Plotting Action

One thing that struck me about so many of the suggestions about what Cat could do to get the vagrants out of the crypt: a lot people wanted Cat to talk, that is, they wanted her to persuade people to do things. I think sometimes it’s a female thing; if we’re confronted by danger, we’re really smarter (most of the time) to try talking our way out. But from a story point of view, and I think sometimes from a real world point of view, action is better.

Sense8: Doing Romance Right

Kiss Somewhere around my third or fourth viewing of this series, while I was still trying to figure out what the hell went wrong with such great stuff, I realized that I was staying for the romances, both the romantic couplings (and tripling) and the romance of the ensemble. I stayed because I loved the characters and I wanted to see them come together (not a double entendre). So I looked closer at the four love stories in the series and at the building of the ensemble. Ensemble later; let’s talk about how amazingly good the love stories in this series are. I used the four basic steps of building a love story (a vast simplification of a vastly complex human emotional arc) as a rubric for this post. This is entirely arbitrary and should not be interpreted as The Only Way To Structure A Love Story. It is, however, a pretty good approach for arcing a relationship. Continue reading Sense8: Doing Romance Right

New Show. Huh.

No, I’m not done with Sense8, that show has made me think more about story than anything I’ve watched since Life On Mars. But while I’m thinking about romance writing and ensemble writing, there’s this sizzle reel for a new show: Maggie Lawson: She was great on Psych. Jane Lynch: She’s great in everything. Premise: Way too cute. Still, Jane Lynch . . . “It’s an observation, not a judgment.” I’m using that one. And the bit with the brother flirting against his will was funny. But it feels very one note, even Lynch. I dunno. What do we think? ETA: In OMG news for fans of Elementary, Sherlock’s father is finally going to show up on screen. Played by John Noble. Jonny Lee Miller and John Noble with father/son issues. Must go stock up on popcorn.

Sense8: Episodes Nine and Ten: Lito and Wolfgang Rock

Warning: HUGE SPOILERS IN THIS POST. So I think we’ve pretty much covered all the weaknesses of this series (until we get to the end). So let’s celebrate: Lots of stuff happens in these two episodes and the sensates are connecting all over the place, although sometimes I wonder how they know each other. Eh, details. This stuff is good. Continue reading Sense8: Episodes Nine and Ten: Lito and Wolfgang Rock

Sense8: Episodes Seven and Eight: Amazing Stuff

Warning: HUGE SPOILERS IN THIS POST. So here’s what I’ve come down to when talking to people about this show. It’s an amazing six-hour movie, full of heartwarming, heartwrenching, funny, tragic, thoughtful, action-packed suspense and romance, but you have to sit through six hours of chaotic mess with moments of brilliance to get to the good stuff. Think of it as the price of admission. There’s an interesting Salon article about True Detective that pretty much says the same thing I’ve been saying here: You can experiment with story but you can’t make things so chaotic a viewer has no idea of what’s going on. But in Sense8, once you reach Episode Seven, there’s more shape to the narrative, and even though it’s self-indulgent at times, great story happens. Those last six hours are must-see TV. Actually, that’s underselling it: this stuff is easily cinema worthy, better than most movies out there. Continue reading Sense8: Episodes Seven and Eight: Amazing Stuff

Sense8: Episodes Five and Six: Demons Everywhere

Warning: HUGE SPOILERS IN THIS POST. n37o1d First, the good news: Sense8 was renewed for a second season yesterday, August 8, which is the day all eight of the cluster were born. Yeah, they don’t all look the same age to me, either, but I’m not quibbling. Second, Stracynski has walked back his comment about having a five-year plan, possibly because people kept pointing out that having a five-year plan was worthless if people quit watching after the first episode. I’m pretty sure they still have a five-year plan, I’m just hoping they also have a second season plan because they kinda didn’t have one for the first season. Third, sorry this is late. But I did get you a nice protagonist analysis for all eight, so that’s something. Yeah, I was still late. Here’s Five and Six. Continue reading Sense8: Episodes Five and Six: Demons Everywhere

Sense8: Bright Shapes, No Container

Warning: HUGE SPOILERS IN THIS POST. This is supposed to be about Episodes 5 & 6, but I got so caught up in trying to figure out what the overall plan is here that I didn’t take notes when I watched them again. So you get my thoughts on 5 & 6 tomorrow or Sunday. Here’s what I think about the plotting: What I am coming to realize, as I watch these episodes for the third and fourth time, is that there’s no structure here. It’s not just that there’s no classic linear structure–protagonist is thrown out of a stable life, battles the antagonist, wins or loses–it’s that there’s no structure, period. Taking the first half (six episodes) of the series as an anthology that sets up the Eight vs. Whispers in the back end, you still have eight stories that are bleeding plot. Continue reading Sense8: Bright Shapes, No Container

Sense8: Episodes Three and Four: Stability Lost, Joy Regained

Warning: HUGE SPOILERS IN THIS POST. One way to look at a story is that the protagonist moves from stability to stability. That is, he or she is living in a world that he or she understands how to negotiate and feels safe in because of that, even if it’s a miserable world to live in. The story starts when something happens that shatters that stability, and the protagonist battles the antagonist (and the cause of the instability) until one of them wins, the story ends, and the world becomes stable again, albeit a new kind of stability that reflects who the protagonist has evolved into during the struggle of the story. Continue reading Sense8: Episodes Three and Four: Stability Lost, Joy Regained