The Mystery of the Fandom (an attempt to explain us)

It’s been a full two months and three since I last posted, and I am starting to miss the blog-o-sphere. What better way to rile up the brain juices than to talk about the thing I am most familiar with: Fandoms. Specifically, how Fandoms interact with each other.

If you watch the BBC adaptation of Sherlock, you might be familiar with the now popular phrase, “I was so alone, and I owe you so much” which were said whilst Watson was in front of Sherlock’s tombstone. The Reichenbach episode of the second series was unforgettable in a lot of other ways other than it being the episode where Sherlock and Moriarty faced-off at the St. Bart’s hospital and eventually had to shake hands with death; it is unforgettable because of the emotion the episode has induced. We were all reduced to crying, shrieking pterodactyls when Sherlock jumped off the St. Bart’s roof, we were all John Watson in front of Sherlock’s tombstone, we were all so alone and owed this show so much.

When I think about that specific line, when I repeat it in my head, “I was so alone, and I owe you so much”, I cannot help but feel this sudden surge of happiness. This is basically what Fandom is. For those who are not familiar with Internet words, phrases, and whatnot, a Fandom is what you call a group of people who are really enthusiastic about, well, anything. Almost anything have Fandoms: Books, Movies, Music, Television programmes, Food, and other things that a group of people have an interest in. And if you have Tumblr, you probably have been exposed to these Fandoms, and have seen what they can do and how passionate they are about something.

An example of a Fandom is from the aforementioned sleuth, Sherlock Holmes. The Sherlock Fandom did not just start with the BBC modern adaptation, it has been here since the 1880’s, when Sir Arthur Conan Doyle envisioned and published the adventures of the detective and his chronicler in various magazines. When Conan Doyle killed off Sherlock in “The Death of Sherlock Holmes”, where Professor Moriarty and Holmes dueled in Germany’s Reichenbach Falls and plummeted to their death, that was it, that was the end of their story…or so we think. A lot of the Victorians protested and urged Conan Doyle to write a resurrection story for Sherlock, and he did, after TEN YEARS!

A Fandom is powerful. If there is one criticism I can give a Fandom, it is in the way they broadcast their opinions to the world. This has caused much tension within the Fandom itself not because of the clashing of different opinions, but how the opinions are being said. This has also affected writers, actors, and all the people involved a lot of stress because they have been subjected to numerous kinds of verbal abuse, one of which is being sent death threats by Fandom members who feel strongly against the ideals of anyone who is involved with anything they are currently into. But a Fandom is also self-aware, they know these things are happening and can’t stop it because, well, people react more violently when being told off about how they talk. But the Fandom does its best to make sure that the people involved in how a show is running, or how a book is written at least feels safe.

The great thing about a Fandom is that there is untapped talent in the group. I would like to coin this as the “virgin talent”; creativity that has not been tarnished by commerce. Although these artworks are based off of other people’s product, the amazing creativity and artistry is just breathless. Comic panels, paintings, charcoal drawings, stitching, knitting, whatever it is, a Fandom has found a means to produce something different and original from an idea. Fanfiction is one of these things, and although there is much debate on whether or not Fanfiction writing should be allowed (because the characters are, in essence, borrowed from original canon), there is no denying that some of the Fandom members who wrote these Fanfics are brilliant writers. Heck, if they give themselves time to write original stories, they may even be able to create works that are a lot more brilliant than the Fanfics they have written.

Probably the main thing about a Fandom is that its a group of people who share an interest. There is much diversity in a Fandom. One is that members do not actually belong in one country; but in spite of this, Fandom members become really close friends, some would even say that they feel much closer to their Fandom friends than with some of the people they talk to in real life. The greatest thing about a Fandom is just giving someone a home to go to. You might have heard of Tumblr, and yes, sometimes some of us on Tumblr do have a world of our own. But this world has saved countless lives, and one contributing factor is a Fandom. Just knowing that there are people who are ready for you, who will listen to you albeit virtually, is already a good thing, and this has been amplified by Tumblr because my word, that site is just one of the most comfortable and safe places; but a Fandom gives you a circle of friends, a kind of friendship some have not even experienced in real life. Just this feeling of belonging to a group and feeling the acceptance makes some of us think twice about doing something that can harm us. And interacting with the Fandom gives us something to look forward to.

This has been my weakest attempt at explaining something, because let’s face it, it is hard to explain friendship and love on its pixelated, virtual form. If you are part of one, then you probably now how this feels, experienced it, and have basked in the feeling of pure joy when people scratches their heads, trying to understand the inside jokes and the references that we make; but you also know that a Fandom is more than that, it is also about companionship.

“We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne”

Everyone’s doing it, so I guess jumping into the stream of making “looking back” posts will not hurt me, albeit really really late.

2012 has been eventful. It was sort of like an appraisal year for me, mainly because I have been a University student stuck in the moratorium stage for two full school years. Moreover, there are times when I think I am okay with how everything in my life is going, but as it turns out, some of the things that I have been doing has quite the opposite effect. I even had the temerity to shift from one course to another, and with my current status at Uni (being a 3rd year student, near graduation), it is almost as mad as eating jalapenos covered in cheese whilst playing Tekken 5, you just don’t do it. But I guess my brain doesn’t work like that, lest I’ll be making sensible decisions when the time was still ripe.

So now I present two things that I did in the year 2012 that may become my undoing:

1. I have shifted. The funny thing about shifting during a confused stage is that you will not know whether you like being in that course, or not. And the funny thing about this ‘ol brain is that I am mad enough to attempt it. I learnt a great deal of things in my previous course, and I would not even think of not reading more on it; but I am beginning to enjoy my present course, and I think that’s a good sign. At least, if I am actually going to have a job, it would be this one.

2. I have decided to work on my writing. I am my own valonqar; if I am ever to get better at writing I would have to jump hurdles of self-doubt and procrastination. Let me tell you, though; I have made great plans for this year, and hopefully I would be able to execute them.

I am hoping against hope that the year 2013 is going to be as productive as the previous year, and the only way to do that is to work hard on everything, including this blog.

Speaking of the blog, I am beyond myself when I found out that I have crossed the 110,000 view mark; for someone as completely unknown as I am, that is HUGE. I am hoping to use what little influence I have on the Interwebs to my benefit What I am trying to say is, other than this being a geek magazine-personal rant space-blog, I might actually post original content. This is a big deal for me because I have always been very insecure about my work, I mean I can’t even write a decent short story without trying to poke my eyes out whilst gutting out my innards in shame. I think I need constructive criticisms from people I don’t know, as well; and I know the Internet will not disappoint when it comes to that.

Thank you for helping me with the blog. I probably would have stopped in my 5th post if it had  not been for the people who view this, who have stuck through the grumbles and fan-flails that I have been posting. I hope that you are still going to be with me this year, and I hope that I will be able to trudge the waters of “successful plan-execution” with you all (I am definitely going to write about it, and that journey is going to be hilarious. I can feel it).

Happy New Year, everyone!

Star Trek Into Darkness

The trailer is finally out! And this is not some trailer for trailer, it is the actual trailer. I have to say, Benedict Cumberbatch makes one helluva voice over.

This is the web-only trailer. I think, next week during the screenings of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, we will be getting a theatrical trailer, which will probably be longer than this. Also, select IMAX theatres will be showing the first nine minutes of Star Trek Into Darkness. But do not fret, those of us who will not be able to see these on the day it is released, because it might be released online.

Interview with a Cannibal

Behold! I break my blog hiatus with this weird piece of offering to the Internet: Cannibalism!

We know it’s taboo–er, well taboo isn’t the right word, but it’s very much frowned upon by most societies, if not all. The fact that this guy somehow got away with the murders puzzle me. Anyway, what say you? :D

Oh look, Short films!

I have always loved short films because they tell stories with substance in only a short amount of time. It’s like Twitter, given 140 characters or less, people can be really witty and clever, and that amazes me.

Portal: No Escape by Dan Trachtenberg

Based on the single-player first person puzzle-platform game. For those who are not familiar with the game, Your character is challenged by GlaDOS (Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System), it basically has a series of puzzles and you have to solve them by teleporting the character using the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device.

This short film is set in the Portal world, and it looks kind of amazing.

 

Big Buck Bunny by the Blender Institute

A day in the life of a big bunny, then he meets three bullies (squirrels, I think. Can’t trust them). And these bullies harass helpless creatures, and when Bunny witnesses the death of two butterflies, he is willing to put aside his gentle side and avenge them.

Credits to:

Director: Sacha Goedegebure (Netherlands)
Art Director: Anreas Goralczyk (Germany)
Lead Artist: Enrico Valenza (Italy)
Character Rigging & Animation: Nathan Vegdahl (USA)
Character Animation: William Reynish (Denmark)

Technical Director: Campbell Barton (Australia)
Software Developer: Brecht van Lommel (Belgium)

Music and Sound design: Jan Morgenstern (Germany)

Producer: Ton Roosendaal (Netherlands)

 

Laundry Day Guilliame 

Made by a student for a film project.

It’s not quite what I expected.

 

Telling Mark by Guy Ducker

Mark and his wife throws a dinner party for their friends and would want to announce some big news. Those who will be attending wanted to make an announcement as well, but they do not know how to.

 

Suckablood by Bloody Cuts Films

A gothic bed time story directed by Ben Tillett and Jake Cuddihy.

Best viewed when there is minimal light.

 

Dead Man’s Lake by Bloody Cuts Films

An homage to classic horror flicks. Dead Man’s Lake is both terrifying and poignant, which is very rare for horror films (or short films for that matter).

About three people who set up camp at a private lakeside hideaway, and the horror that awaits them. You would want to know how it ends.

 

Invention of Love by Andrey Shushkov

A film project for school, as well. A love story with a steampunk-ish vibe.

Doctor Who Series 7 Episode 4: The Power of Three

Millions of cubes mysteriously appear around the world and the Doctor needs to find out what it is, and why it is on Earth. One of the most enjoyable episodes to watch mainly because The Doctor experiences the domestic life and doesn’t do anything for months (which actually is a struggle if you are a Time Lord).

A lot of the elements of this episode echo that of episodes from previous seasons. Amy narration resembles that of Rose’s in Doomsday, the celebrity cameos (Brian Cox and Alan Sugar) and the space invasion reminds us of Russell T. Davies, and the little girl gives us “Fear Her”. 

UNIT is in the episode, headed by Lethbridge Stewart’s daughter, Kate. There were episodes where government agencies, regardless of who is heading them, are not amiable. Kate, however, handles everything maturely, and she obviously loves her job and is really dedicated to it.

A few references from outside of the Who world was also featured. The Shakri was nice to look at, donning an Emperor Palpatine-like look. Twitter was also mentioned by the Doctor himself with a grin on his face, hypothetically speaking, this line must have been added by Steven Moffat.

The episode fell flat, though, the build up to what the cube is and how it is to be stopped was really intense, but the ending was a bit of a disappointment. After waving the sonic screwdriver around, the Doctor reverses the effects of the cube to humans. Just that. It was resolved easily, and for a second it seems we will be getting a part two, a second wave, an aftermath (the Shakri mentioned a tally and a second wave, and it is a bit weird to just leave it at that, perhaps a reference to a future episode?).

Apart from all that, the whole episode is a big ball of laughter and sadness deliberately meshed together to create a fitting episode for a pre-Pond departure. The most emotion inducing scene would have been when Brian asked what happened to all the other companions, in which the Doctor promised that nothing bad will happen to the Ponds. The lines “And with dress sense like that, you must be the Doctor.” from Kate Stewart when she entered the Pond residence  and the Doctor’s Wii tennis winning line “If Fred Perry could see me now… he’d probably ask for his shorts back.” will pretty much be the lines of the week.

Next episode: Angels take Mahattan

Les Misérables – Extended First Look

Four words: Never been done before.

Les Misérables did what no other Musical adaptation dared to do; shoot everything with completely live vocals. The problem with Musical television shows and film (yes, including Glee) is that because they use pre-recorded tracks, actors tend to be robotic when acting a certain scene–basically, it prevents them from, er, acting. But with doing it live, actors are free to do what they want with their lines. They have the freedom to express what they think is the proper emotion for the songs.

This is definitely a milestone, and I can’t wait for Christmas to see the how it all turned out.

New Trailer- The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

The much awaited glimpse on The Hobbit movie, that’s for sure. News about the online release of this trailer circulated around the net for weeks, and finally we have it!

Who’s excited?

Doctor Who Series 7 Episode 3: A Town Called Mercy

Written by Toby Whithouse and directed by Saul Metzstien, A Town Called Mercy is about a town in Old Western America called,er, Mercy. The Doctor must decide whether or not he is to hand over mad scientist Kahler Jex to an avenging cyborg named Gunslinger.

There seems to be a recurring theme since the first episode of the series, but before that, let’s talk about the ethical dilemma in the episode.

Kahler Jex is a scientist who created hideous monsters to win a war. These cyborg soldiers who were forced to undergo a painful experiment to help Kahler Jex’s race turn the tides in the war. When Jex landed in Mercy, he used all the knows to help the town get back to its feet, and it could be seen as compensation for the things that he has done.

The great thing about this episode is that we are left unsure as to who the real villain is. It is easy to say that Jex because he experimented on the race the Gunslinger was from. It can be the Gunslinger because he isolated Mercy, and made sure that no one goes in and out of the town, leaving the whole of Mercy near starvation.

Then we have the Doctor. Since Dinosaurs on a Spaceship, it seems he is gradually verging on being “mildly violent”. If Amy had not convinced the Doctor that letting Jex get killed is a bad choice, he would have let it happen, or worse, he would have done it himself.

While this personality switch is not alien territory (there are examples on index pages of Doctor Who expounding on some of his rage fits, one of which is the fifth Doctor almost killing Davros by pointing a gun at his head but could not go through with it), the theme of morality makes up the whole episode. This is interesting because while some of the viewers who were able to watch Classic Who where the Doctors had thoughts of whether destroying the Daleks was right and other thoughts relating to ethics, A Town Called Mercy blows that issue up and makes for a really interesting discourse among viewers. It is not far fetch to say, for now at least, that this “rage fits” may be the cause of the Ponds decision to stop going with him.

Just one more thing: it could just be me, but why can’t the cyborg just teleport at night if he is so concerned with the well-being of the innocent lives he might endanger during the day. Stealth can be a problem because he is very loud, but going in at night seems the logical and most common espionage-esque choice.

The episode in general is probably what you might expect from a Western theme, it had its comedy highlights (“tea, the strong stuff, leave the bag in” bit was pretty funny), of course it had a lot of action, but following Asylum of the Daleks and Dinosaurs on a Spaceship expectations of surprise twists and unpredictable circumstances were left unsatisfied for this episode. Jex’s secret must have been one huge ball of secret, deployed very early in the episode.

 

Next Episode: The Power of Three

MUSCLE FLEX!

I can’t remember how many times I’ve replayed the video, I practically killed the replay button.

MUSCLE! MUSCLE! MUSCLE! FLEX!

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