Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I know I'm not the only one who came up with that term, but I did come up with it all by myself, and I'm pretty proud of that. 

It's that time of year when everyone is telling everyone else what they're thankful for. That may have sounded like it annoys me, but it doesn't. Hearing everyone give thanks always makes me think about what I'm thankful for. Truth be told, I'm thankful for a lot and since this blog has taken a geeky feminist turn the last however long, I thought I'd list all the geeky things I'm thankful for. Well, not all. I stopped at 5 because I wrote a lot for each one and because 5 is a great number to stop a list at (OCD much?) 

1. Joss Whedon and His Creations

There is only one thing that Joss has created that I don't love: Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D (from Marvel), and I'm blaming that more on Jed and Maurissa and the fact that they just take a while to get a show moving along (re: Dollhouse). But that leaves Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly, Serenity, Dollhouse, Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog, Cabin in the Woods, Much Ado About Nothing, Avengers, Fray, Astonishing X-Men, and a slew of scripts he's fixed and written over the years. 

Buffy will forever be my first pure geek love. I liked geeky things before that of course, but nothing as much as Buffy and I have yet to find something that I love as much as Buffy. From there, my love for Joss only grew. Well, first it was a complicated relationship because characters dying was a new thing for me and I didn't know how to handle it. Since realizing how much more exciting a story can be when that's the risk, my love for Joss has only grown. 

My favorite thing about Joss is he really does write women well. There are those who disagree with me, but they're wrong. I'm not saying he's perfect, but the female characters in his works are characters, not caricatures. It's sadly something we still don't see very often and while I can enjoy TV and film that don't write women well, the vacuum is always there and whatever I'm watching or reading isn't as good as it could be. 

2. Catching Fire

I thoroughly enjoyed the Hunger Games books. The first movie was alright. Catching Fire is a giant step up from that (how do you feel about firing Michael Arndt now, Disney/Abrams, huh?). The production quality was great, the script improved on the source material, and it had the fifth largest opening weekend in history (largest November open ever). 

Oh, and look! Over 40% of those who saw this movie opening weekend were men! Wait, does that mean that men identify with female protagonists? I mean it's common knowledge that women moviegoers identify with both men and women, but so far men have only identified with male protagonists. And, hang on, how much money did the movie make? But the lead is a woman! That's not supposed to happen...  

Dear Movie Executive that I was impersonating in the paragraph above: YOU ARE A COMPLETE WASTE OF SPACE AND YOU SHOULD NOT BE DECIDING WHAT MOVIES GET MADE! 

Let me ask the men reading this a question: have you ever identified with a woman? Movie Executive, take note. Every single man said yes (except the psychopathic sexists, but they don't read this anyway). Chant with me now, Movie Executive - a female lead does not mean men won't go see a movie. A female lead in an action movie does not mean it won't make money. 

I'm thankful for Catching Fire because we FINALLY have a chance to show ass hats like my friend, Movie Executive, that they're wrong. Both men and women will go see a well written film, no matter what the protagonist has in their pants. When you give us garbage like Elektra or Catwoman, of course it won't make money. You didn't try to make it so it would. Give us a film like Catching Fire and you'll make money. I promise. 

3. The Marvel Cinematic Universe

Now remember, I'm not talking about X-Men (as much as I want to) or Spiderman since the movie rights to those characters aren't owned by Marvel. 

Thanks to Kevin Feige (I wrote Paul Feig at first... I'm always doing that for some reason), Marvel is its own movie studio. Granted, they only became so after they had sold off all my favorite characters (namely lots of X-Men) to other studios, but Feige fixed it before they sold off just about every Avenger character. 

God bless Kevin Feige. Cause really, do you realize how big of a thing it is that they're doing? Do you?! Taking four characters and making four movies (well, really three cause I'm pretty sure they didn't have Avengers in mind when they made Incredible Hulk, although I could be wrong) in order to introduce those characters for an ensemble movie. Then they say, "Oh hey, that went well, let's do it again and this time, let's add TV shows to it!" and announce 4 shows for Netflix and one more (hopefully) on the way for ABC, not to mention the other one they already have on ABC. Now, they probably won't all tie together the way Avengers did, but they could be making Avengers movies forever with this model! Kill off Iron Man, throw in Black Panther (although we better get Black Panther before then). Kill off Thor, throw in Captain Marvel (again, we better be seeing her sooner than that). 

Oh! Oh! Not only that, but they're making a movie about essentially space Avengers with a talking tree and a raccoon with machine guns. It's going to be freaking amazing. 

Meanwhile DC makes another movie about Superman and/or Batman. Again. For like, the 40th time because they're scared of taking risks since Green Lantern didn't make money (not that they tried to make it good enough to make money) and Wonder Woman is too "tricky." 

4. Comic-Con (both SDCC and SLCC)


I first went to SDCC last year. I won't go into the details of that since I already did, but suffice it to say that it was incredible. I didn't even mind the crowds (and I HATE people) because I saw everyone there as a kindred spirit. Either that or I mentally prepared really well. 

Salt Lake had its very first Comic Con in September and while it wasn't as good as SDCC by a long shot, it was still fun. Although the crowds did bother me more there. But it'll get better. First year meant a lot of mistakes and very poor planning. They initially planned on 2,000 and ended up selling 60,000 tickets. Even with the bigger venue there wasn't enough space. Not many big names, but I did get to meet Nicholas Brendon again and Stan Lee decided to show up last minute. That was pretty fantastic. They're doing two next year, one in April and one in September. Don't ask me why. My guess is anyone who goes to the one in April will also go to the one in September. I doubt they'll reach a wider audience. But whatever. I'm still going to the one in April because James Marsters and Adam Baldwin are going to be there along with about half the cast of TNG so far. *Please get Patrick Stewart... Please get Patrick Stewart...*

San Diego Comic Con is nerd Mecca. I made my pilgrimage for the first time last year and I'll go as long as I have money and people to share a room with. Salt Lake Comic Con was the largest inaugural Comic Con ever and will hopefully keep growing and attracting bigger names. Those are my people and I love it. 

5. Nerdy Family and Friends

Harry Potter birthday party 

My nephew at Halloween a couple years ago

The Justice League

Happy Birthday, Buffy! 

Very tall Ash. 

Two of my nieces (ages five and two) love Avatar and anime in general. My third niece (age three) is going to be a paleontologist when she grows up and knows more about dinosaurs that I do. My oldest nephew (age five) was Yoda two years ago for Halloween, Iron Man last year, and Michelangelo this year (my other two nephews are too new to like anything but food, clean diapers, and sleep). He's also on his way to becoming a Bronie (a cool one. Not the one that asks Lauren Faust for her autograph so the toy she signs has a higher resale value). They are like this because their parents are like this. My family rocks. 

I do not have a shortage of geek friends either. If I want to geek out/geek complain about anything (including feminist geek stuff), I have at least five people outside of my family at any given time I can call or text for that purpose. And if not, my best friend (who is not a geek) will humor me. My friends also rock. 

All in all, my geek life is good. Although it would be better with a Wonder Woman movie. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Best and the Worst of the Whedonverse Deaths

Before I get started, I just want you to know that this post will be riddled with spoilers from Firefly, Buffy (show and season 8 comic), Angel, Cabin in the Woods, Dollhouse, and Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. So Katy, stop reading. 

I read this article the other day and I decided I wanted to fix it. Cause, let's face it, the woman who wrote this article was generally wrong. Not just in the order of many of the characters, but she completely left out some major characters and put in some non-major characters. Some people... 

For better or worse, Joss Whedon is known for killing off characters. Joss has been very open about how much he hates this reputation. I'm sure he gets tired of hearing questions like, "who are you going to kill off this time?" but I for one would love to see more characters die off in general. In my mind, writers like Joss and George R.R. Martin are defined by so many more things, but they are also willing to kill off characters. Martin more than Whedon by a long shot. Whedon has never killed off "essential" characters without bringing them back to life. With Martin, no one is essential. Except Arya, Jon, Tyrion, and Danerys. I might stop reading if one of those four dies. 

This raises the stakes because you know (almost) no one is safe and I'm a big fan of that kind of anxiety in my fantasy/sci fi material. Except when it's Supernatural and it kills off every single person. Then it just gets predictable and boring. I don't watch that show anymore, but I'm sure they'll ax Felicia Day sometime soon. She's been in what, 5 episodes maybe? It's about that time... Wow. I haven't watched that show in over a season and apparently I'm still not over how bad it got. 

Anyway, here's my list of least to most devastating Whedonverse deaths. I have one rule for including characters: they have to be main characters. This means I won't be including Bennett from Dollhouse, Jonathan or Warren from Buffy (as fantastic as Warren's death was), Darla from Angel and Buffy (although I really would have only counted her death in Angel since she was only in a handful of episodes in Buffy and we never saw her out of vampire face), or The World in Cabin in the Woods (even though that was pretty fantastic as well). 

I also need to make the caveat that being sent to a hell dimension doesn't count as dying. I'm also including season 8 of Buffy but only season 8 because I haven't started season 9 yet even though I have the first three issues waiting for me on my bookshelf. I'm not including After the Fall or Angel and Faith because I haven't read those yet. 

16. Paul Ballard

I was not sad when Paul died because I was not happy while he was there. The show is a good one, but Paul Ballard was not a part of that. I still can't decide if it was the actor or the character, but I just wasn't a fan. I can't even remember how he dies. 

15. Giles

Giles' death felt very forced and not at all moving. Forced because I still have no idea what the hell was going on with Angel. He was possessed by Twilight or The Twilight, but there was a lot surrounding those events that just didn't make sense to me. There's a lot of that in the comic series, actually. But I'll keep reading as long as Buffy is on the cover. It wasn't moving because I wasn't attached to Giles anymore. I've heard it said that Giles' character didn't work in the comic format, and that's probably true. I'll go back and read them again someday, but Giles kind of became not so essential before the TV series ended. Which makes me sad, but it left something wanting from his death that was supposed to leave you feeling shocked. 

14. Buffy

Don't get me wrong, Buffy's death was touching. I love her final speech and she gives her life not for the world, but for her sister. It's cute. But it's not that sad. It's sad because the Scoobies are sad (Spike's reaction is the saddest), but you know Buffy's coming back so it's not that big of a deal. Although for a minute there in season 6 I really did think the rest of the series was going to be with the Buffybot.  

13. Anya

This is one of the places where I agree with the author. Anya deserved more than the death she got. She's one of my all time favorite characters in anything let alone Buffy, and she should have had a better death than getting cut in half by a random lackey ubervamp. 

12. Sheppard Book

Book's death was sad more because of the lost potential. Like Firefly. But not sad because 1. he wasn't in Serenity enough and 2. come on, who didn't see that coming? 

11. Penny

I probably wouldn't care so much about Penny's death if it wasn't Felicia Day, but I've had a crush on her since she was Vi in Buffy so it stung. 

10. Cordelia

This one wasn't as bad as it could be because the show prepares you for it. First her body is taken over by a higher being (although you don't know that yet) and does all sorts of terrible, icky things and then she's in a coma for about a season and comes back for one episode. By the time she died, you were already used to her not being there. 

9. Spike

I know Spike comes back, but unless you watched Angel you don't know that so I'm still including him. What I love (and hate) about Spike's death is his last exchange with Buffy. "I love you." "Know you don't. But thanks for saying it." For years watching this it made me sad, but it doesn't much anymore. She totally loved him. Ask Joss. Spike just said that because he knew he couldn't be around for her to love him so it was something to make him feel better in his last moments. Or something. Either way, it's sad. 

8. Jenny

So, I wasn't so sad because Jenny died. I wasn't even sad because Angelus killed her. By the way, Angelus is an extraordinarily better character than Angel. Anyway, I was sad because of what it did to the Scoobies. And how it happened. That was a pretty brutal scene for Giles to walk in on.  

7. Wash

"I am a leaf on the wind. Watch how I-"

6. Doyle

I've heard that Joss had Doyle die because he always wanted to kill someone who showed up in the opening credits. He hadn't done that with Buffy except in the series finale so it makes sense. Doesn't make it any harder to handle. Doyle was such a fantastic character. 

5. Topher

We're getting into the "I cry every time, doesn't matter how many times I've seen it" territory. Topher's death is heartbreaking for two reasons. First, he is hands down the best character in Dollhouse by a ridiculously long shot. Second, what he becomes in Epitaph II is heartbreaking in and of itself. He goes from being a carefree, hilarious genius to being a broken, tortured genius. He created the tech that brought down society not knowing how powerful it was and he gave his life to fix it. It was a great death though. 

4. Wesley

This one sucks. So much. I wonder if Joss would have killed off just about every character if Angel hadn't ended where it did. Wesley is lying there dying, looking at the demon living in the body of the woman he's loved unrequited for years minus maybe three episodes ago when they finally got together. 

"Would you like me to lie to you now?" "Yes. Thank you, yes." 

He's with Fred when she dies, Fred is with him when he dies. That's the only good thing about it. That and Illyria punching the magician demon guy through the head. 

3. Joyce

As far as characters go, Joyce was expendable. But The Body is one of TV's finest pieces of work. It's the only non-mystical death in the Buffyverse and it's gut wrenching. I didn't know it could be any harder to watch, but turns out your mom getting cancer makes a lot of things (movies about cancer patients or moms dying in TV shows) 100% worse to get through. I've never had anyone that close to me die, but I imagine it's a lot like this episode. Minus the vampire at the end.

2. Tara

Oh, Tara. Probably my favorite under-utilized character. Pretty much every member of the Scoobies had something going on in their own right, but Tara's stories always revolved around Willow. Except for that one episode with Amy Adams. Tara really annoyed me the first couple times I watched Buffy, but she's grown on me more than any other character. I love watching her slowly come out of her shell and her relationship with Willow is one of my favorites in the Whedonverse. Except when Willow started playing with her memories. That sucked. Her death sucked too. And actually, her death wasn't mystical either. Stupid guy with a stupid gun. But her death did cause Willow to go into some super interesting places. Although I hate Kennedy. If Tara hadn't died, Willow wouldn't have started dating Kennedy. I would have been more than okay with that. 

1. Fred

Sigh... This is the only death that still makes me not only sad, but mad. There was a purpose to most other deaths to move the story along. They were sad, but they worked. Not so with Fred. The only reason they killed off Fred was to showcase Amy Acker's acting abilities. And don't get me wrong, she does a phenomenal job as Illyria and Illyria would have been one of the most interesting characters if the series had continued (I really hope they do good things with her in the comics I will eventually read). But I miss Fred. There's nothing about Illyria I don't love, but I love Fred more. Plus, they had to go and make it even worse by having Illyria basically eat Fred's soul. She's just not dead, she's gone forever. For someone raised in a very religious household, that's rough.