Sunday, April 30, 2017

What Draws Us to Media?

It's funny how time flies, isn't it? I can't believe I'm actually nearing the end of my freshman year of college. I'm sitting here listening to the Rick and Morty theme just because. I don't watch the show myself, but the theme grew on me very quickly. 
Anyway, the music is making me think about what the term epic means in terms of TV shows, novels, music, and so on. Is merely what we associate with the music the thing that's epic, or would the music alone still be seen as epic without the media form we associate it with? For example, when I hear the theme I'm listening to now, I think of epic intergalactic adventures. Struggles against the forces of darkness and evil. A sort of apocalyptic feeling is in there, too. 
I say this as someone who has not seen one episode of Rick and Morty. Is the show epic in the way I've described above? In other words, does the song encompass the overall theme of the show? Could the show work with another theme, or does the song enforce the atmosphere of the show? 

Honestly, I don't know. 

And this can be applied to novels as well, I think. When I look at a book cover, I believe it is the cover artist's job to show off something about the novel, whether it be the atmosphere or plot or just a main theme. 
Watership Down, for example, has a very peaceful-looking cover, but it does not show the epic nature of the story within. Instead, it takes one aspect (the atmosphere) and shows it off, rather than showing something of the story ahead of time. I feel that that may be the main difference between books and shows/films. Books can't encompass the main message in one image. At least, not with the books I've read. Rather, it draws you to the atmosphere so you are either compelled to open it or decide it's not something appealing, at least in terms of aesthetic appeal. 

I think I'm going to chew on this for a while... 

This has me thinking. Maybe I'll look into the art of cover art and see what really goes into it. 

And to think, I started musing over this all because of an Adult Swim cartoon.... 

Friday, April 7, 2017


Waiting hurts. Waiting is hard. I know this because my patience has really been tested for the past four months and there's still two and a half more to go before I can finally say that I have what I want.
Okay, I know I'm being cryptic. I'll explain.
So as you may be aware, Gravity Falls is one of my favorite shows and I read the real-life version of the show's Journal 3 back in, I think, November. There was one major thing this journal was missing that the journal on the show had, and it's the one thing I want to see so badly: invisible ink. I preordered the special edition (which has the invisible ink, a monocle, and a leather cover) back in December and I'm 99.9% sure I'm guaranteed a copy. They sold out in late October, early November, so they expanded the number of books just as I placed an order through Barnes and Noble. I heard Amazon oversold the books, so I'm really relieved I didn't order from them. But now the creator of the show is releasing photos and videos of some of the pages of the journal and it looks awesome. I don't think I've ever been this antsy waiting for something. Then again, I haven't really ever had to preorder a book, so this type of waiting is new to me....
I know: I'm a totally spoiled book geek. But I just can't help it. It cost me $150 and I'm pretty sure I need to go out and buy my own black light for it before it gets here, adding to the price, yet I seriously doubt I'm going to regret spending all this money on something that may seem so trivial. It's still a book, so I really don't mind the price. I just mind the wait.
The series 4 premiere of Sherlock in January kept me distracted from this for a while, but now that the release date is as close as it is and series 4 of Sherlock is over, I have nothing to keep me busy until it comes! That's what's really frustrating me.
I've heard it said that patience is a virtue. And I'm pretty lucky that I even got an order in for one shortly after the number of books was increased. That's why I'm fairly certain I'll get one at all. 

Found this on Tumblr and promptly died laughing. 
Just two and a half more months.... please don't make it feel like too much longer.....

Saturday, April 1, 2017

Taking Risks in Writing

So I know I haven't posted in a while. College is kicking my butt. Anyway, I'm rereading The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz (#2 on Project: Sherlock rankings) and I'm remembering why it was so high on the list and one of my favorite books. The funny thing is, it was all set to win until a last-minute change occurred. The book is that great. Let me explain why.
I'm a little afraid to talk about the main message it sends (it's very sensitive and I don't want to upset anyone) so I won't focus on that. You'll see what I mean if you read the book.
The one major thing that's sticking out to me on this reread is how dark the story is. I remember when I first read it and the convoluted mystery confused me a bit, but this second reading is really showing me where all the little pieces of the puzzle fit together. And that's fascinating to me!
And the subject matter is something I have not seen any author of any book touch upon. I believe that it's sensitive enough so that no one dared to. Yet Horowitz did, and did so masterfully. Why is this the case? How are some authors able to take such huge risks in writing yet others cannot? Sometimes the risk doesn't pay off.
I remember after I read Divergent (which I hated with a passion) and the final book came out, and people were furious because the author had taken a certain risk - a risk that's practically unheard of, unless done correctly. My guess (I haven't read the book myself) is that she did not.
I read another book under Project: Sherlock that took the biggest risk I've seen any of the pastiches take.... but it failed, because the author was using a character that wasn't his and he damaged that character.
So what? What does that mean?
My point is, it's okay to take certain risks in writing, but for the risk to pay off you have to know what you're doing. You also need to think of your audience when writing, at least put them in the back of your mind. I know it's her book, but the author of the final book of the Divergent trilogy was not thinking about how her audience would react to what she did. I mean, people were so upset that they swore off her books and sent her death threats....
I'm sure Horowitz knew what he was doing when he wrote The House of Silk. I think what he did in the preface of the book was a way of protecting himself, because the narrator lampshades how the events in the book were of an extremely sensitive nature. I think Horowitz was saying to his audience, "This mystery will shock you and perhaps upset you, but I'm writing this book the way I feel it needs to be told. So get ready."
The ultimate thing here is that taking risks in writing is something that a lot of authors do. Whether they do it right or not depends on the book they are writing and how they approach the subject. But I believe that Horowitz rose to the occasion and did it right.

This guy did it right and his book is a masterpiece as a result. I recommend The House of Silk to anyone looking for a great mystery. 

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Objectivity versus Subjectivity

I often wonder what makes writing for TV shows and movies different from writing stories or poems. Obviously of course there's something called a screenplay involved, but I'll be totally honest and admit I don't understand what that is exactly. You can often tell how good a show or movie's writing is depending on the quality of said show or movie and you can do the same with novels. Perhaps that's what connects them all. But then what about plays?
I often feel this is different because the quality of how the written words are carried out carries the show. Now that I think about it, it's the same for TV shows and movies. I guess, overall then, that you have to have a good writer behind almost any and every media form. Often, that's why I'm shocked when songs that I consider absolutely terrible become popular. But again there's no objectivity, only subjectivity there.
When I was in high school, I took a journalism class freshman year and it is the only media form I know of that, with the exception of opinion pieces, relies entirely on objectivity. It's often why I hate seeing a certain politician mock the media or step on them when they try to do their job. But I won't get any more political.
It's just amazing how much writing is used today, even if we don't realize it. I think I'll chew on this for a while.....

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Fire

The night is calm, but my mind is a racing engine. It is raining fire all around me. You watch me from above, long to take me in your arms and protect me forever, yet the sky is your prison, and you can only watch as I begin this journey. Every step, every footprint feels like a burning coal beneath my boot. You cry out, and I long to look up to where you dwell and join you. But the fires are still lit in the night, the wind whipping them up to tremendous heights, brighter and extremely dangerous.
Yet somehow in my angst, somehow as you watch me from above, the fire speaks to me, tells me things I knew once but may never know again. You are holding your breath as the fire extends toward me and I long to back away from the heat.
But I can't. I look up at you one last time before this transforming rendezvous. I tell you I love you and touch the fire as you are released from the prison of the sky. You fall to the earth as the fire continues to dance in the night wind. It is an eternity that the fire spends dancing with me, but just as a single tear falls down your cheek in this realization, I walk forth from the flames. I am burned in many places, my hair is singed, my clothes black with burns. Yet I am alive.
I smile and rush into your arms and plant a hot kiss on your cold lips. A clock strikes eleven somewhere nearby.
I don't remember what happened in there; I don't know how I made it through alive. But I did.

I kiss you one final time in joy and love, and we are ever so gently lifted up into the night in the celebration of our reunion. Our loyalty, though scarred by fire and the memory of your prison cell, is impenetrable. And as we stand here together, the night wraps it in golden lace of the stars as the fire below slowly dies.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Review of "The Final Problem"

Wow.... wow. Before I get too carried away, the drill is the same: this review will contain spoilers for the season 4 finale of Sherlock. 

Spoilers below!

Jeez. I didn't realize that Sherlock's secret sister could be so psychotic, so evil, so scary. Let's start from the beginning again.
Mycroft is watching a tape in this old building when the video he's watching says ominously, "I'm back." Mycroft gets up and walks around the building, seeing shadows of someone. He had his umbrella with him and, to my surprise, pulled that umbrella apart to reveal a sword. It's funny how something that sounds so simple actually appears so awesome, so badass, when you see it on the screen. He walks forward and asks the person he knows is in the shadows to come out. Unbeknownst to the elder Holmes brother, Sherlock set the trick up only to berate Mycroft about not telling him about Eurus. Speaking of which, the last episode left us on a cliffhanger with her shooting John. Well, it turns out, he's okay, because it was a tranquilizer dart. I will admit that I wish they had at least told us where he was shot before he recovered.
Anyway, moving on!
Mycroft, John, and Sherlock go back to Baker Street and Sherlock asks Mycroft about Eurus and why he can't remember her. Well, it turns out she was psychopathic from a very young age and Sherlock's mind buried his memories of her and altered them to protect him. Remember Sherlock's dog, Redbeard? It turns out it's not a dog; Sherlock never had a dog! It turns out Sherlock imagined Redbeard to cope with the dark truth: Redbeard was really called Nemo Holmes, the third brother. And Eurus killed him!
I will say that this particular twist cemented everything for me: Sherlock being a man of logic rather than emotion, Mycroft keeping up the story of the dog to protect Sherlock, and Eurus being the most dangerous genius Sherlock ever faced.
While they are discussing Eurus and what to do, an explosive drone flies into the room and the three just make it out as the drone explodes. I'm honestly glad that that's what the explosion from the trailer was - at least they made it!
They then travel to Sherrinford to find out how Eurus escaped. I love what Sherrinford turned out to be. I love how Gatiss and Moffatt had everyone assuming Sherrinford was the brother and not a place. Smart move.
Once they get there, things get ramped up to an eleven. Eurus is in control of the entire ward. At this point, I was so afraid of her that I didn't even know what to think. We then go back five years where we meet Jim Moriarty once again, who visits Eurus without supervision by the staff. The sudden appearance of Moriarty scared the living crap out of me.... then I found out it was a flashback. Moffatt and Gatiss are way too good at scaring viewers.
We then watch as Eurus and Moriarty formulate a plan to end Sherlock.... at this point, I was absolutely terrified. Darker and edgier, indeed! Eurus, back in the modern day, forces Sherlock to play a dangerous game where he must shoot one of the ward's employees, tell Molly Hooper he loves her, and kill either John or Mycroft in order to move on. The game was the most terrifying thing to sit through, and if Sherlock didn't do as told she would blow up a plane with an innocent little girl inside. I was convinced at this point: Eurus is the most dangerous villain Sherlock has faced to date. Sian Brooke was brilliant playing her.
Sherlock refuses to shoot his brother and friend, so Eurus knocks him out and puts him in a holding cell, Mycroft in another room, and John in a well somewhere on site. She then forces her brother to solve the case of the Musgrave ritual.... Sherlock finds out that the little girl on the plane and Eurus are the same person. A child warped by fear of the world with no one there to help her since she got locked up. Sherlock finding her and comforting her was a perfect way to end the game, even if it was a little cheesy. But I like the idea of Eurus and Sherlock just being human in the end. She helps Sherlock to find the well (in which John is drowning at this point) and they rescue him just in time.
Eurus gets locked up again for all she did, but this time Sherlock is allowed to visit her. I found that to be perfect, because it fulfills both characters and they are both better people in the end. The episode ends with Sherlock and John back at the Baker Street flat, which has begun to be repaired from the blast and a video clip of Mary signing season 4 off.

Overall, even if it did get a little cheesy in spots, I feel like we needed to see that from Sherlock, not just the cold, calculating machine. Brooke was fantastic in her role and Martin Freeman delivered yet another amazing performance as John Watson. Mark Gatiss was on point as the foil to Sherlock. I'm glad we didn't see him exhibit any emotion, though, because it wouldn't have shown how Sherlock, though the younger, is the one who has grown. I hope Moffatt and Gatiss continue with Sherlock's story sometime in the future, because I feel there is a lot more that could be said. I hope to see Sherlock again soon.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Review of "The Lying Detective"

I figured I'd review the latest Sherlock episode The Lying Detective. Because why not? I reviewed the first episode and I feel like I have a lot to say about this more recent one. And that's a good thing.

As usual, spoilers from here on in!

Okay. This may have just replaced The Great Game as my favorite episode. Let's start from the beginning with Faith and her father Culverton Smith. I loved Faith as a character, she was just wonderful. And it was great seeing Sherlock bond with her over chips and a little mystery. As for Culverton, the way Toby Jones portrayed him was perfect, because he was one of the scariest villains I've seen on this show to date. It's just how psychopathic he is and how ruthless he is with his "TD 12" serum. He seriously is an amazing villain, how he hid in plain sight and was out to kill "anyone". The way he and Sherlock interacted was great to see and how Sherlock used him to get John to be his friend again after what happened with Mary was a brilliant move in the story.

Ah, Mary. Yes, I need to talk about her a little. I know some people don't like her (and they have pretty good reasons not to), but I honestly adored her and seeing John imagine her and have her guide him throughout the episode was brilliant, absolutely brilliant. And even though I miss her in life, I feel like she's much funnier dead saying stuff like, "He really should wear the hat as a special tribute to me. I'm dead, I would really appreciate it." Just the way she knows John in this form and how she's so self-aware and loving toward him. And she can't do anything that the fans will hate her for in this form. Good move, Moffat.
As for Sherlock, damn! The drugs! The meth! How Mary asked him to do it to save John from himself! And he was so funny when high! How other people dealt with him was perfectly in line with their own characters: Mycroft seeing him as a security concern, John being angry with him about Mary and venting that anger using the drugs as an excuse - wrong on John's end, but still in line with who he is - Molly being fed-up with Sherlock's behavior as an addict and her love for him driving her to angry tears, and finally, Mrs. Hudson.
I have to give her her own section here because I love how we got to see this perfectly badass woman beneath a grandmotherly exterior. She had a gun on him and put him in the trunk of her car and Sherlock's reaction to such treatment was hysterical in every sense of the word.
"Except the boot. The boot was mean." 
How she dealt with Mycroft and his men searching Sherlock's flat was perfect in its own way. The way she broke down Sherlock as a man of emotion and not hard logic was amazing. And she was able to berate Sherlock's own brother for not realizing this! It is brilliant and so wonderfully insightful for a woman we don't see much of as a character - most of the time.
"I mean, he knows you're an idiot, but that's okay because you're a lovely doctor, but he has no idea what an idiot [Mycroft is]." 
And her concern for John as everyone watches the video Mary left behind for Sherlock was wonderful.
The video. I have to mention this, too. The way it was revealed that Sherlock on drugs was for her case was amazing. How the way he saved John from himself was brilliant, intense, and gut-wrenching. My heart was pounding the entire time!
And how such a scene finally exposed Culverton Smith as a serial killer was amazing. John attacking Smith to help Sherlock was so nice to see, because it shows that, no matter how much Sherlock annoys John, they are and always will be best friends.
And John's therapist. I know I've been rambling on for a while, but cutting up this episode to expose each piece for its brilliance is the point of this review. She was amazing, Eurus. The way she turned out to be Faith, the woman John texted in the previous episode, and Sherlock's secret sister was brilliant. And the note she left for Sherlock using blacklight was something I was happy to see because it reminded me of the secret messages of Journal 3 from Gravity Falls. Maybe I should have seen that one coming.....
All in all, a brilliant episode that is the perfect leader to the finale. I can't wait for The Final Problem!