Jaffa cakes or don’t real imo.
Jaffa cakes or don’t real imo.
Here come some answers.
1. Yes I think women get more and different harassment/abuse online but harassment/abuse are pretty much something everyone will run into in one form or another. I do not know if it helps or hinders when discussing this as a gendered issue as it is just so common, this is something that really should be being tackled head on by all platform providers like youtube, tumblr etc.
2. The 70s classic The Stepford Wives was probably the best film I saw on womanhood but even then it was sort of more about how some men desire to control women than specifically about women. It could just be that I don’t watch many films on this topic or no one makes any good ones but given how many films I watch it was a real struggle to pick something out here.
3. I don’t know if this is something I can really comment on. Everyone needs support networks but as a man I don’t really know if women find women only/orientated support networks helpful or not. The only tangential thought I had on the matter is that when I was reading Marvel’s new Captain Marvel it seemed like the writers thought that a central female character could only thrive if all the support characters were female as well and that is something I don’t think we want to end up with people thinking.
4. Nothing specific really but I do not know what the average content consumer can do here. I always try and make thoughtful/supportive comments on content I enjoy while reporting any abuse etc but this is hardly any great involvement on my part. I would not say there has been any change which is really something I think needs to come from platforms in the form of better comments system and better policing of them. All I can pledge to do is more comments and reporting any abuse I see.
5. This one is a bit easier, I like the following:
Swoodilygifs (seems to have gone inactive though!)
After seeing the above tweet it got me wondering on what season 8 of the West Wing might be like. The simplest way to do it would be just to carry on where the show left off with season 8 being the first term of the Santos Presidency but given that we are now over 7 years removed from the last episode being broadcast I am not sure it would work to just pick up where things were left off.
If we stick to real time = show time then we have a few options as to where the show would be.
#1 - The final year of a second Santos term with a race to see who replaces him.
#2 - The final year of the first time of whoever stopped Santos getting a second term with a race to see who replaces them.
My personal feeling is that Santos probably didn’t win a second term as that would mean that the democrats had been in the White House for 16 years now. Even if Santos did win a second term it would seem likely a Republican would win if for no other reason that voter fatigue at that point. It is hard to imagine any of the major characters from the show’s past working with a Republican president and if you aren’t going to bring any of them back then it is not really the same show at that point.
The second scenario strikes me as more likely, for whatever reason Santos was a one term president and most likely was replaced by a Republican. Here though is where I would bring in some TV magic and suggest that after the single Santos term there was a two term Republican president and we are in the opening weeks of a new Democratic president. I would fudge the time line like this just because we don’t want to go through another election cycle as in season seven and the desire to bring back some characters we previously knew.
For who the new president would be I think it would be interesting to explore a female president as that is something that will happen inevitably IRL but has not just yet. It would be great to have a President C.J. Cregg but given how she has no experience as an elected official and was shown pretty much to be retired from politics 3 years into the Santos first term I do not think think it would be realistic sadly.
As a long term member of the House Andy Wyatt would be one possible option but would her past (or potentially present, if they reconciled) relationship with Toby just be too toxic to allow for a crack at the main job? It seems like something the media and opponents would both love raking over even if it should be a non-issue. We do not really know a lot about her history but another option could be Nancy McNally who ended season 7 as ambassador to the UN. The other option is a new character which might be easiest.
One outside shot for a male president could be Will Bailey, a meteoric rise in the style of current president Obama could be a possibility as we know he ended the show in an elected capacity. Having Kate Harper, a former CIA agent as the First Lady could certainly create some drama but that may be getting too far ahead.
As to which characters to bring back in my opinion it would not be TWW without Josh Lyman. Santos was the cause that Josh championed and I think that having Santos only be a one term president would provide a lot of interesting ground to visit. In my mind season 8 would open with Josh having turned his back on politics after getting burned on the perceived failure of whatever happened at the end of Santos’s term. Whoever is the new president loses a key member of their staff to scandal in the opening days of their term and bringing Josh back into the fold to replace that person would be where the show starts.
Donna and Josh would be married at this point and no doubt Donna is working somewhere on the capital and is one of the voices encouraging him to go back into politics. How Donna would fit into the on going series though I am not sure, certainly a reoccurring role at the very least.
As I mentioned previously it seemed very much like at the end of the last season that CJ was essentially in retirement so it seems unlikely she would fit into a returning show but I would expect at least one guest staring role related to whatever job she is in now. Like wise Toby maybe hard to fit back in given his actions in the last season but you never know in politics!
Will Bailey will certainly be floating about somewhere but most likely in an elected position so I think it would be a reoccurring role for him. Kate Harper could well still be working in some capacity so a role either in defense or foreign policy seems possible here.
It is hard to know what happened with Sam Seaborn, presumably he was also caught up in the Santos incident along with Josh. My guess would be that Sam would turn up as either a guest or reoccurring character in an elected role.
Both Charlie and Zoey seem like younger characters that would have a bit more experience under their belt now and could be working in roles within the staff in some capacity. It would certainly be interesting to see if these two have any sort of relationship so many years down the line.
So, yeah that’s some of the things I’d think about if I was restarting production on TWW any time soon. What do you think?
Everyone remembers their first love and there is nothing like a big anniversary on the horizon to bring the memories flooding back. Sure I had had childish infatuations before but the first real adult show that I became completely obsessed with was The X-Files. Maybe it was just the right show at the right time in my life but nothing had caught my imagination so completely before and few shows have since. This year September 10th marks the twentieth anniversary of a show that was not just one of my favourites but also was a massive pop culture phenomenon. If you are a long time fan or someone who has never gotten round to watching the show I hope this anniversary provides a great time to rewatch the show or get into it for the first time.
While The X-Files may have seemed so fresh and new at the time no television show, book, film or piece of music appears out of nowhere. There are many shows which can be seen as ancestors of the show, the most famous among those are probably Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Twilight Zone. In the summer of 1990 there was a show that hit our screens, before fizzling out a year later, that had showed that television audiences were ready for something different, something strange and more than a little surreal. David Lynch’s Twin Peaks certainly delivered on the bizarre in spade loads and thematically it shared a lot in common with The X-Files, both shows were more than willing to look into the dark, horrifying and paranormal like no other shows of the time were.
From the big screen there are a host of films that influenced the tone and atmosphere of The X-Files. The general tone of the show could be seen as variously drawing heavily on All the President’s Men (1976), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and JFK (1991). Often individual episodes would draw more specifically such as the episode “Ice” from season one and the clear inspiration of it’s plot The Thing (1982) or “Triangle” from season six which has a nod to the one of the old masters by mimicking Hitchcock’s use of continuous takes in Rope (1948).
Having a great list of influences is of no use though if you fail to capture people’s attention which The X-Files did so successfully with it’s blend of aliens and conspiracy theories. After decades of living under the threat of nuclear war during the Cold War the Berlin Wall was down bringing about sweeping changes in the world order. Now the world and the US/West in particular seemed a much safer place, free from an obvious threat. For some time little green men had been on the fringes of popular culture but the 90s provided the perfect time to use them as a new and refreshing menace in a world where the US was suddenly seen as the only super power left.
In American culture there is a strong movement of distrust towards government which on some level stems all the way back to the countries creation through a revolutionary movement. More recently however the Watergate scandal, the Veitnam War and other events had opened up the general public more to the idea that not all of these conspiracy theories were completely unrealistic. Dove tailing this questioning of governmental motives based on real events with the external threat provided by extra-terrestrials gave a great hook for intriguing audiences into watching the opening seasons of The X-Files.
Once you get people watching your show however it there is no guarantee that they will stay around as Twin Peaks had shown just years earlier. What really keeps people coming back to a show regardless of genre is always the characters, the relationship between Mulder and Scully provides the bedrock that The X-Files was able to build off of so successfully. Over time plenty of other iconic characters such as Walter Skinner and The Lone Gunmen were added to the show but it was always going to be Mulder and Scully that got the most screen time and as later seasons showed the series struggled to survive when one was no longer there.
It is not unusual for the central characters of any series to be opposites but what is most striking about the relationship between Mulder and Scully is that despite being polar opposites they come to rely, trust and care for each other in a way that the wider world would benefit a lot from. Privately Scully may role her eyes at Mulder’s latest hare brained theory but should always defend him, often putting her career or life at risk to do so. For his own part there were times when Mulder would turn his back on the chance to get closer to finding his sister, the one thing he desperately wanted, to help or protect Scully. Obviously a big part of the show was the sexual tension between the lead characters but this always subtly under played and never at the expense of the friendship between the two characters.
It is also important to note that Mulder and Scully both subvert what we would expect from gender norms in a show like this. Scully is the colder, more logical member of the duo and she always looks for explanations in her medical background and science. Mulder is the more empathetic of the pair and while the famous poster in his office declares “I want to believe” for Mulder it is deeper, he actually needs to believe his sister is still out there waiting to be found. Beyond the characters basic approaches to investigations Scully is rarely relegated to the role of sidekick or damsel in distress needing to be saved as is sadly still the case for female characters in so many shows. In fact nearly any time Mulder does pull out his gun as the macho cop stereotype would dictate he almost always ends up disarmed and has to be saved by Scully’s quick thinking.
Within the series episodes generally break down into either being “mythology” episodes, those that expand the greater story arc of the show, or being “monster of the weak” episodes that are more self contained stories. The underlying strength of the mythology episodes is that they usually allow for the greatest character progression for our heroes, initially this mainly involves Mulder and his quest for his sister but quickly comes to include Scully as well. Many of the most emotional moments of the series come from these episodes and they very much help bring the viewer to identify with the protagonists on a more human level.
Where the series showed it’s weakness was that it lacked an overall plan for the over all story arc. In particular the final seasons became muddled when it comes to the mythology of the show as Fox tried to keep the show running after it had lost it’s main dramatic drive. On the other hand this lack of a plan still allowed for some great moments of serendipity such as real life events forcing the main events of the first half of season two culminating in some amazing television in the double header Duane Barry/Ascension.
When it came to the “monster of the week” episodes, some featuring more literal monsters than others, it allowed the show to build a great range that would keep things fresh. Thanks to the scope created by premise of the show there is a real variety of episodes through the run of the show and rarely do any of them seem out of place. Primarily this may have been a serious show but there are some amazing episodes that are humour based, Darin Morgan provided some of my favourite episodes of this flavour with the award winning “Clyde Bruckman’s Final Repose” from the third season being his stand out effort. At other times the series really pushed the boundaries of television such as season four’s unforgettably dark and gruesome “Home” which barely got past censors. There are also some gems which offer character development away from the main mythology episodes such as “Beyond the Sea” which really opens Scully’s character up to the viewers and is one of the highlights of the first season.
At it’s best the “monster of the week” set up allowed writers to go out and explore what they like, providing thought provoking episodes as well as variety. However in the earlier seasons especially there were times when the series made some very thin episodes that were little more than hollow genre pieces. An episode like “Ghost in the Machine” from season one showed how the writers could miss the mark, a common problem with early appearances of computers gone wrong on television. One “good” example of a weak genre episode is “3” which we find sandwiched between some lauded episodes in season two, it is an episode that both tries to do vampires and give Mulder a love interest but is decidedly uninspired.
Over nine seasons the show put out a whopping 202 episodes, two feature films, a spin off series, a sister series, computer games and has an on going comic book series. During that run the series picked up five Golden Globes, two Prime Time Emmys, thirteen Creative Emmys and a host of other awards. Perhaps most importantly though are the careers the series launched. Dana Scully provided a break out role for Gillian Anderson. Vince Gilligan got his initial big break as a writer and later producer on The X-Files before going on to create the hit show Breaking Bad. You can also find an amazing number of actors in early supporting roles on the show such as Lucy Lui, Jack Black, Seth Green, Shia LaBeouf and Ryan Reynolds. There are also some great triumphs of production on a television budget within the series such as arctic set piece with a nuclear submarine in season two’s “End Game” or the crash site of a 737 in season four’s “Tempus Fugit”.
Beyond being a massive success the show has a huge legacy that is easy to spot in the shows that directly followed it and those on television today. Nowadays The X-Files is a touch stone in popular culture, particularly when it comes to the unexplained or sci-fi in television. You can find shows that have benefited from the ground broken by The X-Files nearly everywhere and those influences are thematic as well as in style. Shows such as Fringe, Dark Skies, The Event and Lost took various elements of The X-Files and ran with them in different ways to different levels of success. Everyone’s favourite Joss Wheldon described his hit show Buffy the Vampire Slayer as “My So-Called Life meets The X-Files” while Russell T Davies noted that Torchwood was “The X-Files meets This Life”.
The X-Files might not be perfect yet it will always have a big place in my heart. The final two seasons are not as good as earlier ones and we may never have got a good conclusion to the show but television is so rarely a medium that can guarantee consistency over such a long run or masters an ending.I hope that this little look back at one of my all time favourite shows has lifted the lid just a little on why the show is so great and how it came to be a success. If you are one of those that was too young to watch the show when it first came out I urge you to look into it now, stick with it past the first season which does contain some weaker episodes and I promise the show finds it’s feet. If you are a long time fan now is a great time to go back and dig out your favourite episodes, remember the good times you spent with Mulder and Scully as the show really holds up.
Keep the faith, the truth is out there!
- not being mean to myself
- making videos
- writing writing writing
- meeting new people
- feeling proud of what I’ve done
- taking care of myself
what’s your september?
Here’s my September
1. Cowardly procrastination
2. Self loathing
3. If I accidentally actually do anything productive, watch it fail
So pretty much same as usual then.