Web seriescapism – Untangling Tessa, EaWV, Social Medium

I need somewhere familiar and cozy to disappear into from the real world. Just for a while. Two men were killed today with an axe in a pub on the street where I live and the killer is still at large, so what I’m really escaping is the choking horrifying feeling of disbelief.

A large mug of chamomile tea, deep breaths. Back to the world of willing suspension of disbelief.

Yesterday was the first Tuesday in a long time that there was no new episode of Classic Alice. I can assure, it was not pleasant. I ate a pie – well, a large chunk of it, directly from the tray. I kept refreshing YouTube anyway. Long into the night. (By the way, if you are reading this, please go to igg.me/at/SaveAlice and give them your money, that is, if you have any…)

The web series menu of yesterday was quite enjoyable though. It started with a new episode of Untangling Tessa. It’s an intriguing new web series about a girl with anxiety and depression disorder, struggling to get out of/stay in her room, who finds an unwelcome someone living under her bed. The concept is compelling and the series seems to be well made and acted. Also, the character listing shows many interestingly literary-flavoured names.

Second, a new episode of East and West which is an adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. The novel happens to be one of my least favourite classics. I love Cranford and really liked Wives and Daughters, but at the time I read North and South, I felt like the plot was just Margaret Hale complaining about everything, and practically everyone else (spoilers) dying… But it was ten years ago, so I might read it differently now. I did enjoy the description of the results of industrial revolution and the difference between North and South. Maybe I’ll put the novel on my to-reread list this year.

The web series seems like a huge feat though. Just today they answered questions on Twitter and there are just two persons handling the whole series at the moment! Besides this, it is also an interesting webseries and so well acted. Can’t wait to see Mr. Thornton! If we ever get to see him.

Instead of from sunny South to industialised North, this Maggie Hale has to follow her parents from foggy England to freezing Canada. I wonder if there’s going to be anything further in that than just the distance…

The third entertainment last night was one of my current favourites.  Social Medium is a vlog form web series about a young woman, who is electronically haunted. I wish I had a granny who would text me where my things are from the afterlife. My scissors are always missing.

Social Medium is not (as far as I can tell) based on a book, but an independent story and it feeds my imagination. As a kid I was afraid of the dark, had monsters in my closet (and vampires), believed in the local bogey-woman, Granny Hatchett (of whom a friend of mine, Marko Hautala, has written a horror novel about, by the way, which is being translated into English and will be an instant success – I’m still working up my courage to read it). It took some time to realise that I can actually turn this creepy vibe in my brain into creativity.

Social Medium inspires my imagination, which is the best thing a funny, silly, creepy web series can do. And it really is. Creepy. It returned on YouTube last week after a few months as a blog. There’s not much of it yet and one of the things I love about it are the gaps in the story. It doesn’t over-explain itself, it lets the watcher decide. I keep projecting my own theories and ideas upon it in my mind and it has actually helped me continue writing my own novel manuscript! It and H.P.Lovecraft.

OK. Just got another good idea that I need to scribble down, so I will continue this otherwise overlong text tomorrow to lament the passing of a web series character I have been crying over since I was eleven. Weird, right..

(And by the way, I just realised this morning that ‘web series’ is logically spelled separately of course. I apologise to any person who has been pulling their hair and cursing me for this misspelling.)

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VUDoA and FMWL – the acronyms of the day

What I planned to do today: read Emma for the Rory Gilmore Reading Challenge group on Goodreads. Organise my tea cupboards (yes, plural). Finish the sheep detective book and review it. Write a blog to accompany my vlog on Hyvä Lukija.

What I actually did: read some of Emma, but not a lot beyond the introduction by G.B. Stern and two chapters. Set up a blog and write an introduction for Valeton University Department of Andrewology on Tumblr (that’s the VUDoA -part of the title, vudofandrewology.tumblr.com is the link). This is a bit of silliness that has been breeding on Twitter over theories about Classic Alice. It’s so enjoyable to write something completely different for a while!

FMWL is an acronym for the webseries From Mansfield with Love which is, obviously, a webadaptation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park.

That novel is my favourite Austen!! I know, I know! What? you ask with indignation (or don’t, if you have a good taste). I hated the novel when I first read it. It was the first Austen I ever read and I truly marvel that I continued to read Austen after that experience. But really, the blame is with the translation. I read it in Finnish. There is no way that this satire-dripping text could ever be properly translated to Finnish. The first time I read it, I was bored by it and thought it would be the last thing I’d ever reread. Then, in college, someone gave me a really trampled edition of the book in English and I started to read it on a freezing bus. I missed my stop.

I feel like in Austen the main characters who have flaws have usually the most admirers. Emma, Elizabeth, Marianne, for example. And I’m not saying that I find Fanny somehow irresistible, but maybe there are just so many wonderful flawed characters in Mansfield Park apart from Fanny (and I’m not saying she’s flawless either, her flaws are a little more extraordinary, that’s all).

I just like the taste of that book. The whole novel is so drenched in satire that every sentence is as delightful as the next.

I love the novel so that I always have to justify the points that I like in it’s adaptations. For example the 1999 adaptation by Patricia Rozema. It’s a good film, but not really based on the book. Or, well, stupidly based on the book(and the Author). The Fanny Price in that version surely would have ended up with Henry Crawford. Edmund Bertram was far too dull for her.

Last summer BBC broadcast a radio drama of Mansfield Park. I have never wanted to slap Edmund (Benedict Cumberbatch) so much! I think the radio drama made him even worse than he is in the book.

So finally getting to FMWL, I have to say that I am truly enjoying the experience. Fanny is employed in Mansfield Park Hotel as a sort of jane-of-all-trades and hangs out with Edmund, who at this point at least is very sweet (I think he’s the first Edmund I’ve ever really liked, even in the beginning of the story – maybe I’m averse to clergy!! Am I Mary Crawford? No, for -other- reasons, surely). The Crawfords have yet to arrive so he can still get annoying, but I’m already quite taken with him.

It’s also great to hear something other than American English for a while. I haven’t watched a good Brittish series in a while, apart from QI. And there are very few non-American or Canadian literary webseries, it seems. At least that I’ve come across. Only NMTD springs to mind at the moment.

So yes, I like the series very much, the creators are good fun and it’s also nice to have a webseries roughly on the same-ish time-zone (only -2 hours). I don’t think I’ll love the adaptation for the same reasons as the book, but it is, so far, my favourite of Mansfield Park’s adaptations. They drink a LOT of tea. Kindred spirits.

Thus, ramblingly I leave you, not knowing if I have made any sense at all.

Just as a reminder to myself here in the end to blog about that series they are making of The Scarlet Pimpernel.

 

Flu-y webbrain

I was going to be a good little writer today and edit my novel manuscript,  but as it happens a flu has crept on me all of a sudden (not that sudden, thought it was just the dry air because it’s freezing outside, but nope).

The painkillers have just kicked in so I have a few moments before they fuzz my brain. I just wanted to finish rambling about what I was writing last night.

Actually, I also realised something about In Earnest. Maybe the stage like settings of the videos are as much a nod to the original medium of the text as for convenience. It is, after all, a play. Maybe that is the thing that somewhat distances me from the series: leaving space for movement and other action on the screen. Especially in the earlier videos it conflicted with the vlog form.

Yeah. I’ll muse on that a bit more.

The second webseries of last night was Writing Majors. For once a YouTube’s random suggestion paid off! Usually the thing’s just suggesting me to watch random Finnish sporting events (I mean why? Why? Why?).

The show seems promising. The concept is to cram famous writers of the public domain era in the same college, studying writing together. Emily Dickinson gets a video camera from her parents for Christmas and learns to use it with her besties Jane Austen and Oscar Wilde. And I will stand by my Janily ship (or DickAusten, vomited by my brilliant brain last night). Just look at Emily following Jane on the camera for example at the party. It is positively caressing.

The Baker Street was an interesting experience. It feels like the first season of a whole webseries mistakenly published at once. Made me also realise that had I a flat mate, I would undoubtedly be the Sherlock of the scenario. Without the cool researching stuff. Just the mess anf the annoyance.

Sorry by the way that I’ve not provided links here. I find it too cumbersome to do with the phone but will rectify the matter when I open my computer.

Now I feel the fuzz coming on and still have to feed the cat…
image

Redefining the… oh, nevermind…

Today has been a very webseriesless day. Hmm.. I think I need to rethink the use of this blog. This might just be the place where I can write about stuff in more characters than multiples of 140.  So now is the time to flee!

I have been madly cleaning today. This happens entirely too rarely, I am afraid to admit, and since my Yule holiday was suddenly extended by two weeks, letting me stay three weeks at my mum’s ( D: ), instead of one, I am really glad I got the enthusiasm peak just now. It is truly interesting, what kind of states of decomposition different fruits reach when left to fend for themselves for three weeks. And a tiny bit yucky.

After I cleaned, I started to make dinner, beetroot steaks and apple-yoghurt sauce. This turned out to be a total failure. And I do not fail at cooking!! I don’t! There’s still a coconut-cream pie in the oven, that might save the day.

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Ok, so. At this point I took the pie out of the oven, my computer crashed and I ended up watching YouTube after all, on my phone, while the computer sorted itself out. My entertainment were a new episode of In Earnest and Writing Majors and an entirely new series called Baker Street.

In Earnest has been fun. The characters are active online and the crossover with Green Gables Fables was interesting and not too intrusive. Or not intrusive enough? The Importance of Being Earnest has been one of my favourite plays since high school when I first read it, so I loved the excuse of rereading it again before starting to watch the series. For some reason the webseries hasn’t enthralled me the way some other shows have. I hope I’m not as superficial that the reason for it is that the main characters are male. I think several things affect it though, one of them being the simple fact that the speakers are always a long way from the camera. I don’t know. Maybe.

I have to present this theory to the Tweeps who love pondering media analytic things with me.

I just started wondering why my hands are growing chilly and noticed the wind is blowing snow horizontally outside and anyway it’s -13C (which shouldn’t affect the temperature inside, but it does at first when the walls grow colder).

So I will make some hot cocoa, a plate of gingerbread (I am not cutting that pie today, just a tiny little bit superstitious) and plant myself on my reading chair:

And enjoy the rest of the evening warmer. Will continue about the other two series tomorrow. (Or at night, which is social media banned time, but this is a blog, so…)

 

So, blogging…

I recently started blogging in Finnish (Hyvä Lukija) about books and reading and there are other projects evolving around that. But I feel like I need a vent for my other dear hobby and passion, webseries.

Mainly, literary webseries, though some independent original webseries might have slipped into my radar.

The thing about webseries is that they (at least the good ones) are much more inclusive and time-consuming than one unfamiliar with them might think. Definitely more time-consuming and inclusive than a tv series.

Like for example, my favourite webseries, Classic Alice, is approximately 5 minutes long per episode, but then there are the several rewatches, the gushing over the episode over Twitter about it, the uploading and editing of the reaction video, the continued gushing over Twitter about it, the paths that lead to Tumblr, BuzzFeed and beyond… And then awaiting with bated breath, whether the characters will tweet something to each other, whether the other characters will answer, whether the characters will reply to your tweets (in the case of Classic Alice, mostly yes, but in times of duress for the characters, according to the characteristics of the character 🙂 while all the time gushing over Twitter about it with other fans.

It is of course the watcher’s decision how much you get sucked into a webseries (mostly, I’m bad at reigning myself in…), but it’s usually just plain fun! And the people you meet through them,  the creators and the actors are the cream on the cake… or pie… or muffin… or snickerdoodle, whichever you are into ;P

My previous post on this blog, the one in Finnish, is written about the time that my insomnia started. Yep, it’s about insomnia. I still cannot sleep (without heavy medication), but I have to admit that having these series to follow, with everything they bring with them, I feel like they have helped me to feel included again. In something positive, something not tiring, something that I want to be a part of without it sucking me dry.

Also, especially literary webseries have given me a refreshing new viewpoint into classics! A few months ago I was reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula and only a few pages in I was already planning an Instagram account for Jonathan Harker, and what could the mental asylum be in a modern adaptation (newspaper offices?). Today I stared at my toenails on the ceiling of the sauna (I am Finnish after all) and plotted a crossover of Classic Alice and Social Medium (another very cool webseries, just getting started) with the help of H.P.Lovecraft.

SO, in conclusion. Webseries are truly awesome and breed enormous amounts of creativity in the minds of the watchers.

Let this be my opening statement, and let the obsessive ramblings continue on this blog in the future.

Btw, the header I’m about to struggle on the page is for Classic Alice’s Indiegogo campaing, more info igg.me/at/SaveAlice 

Uneton

Mitä ihmettä tekevät ihmiset, jotka eivät saa unta.

No. Ihan ensimmäiseksi yritän pyöriä sängyssä, laskea kymmenestä alaspäin nollaan, eri kielillä kun suomi ei piisaa. Sitten avaan ensimmäisen Sudoku-kentän. Parin kentän perästä on aika siirtyä Mahjongiin.

Muutaman Mahjongin jälkeen on jälleen aika käydä tarkistamassa Twitterin insomnia-tag. Joku on kirjoittanut sinne, että unettomuus johtuu siitä, että olet hereillä jonkun toisen unessa. Aivot eivät edes hae järkeä tästä kurasta, kenties jonkun mielestä kaunis ajatus. Saman tien alan mielessäni huutaa kuvitteelliselle henkilölle, joka näkee pirun pitkää unta minusta (eihän unet oikeasti kestä edes kauan, saati sitten – hittolainen – koko yötä). Seuraavaksi muotoilen päässäni jyrkkäsanaisen sähköpostin ko. henkilölle. Painajaiset kai kestävät pidempään, ainakin omat. Lisään sähköpostin loppuun kohteliaan huomautuksen, jossa pahoittelen aiheuttamaani olotilaa, jos unennäkijä pyörii toistuvan painajaisen parissa.

Seuraavaksi täytyy kai ottaa kovat peliin ja laittaa Stephen Fry lukemaan Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stonen kolme ensimmäistä lukua vienosti
korvaani. Siinä jos mikä on turvapeitto vailla vertaa.

A SHORT LIST OF MOVIES YOU WILL NEVER SEE

GLITTERING SCRIVENER

GRAY LINES

Cate Blanchett is a double-dealing politician who is secretly running a drug ring through the maritime trade of her homestate, Louisiana. Lupita Nyong’o is the crack investigative reporter who busts her, setting off a scandal throughout Washington and uncovering layer upon layer of corruption, up to the highest levels.  Federal policy on no-bid contracts is rocked, as are American notions of truth, justice, and blondes.  Best Picture Oscar, and shared wins for both Blanchett & Nyong’o in the Best Actor category. (Yes: Best Actor.) 

Cate Blanchett & Lupita Nyong'o photographed by Cliff Watts for Entertainment Weekly, Feb 2014 Cate Blanchett & Lupita Nyong’o photographed by Cliff Watts for Entertainment Weekly, Feb 2014

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Late last night I got into a rip-roaring feminist mood, which is not unusual. I am, after all, a woman, and a writer, and I spend a lot of my time looking at heinously genderskewed media, whether it’s film, theater, TV, or books. Most typically, particularly in the Award-Winning Categories…

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And He Learned

Rethink the Rant

When he noticed the naked little girl at the beach didn’t look quite like he did and asked why, they answered his questions in simple phrases painted in black and white, pink and blue, and tradition. And he learned that boys and girls were different.

When one of the neighbor kids painted his nails, they got angry. That wasn’t something boys did. And he learned that there were different rules for boys and girls, and that breaking those made people upset.

When he was handed down a pink bike from his cousin, they replaced it with a blue one, because they didn’t want him to be mocked for having a “girly” bike. And he learned that being girly was something to be mocked.

When he cried, they told him to be a man. And he learned that crying, and being not a man, was something less.

When he was being picked…

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No country for young women: Honour crimes and infanticide in Ireland

Feminist Ire

magdalene

When I was in first year in secondary school in 1997, a girl in the year above me was pregnant. She was 14. The only people who I ever heard say anything negative about her were a group of older girls who wore their tiny feet “pro-life” pins on their uniforms with pride. They slagged her behind her back, and said she would be a bad mother. They positioned themselves as the morally superior ones who cared for the baby, but not the unmarried mother. They are the remnants of an Ireland, a quasi-clerical fascist state, that we’d like to believe is in the past, but still lingers on.

The news broke last week of a septic tank filled with the remains of 796 children and babies in Galway. The remains were accumulated from the years 1925 to 1961 and a common cause of death was malnutrition and preventable disease…

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University Study on Sexism In BBC’s Doctor Who (Infographic)

The Life and Times of an Exceptionally Tall Mormon

In April 2014, I completed a study, with several other students, for my Media Research Methods class, which we then entered into BYU-Idaho’s Research and Creative Works Conference. My group’s research took second place. Many have asked to see that, so here is the final report. 

IS DOCTOR WHO SEXIST-01 2

Is Doctor Who Sexist?

Back in 2010 Steven Moffat took over as head writer of the cult classic British Sci-Fi Doctor Who from Russell T. Davies. Davies had headed the reboot of the show back in 2005. When the switch happened many fans began voicing problems they were having with the new direction of the show. One of those problems was sexism, or at least that is what people were claiming. However some fans of Moffat said people were being overly sensitive and just couldn’t let go of the RTD era. So which side was right? We sat down and watched all of the…

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