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“Agents of SHIELD” Season 1: The Skip It/Watch It Guide

agents-of-shield-official-posterOh, Agents of SHIELD — a big thing done… well, not so great. At some point, I may tell Frank in full what happened during the first season of Marvel’s efforts to bring its superhero mega-franchise into prime-time broadcast television. But I started receiving requests for a Skip It/Watch It Guide for this show back in November. Clearly, the people have demands.

Here’s the most important thing about SHIELD — if you don’t have fondness in your heart for Joss Whedon and/or the Marvel Movieverse, you should probably just skip the whole damn thing. This show has potential, and definitely improves as it progresses, but it is an investment that you’d be totally justified in not wanting to make. Even though ABC did agree to continue the show, we’ll all look back on this season as a groundbreaking, but at best troubled, 22 episodes.

In a perfect world, this show would have been 13 episodes long, there would be a lot more make-outs and the hacker chick would have been shot in the head halfway through. This is not a perfect world. But for Whedon fans, superhero fans and those intrigued by what SHIELD might mean for the general media landscape, it will spark some interest. So, here you go. Watch in good health. This guide, I admit, came out as much more generous than anticipated. But that’s life in the NFL. Read the rest of this entry

Liz Tells Frank About The eBook of Skip It/Watch It Guides!

Dear Frank,

You want it, baby? You got it.

What a lovely book cover! Designed by Asa Shumskas-Tait.

That’s right, it’s a semi-comprehensive, totally subjective guide to 21 television shows of the past two decades, filled with recommendations as to which episodes to skip and which episodes to watch!

What new shows get covered? Oh, how about Alias, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer AND Angel, Dollhouse, Friday Night Lights, Fringe, How I Met Your Mother, Lost, New Girl, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, The West Wing and The X-Files? How about THAT.

Plus, there are a few other surprises — like the Doctor Who guide getting updated through 2013! It’s a good time, especially thanks to Whitney Bishop and Andreanna Ditton’s Star Trek: Voyager and Farscape entries, and a foreword written by Farscape executive producer Richard Manning! Ricky helped make Star Trek, Frank!

The Skip It/Watch It Guides are now available exclusively on Amazon for $3.99. I very much hope you enjoy.

Love,
Liz

“Star Trek: Voyager” Season 7: The Skip It/Watch It Guide

And, after seven long seasons, it’s time for erstwhile “Voyager” chronicler Whitney Bishop to bring us home. Take it away, Whitney! –Liz

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Geena Davis: “We just heard a fascinating and disturbing study, where they looked at the ratio of men and women in groups. And they found that if there’s 17 percent women, the men in the group think it’s 50-50. And if there’s 33 percent women, the men perceive that as there being more women in the room than men.”

Here, at the dawning of this last season of Voyager, I’ve got a theory for why, by the end, pretty much damn near every guest actor on the show is male — unless, of course, the character has to be a sex object, seduce someone, and/or give birth to someone, in which case that role can be filled by a lady — and that theory is basically summed up by that quote up there. The ratio hasn’t been great throughout the rest of the show, but by the end it’s just ridiculous. I think that the more time Janeway, Seven, and B’Elanna get, the more the show feels its gender quota has been filled and just defaults to male secondary characters.

I honestly think the lack of adult female roles has a lot to do with male perceptions of how women take up space. By the seventh season, Janeway still has the helm, Seven is an object of interest for many of the plots now, and B’Elanna’s pregnancy has pushed her back to frequent consideration where she once was absent from episodes entirely. Three women doing things is like having a show entirely about women, and therefore there’s no need to ensure gender diversity elsewhere.

To be clear, I’m not accusing anyone of malice or deliberate misogyny. But seeing seventeen percent and thinking it’s the same as half is just another indication of the failure of imagination that never let Voyager boldly go quite the way it should have. The show started out touting its female-led crew, but wound up not only struggling under its inability to keep up its initial promises of being Feminist Trek, but actually backsliding. That’s sort of sad.

And now, for Season 7… Read the rest of this entry

“Star Trek: Voyager” Season 6: The Skip It/Watch It Guide

The adventure continues thanks to the wonderful Whitney Bishop, who continues her quest through the Delta Quadrant with the cleanest refugees in Starfleet. Season 6 is here — we’re almost home, you guys! –Liz

Voyager_S6Season six of Voyager really becomes the Seven Show. On the one hand, that’s great, because Jeri Ryan is still the most talented cast member and Seven of Nine has some of the most interesting character development still left. Also, up until the end, it strayed away from the disasters that are usually her romance plots and embraced her ability to do other things, like take care of special-needs children and wear less makeup.

On the other hand, though, focusing on her means leaving a lot of good characters by the wayside. Nothing of note has happened to Chakotay in a good long while, and while Harry, Neelix, and Tuvok are present in a lot of scenes (and get to lead the plot in about an episode each), they’re generally supporting the action, not carrying it. That’s just death on a show that’s supposed to be an ensemble cast. I read that this season was a slog for Robert Beltran, and I have no problem believing that, considering how he was in every episode of the show (as was Tim Russ), but I don’t actually remember his being in most of the ones this season.

I’m also just going to point out the fact that three of the four cast members the show forgets about are three of its four cast members of color, put that down, and back away slowly. (If you’re interested in detailed-yet-spoilery statistics, Adherents.com has a list of Species / Race / Gender / Ethnicity Breakdown Among Star Trek Cast Members, which was a good read.)

SEASON SIX Read the rest of this entry

“Star Trek: Voyager” Season 5: The Skip It/Watch It Guide

Whitney’s back, you guys, because there are seven full seasons of “Voyager” and our lord and savior Hugh Jackman knows that you need to know which ones to skip and which ones to watch. Here’s Season 5 — Seasons 6 and 7 are coming soon! –Liz

c9_d_55316_0_StarTrekVoyagerSeason5Some notes: Remember what I said all the way back in the season three guide about Tom and B’Elanna being boring? (Liz sure does!) [I sure do! We still disagree about that! --Liz]

In fact, that relationship starts to be one of Voyager‘s strengths as it goes on — once it gets past the cringe-inducing courtship stage and settles into a long-term relationship, their boring is great! They’re together, but they’re not together all the time. Each gets appropriately worried when the other is in a dangerous situation, but not to the point of completely breaking down. It’s an actual, grown-up relationship between two people who have to work together. The show gets over the painful stages of OMG WILL WE OR WON’T WE and OMG WE DID AND NOW WE MUST NOT TELL ANYONE and settles them down into, yep, we’re dating, the end. And that’s lovely.

I’m picking on romance in particular here because this season made so many attempts at it, and they all fell flat — all, that is, with the exception of Tom and B’Elanna, which remained a quiet, pleasant background constant (more or less). Read the rest of this entry

“Star Trek: Voyager” Season 3: The Skip It/Watch It Guide

51Z+bMhm0SLGuys, if the marvelous Whitney Bishop is gonna keep telling you which episodes of “Star Trek: Voyager” to skip/watch, then I’m gonna keep publishing them. Enjoy! –Liz

It seems weird now that it’s pretty much the norm, but serialization is actually something that television — and Star Trek in particular — used to hate. The syndication model meant that shows had to be airable in whatever order the local broadcasters wanted to air them in, which didn’t lend well to embedded cumulative plots. Sure, there were certain shows that demanded strict continuity (see: Twin Peaks), but Star Trek series weren’t supposed to be among them. Deep Space Nine, in fact, got on the wrong side of its production company more than once when it made plotlines that stretched over several episodes. If you go read around on Memory Alpha, you see tons of instances where Voyager‘s cast and crew
alike make mention of this, usually grumbling all the way. Good for business, bad for art.

Season three is where the show’s lack of short-term memory really starts to show. Read the rest of this entry

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