So I’ve been watching The Gifted since it started, because I had hopes for a well-done live action X-Men series, especially one that tried to get out from under the baggage of the more-established well-known characters to try to play around in the periphery of the universe. Thing of it is, there’s something a bit…off about what’s happening here, and I want to try to put words around it, so stick with me a second.
The X-Men mythos was explicitly about being a fictionalized allegorical way to read the struggle for Civil Rights in the 1950s and ’60s. In the time since, that’s been expanded to encompass LGBTQIA struggles and more, but in any event it started as a way to get people to sympathize if not empathize with marginalized people’s struggles to be seen and understood as people. As such, while the tagline was always “to protect a world that hates and fears them,” at the end of the day, the X-Men were triumphant, the mutants were right, and the question was only one of tactics and extremes to which it was “right” to go, to deal with that struggle. Anti-mutant perspectives, though possibly held by people whose lives had been disrupted or even destroyed by mutants, were always the wrong side.
The latest from the insidious Hydra Product Placement Division.
Two big things happened this past week. One was quiet, but the other was very loud.
The quiet and more recent one was Marvel’s Epicly Smooth rollout of the Age Of Ultron Trailer–yes, smooth, even in the face of it being leaked. Pretty much instantaneously, they popped it on their main YouTube page and all commercials for the upcoming Agents Of SHIELD episode with which the trailer was supposed to premiere went from “world premiere” to “world BROADCAST premiere” like it was Nothing. As I’ve said before, there’s probably a “Leak Team” in most big studios these days, and if there isn’t, there SHOULD be.
So, the pilot for Constantine–NBC’s live-action adaption of DC Comics’ HellBlazer—leaked to the internet, as was bound to happen, and it isâ€¦certainly a pilot. The bad notes aren’t insurmountable, and the good will hopefully be built-upon, because the sooner they recognise and correct their issues as well as reinforce their strengths, the better off we’ll all be.
Story starts with John Constantine having checked himself into Ravenscar Sanitarium after having caused the gruesome death of a young girl named Astra. He’s ranting and railing at the head psych there, talking about a girl’s soul being damned to Hell and dragged off by a demon. And so of course the lead doctor tells him “There’s no such thing as demons!” Our John’s reply?
The Hollywood Reporter has it that Bryan Fuller (Hannibal, Pushing Daisies, 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Dead Like Me) is working with the network Starz on the adaptation of The Neil’s sprawling and lush roadtrip through the American mythscape–the resonant and divisive opus that is American Gods.
As long-time followers of the Sandman film adaptation debacle will recall: this film has been stuck in development hell for over a decade and a half–and thankfully so. The most recently discussed draft had capes and superhero-esque origins and all kinds of foolishness. So thankfully, this iteration looks basically exactly like I said it would need to look, in order to get me interested: it looks like they’ve erased literally all of the film script work done on it, to this point, and started over from scratch. And I’m okay with that.
Why? Because, as I said elsewhere, I’m more than a little wary about this show, not least because of the title which is, in itself, indicative of network’s perception of the audience as unable and unwilling to attempt to understand the position, motivations, and desires of a non-human agent. We want our AI to either already be somewhat humanesque (see J.A.R.V.I.S.), or to seek to be human but maybe never achieve it (see Star Trek‘s Data, and below), but we really don’t do well with AI which have not only instances of, but even their own Types of goals and desires.
Just the other day, Rainfall Films and director Sam Balcomb proved they could do what DC Entertainment has so often said was impossible: they’ve made what looks like it should be the trailer for a feature-length Wonder Woman movie.
Wonder Woman is NOT CONFUSING. If you tried to reconcile every version of Superman or Batman in a film, it wouldn't work for them, either.
This is an amazing piece of proof-of-concept fan-art, made more amazing by the quality of the effects done by a smaller studio, and the amount of narrative layering they do in such a short space. the story moves from present day to Themyscira and back, showing Diana acting alone and as a part of a tactical force.
But I’ve talked it up, enough; take a look after the jump…
This year at DragonCon, the inimitable Leigh–X-Track Director extraordinaire–put together a fan panel to discuss the conspiracies, weird science, and general shady dealings going on in the universe of Orphan Black. Because of our previous discussion on this topic, in the form of my conversation with Graeme Manson, I was invited to participate on this panel, along with Rob Levy, JM Tuffley, and the wonderful Cheryl of X-Track Staff. We had a great time together and we got a lot of excellent questions from the audience.
So if Orphan Black is a thing in which you are or might be interested, then I recommend you enjoy the above podcast. This was the X-Track Orphan Black Fan Panel, Sunday, September 1st, 7pm, Dragon*Con 2013. (Direct download available here–right click and select “Save As” or the equivalent.)
Oh, and the only Orphan Black cosplay I saw, all Dragon*Con, was seen at this panel: a fantastic recreation of the shot of Helena, found at right…
Orphan Black is the story of a woman who watches herself die.
Wait, that’s not quite it.
Orphan Black is the story of a mother struggling to connect with her child. Or is that two mothers? Or three? Four mothers? Two Children? Hm.
Orphan Black is the story of eight clones, living together, under one roof… No, wait, that’s also wrong.
Developed for television by Graeme Manson and John Fawcett and airing on BBC America in the US, and Space in Canada, Orphan Black explores questions of choice, identity, free will, technological progress and freedom and belief, in a setting and with a cast which make every beat intense and every conversation as terse, or endearing, or incredulously aware of itself as it needs to be. Orphan Black is a story that asks the question, “What would you do if you knew, in your heart, in your mind, in your very being, that you were unique, original, youâ€¦ and then found out that you weren’t quite as you as you thought you were?”
I recently got the opportunity to have a talk with head writer and co-showrunner Graeme Manson about the philosophical concepts, world events, and other wells from which he draws in order to craft the arc or Orphan Black‘s story. Why don’t we let him tell you what it’s all about: