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Sep. 3rd, 2011

# I wish I could snap out of this weird state of mind where I keep losing track of the words and where they're supposed to go, and end up staring at a sentence for minutes, wondering if what I've written is even English, before deleting it again. It's not just annoying, but also incredibly time-consuming. Damn it brain, wake up! Focus!

# Prompted by rm's post mentioning Marc Almond, which made me nostalgic enough to finally put up my old record player again more than two years after the move. I saw Marc Almond live once, completely by chance, when I was in Athens for a week with my (then) best friend A., it must have been in 1993, because iirc it was the first summer holiday after I started going to university. [ETA: Actually, that would have been 1991.] We saw an advertising poster, and somehow, despite our complete lack of Greek (my year of ancient Greek was somewhat helpful when it came to deciphering signs, but useless otherwise) actually managed to find the place where they sold tickets. It was an open air concert on the Lykavittos, although that is about the extent of what I remember, and really, this all sounds much cooler and more sophisticated than it was, because at that time we were both hopelessly dorky and spent most of the time in museums and excavation sites...

In hindsight, I guess I might have dragged A. there, and she may have been simply too polite to say something all those years when I made her tape copies of every Marc Almond album and foisted them on her; it's hard to tell and we aren't talking any longer, so I can't ask her...

I searched on YouTube on the off chance that it might turn up something from that show, which unsurprisingly it didn't, but instead I found the recording of a show in Moscow from May 1993. It's funny, a week ago I'd probably have said this isn't my kind of music any longer, but watching that video I remembered exactly what I loved so much about his music.




part 2 | part 3 | part 4 | part 5 | part 6



# MD — (*sigh*) I'm putting off posting until after the last episode. It's going into directions I didn't expect at all rather than those I did expect, which may be my own fault, but right now I really don't know what to think any longer. What bothers me is that with only one episode to go, practically none of the questions have been answered in a satisfactory way. Why Oswald? Why the miracle? What do the families want? Angelo and the religious theme had so much potential, but instead of exploring that we get a giant mystic crack running through the Earth that is somehow connected to Jack? I guess we'll find out how exactly next episode, but the revelation of how this all hangs together had better be impressive, because I was seriously underwhelmed with this week's cliffhanger. And these are a lot of threads to tie up in 50 minutes.

I think in the end the problem with this story might be that it doesn't play into RTD's strengths at all. What he does best is small character pieces; he's brilliant when he explores what makes people tick, how they react to certain situations, the ambiguity of human nature and human behaviour and all those complicated moral dilemmas, and CoE showcased that beautifully. I'm less and less sure if this sprawling X-Files-esque conspiracy plot where a very few people pull the strings in the background, with the main cast hopping across the globe all the time, was a good choice. CoE was just incredibly focused throughout in every respect — pacing, character arcs, plot. MD is sort of... I can't quite put my finger on it, but while I do like parts of the story, as far as I'm concerned they never really made up a convincing whole, and I doubt the final episode will fix that. I kept waiting for the relationships between the old and new cast to develop, but they never really did beyond them finally pulling together to solve the problem, not the least because they so rarely even were in the same place at the same time. And even when they are... Esther spent two months nursing Jack back to health, and while I didn't exactly expect some sort of romantic subplot to spring up between them, it would have been nice to learn a bit more about how this changed their relationship. They must have found something to talk about in all that time? The parallel between Rex and Jack that I thought was really obvious int he first episodes? Now Jack is also physically bleeding, but other than that that went nowhere either, at least so far, and this is equally true about the connection between Oswald and Jack, which they established in the first few episodes.



# What else? I used to post a lot more about 'real' life day-to-day stuff; has my life started to bore even me, or is it maybe actually healthy to be a bit less navel-gazey?

My weekend walks keep getting longer. Last Sunday I walked from Baden to Pressbaum, which took me about nine hours, and the weekend before that from Purkersdorf to St. Andrä/Wördern (seven hours). I guess if I wanted some actual exercise, I should be doing something a little more strenuous like mountain biking, which is what everyone else seems to be doing, but I actually enjoy the slower speed of walking; somehow, it gives you a better sense of the distance you cover.

Speaking of bikes though, I finally resigned myself to the fact that somewhere someone is happily biking around on my pretty, barely used bike, and bought a new one yesterday. Walking to work is all very well, and also useful since it means about an hour of Russian audio book per day, but I've been starting to miss the independency the bike gave me. I just hope I'm going to have better luck with this one than the last one...

I was actually quite busy (by my standards, that is) the last couple of weeks. Got my skills card for the ECDL exam, which means I'll finally have to do some serious learning now, and had the first html/css class of seven today. I actually do know (very, very) basic html stuff, but I've never managed to figure out css, how to use it or what it actually does, so perhaps I'll finally be able to at least customise my journal and have my own banner...

Also finally had an appointment with the ophthalmologist after, as it turned out, six years. Oops. Got scolded, promised to return sooner next time, and now have new contacts and a prescription for new glasses, which was highly necessary, since I can't even make an educated guess about how old the glasses I'm currently wearing actually are.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
tigercheetah
Sep. 4th, 2011 06:39 am (UTC)
The trouble with Miracle Day is that, whilst I'm enjoying the 'character driven' moments in the story - like you say, they're one of RTD's strengths - I'm finding the overall storyarc quite tedious. There's too many CIA types for my liking, too much stuff being discovered via the internet rather than through more inventive ways and there's too much globe trotting - especially in Gwen's case. Basically there's too much going on, making it feel like RTD and Co were trying to be 'too clever and too complicated' with this seeies and it's failed them a little.

On top of that, it doesn't feel like Jack's 'what's it like to be mortal again' storyarc has been explored as much as it could have been. Like you say, the lack of development in the Jack/Esther relationship during the weeks she had to nurse him was quite obvious.

I'm amazed at how many fans think MD is better than COE!!!!
solitary_summer
Sep. 4th, 2011 09:13 am (UTC)
I completely agree with everything you said. Every time the plot turns back to the CIA my interest drops a few notches.

On top of that, it doesn't feel like Jack's 'what's it like to be mortal again' storyarc has been explored as much as it could have been.

Yes. I thought the most interesting parts of the story were how humanity reacted to immortality and Jack to his mortality, and both storylines could have been explored better. There's a sort of symmetry to them, and IMO it'd have made more sense if Angelo's reaction to Jack's immortality had been more of a pivotal point, because I can't say I find the three families conspiracy very compelling.

Basically there's too much going on, making it feel like RTD and Co were trying to be 'too clever and too complicated' with this seeies and it's failed them a little.

I think it shows that RTD is on unfamiliar ground in too many ways — quite literally, having to suddenly write a more American-centric plot with American characters for an American audience, which I think makes a big difference especially when a writer is used to writing largely by instinct and feeling, and in a wider sense, with a format he hasn't done before.

I'm amazed at how many fans think MD is better than COE!!!!

They do? That shows how completely out of the loop I am...
tigercheetah
Sep. 4th, 2011 09:58 am (UTC)
""They do? That shows how completely out of the loop I am""

Some do but most think it's not quite as good as COE but it's getting there, after a couple of duff episodes. In my opinion MOST episodes of MD had been duffs, with just a few good character moments occuring in each. The chemistry between Jack and Gwen remains strong, though I'm glad they've dropped the 'unresolved sexual tension' element, what with Gwen's growing love for her family and Jack mourning the deaths of past lovers.
topaz_eyes
Sep. 4th, 2011 04:32 pm (UTC)
I think in the end the problem with this story might be that it doesn't play into RTD's strengths at all.

Yes, this. RTD simply can't do "big". It's been like contrasting "Midnight" or "The Waters of Mars" with RTD's S3/S4 Who finales or TEoT. The irony is that he thinks a project like MD should be big and bold, because he thinks that's what American audiences want. I've counted 7-8 different subplots bubbling in MD, none of which has been explored thoroughly.

I think MD also suffers from the classic "too many cooks spoil the broth" effect. MD's writing process was vastly different from CoE, using an American-style writers' room collaboration vs one head writer. Eight writers for MD (vs 3 for CoE) means there's no unified voice. E.g., Doris Egan's episode, "Rendition," would not have been out of place on House M.D.. So I'm not surprised that characterization was haphazard, or the plot sprawled. I keep hearing rumors that MD was supposed to be shorter, perhaps only 5 episodes as well, which would also account for the bloat.

Right now MD feels like a mashup of Torchwood's S1 + CoE. I never expected MD to match CoE anyway, because of all the production changes, so I'm enjoying it on its own merits. (I think there was only one episode I looked at the clock. Maybe I'm just easily entertained.) I don't know whether MD will go down in TV annals as a flawed success or a magnificent failure, but at the very least it's been a fantastic experiment to watch unfold.
solitary_summer
Sep. 4th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
I keep hearing rumors that MD was supposed to be shorter, perhaps only 5 episodes as well, which would also account for the bloat.

I've also read that somewhere, and that would explain a lot.

Re. the writers... True, but I think there was also the problem that he absolutely needed American writers for the American characters. I've connected to every single character RTD has written so far, even if they only appeared in one episode, and after the first episode of MD I felt absolutely nothing for the Americans.

As I said in green_maia's journal, RTD stated several times that he wasn't interested in rules and was largely writing by instinct, but that works only as long as you're on your home turf where your really rely on your instincts. MD may well suffer from overthinking... But on the other hand you need to plan a story like that.

I don't know whether MD will go down in TV annals as a flawed success or a magnificent failure, but at the very least it's been a fantastic experiment to watch unfold

I guess the next episode will decide that... I'm not hating it, there have always been parts I enjoyed, even parts I loved, and I'd probably have reacted differently if it weren't for the fact that it followed after CoE. And I certainly don't blame RTD for trying when from what I understood British TW was dead in the water. I'm waiting for the last episode and then I'm going to rewatch the whole thing with as little expectations and preconceptions as possible — which isn't meant to imply that it's crap, just that I think I've had too many clear ideas about where the story was supposed to go that I ended up ruining it a bit for myself...
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