( 20 "Vampyr" icons under the cut... )
So, I got an email that my paid account was due to expire. I had two choices. Let it expire? But that seemed a tacit acknowledgment that I would never post again. So I had to renew, obviously. But once I paid for a blog that I hadn't used in a year (a year?!), I realized that I absolutely had to post again, today, immediately.
(I waited like six hours to make this post, obviously.)
Soooooooooo, it's been awhile! There are a multitude of reasons (three, maybe four) for why I quit posting for a year (A YEAR?!?), but I won't get into everything now. Mostly because it's boring and I doubt anyone cares. But I wanted to say hello! I'll be endeavoring to getting back into the swing of things and maybe making things and writing things again, and checking up on my flist, and other such online fandom thingies!
I feel like I should add something of substance to this post, however, so have literally the only thing I've done in Photoshop in the past year: a teeny-bop collage of silent film star Conrad Veidt! (My sister went through A Phase.)
I need to get back working on The Orphan Queen. I go through fallow periods with it, but even when I'm not actively writing, I am usually thinking about it. I have a very clear sense of so much of what is to come, and I think one of the reasons I take breaks now and then is because I know how long it will take me to write all I have planned. I think I end up feeling discouraged not at the amount of work, but that I can't just download the novel out of my brain. I always worry that I'm going to lose something in the process - which is silly, because nine times out of ten I end up writing something I didn't expect, or dramatizing something in a different way than planned, and it's far better than what I had tumbling about in my head prior.
Day 5 - Least Favorite Episode of Favorite Show
Battlestar Galactica - 3x14 - "The Woman King"
I know it had something to do with some crazy doctor where the refugees were living on Galactica, and that the whole episode was rewritten at the last minute because they ended up cutting a long-running subplot, and that Helo is basically The Best and Greatest Character of Our Times throughout, and by the time the episode was over I hated him. And that's pretty much all I remember! But I know it was awful.
Day 5 - A dancing gif
It's hard for me to definitively state what my all-time favorite show is. It differs depending on what I'm watching at any particular moment; when was the last time I did a rewatch; how active I am in a particular fandom; etc. So I have instead simply chosen my all-time favorite episode of television ever, which happens to be from one of my favorite shows.
The X-Files - 5x05 - "The Post-Modern Prometheus"
Day 4 - An angry gif
Cool! Read the meme wrong! So yeah, this show aired last season, whatever. Maybe I'll do another picspam for Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which is my favorite new show from this season, at some other point.
But today we're talking about Hannibal! Not just my favorite new show, but as far as I'm concerned, the best show on TV right now. If you're at all familiar with the Hannibal Lecter mythos, you know that a story about him is going to be dark, depraved and gruesome. So it may come as a surprise to hear that Hannibal is arguably the most beautiful show at least currently airing, perhaps ever.
That's quite a claim, I know. I have never seen such detail in production design, from the regular sets to location shots; the costuming is absurdly gorgeous; don't even get me started on the cinematography! I have watched many a feature film with not even close to this amount of attention paid to shot selection, framing, color grading, lighting, etc. For instance, Hannibal is often backlit, which causes a sort of angelic glow around him (also known as Rembrandt lighting). It softens the edges of his silhouette, giving him a slightly-otherworldly appearance. But he's often backlit without any kind of key light or fill light. His facial features end up obscured, his expression ambiguous, his eyes dark and unable to be read. The effect is to dehumanize him, but in both positive and negative ways - he is beautiful, and he is terrible. Subconsciously, the viewer is both attracted and repelled. Is there any better way to depict a character like Hannibal Lecter?
I could go on and on about how absolutely perfect this show is. Actually, I will go on a little bit more. Many wonderful, complex female characters - who are all different from one another. I think a lot of shows have heard about having "strong female characters," so they write a couple iterations of the same 2D female character who is played by a physical waif but is shown beating people up. Not so on Hannibal. Bryan Fuller even took a male character from the books and made her a woman to make the gender balance more even. (Speaking of Bryan Fuller's awesomeness: he has vowed to never have a rape storyline. Ever.) It's also a very smart show. They will cut from A to D or sometimes even, like, F, and trust the audience to figure out the steps in between; after years and years of police procedurals, we know how these stories work. So Hannibal cuts out all that stuff and concentrates on everything else: what kind of toll does investigating these kinds of crimes take on people? In the very first episode, Will Graham must make a snap judgment in an incredibly difficult and tense situation. He deals with that decision and its after-effects for the entire rest of the season. It's not just glossed over, and it's certainly not glamorized. As over-the-top as some of the murders and staging can be, there's a huge amount of attention paid to the psychology of murder. Which makes sense, considering the title character...
As for Dr. Lector, what I found perhaps most astonishing is how well Hannibal was able to take a character who was so well-entrenched in the public consciousness, to the point that he wasn't even really scary anymore (who among us hasn't made the fava beans and chianti joke?), and make him so completely brand-new. And yet still the Hannibal Lecter we all have come to know so well. It's a testament not just to the writing, but most especially to Mads Mikkelsen, who is able to do so much just by the tiniest quirk of the corner of his mouth, just a slight tilt to his head, just a knowing look in the background of a shot as other characters speak. He is, quite simply, a revelation.
I am going to put my picspam behind a cut, however, because I know Hannibal isn't for everyone. It is an extremely dark and violent show. I've selected a few compositions that I find incredibly beautiful, but they are disturbing, and I don't want to upset anyone who doesn't care for that sort of thing.
Day 3 - An unamused gif
Today we watched a documentary about the Oscars, which was pretty enjoyable, some Nigella, and then the first episode of Beauty and the Beast with Linda Hamilton and Ron Perlman. I vaguely remember watching it as a very wee child, and basically only remember how much I wanted Catherine and Vincent to kiss, so it was pretty fun to revisit that. Tomorrow I plan to get more writing done - I did a smidgen today - and maybe try to catch up a little on my backlog of TV.
The Americans! It's only got one season under its belt, but unlike a lot of first seasons, this was a show that knew what it was right out of the gate. Two undercover Russian agents in Washington D.C. in the early 80s. The Cold War, espionage, cons, costumes. Fake mustaches. And then there's like all this deep stuff about how it's like a ~cold war in their marriage. Perms. A really kicking soundtrack. These people are really attractive, like for real. And it just kept getting better and better, until the season finale, which was legit great television. I am super-excited to see it come back, so now's the perfect time to do a quick 13-episode binge and get caught up - and help keep this awesome show on the air!
Day 2 - A sad gif
This is a tough one, because there are so many shows I have loved and lost due to fickle cancellation, but I am going to go with my dear, departed Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles. If you never watched it, you're missing out on one of the most philosophical, meditative, yet action-packed and amazing SF shows to air in the last decade. It picks up from the Terminator mythos following Judgment Day, but then goes on its own unique way, really exploring the nature of what it means to be human, what it means to evolve, and what it means to be loyal. Wonderful acting from a fantastic cast, beautifully shot, and featuring the music of Battlestar Galactica composer Bear McCreary.
Day 1 - A happy gif
( The Americans icons... )
( The disguises of The Americans... )
The rest are graphics I've made for assorted challenges, gift-giving endeavors, and some older things I'm reposting - I've got a bunch new Babylon 5 folks on my flist, so I'm putting up a few of my old favorites.
( Fringe, Terminator and Babylon 5 graphics under the cut. )