Olivia Pope, Superhero: Feminism in ABC's Scandal
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zahrawithaz
So there’s a new US show on the ABC network called Scandal, in which Kerry Washington plays a fictional version of a communications director for the Clinton White House who became a successful image consultant, or reputation-fixer.

The show is notable for being the only one on a mainstream American network built around a black female lead (and backed by black female showrunner Shondra Rhimes). It’s also a lot of fun. Kerry Washington is dynamic and compelling as the heroic-but-flawed powerhouse of a lead, the arc plot is suspenseful, the camera-work and direction is fresh, and the format creates the possibility of great variety within its episodic plots.

But the thing that really struck me on watching the first two episodes is how very feminist it is.


The politics of women heroesCollapse )

Merlin 2x10 The Herald of a New Age
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zahrawithaz

Happy fourth day of Christmas to those of you who celebrate. The fourth day of this holiday, otherwise known as Childermas or the Feast of the Holy Innocents, is the unluckiest day in the Christian calendar, because it commemorates the massacre of infants in the Gospel of Matthew. By extension, it became a day to mourn the deaths of children in any circumstances.

According to tradition, today is not only bad luck, but ensures that every Wednesday in 2012 will also be unlucky. Although contemporary celebrations of Christmas emphasize cheer, in its religious origins the holiday encompasses fear and sadness as well as joy. It’s no accident that most of the rituals now associated with Halloween were originally celebrated at Christmas. Ghosts linger at the dark time of the year.

All of which makes it an appropriate day to talk about “The Herald of the New Age.”


Elyan's moment in the moonlightCollapse )


More thoughts on Merlin 4x09 Lancelot du Lac
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zahrawithaz

I’ve already covered much of this episode here, but somehow I still found more to say:


Read more...Collapse )


Merlin Meta: The Character of Lancelot
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zahrawithaz

I’ve been meaning for ages to write a meta on the character of Lancelot in the Arthurian legends and how the show Merlin uses him, as a follow-up to the similar piece I wrote on Gwaine. Now seems to be the moment.


LancelotCollapse )


Merlin 4x08 Lamia
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zahrawithaz
A lot to say about this one. On narrative structure, Guinevere, and the OT3Collapse )

Merlin 4x07 The Secret Sharer
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zahrawithaz
In which Gaius not only gets screen time, but some major character developmentCollapse )

Merlin 4x06 The Servant of Two Masters
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zahrawithaz
The dominatrix versus the dynamic detective duo...Collapse )

Electricity, and also Merlin 2x05
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zahrawithaz
It's now been a week since a pre-Halloween storm dropped 8 inches of snow here, and the combination of heavy wet snow on trees that had not yet lost their leaves ripped down branch after branch and power line after power line. I was one of the lucky ones, who only lost power and heat for 48 hours, which is no joke when it gets down to 18 degrees Fahrenheit (that's 8 below zero for you centigradians) at night.

But seven days many of my co-workers are still without electricity, and some have been trapped in their homes by roads made impassable by fallen trees and live wires. The entire landscape has changed; just about every tree is missing major branches,  many have been smashed in half, and there is broken wood everywhere. It looks bombs fell and hit only the trees.

I have been thinking a great deal, which you do when you don't have electricity, and many of my thoughts are uncomfortable ones. These trees evolved through millenia to lose their leaves before the snow to avoid this very fate, and yet we with all our rapid transformations—advanced technology that made the disaster so much worse--were even worse prepared.

I hope all of you, wherever you are, are safe from the elements and whatever ill effects the melting of polar ice (the source of our changing snow pattern) creates where you are.

Here's a really late essay on Merlin.

Battles and witches and swords, oh my...Collapse )

Two more thoughts on "The Wicked Day"
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zahrawithaz
On one Arthur & Gwen scene cut from “The Wicked Day,” and additional thoughts about the titleCollapse )

Gwen fic recs
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zahrawithaz
Two very different views of the Gwen-looking-after-Uther plot of series 4, both well-worth a read:

We Turn to Stone by earlyparade. A missing scene from 4x03 "The Wicked Day." Short and sweet but packs a punch.

The Long Night by the always brilliant selenak. Long and complex and reframing most of the series to date through Gwen's perspective. (A sequel of sorts to the also excellent Vita Gueneveris.)
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