quarridors: Not high on sugar (September 2010)
This Sunday is going to be the 20th anniversary of the 1990s version of The Tomorrow People.

I've been obsessed with the show since I saw that first serial aged 13, but it's not a fandom I've shared with many other people. In my 20s I obsessively tracked down the VHS, the 1970s original series and the books associated with both, wrote fan fiction (the only series I've ever done this for) and ran a fan site for a year or so that gained pretty much no interest. I've had a few good discussions at sci-fi cons and occasionally on Twitter, but my TP fandom was always very ...personal, and Doctor Who was always a much more mainstream fandom.

I was planning to spend Sunday rewatching the 1990s Origin Story and reflecting on 20 years of loving the show, but this evening I got home from the supermarket to discover that two of the co-creators and producers of Arrow and The Vampire Diaries and the writer of Chuck are getting together to remake 'Tomorrow People' for the American CW cable network(!!!?!?!?!).

It took me a good hour of giggling and flailing before I even managed to process the news. I haven't reacted as pessimistically as others have. I've wished for another remake for years. I'm already a fan of a remake of this show, and the original, I have no problem with it being done differently again. I genuinely regularly dream that I'm watching the pilot for a new series of The Tomorrow People then wake up upset that it wasn't real. I watched two seasons of True Blood despite not really liking it very much, just because one of the characters was a bit like a Tomorrow Person. I really will watch anything with telepathy and/or teleportation.

I don't even have a problem with this being American; The 90's series was an American co-production with Nickelodeon and an Australian lead, so it's not that much of a jump for me (although I'd love an international cast - let one of those many British actors in US TV use their natural accent!). I also really like The Vampire Diaries, Arrow and Chuck and actually feel like the show might be in good hands. People who grew up watching the 90s version (on Nickelodeon or ITV) could be TV executives in their 30s now, so this show could have been pursued for remake by genuine fans! I don't even mind this being on the CW which tends to go for the teen romance angle - both the 70s and 90s versions of the show had prominent 'teen heart throb' stars after all. So unless they utterly miss the point or manage to make it completely terrible, or it doesn't even make it to pilot, there's a good chance that I'm going to love this show!

This is REALLY not the 20th anniversary of the remake I was expecting - from now on it's going to be 'the first remake'!
quarridors: (Toclafane)
It's making me sad to post this because I'm sure Keris would've responded, my thoughts are with everyone at his funeral today...

Inspired by hearing Charlie Brooker on BBC 6Music this morning talking about Black Mirror and how it was inspired by things like Year Of The Sex Olympics, I've decided to ask for recommendations for other classic TV science fiction to track down online or on DVD.

Here are the sorts of things I like:

The Tomorrow People
Doctor Who
The Changes
Chocky (+Children +Challenge)
The Tripods
Day of the Triffids
Dark Season (and to a lesser extent Century Falls)
The Girl From Tomorrow
Sapphire and Steel
The Last Train
Blake's 7
Star Trek TOS onwards
Year of the Sex Olympics (1968)
The 1954 BBC Peter Cushing adaptation of Orwell's 1984
Anthology science fiction series (Masters of Science Fiction, Outer Limits, Twilight Zone etc)

Obviously I also like modern and 1990s stuff, I'm a big Babylon 5, Farscape, Quantum Leap, Sliders, Star Trek, Stargate and Misfits fan!

I particularly like psionics, kids TV science fiction and parallel universes, if that helps you narrow things down. Oh and post apocalypse (yes, I've seen The Tribe). Particular episodes of anthology series that fit these themes would be very welcome.

I'm not very into campy B Movie stuff, so haven't listed much classic American TV sci-fi although I have watched a lot of it and Lost In Space, The Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants etc.

If it's children's TV science fiction I'm interested even if it's pretty dodgy, I recently watched the 1971 Look And Read serial The Boy From Space for example!

Good recommendations already received from Twitter:

1965 to 1971 BBC anthology series Out of the Unknown
The early 1980s Dominick Hyde time travel Play For Todays
Nigel Kneale's 1971 teleplay The Stone Tape
Nigel Kneale's 1976 Beasts anthology series

Any more recommendations in this vein? :)
quarridors: Not high on sugar (September 2010)
I've now seen several people I trust say positive things about 'My Transsexual Summer', a new series due to air on Channel 4 this evening and premiered in London yesterday.

I'm tentatively expecting it to be positive overall and a genuine change in the way trans* experiences are depicted on television, but the original press releases from Channel 4 had me feeling pretty nervous that it was going to conflate 'transsexual', 'transgender' and 'trans' as one thing and present that as the process of transitioning between binary genders.

Apparently it's an 'in their own words' part reality show format with group discussions, so whether nonbinary or genderqueer people get a look in may be down to what the people Channel 4 selected to represent the trans* community say.

I think I'd feel a little more confident about Channel 4's commitment to representation if their pre-publicity gave the impression that they included any minority trans* experiences.

Looking at the list of seven participants, only one of whom is over 30, all of whom appear to be white (although I'm told one has taken exception to that description) and able bodied, binary identified, transitioned or planning to transition, I can't say I'm seeing a full reflection of the trans* communities I'm a member of...

Maybe I'm expecting too much from a TV show, given that just having trans men and trans women featured together, on equal terms and in their own words is frankly a major breakthrough.

Maybe the producers decided that including all that 'complicated' stuff like intersectual experiences and nonbinary identities would just confuse the viewing public? (Seems to be the number one excuse for erasing me ...that and 'correct grammar').

And maybe I should watch the actual programme and view these people in their own words before I comment, it's not like I don't know enough people whose stories were 'simplified' by the press...

Update: I'm informed that one of the newspaper reviews says a participant on My Transsexual Summer is transitioning to 'a happy place inbetween'. If that's true then the pre-publicity really is guilty of conflating different trans* experiences into one! But I'll be watching with great interest to see!

Update 2: My reading comprehension skills clearly weren't up to much when I read all those profiles this morning: It says 'a happy place inbetween' at the bottom of Donna's profile. Remember, tune in to Channel 4 at 10pm to see how each of the participants self-describes!

Update 3: Judging from the first episode, Donna's 'inbetween' comment seems to be euphemistically talking about how firmly happy she is with her body with no wish for surgery (and how brilliant to see that view represented on TV!). It wasn't clear whether she also identifies outside of the binary in some way, and I consider it a failure of the programme makers for not making that clearer. Here's hoping there'll be more discussion of this in later episodes.

I've since spotted that one of the contestants describes himself on Twitter as 'two-spirited' and feels a lot of what he said about himself on film hasn't been shown. If the programme makers really have simplified a participant's self-described gender identity to make it 'easier to understand', I'll be very disappointed, but I'll reserve judgement until we've seen more episodes.

I've also seen another participant blogging about people complaining about stereotypical depictions in the show and left a comment there saying that the critique is very much placed on the producers for not having more diversity represented in the people they selected for the show (and in their editing). The stories of the participants featured are all positive and valuable and should be celebrated by 'the community'.

I'm sure a blog post will be written for Nonbinary.org in time for the site's launch :)
quarridors: (Werewolf)
The following post doesn't go into details about Children of Earth (Torchwood series 3) but the resulting comments almost certainly will...

I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not keen to see Torchwood continued after the ending the series was given during Children of Earth: Day 5.

However, after discussions with some friends, I have an idea for the continuation of Torchwood which I would absolutely LOVE to see.

Now Torchwood has been around since the Victorian era and Captain Jack has been a member of Torchwood Three since it was run by two Victorian lesbians. That's a century of Torchwood and Captain Jack continuity that's completely untapped.

So let's treat present day Torchwood as finished, leave the modern Doctor Who universe free for Steven Moffat to play with and instead explore Torchwood's shady past!

There are some options for how this might work:

You could have series 4 set entirely in the Victorian era with Captain Jack working as a junior member of a steampunk Torchwood, hiding secret knowledge about Torchwood's arch enemy, The Doctor. After that, series 5 could be in, say, the 1920s, as previewed in The Golden Age, then series 6 could be in the 1960's, series 7 the 1980's and so on. Each series would move on enough that we have a completely different team with very few characters crossing between. Eventually this would have the nostalgic appeal of Life On Mars or Ashes To Ashes and it could even feature ongoing threats and big bads that persist or develop through the decades.

Alternatively, the story could follow Jack working on some sort of shady quest (looking for something to travel in time to change events perhaps?) alone before the CoE epilogue while flashing back Lost-style to related stories that occured at some point in Torchwood's past. Not only could this give us more of Torchwood's missing past (and that steampunk Victorian Torchwood) but it could include missing stories from Torchwood's recent past, even including characters that died in past series.

Or you could ditch the framing story and just have an anthology series exploring different Torchwood stories set in different time periods and different locations. We know from The Golden Age that Torchwood has a base in India, for example, so why not all over the empire? Then you'll have a series with lots of different stories in which anything could happen with only Captain Jack as the main recurring character.

A series set in Torchwood's past could be pretty dark, because we know for a fact that Torchwood in the past was an unethical organisation willing to do anything to protect the country and the empire. We also know that they used to treat Jack more like an abomonation who could be used to do dirty jobs almost certain to result in death. We'll also see an ongoing dynamic where Jack's position in Torchwood gradually changes going from a dispensable and untrusted pawn to eventually leader of Torchwood Three.

So what do you think, is this a good idea? Which option would you prefer? Or would you prefer to see a present day series 4?
quarridors: (XXXVI)
My favourite Doctor Who Podcast Radio Free Skaro asked me to be a guest panellist on a special Wednesday Cutaway episode discussing whether Torchwood: Children of Earth was homophobic from an LGBT perspective.

This episode is now available on the feed, via iTunes or directly from the Radio Free Skaro blog.

I had a great time recording this podcast and think we had an excellent and interesting discussion about the portrayal of LGBT characters in mainstream TV drama. I hope you'll all listen and let me know what you think!
quarridors: (The Red Badge Of Gayness)
This article contains spoilers for Torchwood: Children of Earth, especially days 4 and 5. If you haven't watched these yet or aren't already aware of the widely discussed spoiler, don't read on...

Also please note that I personally identify as queer and use the term to mean any sexual or gender identity outside of cisgender, vanilla heterosexuality. If you find this term offensive, please substitute the word with 'LGBT' as you read.

Torchwood: Children of Earth spoilers follow... )

If you enjoyed this article, I've also been involved in a podcast panel discussing the same topic, now available on the Radio Free Skaro blog.
quarridors: (Judoon)
Bug-eyed monsterPlanet of the Dead was this year's Doctor Who Easter special, the first of four 'gap year' specials taking us up to David Tennant's Tenth Doctor's regeneration into Matt Smith's Eleventh Doctor. Billed as the Tenth Doctor's last hurrah, we were told during Russell T Davis' interview on BBC Breakfast to expect a fun romp before the dark end - and that's exactly what we got, lots of fun! I let the story flow over me, had fun and found I laughed more often watching this than I did during the first episode of the new Red Dwarf premiered the night before. It seems that this episode went down extremely well with the non-fans, the 'not wes'. I was surprised by how many people on Twitter were saying this was the best Doctor Who they'd ever seen, and I heard later that this episode had one of the highest audience appreciation figures ever recorded for a Doctor Who and the highest for a New Who special. This was also the first ever high definition episode of Doctor Who. I signed up for a HD service on the promise of this episode and I wasn't disappointed - it looked absolutely amazing! Details like the pores on the doctor's face, the amazing sand dune vista, and the detailed CGI Tritovore ship were all crisp and stunning on my HD TV. It seems I wasn't alone; this episode also gave BBC HD their highest ratings figures to date. Supposedly this was the 200th Doctor Who TV story (if you ask Doctor Who Magazine), if you count The Trial of a Timelord as 1 story and not 3 and count Utopia as the 1st part in a 3 part adventure and not a standalone (as the production crew did), you reach 200 at this episode (if not, you reach 200 at Midnight or The Next Doctor). Spoilers for Planet of the Dead... ) But this is still a 4 out of 5 story for me as I had fun and didn't let the details worry me while it aired. It's a very enjoyable, witty story with lots of rewatch value due to the sparkling dialogue. It looks stunning on a 42" TV. I think we may have seen a template for what a big screen Doctor Who blockbuster movie might look like.

December 2016

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