Sunday, July 16, 2017

Jodie Whittaker is The Doctor


A woman is the Doctor! Anything is frikkin' possible! Thank you, BBC, thank you, Chris Chibnall, thank you, everybody everywhere for everything! I can't frikkin' WAIT until December!

The Thirteenth Doctor! Welcome, Jodie! As Nine would say, I know you will be "fanTAStic!"

Wednesday, July 12, 2017


We deserve a free, fair, and open Internet!

Thursday, May 18, 2017


This I know is true: our favorite ice-cold crook is coming back to Legends of Tomorrow.

How do I know? Because of The Flash's excellent Season 3 episode "Infantino Street," where Barry time travels and snatches Leonard Snart out of his mission with the Legends to help him save Iris.

As always, Wentworth Miller is the snarky, delightfully hammy badass we all know and love, and it's an entire episode of Shark Week references and wonderful things like Snart telling Cisco if he saves his life he'll put in a good word for him with Golden Glider. 

They steal the alien power source, escape King Shark, and Barry brings Snart back to 1892 Siberia, where Snart gives him a surprisingly heartfelt pep talk about being a hero. (Did someone say bromance? And, the Coldflash shippers go wild!)

Before he leaves to go back to the present, Barry tells Snart to look after himself. "No strings on me," Snart replies, stabbing all Legends fans directly in the heart.

Barry speeds away, and then it happens: Snart stands there, considering. And as he heads back to the ship, he murmurs, "There are no strings on me...There are no strings on me..."

BOOM. Do you know what this means? The writers heard us. They know we love Captain Cold. And they had him say that line - TWICE - to let us know that he is coming back.

What else confirms this? Legends Season 2 ended with the Legends breaking time - the universe has turned inside out and time is running amok, twisting cities out of shape and rewriting history. This leaves the way open for Snart to find his way back - he died inside the explosion of the Oculus, which was the center of time itself. If time is broken, it's the perfect gateway to set Snart free from wherever he was trapped within the Oculus' remains.

"But that's impossible," you say! "He couldn't have survived the explosion!"

Well, wasn't he just in ARGUS? The facility with the most top-secret, most powerful weapons and tech Planet Earth has ever seen? Would he be Captain Cold if he passed up an opportunity to snatch something along the way? Something to help him survive the death he knows is coming?

My theory: the Legends have ripped open a hole in time, and find Snart in some alternate universe just below ours where the Oculus has kept him trapped. Maybe we'll get hints every few episodes, him appearing for just a second or things moving or disappearing to let us know the existence of this other plane of reality. And then they find him - and at the end of the season he can rejoin the crew of the Waverider, as our Leonard Snart, the hero.

If this is what's happening, Legends of Tomorrow writers, take a bow - I'm so excited for Season 3 and what's in store for us with the return of Leonard Snart!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Doctor Who: Why I'm For a Female Doctor

It's 2017.
It's time.
Especially in the era of Trump/May, we need her now more than ever.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Let's Talk Sherlock: Season 4

So, I know it's been awhile since Season 4 aired. Things have changed a lot in this country since January, and I've been busy trying to fight against it, but I finally wanted to take the chance to comment on the potentially final season of this wonderful show. (As always, spoilers.)

Sherlock is the reason I became a screenwriter - or, as Sherlock would say, "It's where I began." I had never seen a show like this - frankly, television hadn't. Yes, we'd seen classic literature adapted for the modern day, but never in this way, and not half as well. Did the initial idea seem a bit gimmicky? Yes; Benedict Cumberbatch reportedly almost didn't take the role because he didn't want the premise to be thought of as a gimmick. Did it exceed all expectations and change how television is done? Oh, yes.

Other crime dramas have begun showing text messages on screen and using similar visuals to accommodate characters' growing use of technology - producers used to be afraid of doing that. Sherlock changed that, showing it could be done and done well. In 2008, Breaking Bad became the new gold standard for television, showing that a show could be cinematic and artfully done and still draw a massive audience. Sherlock enjoyed the same rise, becoming a smash hit and drawing a huge international audience, paving the way for shows like Hannibal and Game of Thrones to stretch the limits of what television can be and how it can be filmed.

I will say this: Seasons 1 and 2 of Sherlock are some of the best television I've ever seen. Yes, you had your middling episodes that were just okay - "The Blind Banker" and "The Hounds of Baskerville" - but book-ending them were masterpieces of writing and cinematography and editing and acting and composing. Who will ever forget the first time they saw "A Study in Pink"? How can someone not be in awe of the utter beauty and grace of "A Scandal in Belgravia"? How can there be any denying the raw emotional punch of "The Reichenbach Fall"? It was these episodes that made us love Sherlock and made it a part of our lives and a part of pop culture at large. There was razor-sharp wit and heart-ripping emotion and the beauty of a pitch-perfect tribute to a source material you could tell was very near and dear to the hearts of its creators. On top of it all, it became its own original entity - for many, Benedict Cumberbatch will forever be Sherlock Holmes, just like Jeremy Brett was for so many who watched the Granada television series. There was an intent of purpose to Sherlock that you only see in the best of shows - the sure hand of a show runner who knows where they want their creation to go and is masterful at taking their audience along for the ride. That was Season 1 and 2 - a hell of a ride.

Then came Season 3. After the fall from St. Bart's roof that broke all our hearts, Sherlock "resurrected," coming back from the dead - but he came back different, and so did the show.

In my opinion, since then, the show never regained the resplendence it once had.

I didn't hate Season 3; it's still an enjoyable series to watch. But the show lost its momentum, that intent of purpose that set it above the rest. It didn't seem to know what it wanted to be anymore - was it a James Bond action film? A buddy comedy? A dark psychological thriller? It lost its identity, and thus that classic feeling that episodes like Study and Reichenbach had. And I'll tell you why: because it became a tribute to itself rather than the Conan Doyle source material it was so deft at adapting.

Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are both huge Sir Arthur Conan Doyle fans - that's why they created the show in the first place. Every piece of Sherlock is meant to enhance what Conan Doyle originally wrote, and it did it well, from the Baker Street Irregulars becoming the homeless network, to Dr. Watson's journal becoming John's blog, to Holmes's notes and correspondence becoming Sherlock's texting and online research - every adaptation just worked so well. The cracks only appeared when the show began to idolize itself and its own fanbase.

"The Empty Hearse" is an episode dedicated to the fans, which was a nice touch, but it was also when the show began to rely too heavily on its own success to create its own narrative. It also parallels with the point when Sherlock's detective work became less about actually solving mysteries and more about how those mysteries revealed Sherlock's psyche and his own past. Exploring a main character's psyche isn't necessarily a bad thing, but if it's the only thing the show focuses on, it's too weak of a narrative to drive the momentum of an entire show.

In essence, I think the problem lies in that Moffat and Gatiss fell in love with their own show, and thus became blind to any ideas that were potentially bad for it. 

And that's how you get Season 4, The Season That Was Almost Great.

The Six Thatchers

Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed this episode! Rachael Talalay is one of my favorite directors, and (though some may disagree with me) I loved the unique touch she brought to this episode, with the visuals of the rolling die and the smashed plaster busts, etc. I loved that we finally got a proper, brain-twisting mystery in The Case of the Ghost Driver, the way they explored Mary's past and its conflict, and I thought it was really interesting to see the unraveling of John and Mary's relationship, since that wasn't a route I was expecting the writing to go. This was the Sign of Three, the Blind Banker, the Hounds of Baskerville of Season 4 - the episode that's not an instant classic, but it's well made and enjoyable.

It's up to the other two episodes to determine if we are back to the caliber of Seasons 1 and 2. So:

The Lying Detective

Yes. YES. This episode is by far the best of Season 4, and quite possibly the best episode we've had since Season 2. Moffat does it again with a terrific and terrifying riff on Conan Doyle's "The Dying Detective."

This episode has that classic feel that Scandal and Study have: the reality-bending visuals, the sharp humor, the mind-bending twists and turns, and a slam-bang finish with a twist no one was expecting. Toby Jones, or, to us Whovians, the Dream Lord from "Amy's Choice," does a fantastic job as the villain Culverton Smith, who still doesn't pass the mark for creepiness set by Magnussen, but gets pretty darn close. The most arresting moment comes when Smith is suffocating Sherlock, telling him to "maintain eye contact" so he can watch the life leave his eyes. I don't know about you, but that got a genuine chill down my spine.

This is also Mrs. Hudson's best episode, with Una Stubbs getting to have a ton of fun driving a sports car (I know, I know, stunt driver, but still) with a kidnapped Sherlock in the back and laying into Mycroft, John, and Sherlock all in one episode. We see Sherlock and John's relationship unravel, and get to see a touching relationship grow between Sherlock and his new friend Faith. The visuals for Sherlock's drug high are also surreal (echoing his near-conscious state in "A Scandal in Belgravia") and well done.

Then, we get the mother of all twists: Faith Smith was not actually Faith Smith. And John's one-time fling, a woman we only know as "E," is not actually "E." And John's new therapist is not actually a therapist at all. They are, in fact, the same woman - Eurus Holmes, Sherlock's mad sister (is this an argument for Moffat's female characters all being interchangeable? Okay, I digress). Biggest shocker of them all: she, not Moriarty, is the one behind the cryptic message that left us all hanging at the end of Season 3 - "Miss me?"

The Final Problem

It's unfortunate that the title seems to have been a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy, as "The Final Problem" is a bit, well, problematic.

I could go on and on about all the issues this episode has. Suffice it to say, all the issues that had been building since Season 3 finally came to a head; in this episode, I watched the show collapse under the weight of its own self-importance.

Not to say it didn't have its good moments. I really enjoyed the connection Sherlock and Eurus had playing their violins - in fact, I was really excited for Sherlock to have a great female villain (I count Irene Adler as more of an antihero). But her ultimate characterization didn't live up to the hype.

If I nit-pick, we'll be here all day, so let's just start with what could be fixed:

At the heart of it all is Eurus's characterization - and what a mess it is. Here is this hyper-intelligent human being, and Moffat and Gatiss don't seem to know what to do with her. We go slightly sci-fi when it's revealed she's apparently smart enough to control people's minds. How? It's never explained.

Eurus is meant to be a mysterious figure, but she also needs to be defined. Part of the problem is Mycroft and John being there with Sherlock. It would have been a lot more effective to have scenes with just Eurus and Sherlock; that way, we could have gotten a feel for their relationship without other people there to distract. If we really felt the need for them to be there, Eurus could have had them kidnapped to show up at some point later in the torture maze.

Oh, yes, I forgot - there's a torture maze.

A lot of things in Eurus's prison/maze don't make sense. Though it was a cool visual, how did Sherlock not see that there was no glass in Eurus's holding cell? And then let's not even get started on the actual maze, where things just get more and more surreal, with three men popping out of nowhere to be hanged, a coffin with "I love you" written on it, etc. This shark isn't jumping, at this point it's grown wings and is flying.

Then we get to the twist at the end, where Sherlock accuses Eurus of killing his dog when they were young. But apparently it wasn't a dog; it was Sherlock's friend, who Eurus was jealous of for having Sherlock's attention. So in the end, all Eurus ever wanted was for her brother to love her.

...I suppose it could have worked, if Eurus's character was written better. But as it stands, it just comes off as, well, clunky. And ultimately unearned.

It's really a shame about the treatment of Eurus; if she'd been fleshed out as a character, if Moffat and Gatiss had focused more on the details and emotion of her story and less on the surrealism of the visuals, I think we could have had something. 

(Side rant, you can skip this if you want: 

It's really a shame about the treatment of most of the female characters, actually. I get that the original stories had mainly male characters, but come on. Mary's ghost is still there, but, well, she's a ghost; and Molly, arguably one of the most beloved characters of the show, had barely any screen time. I get that the show isn't called Molly, but it almost felt like they were afraid of putting her on screen. What gives?

I will admit I do "ship" Sherlock and Molly, but I'm fine with just seeing their friendship grow, and with all the build-up they gave to her character in Season 3, I was really excited to see what they had planned for her in Season 4.

Two minutes in "Six Thatchers." Four minutes in "Lying Detective." 

Well, no worries, I was all set for there to be a huge reveal - that Sherlock and Molly had some kind of plan to get Culverton Smith and that they talked it over in the ambulance when Molly was supposed to be examining Sherlock, or maybe Molly could possibly be part of the plan to get them out of Eurus's prison - but there was nothing. At least Louise Brealey absolutely killed it in her one scene in Final Problem - and that was it, that was all she got. What a waste of a brilliant actress. What a waste of a brilliant character. I love Mrs. Hudson to death, but can't there be more than one woman on the show at a time? /endrant)

"The Final Problem" ends with, seemingly, the end of the show - all the characters come back to a repaired 221B, and we get a farewell voice-over from Mary that actually got me a little choked up. This show has been with me through high school, through college, through graduation and beyond - it helped shape the kind of person I am and the career field I want to go into. If this is truly the end, I'll be sad to see it go - but it was probably an okay point to end on, too.

If we do end up having a Season 5, I hope Moffat and Gatiss learn from their mistakes. But whatever happens - at least we'll always have Seasons 1 and 2!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Forward, Always

This blog has over 10,000 views! I never thought I'd be able to say that. I am forever grateful to the people who voluntarily read my babblings about Sherlock and Doctor Who, Legends of Tomorrow and Agent Carter, and just life in general. It means a lot that you enjoy my writing and that I can hopefully add something good to your day. :)

My last post was musings on where the next year would take me. Well, I've decided to take matters into my own hands - I'm moving to Atlanta.

Gutsy? Maybe. But necessary more than anything else. Things just haven't been working out the way I wanted them to - no grad school, no job in film. I had one internship as script supervisor on  a film set (insert shameless plug), which was very educational, but it wasn't long-term. And after I was twice rejected from the writers' programs for ABC/Disney, NBC, Warner Bros/CW, and CBS, I had to stop and recollect. What could I do now?

After searching around Columbus for opportunities in film, it became very clear: there were none. Or at least very few, which wouldn't be enough to get me anywhere. After having an obligatory anxiety attack, I picked myself back up and came to the only conclusion: Columbus wasn't working out. So, I needed to move.

LA would be the ideal choice, but it's a bit out of my price range. Fortunately, my aunt, who lives outside Atlanta, happened to mention that there had been a ton of job opportunities for film in the area recently. After having another freak out about what my subconscious was telling me I had to do, I calmed down and researched film in Atlanta, and it's true - Atlanta is becoming the "Hollywood of the south." I texted my aunt about it a little, she offered me a place to stay while I look for a job, and there was no reason to say no. Well, no reason except fear, which I've been learning to give a swift kick out of my life and subconscious. I have no time for it. It's only restricting the potential for what I can be, and I'm glad that I'm at a point where I can say that.

Am I scared? Oh, yes. Do I let that stop me? No. Fear is an obstacle to overcome, and I'm learning to overcome it. I'm afraid of driving, I'm afraid of being in new places, I'm afraid of not knowing what's going to happen next. That's no excuse not to live my life, and I'm going to live it, fear be damned.

While I'm looking for a job, I will still be writing reviews for Sherlock, Doctor Who, Pure Genius, and the new Netflix series  A Series of Unfortunate Events on The Tracking Board, so you can keep up with my writing there, if you'd like. I'm also hoping to have my actual screenwriting featured on the web series A Billion To One, which I've been writing for for a while, so I'll keep you updated on that.

Who knows where this will take me. I'm moving, and I'm also moving forward - thanks for being there with me for it. As the Doctor says, we're all stories in the end - I hope mine can be a good one!

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Looking Up: The Election, Screenwriting, Anxiety, and Moving Forward


It's been quite a year, hasn't it?

Seriously, 2016 can just...end. Any time now. It's probably one of the worst years in recorded history, right behind the year of the Black Plague and when the meteorite killed the dinosaurs - although depending on your perspective, it could be considered worse, as that enabled us to survive. So, worse than a meteorite destroying most life on Earth. Yes. That sounds right. 

I feel like we'll all be able to breathe a little easier once this election's over - I'm hoping, anyway. I won't get into political affiliations or which candidate is better/worse, as that seems to simultaneously increase the blood pressure of anyone within a five-mile radius, whether they're actually reading the article or not. It's like everyone's all ready and raring to lose their minds on anything that sounds remotely like it could somehow disagree with them. No matter what your views, I think we can all agree that this election has brought out the ugliest side of America - a hateful, divisive side that I'd hoped was something that no longer existed in modern society. I was wrong - and that makes me sad and frustrated and discouraged more than anything else.

Anyway. What am I here to talk about? Well, my life, I suppose. It's a strange thing - life - especially with the surging political environment surrounding it right now.

I read somewhere that dogs who pull sleds, up in Alaska or Canada, for the Iditarod and such, love their work so much, they will literally run themselves to death unless they're told to stop. That's been me the past year and a half.

I love screenwriting. I found it my junior year of college, and I only wish I'd found it sooner, because it is the best. I love typing out a scene, seeing it form in my head, and (if I'm lucky) watching it unfold on screen - a dream somehow brought forth, crossing dimensions, into reality. That is the closest thing we have to magic, my friends. Through editing and VFX and great directing and choreography and acting, we can make the impossible possible. And that is what I love about film and television.

But, passion is a double-edged sword. I can write for hours - four hours at a stretch, sometimes longer if I get really into it and don't want to lose the "flow" (which is a real things, by the way, however corny it sounds). But there's never been a time I've gone past four hours where I haven't regretted it. That passion lights me up for the day, makes me feel invincible and ready to take on anything - and then the next day I'm an empty shell, the light extinguished, any trace of energy gone, aching through to my very bones.

In other words: urrrgh.

I don't know if it's a high I'm looking for, an escape or what; I have learned to balance it a little better, although it's been a struggle sometimes to rein myself in when I just know I could keep going, on and on into the night, and who knows what story idea or character arc will fade forever if I don't keep going...! I am like those sled dogs - I love it so much that I work myself into the ground.

I think now I may be using it as revenge against my adult life. Because I am an adult now - and it's a lot harder than I thought.

I refuse to let college be the best years of my life - but sometimes I understand why people say that. Adulthood is hard, man. You can't pass the buck. You have to take care of things - sometimes unpleasant things. A lot of boring things. Things that just need to be done, and no one else is going to do them, no matter how inconvenient or irritating they are. So you do them. And you finally appreciate your parents doing them for you for most of your life up to this point - and cringe over the fact that's it now your turn.

On days when I'm working, just drowning in everything I need to do - job applications, scripts, networking, research - I try to look up at the sky, and find a name for the color it is. It doesn't have to take long - I've settled on "cerulean" before, or "the color of the marble I had in fifth grade when we played marbles that day in our living room" - just long enough to remind myself to take a breath, stop, and look around at the whole world around me, instead of feeling trapped inside my head with all my own little problems. I started doing this when I realized one day that I hadn't looked at the sky in awhile - I had no clue what it looked like or how the clouds even looked. I think it's a sign we've reached adulthood when we stop finding shapes in the clouds - it's kind of sad.

I read a book called The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster when I was in elementary school. In it, a boy called Alec, who can see everything except what's right in front of his face, shows Milo, the main character, the city of Reality. In it, the people living there go about their daily lives, going in and out of buildings, heading to work in the morning and heading back home at night, moving in and around the city like normal - except they haven't looked up in so long, they haven't realized that the city no longer exists. They open and close doors that aren't there, they go in and out of buildings with no walls. That image has haunted me; I know I don't want to live a life like that. Forgetting about finding hope or real joy in life, even in something as small as changing up your daily routine, from taking a different route to work or stopping to look up at the sky. Reality doesn't have to be like that - it shouldn't be.

New York City
I spend a lot of my time in pain. Most of it is mental - anxiety kicks me up out of bed in the morning, saying, "You need to get something done today, or else you're worthless!"; depression drags me back down, groaning, "What's the point, I might as well just lie here anyway, for all it's going to matter." In case you're wondering, yes, I know this is not healthy - I'm working on finding a therapist, and I've found different ways to cope. It still doesn't change the struggle of every day - those first few moments where the realization floods in: Oh, right. I am an adult. I need to get up and go make money. I need to get an apartment. I need to have friends, I need to check in with my family. I need to contribute to society. It's no wonder I feel like sometimes we're all going a little insane.

You know what, though? I'd rather have the pain than apathy. We are put on this earth to feel something - not just stare numbly into a gray and lifeless future. Sometimes circumstances aren't optimal. Sometimes, life sucks. But complacency is not something I choose to accept. If I'm here, I'm here for a purpose, damn it - and even if I don't know what that is right now, I'm going to find it.

Just look at this planet we're on - we are at the exact point in the universe, in the exact right atmosphere, where we are neither scorched by the sun nor frozen to death in deep space. We are alive in a world of seven billion people - and no one is exactly alike, nor has there been or ever will be another human being exactly like them. Incredible! Look at all these beliefs and religions and cultures and histories - what nuances, what momentous decisions hung in the balance to impact exactly how our world would look today, down to each culture's core values and what each country teaches its children in school. No matter how hopeless the world feels right now, it's still amazing to see what we've achieved, how far we've come - and how much we can still accomplish.

I haven't given up - in myself, or in the world at large. Wherever the coming year takes me, whether that's Atlanta, Chicago, New York City, or LA, wherever it takes our country after this election, or consequently where it takes the world, I have faith we can move forward - on to something better, with the help of Someone bigger.

I don't know what you believe; for me personally, I do believe in God and a heaven. And heaven isn't a place of white fluffy clouds and gently twanging harp music - I don't know who we can blame for that portrayal, whether it's Dante or Renaissance painters, but it's wrong. Heaven isn't boring. Heaven is that ache you feel in your chest when you've seen something so beautiful it grabs your heart and won't let go. Heaven isn't harp music - it's the 1812 Overture, with booming cannons and everything, blasting out til it fills your whole being. Heaven is beauty that makes your heart swell - not necessarily over something visually pleasing, but over power, strength, tenderness, anything that makes your blood sing through your veins and reminds you that you're alive. I think we see bits of heaven every day, if we can remember to look up - and I think that's what can save us from all the anger and bitterness left from this year. We can still look up.