Step-One Complete: Polished the Manuscript – Again

So in preparation for self-publishing for the first time I just finished an edit of my manuscript.  Now I’ve lost count of just how many revisions this book has been through, but this one had extra weight.  Every once and awhile while I had the thought, “People might actually read this,” and I felt a mixture of excitement and panic that almost got in the way of what I was doing.  But I kept going and, yay!, now it’s ready to go off to my two proofreaders.

It’s getting closer.

Now I just have to design a cover, figure out the marketing/pricing, do another edit based off the comments from my proofreaders, and probably six other things I haven’t even thought of get.

Excitement and panic seem about right.

Putting the “Super” back in Superheroes: The Supergirl Premiere

Oh my goodness – that’s what I’m talking about!

I don’t have much time, but the Supergirl Season 2 premiere deserves a double thumbs up.

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No offense to Henry Cavill who has done his best with crappy, gloomy material but Supergirl has now given us not only a great Kara Danvers but also a fun, and funny, Superman!  I haven’t been this giddy about an episode of television in a long time.

It also didn’t hurt that there were multiple geek shoutouts to the original Christopher Reeve Superman film, and that Cat Grant’s crush on Clark Kent (along with a quick reference to Dean Cain’s character) gave me Lois and Clark flashbacks.

Nicely done CW – can’t wait for more.

Cautious Optimism – Quick Thoughts on the Arrow Premiere

Hello Green Arrow – nice to see you.

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That’s my main thought coming out of the Season 5 premiere of Arrow – which is quite appropriately titled “Legacy.”   I can’t say that this episode blew my mind – but it was a solid, standard episode of Arrow which, especially after my irritation with last night’s premiere of The Flash, mostly worked.

I’ve heard a lot of chatter about the fact that the show runners are trying to go back to playing up the strengths that made Arrow work to begin with, and that make it different from its companion shows. That’s on display here, in pretty obvious ways, including a neck-breaking reference to the Pilot.  There’s also a heavy emphasis on great stunt work and fighting non-powered villains.

One of the best results of this – and something I hope they stay with as they add the barrage of new characters is that Oliver Queen was finally back to being the main character of this show.  It’s fine for him to have a team, but it should be his team.

However, for all of the callbacks to Arrow’s past seasons and the gritty urban vibe they tried to cultivate in it’s earlier days – my favorite thing about this episode is that this version of Oliver might, maybe, actually, be starting to remind me of the Green Arrow.

Finally.

Even with all the crap he’s swimming in, this Oliver is finally a little less brooding and he fires not one, but several, ridiculously over-the-top trick arrows.  Parachute arrow? Yes, please.

Not everything was great of course.  I miss John Diggle….I’ll say that again…I MISS John Diggle.  In many ways the relationship with Oliver and Digg is what kept me watching the first half of Season 1.  He needs more screen time – not less.  Also, I figured that Felicity or Oliver was going to have some kind of distraction love interest this season.  It’s the way of episodic television, and Arrow especially can’t seem to write romance without melodrama.  However, randomly dumping said guy into the end of the episode and suggesting that Oliver doesn’t know about him – yeah, not cool.  See my rant from yesterday about being dropped into the middle of a story line.

Here’s hoping however, that these elements are just the lead up to a hard fought reunion of Original Team Arrow – and yeah, Artemis and Mr. Fantastic are welcome to come too – but if I don’t see some Oliver, Digg, Felicity lair banter soon I’m going to call a foul on the whole “let’s play up the best of Arrow” rhetoric – because that dynamic is what really makes this show work.

 

 

The Peril of Season Premieres

The amount of joy I felt today about my superhero TV season starting up again was probably a little extreme.  Summer is great – I love summer, but I also love my nerd TV.

First out of the gate tonight was “Flashpoint” the season premiere of The Flash.  In some ways I loved it – it was great to see Kid Flash and normal optometrist Caitlin, however it also kind of bugged me.

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One of my pet peeves about standard episodic television is how the structure artificially manipulates the story line.  The standard now is that in April or May you needs some sort of epic gamechanging cliffhanger and/or something that wraps up the story line of the show in some way….

….And then you have to come back in October and start the story all over again.  And if you want to keep your show in “real time” you have to explain where those three months went. (I could write a whole separate rant about “real time” – especially with superhero shows which feel like they can mess with the space-time continuum but heaven forbid it should be July in their fantasy world when it’s October in ours.)  Some shows manage to do this gracefully – but honestly it’s a rare phenomenon.

Often the show comes back from those three months and tells, or quickly shows, us what has changed. We, as the audience, are supposed to just take it on faith and try not be irritated that we’ve been left out of a whole chapter of the story.  On Arrow, for those of us who like the Oliver and Felicity relationship, it’s meant that the happiest (and for my money some of the most anticipated) bits of their dynamic have taken place off the screen. Super, super, frustrating. No wonder people write fanfiction.

The other thing that seems to happen is that the finale winds up to that big cliffhanger/game changer and then the season premiere finds some way to write everything back the way it was.  This drives me nuts – it wastes some of the best moments of the story and makes it hard to invest in those big moments.

Unfortunately (spoiler alert) – that’s kind of the route The Flash went. Barry’s decision from last season radically altered the timeline – but we only get one brief shallow glance at that timeline before the show finds a way to put everything back.  Yes, at the tail end of the episode we get a hint that there have been consequences to Barry’s actions, but to me it’s not enough.  To me they’ve shortchanged a multi-episode worthy arc that could have explored, in detail, the power of what we think we want versus what we need.  If Barry’s going to literally ask the bad guy to murder his mother – that moment should be HUGE – and not a 2 second throwaway to quickly get the show back to normal.

Am I still excited that my shows are back? Absolutely!  I just occasionally wish that writers and networks would be as brave and bold as the heroes they’ve written and trust their audiences enough to tell a more complex story.  Really guys, trust me, we can take it.