I have to admit that my first thought for doing a geek girl post was to do one on Sloan Sabbith. She’s a secondary character on The Newsroom. She is a fabulous character who should definitely get more airtime. Sloan is the senior financial reporter, but often is seen only as a pretty face. She has to fight almost weekly to be heard. She knows what she’s talking about and she can explain herself and her stance to almost anyone.
With so many things to like about Sloan, you might think that she’s too perfect and want to hate her, but the writers make her human. She’s not perfect. She doesn’t have many friends, especially female friends. She tends to be blunt, almost tackless, but this is one of the reasons I really like her. (Maybe I see my own lack of social skills in her? )
She does have a social life. She dates. And as we saw in this last season, sometimes she makes mistakes. She sent some naked photos to the guy she was dating. When they broke up, he splashed them all over the Internet. She had to deal with the fallout from that. Even geniuses make mistakes.
Sloan knows she socially inept. She comments on it to let us know. But she’s not shy and intimidated. She accepts who she is. She works at getting better, but she doesn’t let it hold her back.
She has a thing for one of her co-workers, Don, who’s involved with another co-worker. At the end of season 1, she’s talking to Don, saying what she thinks will be her parting words because she thinks she’s not coming back: (quotes taken from IMDB)
Sloan Sabbith: I don’t know who told you you’re a bad guy, but somebody did. Somebody along the way. Somebody or something convinced you of it, because you think you’re a bad guy… and you’re just not. I’m socially inept, but even I know that. So because you’re a bad guy you try to do things you think a good guy would do. Like committing to somebody you like, but maybe don’t love. A sweet, smart, wholesome midwestern girl. Don Keefer: [Stares at her, amazed] Sloan Sabbith: I could be wrong. I almost always am. Don Keefer: Why are you single? Sloan Sabbith: A lot of men are intimidated by my intelligence. Don Keefer: No, seriously. Sloan Sabbith: Because you never asked me out.
Season 2 ends even better when she finally realizes that Don feels the same. But I won’t spoil it here. You’ll just have to watch for yourself.
I know I’ve been totally slacking on blogging this Fall, but that’s because I’ve been writing books. Lots of books. But I’ve had some thoughts for a couple of posts about characters that I love. At first, I thought I’d do one post, but ultimately decided that each of these characters deserves a post of her own.
The first character that I want to share my love for is Felicity Smoak. She is the tech geek girl in Arrow. There are many, many reasons to love Arrow. When we first meet Felicity, she works in the IT department of Queen Consolidated. Oliver Queen is Arrow’s true identity. When Arrow gets his hands on a computer that suffered an accident with bullets, he has no idea how to recover the information on the hard drive.
Enter Felicity Smoak.
He takes the computer to her and spins some elaborate lie and she of course breaks into it and finds all the information he needs. Felicity is brilliant and knows her shit. She often talks over Oliver’s head and then has to “dumb it down.” I love that she does that. And she even tries to do it sweetly so he doesn’t feel dumb. She doesn’t buy into Oliver’s lies about the computer, but since he’s technically her boss, she doesn’t push it.
As season 1 progresses, Oliver returns to Felicity multiple times for help. Eventually, she’s brought in to the inner circle and learns his secret identity. Her relationship with Oliver (and his friend, Diggle) grows and they become a team. Felicity starts taking on a bigger role in crime fighting. She’s still the ultimate hacker-tech geek who gives Arrow lots of cool toys. But she stays real. Whenever she’s outside her tech cave, she’s nervous. She’s not stupid when she goes undercover. She does it out of necessity, but she’s scared (as she should be). And she does it with snark
The other thing that I absolutely adore about Felicity is her verbal glitches. When she gets nervous, which is pretty much any social situation, she says things that come out all wrong, and often come across as rude. And sometimes she has unintentional double entendres, and then has to back pedal. It’s cute.
For example, while undercover, she has an earpiece so Oliver can communicate with her. She says, “It feels really good having you inside me. And by inside me I mean your voice, and by me I mean my ear.”
Another time, again to Oliver, she says, “The last time the vigilante paid your mom a visit, you got shot, and I got to play doctor with you. Ahh! My brain thinks the worst way to say things.”
In season 2, Oliver wants to pull Felicity out of IT at Queen Consolidated and bring upstairs to work as his secretary. this is her response:
“Did you know I went to MIT? Guess what I majored in? Hint – not the secretarial arts.”
Oliver responds – “Felicity! We all need to have secret identities now. If I’m going to be Oliver Queen CEO, then I can’t very well travel down 18 floors every time you and I need to discuss how we spend our nights.”
Felicity – “And I love spending the night with you. 3, 2, 1. I worked very hard to get where I am, and it wasn’t so I can fetch you coffee.”
There’s nothing to not like about this woman. She’s smart. She’s strong. And she isn’t afraid to stand her ground. (Although she does play secretary – but, again, with quite a bit of snark.)
She has a crush on Oliver and I know many viewers want to see them together. I’m not sure where this season is heading, but it’ll be a lot of fun to watch.
A few months ago, I wrote a post comparing Copper to Ripper Street. Of the two, I prefer Copper because I found the characters more engaging (read that as more fucked up). I’m a couple of episodes behind on the new season, but one thing that I’ve noticed is that the characters have cleaned up some. One of the things that I noted about both Copper and Ripper Street was the gritty and real feel to them. People were dirty and had bad teeth. While I enjoyed that because it lent itself to reality, I tend to avoid that kind of reality in books (again, which is why I don’t read historicals).
But this new season of Copper feels like the producers (or whoever calls the shots) realized that they had real star potential on the show. That the characters would be more attractive if they cleaned them up. I won’t argue that there is a certain appeal of seeing Corky all clean shaven with his hair combed, but it’s like they want us to believe that if the outside is clean and pretty, the inside is no longer fucked up. Corky was a hot mess last season. He was searching for his daughter’s murderer and his missing wife. He was always a bit scruffy because he had a lot going on and it was all more important than looking pretty.
At the end of the season, Corky got all of his answers. Things were not resolved nicely, but he had answers. He’s tried to put his life back together with his wife in this season (which hasn’t really worked out – there’s only so much love and forgiveness). But having those answers should not have cured all of his issues. And that is my biggest problem. It feels like all of a sudden Corky is really supposed to be HERO material, whereas last season maybe he was a little too screwed up for that.
And it’s not just Corky. Francis Maguire, who was a former cop and Corky’s friend, was arrested for murder at the end of the first season. Some things happen at the beginning of season 2, and he’s released. In my opinion, he was nothing special to look at last season. He had much of his own baggage to get over, too. This season, after being released from jail, he’s all clean up and prettified. He’s still sleazy, but he’s trying not to look the part.
My question is, why? Why do the TV people want to change the characters like that? I’m going to keep watching because part of me is hoping for a reversal and the characters will once again show how screwed up they are, but I don’t know.
Here are photos from season 1 — Corky and Francis:
And here they are in season 2 –
Do you think a character’s outward appearance has a direct link to their personality?
Although I’ve been horrible at blogging here over the last few months, my love for TV never fades. A few months ago, I was folding sheets and towels on a Friday night (exciting life I lead – I know you’re jealous). None of my regular shows were on and I was caught up on my DVR, which almost never happens, so I channel-surfed.
I saw a premier for a show called Banshee. Now, I watch Lost Girl and Being Human on SyFy, so I thought this was going to be a supernatural kind of show. Boy, was I wrong. I had missed the first ten or fifteen minutes, but it looked entertaining enough to pass the time.
The hero of the show is a master thief who just got out of prison after doing a fifteen year stint for stealing $10 million in diamonds. He’s in Banshee, PA looking for his old girlfriend who got away with the diamonds. He allowed himself to get caught so that she could get away. He’s enjoying a drink at a bar. The new sheriff, who hasn’t even started his job yet, and was brought in from out of town to fight corruption in this small town, is having a meal at the bar. Two thugs walk in, all hell breaks loose, and our hero has killed the bad guys, but unfortunately, they killed the sheriff first. The bartender tells our hero to leave and that he’ll get rid of everything so no one goes to prison (the bartender/owner is also an ex-con).
The hero finds his ex, Ana (who now goes by Carrie). She’s moved on with her life. She’s married and has two kids. She tells him the diamonds are gone and she has no money. She tried to fence the diamonds while he was in prison, but they were stolen from her. She tells him to leave, go start a new life.
He leaves her knowing he has nothing, no money, no diamonds, and no girl that he loves. He returns to the bar to help the owner dispose of bodies. While they are burying them, the sheriff’s phone rings. The hero answers it and pretends to be Lucas Hood, new sheriff. From that moment on, our hero has a name, but it’s not his.
I have a small confession to make. Months before I saw this pilot, I canceled our subscription to Cinemax. We just didn’t watch it enough to warrant paying for it. They suckered me in with a free weekend. I saw this one episode and added the network back to my package. Sad isn’t it? Like I don’t have enough to watch?
Anyway, there’s so much to love about this show. Lucas is not a true hero. He is a thief. He doesn’t even want to change because he loves the adrenaline rush. He’s assumed the identity of a dead man and he knows nothing about being a sheriff. As the series goes on, we see him make some shady deals for his own benefit. It’s all understandable, which makes you like him that much more, but he’s not heroic. Lucas is a good guy, and I think that’s why he makes such a good anti-hero. He’s not always upright and decent.
The show itself offers a fabulous array of characters. Banshee PA is home to an Amish community and the Banshee’s crime lord (for lack of a better term) is an ex-communicated Amish guy. I’m not sure if ex-communicated is the right word — he’s was thrown out of the Amish community, or he left and isn’t allowed return, but he still has strong ties there. There’s also a Native American component, where the tribe is trying to build a casino. The tag line for the show is “Small Town. Big Secrets.” And it’s so true.
Cinemax is replaying the entire season right now, and it’s hard for me not to pull up a chair and watch (I already have too many shows on the DVR and a book to write).
And here’s Antony Starr who plays Lucas Hood:
What was the last show that hooked you by surprise?
It’s been a long time since I’ve done a TV post, but don’t let that fool you. I’ve been watching a ton, maybe even more than I ever have. Man, I love my DVR. I’ve been meaning to write a post about a couple of new cop shows I was drawn into, but my blogging schedule isn’t quite what it used to be.
The more I thought about a couple of these shows, it made sense to do one post covering both because I was sucked into these shows because of their similarities. Last fall, I started watching Copper, then over the winter, I watched Ripper Street. Let me start by saying that although I enjoyed both of these shows and I watched their entire (short) seasons, they were not I-have-to-watch-it-tonight shows. For both of them, I easily had 4 episodes piled up to watch. I eventually did watch all of them and really enjoyed them.
Copper takes place in New York in 1860s and Ripper Street takes place in London in 1889 (just after Jack the Ripper). Both of these shows are authentic and gritty. For me, they are a visual representation of why I don’t read historical romances (the lack of bathing and oral hygiene – eww). Anyway, as far as the TV shows go, I enjoy the grittiness.
Both shows follow the main character, a cop, as he solves crimes. Of the two, I prefer Kevin Corcoran (AKA Corky) from Copper. But that might be because he’s more fun to look at than Edmund Reid from Ripper Street. Every week, they solve crimes in their respective cities. Both men are grieving the loss of a child. In both instances, that grief is the overarching plot throughout the season.
For Corky, he searches for answers to what happened to his wife and daughter. For Reid, he has to come to terms with his own guilt and the effect the loss has had on his marriage.
Both shows feature the local whorehouse, which I find interesting. The part that I don’t quite get is that in both shows, one of the cops, a sidekick, so to speak, falls in love with a whore. Don’t get me wrong, the hookers are some great characters in both shows, especially the madams—they are savvy businesswomen. But for a cop to really fall in love and want to marry a hooker? I’m not buying it. Are there no other women to fall for?
All of the previously mentioned things are enough to keep a viewer watching, but the one element that brought me back episode after episode, was the beginning of modern forensics. Both of these cops employ the beginning of CSI. I’ve always been fascinated with forensics (I grew up watching Quincy – the father of TV forensics).
What makes it so interesting in both of these shows is that they learn and deduce without the technology we have. And the best part? In both shows, these cops rely on men that are not trusted by everyone else. In Copper, Corky goes to an educated black man, Dr. Matthew Freeman. In Ripper Street, Reid uses an American (who lies about his identity), Capt. Homer Jackson. These men are brilliant and always dismissed by everyone because of superficial things.
It says a lot about our heroes because not only do they value the information they get from Freeman and Jackson, but they defend and stand by these men.
Exciting news! Remember when I read at Lady Jane’s Salon last month? Well, Comcast was there and interviewed all of the authors and recorded our readings. then they put it all together and showed it on TV. It all looks really cool, and I don’t think I sound as dumb as I felt during the interview (and don’t tell me if I do — let me have my illusions). Here’s the segment. It’s only about 5 minutes, and you’ll get to hear from a group of really great authors — Blythe Gifford, Tracey Devlyn, Adrienne Giordano, and Molly O’Keefe.
Most people know that I watch a lot of TV. Having a DVR has only increased the number of shows I consume because I never watch commercials anymore. One of the downsides to watching more TV, though, is that I’m not as discriminating when it comes to what I’ll watch. If something sounds vaguely interesting, I’ll give it a try (assuming it’s not up against other things already being recorded in that time slot). I’ve found many, many new and wonderful shows because of this, but sometimes it’s frustrating because a show gets canceled and there’s nothing worse than being left without knowing how things wrap up or what the motivation behind things are.
I don’t feel quite the same about books in a series. I love reading series, but for the most part, each book is a stand alone. Whatever problem or issue the protagonists face in that book is resolved at the end. I enjoy reading series for the same reason I love TV. I like the comfort associated with characters and a world I love. But since each book can stand alone, I don’t think it would bother me if a writer suddenly stopped a series. For example, if J.D. Robb stopped the In Death series, sure I’d miss Dallas and Roarke, but I know that they have their HEA. When Charlaine Harris finishes up the Sookie Stackhouse series, it’s fine because we’ve accepted that Sookie will always be involved with Supes. We don’t care if she chooses Bill or Eric or whatever guy jumps in. She’s more or less accepted her life and we have too.
But many TV shows start with a premise that unravels as the season goes on, and if the show gets cut, I feel disappointed. Two shows that I started watching for the 2012-2013 season both got cancellation notices early in the fall, however, they were allowed to finish out the season. Both of them left me feeling very satisfied.
The first was Mob Doctor. I first mentioned Mob Doctor here. It was a Chicago-based show where a doctor owed the mob because she needed to get her screw up of a younger brother out of trouble. Each week, Grace would rush out of the hospital (which no one really commented on EVER-until the last episode) and go fix whatever problem the mobsters had for her. The show was not without its problems, but I’m always a sucker for a Chicago show. Anyway, in the last episode, the writers managed to wrap things up quite nicely. In fact, they did it so well, it makes me wonder if they did the last show like that simply because they knew they were canceled. If it had been picked up for a second season, I’m not sure where they could’ve gone with it.
The second show was Last Resort. I first blogged about Last Resort here. When I heard about this one being canceled, I actually stopped watching it. It continued to record each week, but I was hesitant to tune in, afraid that the whole conspiracy would be left unexplained. The premise, if you’re unaware, is that a Navy submarine was given orders to bomb Pakistan. The commanding officer not only questioned the order, but then refused to do it. The crew was labeled traitors and a stand off began. The whole time I watched it, I knew there were bigger things going on. This was not a simple case of one guy going crazy. Last week, I tuned in to catch up. My husband and I did a marathon to watch all the episodes. I have to say that I was really happy with this one too. There were no easy answers and there were still a few lingering questions (Why would the president want to start a war?), but the ending tied everything up in a way that made sense for all of the characters involved.
I wish all shows that face cancellation would learn from these two. What series (TV or book) are you most bummed about ending? Were you satisfied with the last installment?
There’s a new show that premiered two weeks ago, called Last Resort. The basic premise is that a crew aboard a U.S. submarine receives orders to bomb Pakistan. The orders come through a secondary channel and technically, Pakistan is a U.S. ally. The command questions the order right before they press the red button. They just want confirmation that the order is really from the U.S. and that the system hadn’t been somehow hacked.
To me, this is fascinating. I think as regular citizens, we see nothing wrong with this. We have faith in this crew. We like that they questioned the order. Imagine what would happen if the communication system had been hacked. These people would be at fault for causing a war. Plus, as U.S. citizens, we’re taught to be free thinkers. We’re supposed to develop our own ideas and opinions.
And this is a ginormous BUT –
I’m married to a Marine and I watched this first episode with him. As soon as they questioned the orders, he labeled them traitors. And he has a point. In the military, you’re not supposed to be a free thinker. You’re supposed to follow orders. Everything depends on people doing their jobs and following orders.
While the teacher and mom in me wants to cheer for that crew for standing up to something they felt was wrong, the patriot in me cringes because they’re not doing what they’re supposed to. My life as I know it is dependent on soldiers doing what they’re told.
I watched the second episode (the third airs tonight) and there’s hinky stuff going on. To me, common sense says that they didn’t bomb Pakistan and they were wrong for not following orders, so they should’ve come home to suffer the consequences (court martial, etc). But the government let things get out of hand too quickly. There’s something else going on. Of course, part of it is that it’s TV drama and if the government just tried to sweep the disobedience under the rug (which is what my gut says the government would do), we wouldn’t have a show. The government wants this crew to be the fall guys or scapegoats for something, but I don’t know what. It’s enough to make me keep watching.
At every turn the motivation of these characters comes into question. They’re being attacked by their own country. By their own people. In order to defend themselves, technically, they’d have to kill their own brothers. They haven’t yet, but it’s been close. Is that a line they’re willing to cross? As viewers, could we forgive that?
It’s some heavy stuff to think about. Unfortunately, I saw a brief note that this show might be canceled due to poor ratings and I’ll be really ticked off if they cancel it without letting me know the whole story.
Have you watched Last Resort? Are they traitors or not?
This past week was Banned Books week. For those of you who might not be aware, Banned Books week celebrates openmindedness. As a teacher, I loved Banned Books week. I started the year with a whole unit on Banned Books. The great thing about it was that I taught kids who were amazed that books still get banned. Personally, I don’t really censor what my own kids read. That’s not to say that I don’t care or that I don’t pay attention, but I don’t want to discourage them from reading. No, I wouldn’t hand them my book to read, but if it falls under YA, have at it.
Here are a couple of great posts for Banned Books week:
There was so much great advice about writing this week.
First up, August McLaughlin writes about having a teflon mind when it comes to rejection. If you’re a writer, rejection is part of the business. It’s a tough part of the business. I wouldn’t say that I’m as good as August, but I think I handle rejection pretty well. Some of the rejections I received stung, and I let them, but not for long. Then I pushed myself forward and moved on.
Marcy Kennedy talks about knowing when it’s time to quit. I don’t think I’ve ever given quitting much thought. I’ve set goals, and last summer, I told myself that if I didn’t have an agent and/or a book deal within a year, I would go back to teaching full-time. Notice, I didn’t say I would give up writing, but that it wouldn’t be my focus. For me, things aligned and within 8 months, I had both an agent and a 2-book deal.
Jami Gold talks about the writing process as compared to sculpting. Since I’m mostly a pantser (write by the seat of my pants with no outline), I do a little of both — I built the original story and then I chisel away at the parts that don’t fit. For me, the chiseling usually involves big giant parts, but you get what I mean.
Tawna Fenske cautions us to stop the glorification of busy. I totally understand what Tawna means when she feels like she’s been slacking when she doesn’t meet her daily word count. Right now, I don’t have a daily word count, or a page edit count, or anything. I’m getting ready to start something new. I have done no writing for weeks. In my head, I know this is good. I’m letting the story develop in my head and I’m getting to know the characters. I have completed collages and a soundtrack for my new WIP. But I still feel like a slacker. I have those moments of panic, like “Oh my God, I haven’t written. What if I fall behind? What if I can’t produce something quick enough?” Even though, in my head, I know this discovery time is well-spent, it’s hard to stop myself from writing simply because I feel lazy.
Chuck Wendig has a post for 25 things to do to get your writing groove back. As usual, he pulls no punches. Things like “Get out of the Goddamn House, you mumbling Shut-in,” and “Quit moaning and mount up, motherfucker” will surely offer you the right inspiration.
I didn’t even realize it until I got a message from Twitter earlier this week that I had been on Twitter for a whole year. For some of you that might not seem like much, but in 2 months time, I went from having zero presence on the Internet to being on Twitter and having a blog (I’m still avoiding Facebook, though). I felt good jumping in because I was taking a class with Kristen Lamb. She gave us each other so we had an instant following. My 1 year blog-aversary isn’t for a few weeks, but let me tell you, it was a great feeling sending out my first post and knowing that people would read it. I starting talking on Twitter and I had followers. It made social media much less frightening.
I’ve been swamped between the new school year, cheerleading, figuring out promotion for MORE THAN THIS, and thinking about starting something new. So while I’ve been active on Twitter, Friday Favorites hasn’t been happening because I fell behind on blog reading. I’m running late writing this now, but I did finally catch up on blogs. Please excuse the lack of organization I usually offer for these posts, but enjoy:
Tawna Fenske wrote a post on believing in a happily ever after. As romance writers, we must have some faith that the HEA exists, especially for our characters, but it’s just that — faith. In reality, more than half of married couples get divorced. We don’t even know what the statistics are on couples who aren’t married. But we want to believe that HEA is possible. It’s why we write romance.
to better accommodate them. And then they take over said renovations. Their artwork fills every empty space. Their toys litter tables. For as much as these things would bother some people, for me, it makes my house a home. I love seeing the evidence of my children everywhere.
Elena Aitken talks about how as a mom, sometimes we can’t fix it. For me, this is one of the hardest things about motherhood –knowing when to let go and let them deal with things themselves because I can’t fix it.
Chuck Wendig offers up a post on 25 things you need to do before you start your next novel. As usual, Chuck’s post is dead-on. I need the reminder to really get to know my characters. It’s hard, though, because as soon as I think I know them well enough, I’m anxious to write. What ends up happening then (and I know this from experience), is that I write tens of thousands of words that get scrapped because those words just helped me understand the characters. So I’ve learnednot to rush the process. I am collaging and I’ve made a play list for the new book and the ideas are flowing.