel & work. The crash diet they put her on.  We didn't care if she had gained weight. I feel a little guilty for wanting her back so badly as our Princess & General.

I had hopes that we'd still get to see Leia the lightsaber wielding badass, but I think that's Rey's job.  I was heartbroken to hear they had so much more planned for her.  I look forward to her last scenes in episode VIII, but I also don't want to see them.  I don't want that to be the last time I ever see her.  42 year old me is crying because Princess Leia can always come back, but we lost someone way more important.  We lost Carrie.

I still just can't accept she's gone.

Carrie Fisher was a treasure.  She was a voice for mental health in a world that really needed one.  She was an unapologetic woman in a time we really need fierce women.  She was a storyteller.  Make no mistake though, she truly was Royalty.  Our Princess.  Planet Earth's Princess & Princess to every little girl that grew up not knowing she wasn't supposed to be able to do the things she was doing.

Thank you, Carrie.