Posts Tagged ‘tv’

Welcome to the Living Authors’ Society Doctor Who Discussions, where the arguments are made up and the scores don’t matter. Join J.A. Prentice and Jaden C. Kilmer in our look at the latest Doctor Who episode: Oxygen by Jamie Mathieson.


There are SPOILERS past this point. And believe me, this episode had a big one, so consider yourselves warned.




Was the most recent Doctor Who episode empty nonsense or a solid commentary on industry and humanity? Well Jaden C. Kilmer and J.A. Prentice are about to duke it out.

There are Spoilers for Thin Ice past this point.


landscape-1492185026-12919221-low-res-doctor-who-s10And here we are, with a new episode of Doctor Who. Not an appearance on Class, not a solitary Christmas special, but a real, genuine first episode of a new series. It’s enough to get anyone a little emotionally.
It is with pride that we present this Discussion, wherein Jaden C. Kilmer (JC) and J.A. Prentice (JA) talk about a great many things, including, on occasion, the episode they’re supposed to be discussing.
Be warned. Ahead lurk spoilers – nasty, slippery, shadowy things with siren calls – for The Pilot. (And not the one with Hartnell.) Proceed at your own risk.

At the end of Tangled, Princess Rapunzel looked like this:

In the trailer for her sequel TV movie/show, she looks like this:

You might have noticed some small differences.

Disney seemed reluctant to commit to the bobbed version of Rapunzel. They animated her with the new hairdo in the short film Tangled: Ever After and in her Frozen easter egg, but if you bought any merchandise with her depicted on it, she still had the long hair.

Ruminations on unintentionally undermining the movie’s own message about self-image aside, this sort of liminal, Schrodinger-esque existence for Rapunzel’s hair only became a problem when the TV series was announced.

The return of Rapunzel’s magic hair is a writing catch-22. Her hair was the driving force behind Tangled’s plot. With the hair gone, the conflict was neatly resolved and expectations for a Rapunzel movie neatly subverted. Now that it’s back, problems arise. Is the TV movie just going to rehash the same plot, then? Doesn’t its return more or less nullify the climactic moments of Tangled?

And most importantly, since we know Rapunzel has short brown hair in the Ever After short, and that the TV series will take place before the short, then we know that she’s going to lose the hair again. Which also means that we know that we are going to roughly see the same story again. And if that’s not the case, then either Ever After is getting retconned out of existence (unlikely, seeing as Before Ever After is the series subtitle) or the series is non-canon (again, unlikely because of the subtitle.)

There is perhaps opportunity for a miracle, that the creators truly thought of a brilliant way to reincorporate the hair in a way that makes things new and fresh, but the most likely conclusion is this:

The Tangled sequel is doomed.

How Galavant Subverts Disney’s Formula

Posted: November 16, 2016 by Jaden C. Kilmer in Article
Tags: , , , , ,


Galavant is the best show you’ve never seen. Let’s just get that out there. This wonderfully strange and silly musical/fairy tale/satire went quietly into the night after two seasons on ABC, but mark my damn words it will have a resurgence somewhere in some medium in the next five years. It’s too good to die for good.

Created by Dan Fogelman (director of Tangled) with music and lyrics done by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater (who worked on every movie of your childhood, most notably Aladdin) this parody of Disney musicals comes from a place of personal experience. They know exactly how Disney musicals are supposed to work, and exactly how to twist the structure for max hilarity.

Also, this gives me a chance to revisit one of my favorite pieces I’ve done for this blog: A WAY too in-depth Breakdown of Disney Songs.

Briefly recapping that article: Almost every Disney song ever belongs to one of four categories and appears in this order: The Exposition Song, the I Want Song, the Wake Up the Kids Song, and the Love Duet. 


For brevity’s sake, I want to focus on ways Galavant reverses the I Want Song and the Love Duet to humourous effect.

You know how the first song after the opening number in every Disney musical has the princess sing about her hopes and goals?

“I Want much more than this provincial life/I want adventure in this great wide somewhere”

“Do you wanna build a snowman?”

“I wanna be where the people are/I wanna see ’em dancing”

Well, Galavant gives the I Want Song to the villainous King Richard. The result: A slew of unexpectedly PG-13 images that pretty much sum up how I feel most cackling villains really feel.

I want to shoot him with a crossbow/I want to stab him in the eye/I want to liberate his head from his neck and then punt the bloody wreck sky high”

And the delightfully bloody lyrics come accompanied by a major-key waltz that sounds nice and happy. Fit more for a princess than the evil king.

I want to hurl him out a window/and shove explosives where the sun don’t shine.”

Perhaps giving their villain the I Want Song was carefully planned rather than a simple reversal. As the show unfolds, King Richard emerges as the central character, even more so than the title character and Prince Charming stand-in. The show ends up being about his journey. And I’m sure that was planned from the start, because these Disney experts intentionally gave him the I Want Song.

Next up: the Love Duet.

Let’s get real for a moment. The Love Duet is usually the song that doesn’t hold up. They’re typically too sweet, too perfect, too groan-inducing. And Glenn Slater is well aware of this. In “Maybe You’re Not the Worst Thing Ever” the Love Duet gets flipped completely on its head and turned into a passive-aggressiveness competition instead, with two separate pairs of love interests exchanging insults and disparaging remarks.

“You’re worse than crabs/worse than scurvy/worse than lice or plague/but truth be told/you’re growing on me just like mold”

“You’re utterly disgusting/I loathe your manly stink/I see your mouth start moving/And God I need a Drink”

But, not wanting to entirely desecrate the good name of Disney love songs, the crew do give us one duet played straight at the end. And perhaps to re-iterate how this second one, “Love Is Strange,” is the serious love song, they gave it the exact same chord progression as “A Whole New World.”

Or maybe they didn’t. I’m not a music major, but saying that makes me sound smart.

The girl, the wit, the eyebrows.

One decade ago, a series of mysterious videos appeared on Youtube from the account lonelygirl15. Even in this early, even primeval state of youtube, vlogging and confessional videos were popular. And a girl talking into the camera about her personal life was not very unusual… but “unusual” is exactly what this account was. Something was… off.

Slowly, incrementally, the girl, who called herself Bree, gave away details of her life. Super strict parents, strange camps with stranger rituals, and a bizarre, archaic religion that she and her parents follow. It doesn’t take long for a viewer to understand what’s really going on.

Lonelygirl15 was in a cult.

But this was not a teen in danger searching for help, nor a hoax. It was Youtube’s first serialized, scripted series.

Lonelygirl15 was the brainchild of Miles Beckett. Bree was played by an actress named Jessica Lee Rose. Yousef Abu-Taleb played the supporting role of Daniel. It ran for three years, becoming a viral hit as well as pioneering a new medium of television. Yes, almost a decade before House of Cards, a small group of teens and twentysomethings, armed with nothing more than a video camera and willpower, forged a serialized drama through the medium of the internet. And once a few months passed and enough videos went up, someone just finding out about the channel could “binge” it, long before binge watching was a thing, as the videos are usually just a minute or two.

Is it possible that without Lonelygirl15 we wouldn’t have House of Cards?

Eh, House of Cards probably does happen. But let’s not undersell the importance of the Youtube’s first web show. Because its success allowed shows like Felicia Day’s The Guild and Hank Green’s The Lizzie Bennet Diaries to take form. In the introduction and part II I talked about how Youtube used to be something of a writer’s paradise. That paradise was built from the foundation built by Lonelygirl15.

So, what was that foundation?

The channel began simply by posting video replies to other early Youtube stars, and developed a connection with the community which at the time, was much smaller and much closer. Put another way, if Youtube today is a metropolis, back in 2006 it was more of a village. The sense of camaraderie and community isn’t simply a matter of looking back through rose-tinted glasses. It was real. Channels needed that communication to survive and rack up views. And so, when lonelygirl15 popped up posting strange video replies, it sparked some curiosity.

They also took advantage of the site’s home page.

Behind the scenes, Beckett was obsessing over how YouTube worked. How did a video get on the most viewed section? How did it climb the charts? When they realised YouTube counted every single comment including the ones you made yourself, they would make it their mission to reply to every single one – so they appeared in the most commented section constantly, boosting their profile, adding more views.

The Guardian, June 16, 2016

Sure, they had to do a little finagling. But is it really a bad thing to encourage interactions with fans? Back in Part 2 I explained how Youtube originally felt much more like a social media platform than it does now. And that social media touch allowed Beckett’s show to expand and find an audience much bigger than he ever expected. The system rewarded community. The more they interacted with other Youtubers, the more Youtube promoted the show. They even got popular enough to land a product placement deal, becoming the first people to make money off original Youtube content. And literally all they had was an idea, a camera, and the willpower to do it.

And they weren’t alone. Take the case of geriatric1927, an elderly man named Peter Oakley, who began vlogging around the same time “Bree” did. Simply talking into a camera about his own interesting life and being a sweet man intent on interacting with the Youtube community was enough to land him the title of most subscribed channel on the site, with 30,000 people tuning in.

Just try and imagine someone doing what lonelygirl15 or Peter Oakley did now. It’s not possible.

Try and record a video response to the people behind the most popular videos on the Youtube homepage right now. You think Jimmy Fallon is gonna respond? Will James Corden take a break from singing with celebrities to comment on your web show?  You could try and make a hundred fake accounts to comment on your own videos and drive up popularity artificially, and still it wouldn’t be enough to compete.

But before the invasion of the late night shows there was a paradise for writers. Youtube is (or was) an experiment in free market enterprise. When everyone on Youtube were upstarts on an even playing level, it fashioned this paradise. This environment where talented no-names with a plan could create something captivating and reach an audience. Once pre-established names come into the equation, that equality vanishes. No one cares about Jim and Jane Nobody when their favorite late night host is on the front page, or if Youtube promotes a trailer from a big movie company instead of something original from a content creator. Let’s face it, Marvel will always make Youtube more ad revenue than Jane Nobody. (Side note: Think about this next time you watch a trailer on youtube with an ad that airs before it. You’re watching an advertisement before watching another advertisement.)

It seems there are only two ways for original content creators of Youtube to survive nowadays. They can either give in to the commercialization of Youtube and start displaying ads and paying for promotions and posting to Youtube Red (more on that in a future installment) or, if they’re a pre-established Youtube name like the Green brothers or Felicia Day, they can cling to that sense of community that made Lonelygirl15 great. These channels, vlogbrothers, crashcourse, cgpgrey, geek and sundry, (and others) are like the PBS of the modern Youtube. No longer helped out by the algorithms Miles Beckett was able to utilize to promote Lonelygirl15 from scratch, Youtubers that have eeked out a loyal community can survive on the generosity of their fans. But it shouldn’t have to be so hard.

And what if you’re a content creator who’s got the talent and the willpower, but not the community? What if the evolution of Youtube left you behind? Take the case of Nanalew, a talented film student from Vancouver. You may have seen her parody video of AWOLNATION’s “Sail.”


That 225 million view count is impressive. And her videos only get better production-wise as the channel continues. So you would think, in a fair, ideal world of writer paradises, that her recent videos will amount views much higher, maybe 300 or 400 or 5-

Yeah, you know where this is going. Her videos tend to net around 50,000 views a pop now, despite her clearly getting better at writing, directing, and acting. She even is at the point where she can put out short films of ~10 minutes. But without a one-of-a-kind community like the kind the Green brothers have developed, she doesn’t have much to support her. Talent and willpower is not enough anymore for content creators. The paradise is gone. She talks about becoming “a Youtbe has-been” in a surprisingly candid (and funny) video here:

Not to say original content on Youtube is dead. It’s just so much harder to succeed. You need to have one of: name recognition, community support, or just plain good luck. It’s incredibly hard to start up an original idea from scratch anymore on the site, and starting up original ideas and having that idea of yours reach an audience is what made the place a paradise for content creators to begin with. It was an alternate platform for the dreamers, for the people with an idea to weird or too small for traditional outlets. And it used to promote community and foster creativity. But those days are gone. Lonelygirl15 is dead…

…or is it?

Nanalew’s channel

The fate of dozens of bubble shows was revealed yesterday as the major networks announced their renewals and cancellations. Here’s a list of them all and my reactions.


It was an absolute slaughter at ABC headquarters with its new president assuming control and clearing house.

510tylzqlbl-_sx500___111209022226Castle is the biggest name on the entire list and the one that saddens me the most personally. It was a rather undignified exit for the venerable procedural, as its current and final season feels like an unnecessary dark sequel (the main story arc of the show was wrapped last year). And I’m glad that we won’t have to suffer through the horror that would’ve been a season of Castle without Stana Katic, as was rumored for a season 9. You can’t do that. So RIP Castle, the last good procedural.


The Muppets revival is no more. Fans of the Jim Henson creation will have to settle for the next cameo-laden movie.

Nashville ends a respectable four season run, going down in what was not a good season for fans of musical television shows. (All hail Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, you’re our only hope.)

The Marvel universe (finally) shrinks a little, as Agent Carter gets the boot. I haven’t seen Agent Carter and it seemed to be well liked but I have to say I have a massive case of Marvel overload and it’s nice to know they will be ever so slightly less omnipresent next year.

galavant-2Galavant, the hilarious, strange, wonderful, heartfelt, and gloriously anti-fourth wall musical-fairy tale-comedy was, alas, too strange to survive on network TV. But fear not, its season 2 finale wrapped everything up, its soundtrack is on Spotify, and I wouldn’t doubt a Broadway revival in the future. If you missed out on this one, please do everything you can to watch it. I promise you, it’s awesome.

The Family  was also cancelled. Though I’ve never heard of it so I guess it’s no surprise. If you are the show’s fan, my condolences.


CSI: Cyber has been cancelled, thus ending the legendary CSI franchise. However, it’s s 2016 and it hasn’t really been anything other than a punchline for at least a decade now. If your grandma asks you when that show with that woman from Boyhood is coming on, just tell her it got its name changed to NCIS. Same difference.


The Grinder and Grandfathered, two critical hits, meet the Firefly fate and wrap after one season. I would not be surprised, however, if The Grinder finds second life on Hulu or Netflix. The Rob Lowe comedy was already a level above most other network comedies in its freshman season and seems something right up the alley of streaming sites. I have less hope for Grandfathered but at least we will always have the Drake and Josh reunion.I’m not gonna cry I’m not gonna cry I’m not gonna cry…

Bordertown and Cooper Barrett  were also cancelled. If anyone cares. No? Didn’t think so.

And that does it. Any other shows that are ending were either planned to end this year or cancelled early. Which cancellations hurt you the most? Let me know!