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05 September 2005 @ 05:01 pm
delurking from a brief lurk  
Pretty much just diversionary, me-free content as I recover from wobbling and get back on my feet.

Tales of the City

By a fluke I found all six Tales of the City books used, in a batch, for just nine dollars, versus the seventy you could easily pay for them new now, which I think I did pay back when they'd just come out in a reprint and I couldn't stop reading. They're the forerunner of the original US Queer as Folk and the offline crackfic of their time.

QAF-ly, two of the main characters' names are Michael and Brian, which I find hard to believe is coincidence--is QAF a known homage?--and this Michael is incredibly Novotny-like in many ways, and Brian is very Kinney-like, though straight, and their friendship has a few parallels, even if it's not based on a measure of unrequited love. There are a handful of plot parallels throughout the books, and TotC's Michael's relationship with a doctor has both David and Ben elements. The two series aren't blow-by-blowjob alike (by any means), and there's no explicit sex in TotC, but I can see resonances.

In terms of trailblazing a crackfic genre--which is just a claim I make without historical evidence--it's uncanny how often it reminds me of fan-fiction styles I've seen gaining ground in LJ; lightly skimming brevity, insanely fun plots, and (sometimes) a centrality of dialogue. I mean, I wouldn't even try to summarize or spoil people for plots; they're all over the map, bizarre and improbable, with the lives of the characters overlapping and crossing paths, sometimes directly, sometimes not. The POVs shift from tale to tale, and the tales are short installments--they were originally published serially in a San Francisco newspaper. Kind of Dickensian, but with far...far, *far* fewer words.

The books were made into a PBS series, by the way, with Olympia Dukakis, Chloe Webb, Laura Linney, and Paul Gross (Due South) as Brian.

***

Profiler

I've been circling my apartment in baffled frustration lately, trying to find something I want to watch, and gradually realizing that what I want is something I haven't seen yet. I tried to start in on the remainder of Angel S5, but only got through another ep and a half. For whatever reason, my heart just isn't in it. I found S1 of Profiler used. I'd given it a brief shot when it first came out--truly, like, ten minutes--but the female lead grated on me so deeply and quickly that I never gave it another try. So it was kind of a gamble investing in the set, but so far it seems to fill the niche I was looking for, the niche of "a show that's totally new to me but not too mentally challenging and not the kind of thing I'm likely to get fannish about." Undemanding is what I'm trying to say. And it's good--smart, with sustained arcs, and an ensemble that includes Robert Davi, Roma Maffia, and Julian McMahon. It doesn't spoonfeed the forensic psychology either--the writers clearly work on the assumption that viewers have enough familiarity with the background ideas that they can move efficiently forward into telling a story. On the other hand, it cuts corners like any hour-long TV drama (though actually, it's old-school and each ep is clocking in around 47 minutes, whoa), and for me, it doesn't have the depth or wit or surprises of something like BtVS. But it's very watchable. And I should note that I'm only a few eps in and it's the kind of show that feels like it could develop a snowball effect as it goes on--get better, more faceted, more engaging.

***

SGA

astolat pointed people at sga_newsletter, which is like the BtVS version (su_herald), except for how I totally didn't know about it. Incredibly useful resource by seriously dedicated and admirable fans.

I've been adding lots of recs to my SGA recs memories, including links to other people's rec posts. There's one story I have to point out in particular because it's the type of thing that might get passed up for its premise, a blue true dream of sky by isilya, which is just an incredible, *incredible*, beautiful AU set in the Australian outback. Intelligent, absorbing, romantic, angsty in just the way I love, and hot. And I'm reminded that I need to feedback her.

***

Alias

But a different Alias. I finally found a copy of Alias, the graphic novel, by Brian Michael Bendis. It has nothing to do with the TV show. Someone, and I wish I could remember who, recced this to me sometime in the last year, and I've had it in the back of my mind all that time. It's the story of a noir detective, Jessica Jones, who was once a superhero--cape and all--set in the Marvel Universe (Fantastic Four, Captain America, etc, and by the way, that MU link takes you to the wikipedia entry; I'm finding everything in the wikipedia these days; it's an awesome resource).

The back-cover blurb of volume one says, "Now a chain-smoking, self-destructive alcoholic with a mean inferiority complex, Jones is the owner and sole employee of Alias Investigations--a small, private-investigative firm specializing in superhuman cases." Which isn't entirely precise, but close enough.

There's something very familiar about the idea behind the book; my mind goes to Roger Rabbit--not in a bad way--and then of course comes back. I wouldn't call it derivative of that or anything else--it just feels like a familiar concept, one that I like. Oh, wait. It feels like fan-fiction. I think it's one of those times when everything I like feels like fan-fiction; or everything that feels like fan-fiction, I like. Whatever. And on that note I'm going back to my TV.
 
 
 
Corinnacorinna_5 on September 6th, 2005 12:09 am (UTC)
ToTC is sort of fanficcish in its origins as well -- it started out as a weekly story in an SF paper, and a lot of the secondary characters are closely based on real well-known SF residents. (The socialite gossip columnist, for example, is based on a real person -- her son, Sean Wilsey, just published a memoir in which he has nothing nice to say about Maupin's caricature...)
Moral Whiplashbkwyrm on September 6th, 2005 12:29 am (UTC)
Should you like to see Paul Gross be kind of sexy in TotC, let me know. I have it around here somewhere on VHS.
flyingtapesflyingtapes on September 6th, 2005 12:40 am (UTC)
I remember when Tales of the City came out! Sadly, I never watched it.

Also, Profiler does get better as you watch it. It was paired with The Pretender on NBC Friday nights back in the day, and I watched those two shows religiously back to back. I loved Profiler, until the female lead changed and it tanked.
B: Oz KellerBeecher by abelladonnalovekeller on September 6th, 2005 12:42 am (UTC)
I never made the connection between QAF and Tales. Now that I think about the characters, the names, the wealthy lesbian that married the outsider lesbian, completely the platonic love between Michael and Brian. I can see exactly what you mean. Hmm.
Fandom: karass or granfalloon. Discuss.sherrold on September 6th, 2005 12:50 am (UTC)
Oh, I'm glad you're liking TotC -- I remember loving it. Hmm, I started it when it first came out, and haven't read it since the last book finally appeared, so the QAFness of it hadn't occurred to me, but now I'm thinking you're on to something there.

Just had Nicole and John over for dinner and kitty appreciation, btw; John says the kittens are "too small" and should be thrown back. I'm not sure where we would be throwing them -- it's possible he thinks that they're fish.

See you tomorrow?
Minim Calibreminim_calibre on September 6th, 2005 02:14 am (UTC)
Oh, wait. It feels like fan-fiction. I think it's one of those times when everything I like feels like fan-fiction; or everything that feels like fan-fiction, I like. Whatever. And on that note I'm going back to my TV.

Bendis often feels really fanficcish, in the good way. Well, once in a while, in the bad way. But mostly in the good way.
I Blame the Dutchmpoetess on September 6th, 2005 02:41 am (UTC)
I loved the first three TOTC books or so, and adored the first run of the tv series (I think they did a secnd season too?) - I can recall being really disappointed in the metamorphosis of Mary Ann, though, in the ending book(s).
KarenDreamerLady: Saved by Slashkarendreamer on September 6th, 2005 03:19 am (UTC)
I read Tales when it was in serial form in the San Francisco Examiner (or Chronicle at the time). I loved it. Then I watched the series, and loved it all the more. Plus I worked in San Francisco at the time. So I am joyous for you at that wonderful find.
WHAT: c&g - gender politiciansluggirl on September 6th, 2005 04:45 am (UTC)
I haven't read TotC since I was 13, but I remember devouring them. I rediscovered the books as I was looking through my mother's and my now-shared bookshelves last week, and decided to reread them, but then I accidentally left them in Alaska. Maybe the library has copies.
Also, I discovered that for some reason we have three copies of Significant Others. We were going to get rid of two of them, but we couldn't decide which copies to give away (one matches our copies of the first two books, my mother thinks is much prettier than the others, and one is a first-edition) so we kept all of them. Oh well.
Samanthanightlarke on September 6th, 2005 06:00 am (UTC)
Tales of the City books ROCK! My parents introduced them to my sister and me once we hit puberty, as they both lived in those same San Francisco 70s... they read them as the original newspaper serial.

*goes back to friendslist surfing*
Trepkos: Awkward Silence by Deadwillwalktrepkos on September 6th, 2005 07:26 am (UTC)
Aw.. Good to see you - but you haven't got to the really good AtS5 eps yet!
a velour pandacosmic on September 6th, 2005 04:21 pm (UTC)
Profiler. Man, I *loved* that show.