Kalliel (kalliel) wrote,
Kalliel
kalliel

Mainlining TV: The Vampire Diaries, Dark Angel (& SPN)

As per winter tradition, my sister and I mainlined some trashy television this weekend: The Vampire Diaries (1x02-2x11) and Dark Angel (1x17, 2x01-2x21). Initially, I had reservations about both. For TVD, I have no interest in adolescent romance; for DA, I fell asleep last time I tired. (Case in point, during that same episode, I fell asleep this time, too. But anyway.)

Vampire Diaries:

+ I love that Elena's friends entertain personalities and interests outside of Elena. But I love even more that Elena actually has friends outside of her boy. Even if one by one, those friends succumb to being somehow involved in a bunch of supernatural nonsense.

+ Anna and Pearl! ♥ And Caroline! (Though up until 2x11 I liked her better in S1 than S2. But I like her best as Dances with Wolves, if you know what I mean.)

+ I wasn't too keen on introducing werewolf mythology at first, because the build-up and foreshadowing was REALLY. NEEDLESSLY. DRAWN OUT. But the payoff with the actual full moon shenanigans was worth it a thousand times over. This is probably going to sound kind of weird and fetish-y, but I felt like the aesthetics of torturous pain were well played; the fear and the horror came across in ways they rarely do in fiction.

- Katherine was cool for exactly 1.5 episodes (1x22, 2x01). Then she wasn't. Applause for Nina Dobrev for pulling off both Katherine and Elena, though.

- So much exposition. So much "I am too damaged; I can't be with you." --> "We're both so damaged, we need to be together." --> "I don't want to damage you; we can't be together." =___=;;

- Why is there a new and different party every episode? Given the number of people (mostly teenagers, in what appears to be small town Virginia) who die at these numerous functions, you'd think there'd be some kind of ban on public gatherings and insane amounts of alcohol.

- I can't help but enjoy Elena, because I am shallow and she is pretty, but I think her relationship with Stephan is boring. Her relationship with Damon is sometimes interesting, but ultimately also boring. In fact, most of the relationships are boring; given that it's an adolescent romance series, that could be problematic.

+ Bonnie's relationship with her grandmother, Caroline's with her mother, and Anna's with her mother, on the other hand--those are believable and interesting.

- Period actors you are not. Everyone but Pearl sounded like a modern-day teen in the 1864 flashbacks.

- Having read/watched all of them, Vampire Diaries, True Blood, and Twilight are all basically the same thing.

- seeing Gina Torres (Zoe in Firefly) and Lauren Cohan (Bela in SPN) in this series was really O___o;; inducing. More for the "omg SHE'S NOT ZOE" than the Bela.

- How can you not be over some woman (with whom you did not appear particularly close, even in the flashbacks) after 145 years. :F

- Some of the music (not the score, but the Music with Lyrics stuff) was truly bizarrely placed, all throughout the series. And it's not just me. My sister would ask from time to time, "Why in the world are they using a song here? What's the point? Why is there music in these scene at all?" I don't know; I really don't know.

- Is it just me, or is the episode construction kind of bizarre? It's based on a book series according to the opening credits, so it certainly has that narrative flow to it, rather than episodic MotWs, but there's like five million tag scenes at the end of every episode. Whyyy? Usually you have your main thread, and then your one concluding tag, after the last commercial break, yes? I think part of the reason so many TVD episode felt like they lasted an eternity was because the musical montage would kick in, or the artsy candle scene, and you'd think, all right, it's almost over! Then there'd be another scene. And another. And yet another musical montage. And then some other scene. And it'd go on ten minutes longer than you expected, with a bunch of scenes that all felt like the ending.

- Now that I've watched it all, would I watch more? Ehh, no. Probably not. Though, the werewolf thing--I really liked that.




Dark Angel: Dark Angel's premise, cast, and humor were infinitely more appealing than Vampire Diaries! Even if the execution, acting, and actual writing were worse overall. The number of gorgeous, provocative sets in this series is staggering--seriously, there is endless building!post-apocalyptic squalor!porn. I love the world of open markets, biohazard cities, military states, street vigilantism, and bike-powered post the series builds. It's 2020 and it's the Red Scare, the Sedition Act, all manner of WWII and Cold War fear and paranoia as rampant as the transgenic soldiers recently released from a top secret government facility. Humans erect flaming Xs a the borders of transgenic neighborhoods, hang those unfortunate enough to get caught in a bad alley.

It's exactly as disturbing as it sounds--and it should be. But of course there are caveats.

Unfortunately, most of the episodes end up being about disconnected MotW-style cases, most of which have no greater impact on the series as a whole. They're literally stand-alones. So the actual Meaning Of It All and thematic/character development angles tend to fall short. The characters who die, or imperiled, or otherwise battered, are also very rarely the main cast, which takes the edge off a lot of the tension. Maybe I've just been spoiled in that respect by other series, or I just have dark tastes, but I feel like if you're going post-apocalyptic, you have to accept that characters will die. Tragedies will happen. And it won't always be the Red Shirt the bites it--or it shouldn't be, if your aim is to live up to the portrait of the world you've spent so much time constructing.

My favorite characters were probably the militant (but naively) trans-phobic postal headmaster, Normal; the main character's best friend and roommate, Original Cindy; the random police chief guy from the series finale; and Alec, one of the transgenic soldiers. Admittedly I'm fairly biased on that last one, because he's played by Jensen Ackles, heh, but he's fun regardless. Alec's actor may actually work to his disadvantage, because I like Dean a lot better, but anyway. The actual problem with Alec is that as fun and interesting as he could potentially be, he has ABSOLUTELY NO PURPOSE. He's just constantly shoehorned into things for no coherent reason I can find. Though that shortcoming may stem from the aforementioned general weakness of thematic/character development.

Still, the series definitely has its charms, and overall I have a positive impression of its intentions, and what it does accomplish, regardless of what it fall short of. Would I watch season one, now that I've finished season 2? Ehhh, no. I stepped into S2 without needing to know anything of S1. Would I rewatch parts of S2? Maaaaaybe. 2x11, Berrisford Agenda, perhaps.

See, that's one of the few episodes where Alec actually has A Point. Through him, the series explores the innerworkings and practices of the government's secret genetic testing facility, Manticore. The kind of missions reserved for their transgenic (child) soldiers, as well as the punishment applied to failures: In Alec's words, Manticore made you lead a life that would tear you apart, and then there was Psy-Ops (brainwashing, torture, mindfuck, and other equally savory means of coercion), that would show you how to fail to care.

If you know me at all, you know HOW MUCH EXPLORATION OF THIS WOULD APPEAL TO ME. But then the episode ends, after only a few frenzied (but admittedly, effective) flashbacks, and the topic is never breached again.

Which yes, would typically mean 'go forth and find fic!' but I'm very monophagous when it comes to fandom, and I am not even slightly in the market for something new right now.

Also. If Vampire Diaries is full of pretty women, Dark Angel is full of gorgeous sets and fight choreography. And did I mention the gorgeous sets? I think every show should have lots of gorgeous sets. (Trufax: I watched two and a half seasons of True Blood almost exclusively for the gorgeous sets and costumes.) And the fight choreography is often neat, as well. Not always, mind you--but often. I don't watch many things for the action scenes (I'm primarily a sit-around-and-wallow-in-mental-angst-while-drinking-booze/tea kind of person), but nnnghhhhhh. <33333 I don't care much for the Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon-style floating/superspeed, but the (normal-ish) hand-to-hand? NNNNGGGGH!

Obligatory Supernatural: See, what I mean when I say that Supernatural needs more guns/fighting (lolol, more) what I mean is. I just wish those scenes were (slightly) longer, and better choreographed. Hey, a girl can dream. At least more fence-jumping, right? Inspecting of weapons? Give me something! XP

One line of RL: RL can blow me, I hate people, and I've wanted to run back to school since...last Tuesday. On the positive side, that's 72 hours more than I lasted in June. Time does not cure all ills--in fact, I'm willing to bet time cures very few ills, all told.
Tags: disappear here, fandom: misc., fandom: spn, i can't watch tv like a normal person, salt being a spirit deterrent
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