5 Fandom Friday: Fandoms I Love But Didn’t Think I Would

5fandomfriday

I’ve been MIA from blogging (again!) just due to personal circumstances and not having the time or energy to really write. So this is my attempt to get back at it, with a 5 Fandom Friday topic that once I saw, knew that it wouldn’t take that much effort to get to it. Thanks again to Megan (The Nerdy Girlie) and Kristin (Super Space Chick) for the ideas!

So this week’s Fandom Friday is all about the movies/shows/whatever I love but didn’t think I would.

1.) STAR WARS

Truth be told, I was late to the Star Wars game. My first foray into the SW universe was Episode I, and needless to say, SCARRED FOR LIFE. But before The Force Awakens came out, I was determined to watch the original trilogy. After I finally saw it, I totally got the appeal. The original films were amazing and so much fun to watch. Then TFA came out and I truly became a fan; not to the same level as a lot of people, mind you, but still a fan nonetheless.

2.) FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS

You know, this was one of those shows that I watched well after it ended and I kinda hate myself for watching it when it originally aired. When it first premiered, I didn’t watch because I legitimately thought it was all about football and football is the one sport that I seriously do not get. So I thought to myself, “Why the heck would I want to watch something about football when I don’t get it?” But years later, after hearing so much about the show, all the critical praise, and really falling in love with a lot of the actors who were on the show, I finally watched it and understood why so many people loved it.

3.) iZOMBIE

I never got into The Walking Dead, so zombies for me were an iffy subject matter. Hearing that this is a zombie show with case-of-the-week stuff, made me really unsure. And it’s not like I ever watched Veronica Mars either, to have a basis on how to judge Rob Thomas shows. So when I went to their first panel at SDCC, it was pretty much to see Robert Buckley (who I love from One Tree Hill), but they quickly won me over. I mean, I was still a little on the fence to how it would all play out in the long run, but it’s definitely one of my favourite shows now.

4.) ORPHAN BLACK

I hate to say this, as a Canadian, but Canada hasn’t had a great track record of creating truly awesome TV shows. Obviously it’s important for me to support Canadian content, but truth be told, Canadiam shows were never that great. The production values looked cheap, despite Canada being home to many TV and film shoots, and there was a lot that was super lame and cheesy. So when Orphan Black quietly debuted, I didn’t think much of it. Turns out, the show was totally up my alley, and it marked the first of many Canadian-made sci-fi shows in recent years to make an impact on US TV.

5.) HAMILTON

I never liked learning history. US history? HA! So when I first heard about Hamilton being a musical about a US founding father, I was like “Seriously?!” When it started picking up accolades and profuse praise from everybody, I decided to finally check out the music. All I have to say is that it is nothing short of genius, and I (like everybody else) completely fell in love with it.

Advertisements

5 Fandom Friday: Nerdiest Things I’ve Ever Done

fandom.5.friday

This week’s Fandom 5 is all about the nerdiest things we’ve done. As I started thinking about this week’s topic, I thought I was going to have trouble making the five, but once I started digging in a bit, well, let’s just say I nearly forgot how much of a nerd I was growing up, even if I didn’t realize it at the time.

1.) Going to Cons

San Diego Convention Centre

That initial decision to go to San Diego Comic Con. For the longest time, I didn’t really know this idea of being a geek, and I feel like it stems from not quite negative but a stigma of sorts from general society of what it means to be a geek/nerd. Then me being a fan of a lot of things, pop culture-wise, and not necessarily being the “stereotypical geek”, I just felt like I didn’t belong in this group somehow. Like I was a fake. I knew one thing for certain was my love of TV and movies, and hearing about SDCC year after year, I just got it into me that I wanted to go. At that point (this was nearly three years ago), I hadn’t done a trip on my own and it was sort of me wanting to do something for myself. So my one cousin (who I didn’t realize was so much like me. Distance will do that to you.) and I made our first trek to SDCC in 2013. Still one of the nerdiest things I’ve ever done, because I just hadn’t experienced anything like it. I did go to FanExpo to get a sense of it in 2012, but we all know SDCC is a whole other level.

2.) “Stalking” the Nikita Set

Nov. 12, 2012 - Waterloo Airport for episode 3x10 "Brave New World"

My love of Nikita is just beyond. If you read this blog regularly or follow me on Twitter, you know that by now. Cast of actors I loved (Maggie, Shane, Lyndsy, Melinda initially; then Aaron, Noah, Devon, Dillon, Lyndie) in a great show that filmed in and around Toronto – they were my life for four years. Every chance I could get to be near the set, when I found out their filming location, I tried my damned hardest to go (within restraints obviously – I don’t live in Toronto so it was infinitely harder to be so close, yet so far). Of course every single time I came close, but failed miserably at meeting any of the cast members. During that same time that Nikita was filming, I cared much more about other stuff filming, trying to catch Suits or Covert Affairs filming as well. After Nikita wrapped, I haven’t cared as much…although 12 Monkeys DOES film in Toronto, as does Orphan Black, but I’m not obsessed about finding locations. I don’t really need to constantly feel like I’m failing.

3.) Warner Brothers and Paramount Studio Tours

P1050422

Because seeing TV/movie magic and sets of some of your favourite shows is awesome. Though doing these studio tours are even more nerdy when you can answer pretty much every question the tour guides ask you.

4.) Sabrina the Teenage Witch

I LOVED Sabrina when I was younger. I can’t remember why, but I did. Enough to write a fan letter, mailed it, and found a signed cast photo get sent back to me months later.

5.) Entertainment + School

Throughout my entire education years, I pretty much found every excuse to incorporate my love of entertainment into school. Started off with talent shows in elementary school, then wrote papers/opinion pieces on what was going on in pop culture at the time for extra credit in middle school. Whenever I had to be creative in high school, I always used TV/movie character names. I remember senior Econ class, saw one of the topics for a project being “Salaries of Celebrities” and I was completely all over that, just short of simply yelling out “MINE! CALLED IT!” Every time I was able to tie-in media to any of my university papers, I was damn happy: Minority representation in the media, gender equality and representation, adaptations (for a movie course obviously). In my Speech Comm course, we covered three different types of speeches and what did I talk about? Music downloading, the Writers’ Strike, and movie sequels. I wrote a thesis on attending concerts! Also took classes on history of music and pop culture AND music in film. It’s not like I went to a media school and did this; I was a sociology major.

So yeah, those are the nerdiest things I’ve done in my life.

5 Fandom Friday: Comfort Films

fandom.5.friday

I took a couple of weeks off from doing 5 Fandom Friday, but wanted to jump back in with this week’s theme. I love TV, but I also love my fair share of movies (obviously, did you see the picture of my collection in the last Fandom 5 post?!) When I think “comfort films”, I think of movies that always put me in a good mood, and that I have watched multiple times and am not sick and tired of it yet.

1.) CENTER STAGE

It’s only like my all-time favourite movie. I don’t know what it is, but I can ALWAYS watch this movie. Well, in actuality, the obvious answer is the dancing. I feel like my love for dance reached a whole other level after I saw this movie. The movie as a whole puts me in a good mood, but if I need a quick pick-me-up, the finale dance pretty much does the trick.

2.) LEGALLY BLONDE

Reese Witherspoon at her comedic best. Elle Woods and her incredibly positive attitude is certainly one of the best cures for a crappy day. Every time this movie plays on TV, I most certainly will stop and watch it. And again, if for some reason I need a quick pick-me-up “Omigod You Guys” or “There Right There!” from the Legally Blonde musical soundtrack will do the trick.

3.) BEGIN AGAIN

This is a new addition to my comfort films list, because sinceriously, I can’t stop talking about it! I just love this movie so damn much!

4.) MONSTERS INC.

I love my animated movies too. Really, pretty much any Disney and/or Pixar movie could be put on this list – Beauty & the Beast, Lilo & Stitch, Toy Story, Finding Nemo, etc. Though what’s NOT to love about Monsters, Inc.? It might just be my top comfort animated film right now because my niece is also in love with it and always wants to watch it.

5.) CLUELESS

I had trouble picking this last spot because I wanted to pick a movie that I pretty much grew up loving – Matilda, The Mighty Ducks, Little Giants, The Little Rascals – but ultimately settled on Clueless. Why? Because it was just SO of its time. I mean, granted, I was 7 when it initially came out, so a lot of the stuff in the movie went right over my head. However, as I grew older and understood more of it, it just turned out to be such a fun movie that I completely love and despite being slightly dated looking back 20 years, it’s a classic teen movie.

So, there’s my 5 comfort films – no cheating this time around! (Though I still probably could’ve went on and on!)

5 Fandom Friday: Fictional Couples I Ship

fandom.5.friday

I must say, I’m having a lot of fun doing these 5 Fandom Friday posts! This week, in honour of Valentine’s Day (even if I think it’s a totally overrated “holiday” but mainly due to the fact that I’m perpetually single and a pessimist), it’s all about the fictional couples we ship. The pessimist that I am, is still kind of a hopeless romantic, at least when it comes to my favourite fictional couples of past and present. (Although by the looks of it, I don’t really ship any current couples. At least not more than these couples of shows past.)

1.) Nikita and Michael, Nikita

3.0

OBVIOUSLY. Favourite show, favourite couple. They would do anything for each other, which includes taking the blame for assassinating POTUS and going on the run – normal couple stuff.

2.) Haley and Nathan, One Tree Hill

259

Naley had just about everything happen to them in the course of 9 seasons, with so many ups and downs, and somehow managed to make it through okay, while raising two decent human beings.

3.) Pam and Jim, The Office

Do I need to even say anything? It’s Jam! We all pretty much want what they had.

4.) Olivia and Peter, Fringe

45

Alternate universes be damned! These two were just meant to be together! And then they had a kid that grew up to be a Disney princess 😉

5.) Tami and Eric, Friday Night Lights

FNL

I didn’t watch Friday Night Lights until well after it had aired, but once I finally got around to it, I understood what everyone was talking about. In particular, the relationship and utter awesomeness that is Mr. and Mrs. Coach. They were a real couple, who were not perfect but worked out their issues like the adults they were.

6.) Jane and Brad, Happy Endings

HappyEndings (05)

So I seemingly have trouble with keeping my lists to 5, but I HAD to include Jane and Brad! Those two crazies just got each other and funny as hell.

Not everything has to be about romantic relationships though, so in that spirit, a bonus 5 non-romantic/totally platonic pairings I love. Because sometimes the best relationships are awesome friendships.

1.) Leslie and Ron, Parks and Recreation

07

For 6.5 seasons, we’ve seen these workplace acquaintances grow into a wonderful friendship based on mutual respect. Ron and Leslie are complete opposites, particularly when it comes to government things, but they always seem to find common ground somewhere (i.e. their love of breakfast food).

2.) Abbie and Ichabod, Sleepy Hollow

I know there are many hardcore Ichabbie shippers, who want more out of that relationship, but frankly, I truly enjoy the fact that they are friends. The rapport that they have is like no other.

3.) Zoe and Lavon, Hart of Dixie

For all the crazy antics that happen on Hart of Dixie, it’s nice to see such a great friendship grow right from the get-go. Lavon was the first person in Bluebell to accept Zoe into the fold, but more than that, they get each other’s quirks and will begrudgingly go along with the other’s crazy plans.

4.) Harvey and Mike, Suits

The show is built on this bromance! Their natural camaraderie/chemistry is what really shines through, with Harvey sticking out his neck time and time again to save Mike’s secret from getting out. Plus, all the teasing and talking in movie quotes! They’re the best.

5.) Nikita and Alex, Nikita

121

From the very beginning, these two had each other’s back. Even when they were seemingly on the outs, they were still there for each other. And when Nikita needed help at the end to take down all the members of The Group, she didn’t turn to Michael, she went to Alex. Supportive while kicking ass along the way – what more do you want?

 

Objectivity and Fandom: When Being a Fan Means Being a Critic

Consider this: You’re a fan of a certain show/band/actor/whatever, you will support them wholeheartedly, try to convince others of their awesomeness, and along the way because of your fervent fandom, you become blind to their faults and refuse to consider their flaws. Ever have that happened, to any degree? See, I’ve always considered myself a different type of fan; I mean, as a fan of MANY things, I don’t go stereotypical crazy fangirl. I’ll get excited but it wouldn’t be like “OH MY GOD! *flailing*” Even when it’s something that I’m a HUGE fan of, it never gets to the point where I’m blind to their faults and imperfections – I pride myself on still being objective. Take for example, Justin Timberlake. I love JT, love his music – there are some songs I love more than others, but for the most part, they’re all good to me. His movie career, on the other hand? Well let’s just say there’s been a lot of more misses than hits.

I ask and preface all this because I’ve had a weird feeling lately. I’ve had a few conversations lately about Maroon 5, plus my ongoing internal dialogue every time I listen to the new album, and every time a different thought/observation comes up. I’ve already given my thoughts on V with my review and I had said that as a whole, it’s a solid pop album. I was talking to a friend, who is a Maroon 5 fan, and she reiterated that she’s not a fan of the new music, which is something I completely understand. Again, I replied by saying that, “It’s nowhere near as good as Songs About Jane or Hands All Over, but it’s a solid pop album.” For some reason, that discussion about V, and then later on about music in general, lingered in my mind. On the one hand, I believe I’m still being objective by saying that V isn’t as good as M5’s old material. On the other hand, I found myself defending the album, still giving it some sort of praise. I mean, generally speaking, I do like the pop-ier side of music – it’s what I grew up on – but I also don’t like the majority of what is on the radio these days; a lot of it is just blah. Point of the matter is, I started to question my ability to be objective (or in other words, my sociology/over-analytical brain started kicking in). By calling it a solid pop album, was I just finding a reason to like it because I’m a big Maroon 5 fan and don’t like the idea of making myself seem like a bad fan if I don’t like the album? Have I already grown accustomed to this new Maroon 5 sound, that at the end of the day I’m essentially now grading them on a curve? Have I been unfair to compare them to their previous work, as opposed to treating each album as a separate entity in the general music landscape? Am I just being too harsh? Am I completely over-thinking things? (Probably, on the last question.)

The stage set-up for Maroon 5's Overexposed tour in 2013. They got pretty fancy with the walk-out bridge.

The stage set-up for Maroon 5’s Overexposed tour in 2013. They got pretty fancy with the walk-out bridge.

The other day while watching the season premiere of The Voice, my brother-in-law asked me about the new M5 album and again, I answered that it was pretty good, much better than their last album. To which he goes, “Yeah? I thought the last album was pretty good” (For the record, he doesn’t really listen to music out of his own volition. It’s pretty much what’s on the radio and then the off-time of whatever my sister’s listening to). Anyways, the conversation led to us talking about the popularity issue. Thanks to Adam being on The Voice, Maroon 5 is way more popular and mainstream than they were previously. And my bro-in-law brought up the point that like a lot of things in entertainment (games, movies, TV shows), once something becomes too popular and they start trying to cater more to the newer fans, but still attempting to appease the old fans, it’s just not the same as it used to be. Which obviously got my brain turning: Have Maroon 5 REALLY gotten too popular for their own good? Not that I hadn’t realized this to some extent already when I bought tickets for their upcoming tour (nearly $150 per ticket, fees included, for lower level tickets?! Really guys? I remember when it used to be HALF that!), but to have it stated in that way just clicked in my head. The guys themselves have said as much that music is really a producers’ game right now, which is more or less why we’ve been getting such pop-ish music from them. All of a sudden, everything made sense; they are catering SO MUCH to mainstream radio that I sometimes don’t even know if I’m listening to the M5 I fell in love with. The one day I went from listening to V in my car to Songs About Jane at the office, and it was such a stark difference between what they used to be and what they are now, that it was almost unsettling.

Maroon 5 kept it fairly simple for their 2007 tour, in support of their second album It Won't Be Soon Before Long

Maroon 5 kept it fairly simple for their 2007 tour, in support of their second album It Won’t Be Soon Before Long

Moving away from Maroon 5, let’s talk about TV. A self-described TV addict, I’ve come to be picky about what shows I watch and spend my time on. Long-running shows are bound to disappoint at some point in time; let’s be real, there’s just no possible way for the staff writers to always keep things new, fresh and deliver in the way that we want as fans. I liken it to a form of Stockholm syndrome – they may think it’s a good idea in the writers’ room but it’s likely that a lot of the writers on staff have been there a long time and there’s no fresh blood or a different set of eyes to be critical. Then there’s the case of new shows. A lot has to be put into place to get a show on the air and to just work so viewers will tune in: cast chemistry, a solid hook, building on that hook with some smart writing whether it be for laughs or dramatic effect. It’s in my belief that almost all new shows deserve a chance because they may surprise you and there’s probably something or someone there that is drawing you in to begin with.

Stalker is a new show by Kevin Williamson (Scream, Dawson’s Creek, The Vampire Diaries, The Following) that premiered Wednesday night and follows the LAPD’s Threat Assessment Unit as they deal with various stalking cases. It’s a CBS show, so naturally it’s a procedural, case-of-the-week type show, and it follows the similarly dark/twisted Criminal Minds on the schedule. The majority of TV critics have been pretty much saying “avoid this show like the plague” because it overdoes the violence and how it treats the women in this show is appalling. My comeback line every time I read something that trashes the show? “But, Maggie Q!” Yup, Maggie Q is already back on TV after Nikita, and because of how much I LOVED Nikita, I am going to be watching this show for Maggie, against my better judgment. I don’t typically like procedurals but, Maggie! I once was a fan of The Following, which is more of a serialized show but got similar flack for its use of violence when it premiered, until it got ridiculous, but again, because of Maggie, I’m hoping for something decent. And you know what? It was okay. Is it the best show in the world? No. It went along doing its CBS procedural thing with a Kevin Williamson twist. I can understand why so many critics absolutely hated it, but if you look past the extreme violence (obviously a ploy meant to sell the show in the first place and attempt to hook viewers in), it was alright. The best thing the show has going for it is that there’s an attempt to flesh out the main characters of Beth Davis (Maggie Q) and Jack Larsen (Dylan McDermott) and give them some more personality and depth than your average TV cop. Plus, there’s something interesting about it from a sociological standpoint. I’m probably giving the show more depth than I should be, in my attempt to give reason for watching it, but MAGGIE FREAKIN’ Q you guys!

Pilot

I read an article recently, which was more or less an essay, written by Talib Kweli defending Lauryn Hill. Lauryn Hill is such a great artist, and ever since the release of the incredible The Miseducation of…, people have been clamoring for more. She hasn’t put an album since then, and hasn’t done very many shows either; there were a couple of times when she showed up extremely late for a show and people were outraged. In the piece, Talib Kweli talks about the relationship between artists and fans, and how it can be misconstrued. At the end of the day, artists have a responsibility to themselves, to do what they want; fans are not owed anything by the artists to do what they want as fans. I really suggest reading the piece because it’s so thoughtful and gives you a different understanding of what it means to be a fan. Reading this piece as I’m going through these thoughts and feelings, it just really brought up the things I’ve been wanting to say. Tying it back to Maroon 5, as a fan of theirs I want them to just do what’s right for them; I don’t want to see them lose who they are as artists, as a band because of this commercial success they’ve been getting.

So what’s the moral of the story/analysis/rant? Sometimes, being a fan means being a critic. You can be supportive of everything your favourites do, but remember you don’t have to like everything. You’re allowed to be objective, have opinions, and make it known. Not liking something by your favourites, doesn’t make you a bad fan – people change, tastes change, maybe the output really does suck and you’re just speaking the hard truth or it’s just not your cup of tea anymore. IT’S OKAY! There’s no need to blindly love something out of habit or just because. We’re all fans of something and with the help of social media we can revel in the successes of our favourites and dish out constructive criticism – let our voices be heard. I’m not saying our faves need to be meeting the wants and needs of all their fans out there, that would just get out of hand very quickly. Instead I say, be critical of your favourites and recognize that they’re not going to live up to all you expect from them. They are human beings too, and are allowed to do what they may feel is right for them at any given time, experiment with their music or acting roles. If you like it, great; if you don’t, whatever.

Sorry if this whole thing came out a little convoluted, I just needed to get all these thoughts in my brain out. But let’s turn things over to you: have you ever had a similar situation, wherein the definition of being a fan gets put into question? Is there such a thing as being a “bad fan”? What’s typically the “breaking point” to when you’re no longer a fan of something?