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Downton, Flash, Citation [Apr. 5th, 2012|10:48 pm]
We are nearly done with S1 of Downton Abbey, and it is continuing to be delicious. One of the things I am really enjoying is how much of what goes on is things not actually happening -- there are all these implications and missed opportunities and things not said that are all tremendously important and quite clearly almost there, but in the end... they're absences, rather than happenings. And it's fascinating to me how effectively the cast and the direction communicate all of this just with looks and camera angles and suchlike. Maggie Smith is uh-MAZ-ing. And oh my GOD when things DO happen, it's either something I would never have predicted or vicious vicious witticisms. Wow.

I have completely forgotten what prompted me to put Flash Gordon in the queue, but Netflix sent it anyway, so we watched it. It was better than I remembered/expected. The visuals -- sets, costumes, cinematography -- are actually quite good. An excellent spectacle. I think the movie suffers mostly from having a weak leading man who can't figure out what to do with the part. The dialogue is... not great (especially before they leave Earth), but everyone else sort of dives in and goes for it, and that works. Flash stays sort of distanced from the fundamental weirdness, and that doesn't. Plus it's got Brian Blessed as Prince Vultan, which has got to have been a role that was written for him specifically, it's so perfect. His mouth opens really wide. It's kinda scary. ...annnnnd now I'm thinking of him as Fizzgig from The Dark Crystal. Thanks, brain.

Also, I just found out that the main paper for our project at work now has 59 citations. I'm 5th author on it. Nice!

[User Picture]From: zalena
2012-04-06 11:31 am (UTC)
I enjoyed Downton, but I don't know if it was the best thing ever on Masterpiece Theatre. It felt more like Masterpiece Lite, all the things you love about great adaptations of classic literature, half the calories! (And no actual book!) Of course, if you asked me what The Best Thing Ever was, I probably wouldn't be able to answer. I'm awfully fond of North & South. (The Elizabeth Gaskell one, not Patrick Swayze, though that one is also fun.)

But the reason I'm writing is because I remember we once had a conversation about writing romance. And I told you that one of the things that's really sexy is the extension of tension. Which is to say it's the part where stuff doesn't happen that makes things really hot. Do you remember this conversation? I think I expressed myself better then than now... but the whole reason I'm bringing it up is That's What I'm Talking About. The stuff not happening in Downton. That's what good romantic (heck suspenseful) writing feels like. Grok? It doesn't even have to be romance, it just has to be this kind of nuance, so that stuff not happening becomes very important.

This not-happening is frequently in Jane Austen, which is why people love her. But when I was into Westerns I realized it had a similar kind of nuance. As I joked once I finally got the nuance and the 'hand' that is always being played in these films, "It's like Jane Austen for men!"
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[User Picture]From: dr_tectonic
2012-04-06 05:02 pm (UTC)
I've also heard Downton described as a "trussed-up Edwardian telenovela", so yeah, it's not exactly canonical Masterpiece.

I totally remember that conversation, and Downton is an excellent example. In fact, last night had a really fantastic scene that was all about one character not being able to say "I love you" because it wouldn't be right... and they couldn't even say *why* it wasn't right, which made it doubly extended tension and yeah, it leans on the "OMG I WANT THEM TO GET TOGETHER SO BAD" button like nobody's business. Hearts a-flutter!
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[User Picture]From: srotu27
2012-04-09 04:46 pm (UTC)
Mom and I are also enjoying S1 Downton for the first time, and I agree with you and zalena that it's all about the subtext. In fact, I'll have to go back and watch it again, because I have a terrible habit of not really watching TV--- I listen to it while I do something else, and if I happen to be in the right place to do so, I'll look up when something noteworthy sounds like it's happening. It doesn't work great with Downton, because there's so much going unsaid.
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