Character Study: Clarke Griffin from TV’s The 100 (& the curse of the Mary Sue made better)

Clarke Griffin

It’s a rare thing for me to start liking a character after I’ve already committed to hating them.

Then again, it’s even rarer for me to start liking a TV show after I’ve initially decided that I don’t.

And yet both of these things are exactly what happened with the hit TV show The 100.

At the expense of sounding like a hipster, not only did I like The 100 before it grew so popular, it’s since become MY SHOW in which its idealized lead female character has become my favourite.

Continue reading

Character Study: J from The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl (& on character tropes, diversity, and universality)

J from AWG

According to TV Tropes, one of the coolest, most addictive wiki’s on the internet,

Tropes are devices and conventions that a writer can reasonably rely on as being present in the audience members’ minds and expectations.

Tropes aren’t bad in and of themselves bad and are not inherently cliché on account of their widespread use in mainstream media.

In fact, tropes can be very useful, particularly characters tropes, which can provide a firm foundation for character development and serve as a helpful cue to readers and viewers about the sort of character journey (and hence the sort of story) they can expect.

Continue reading

Character Study: Cookie Lyon from TV’s Empire (it’s the bad that makes her so good!)

Like 17 million other people, I’ve been watching Empire.

And in keeping with the prevailing opinion, I think it’s a great show.

When I told my sister I was watching it, she expressed surprise.  Not an unexpected reaction given most of what I watch is either fantasy, sci-fi, historical, or about science and nature.

However, Empire, at its core over the first season, is a succession drama, which I always love and happen to be writing myself in a historical setting.  As well, I have a prior history with stories about record companies thanks to the 1985 movie Krush Groovewhich my sister and I watched together and both enjoyed.

Continue reading

Character Study: Dido Belle Lindsay from Belle, history, the present & the future

Belle movie posterSOMETHING I LOVE MOST about historical fiction is the opportunity to contemplate the lives of little and lesser known people – those who weren’t among history’s winners whose story and version of events have been codified into what mainstream society accepts as The Way Things Actually Happened.

When I blogged about my favourite media of 2014, I included the movie Belle, which I watched during my plane ride home from Australia.

Continue reading

Character Study: Optimus Prime from Transformers (and the struggles of the Lawful Good)

By GEARSMITH on deviantART

By GEARSMITH on deviantART

Having recently watched the latest Transformers movie in theatre – perhaps against my better judgement – I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the character Optimus Prime.

Because the movie, in my humble opinion, made his personality almost completely unrecognizable.

Optimus Prime – right up there with Xena, the Warrior Princess – has long been a favourite character of mine. For those unfamiliar with the Transformers franchise – of which there have numerous incarnations via cartoons, movies, and comics – the main, unchanging premise is that of a race of giant alien sentient robots who are gripped in an eons-long war of good against evil.

Optimus Prime is the long-standing leader of the heroic Autobots against the ruthless Decepticons led by the tyrant Megatron.

Continue reading

Replaying Xena: Reflections on my favourite fictional character

Xena from opening credits

Xena of Amphipolis, aka the Warrior Princess, is indeed my favourite fictional character.

(For the record, her character wasn’t actually a princess, which I like better now that I’m well past the age of 5 and its pervasive draw to all things “princess”.)

The show Xena Warrior Princess aired while I was in high school and university, from 1995-2001.

I’m not sure how it was I came to discover it or its two companion shows, Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and The Adventures of Sinbad, but all three quickly became part of my Saturday afternoon routine.  Xena was always my favourite.

Continue reading

Character Study: Sarah Manning from Orphan Black (and, yes, a hero IS a special snowflake)

I first learned of Orphan Black when it was just an obscure, homegrown program on Canada’s Space Channel.

And in my customary inability to pick a winning horse, dismissed it without watching a single episode, deeming it just another sci-fi show on Space – a network whose programming quality, let’s be honest, varies.

But recently, my blog-buddy Eric J. Baker wrote about Orphan Black, recommending everyone give it a try.  Plus, with the second season having recently started, news of Orphan Black and its success was everywhere in Canadian entertainment news.

So, I decided I’d watch a bit, and thus far am halfway through season 1.

Continue reading