A Do Over

About twenty minutes ago, it occurred to me I hadn’t posted a blog piece today, and once midnight was here, I couldn’t turn back the clock and keep on track with the Project 365 bondage commitment. But even if I had skipped today, it wouldn’t make me lose sleep. I’ve neglected or just plain screwed up so many things during my life that missing a day of posting is probably 100,396th on the list.

It would take me a couple of years to list all of the things on which I placed too much emphasis, but most of it was on being responsible and mature, doing the right thing. I spent so much time trying to get things right and scared to death of messing up that I didn’t let myself be a kid. And I still messed up!

This blog is a bit of an attempt to manifest the childhood I’ve been recapturing, and as with any child, I’m going to cross a boundary at times. Such as saying the word fuck. I don’t mean actually saying the word. I’ve said it many times in my life. I mean typing it on this blog for anyone in the world to read. Perhaps that sounds a lame excuse to be crass. Yeah, I know some of you think that, and I can’t really do much about you thinking it, but I am aware that you do, and it’s really not my intent to offend you. But I also know even if I walked on water, there would be some of you who wouldn’t like the angle of the video clip.

If it’s not clear by this point in the post, then let me make it crystal. I’m trying to work something out. You can come along with me or not. I hope you stay and continue the ride. And no, I don’t intend to parade a sting of profanity to prove that I can be carefree, but there has been something freeing in saying pretty much what I think. I said “pretty much” because I’m not quite sure the world is ready to hear all of my (or anyone’s) reckless thoughts. There is such a thing as discretion.

So what does this have to do with Richard Armitage? Stick around and you’ll find out. :D

For now a little peek at the man who wanted a do over:


[click to enlarge]

Candid shot courtesy of KuchingGirl

edit: I canned the 365 program several weeks into this year. It was a good experience but not necessary to continue.

Moving Right Along — SPOILERS

Spoilers for Spooks Series 9 and maybe Spooks 2 and 3.

I’m mostly over my disappointment of Spooks Series 9, but I would not have had such high hopes if it weren’t for Richard Armitage. When I know he’s in a cast, his investment in characters raises the bar for me. This was certainly the case with this show the last few series. But earlier I had let my expectations of Spooks slide after the first couple of episodes of Series 3, aka the final resolution of Tom Quinn. A commenter on my last post describes the effect well:

what…I have seen of the last 9 seasons, shows me they REALLY struggle with character development. The personal story arc leave much to be desired. For those that love Spooks, the weak character story arcs are fine. They do JUST enough to support the action, and that is enough for them. For me… it leaves me unsettled.

It seems unsettled might be the point. That is indeed how I’ve felt through most of Spooks, and being unsettled addicted me to it. I was continually in search of something to satisfy. Yeah, I was totally manipulated by the producers of this show for awhile, but I was growing weary of it until Richard Armitage was announced as a cast member in Series 7.

With the advent of Lucas North, I was relieved and my expectations were raised again and then some, and by the end of Series 7, I had a lot of hope for a great story. Richard joining the cast appeared an opportunity for Spooks to go way beyond what they had done before since they now had someone who could really pull off conflicted characters in a way Matthew Macfadyen has never even come close to doing in any of his pieces. No offense to Matthew. I appreciate his acting, but he’s no Richard Armitage.

And now we all know it wasn’t meant to be. The show is what it is, and the character of Lucas North is a miss for Richard, which is in no way a slap to RA. He did what he could with what he had. I think many of us are agreed on that. I just hope he was taking notes — not just on the artistic aspects of this show but on the business end, and more specifically on the bullshit that goes on behind the scenes. How can I know that? Are people and money involved?

Richard,

I believe you took notes on the bullshit and that you’re still taking notes. It’s figuring out the bullshit that’s a big part of getting something done. But I’m sure I’m not telling you something you don’t already know, or maybe I’ve strayed into what Servetus calls “B” or maybe “A” in Armitage Epistemology. I stray so boldly because my bullshit detector is sensitive enough to realize when someone else has a bullshit detector. And well, actually, I have the track record to prove that, but that’s another story.

For now the beauty of someone like me writing this stuff is that you don’t have to say it. You don’t have to call bullshit yourself. Let your fans say it for you so that you can maintain good ties with some of those same people who were involved in the crap that was Spooks this series. I realize you can’t burn bridges, so let us rail against this for you. Hey, I’m a business person, so I know how important it is not to ever burn a bridge. It may be an escape route someday or a great road to somewhere else. It’s funny how some of the crappiest experiences can put us in touch with people who become great assets. I’m sure you’ve learned that lesson by now. Good!

All of that and the fact you’re not spending much of your money means to me that you will eventually have your own production, and as much as I love your acting, I can’t wait to see what you’ve got. If it’s about Richard III, that’s great. If not, that’s great too. I don’t really care.

In the meantime, I’m glad to see you’re going to be in the movies and now free of serialization. You are better suited to vehicles that have a beginning, a middle and an end. I can hardly wait!

Take care, and speaking for many other fans, please know that we’re all so proud of you,

One of your crazy fans (crazy like a fox)

A picture of Richard listening to obvious bullshit:

I cannot tell you how good it feels to write these fake fan letters. Yes, I’ve said that before, but it bears repeating. I get to relieve my angst and peddle my bullshit, and no one is hurt. At least I don’t think anyone is hurt — except maybe the writers of Spooks in this case.

Note to the writers: sorry guys, but this one really wasn’t a good a series, and I think you know that. But I’ll keep watching ’cause I’m still addicted.

And before I go, another picture of Richard listening to bullshit. I had to post this one because it’s so cute, and I love it when he has an amused look on his face:

If you haven’t seen the interview this is from, you can go here and here thanks to Heather.

Screencaps courtesy of my stash.

edit: I would have a tag called “bullshit,” but then I would be tagging most of this blog.

In Search of the Story — SPOILERS

Spoilers for Spooks Series 2 and 3 as well as Series 9.

Spooks 9 has ended and left me dissatisfied with the completion of the series and certainly with the completion of Lucas North. A part of me wanted to blame RA. Even though I am fervently biased in Richard Armitage’s favor, I said I’m honest, and I am honest, so I had to honestly look at his performance to see if it passed muster. That is a hard admission, but I’ve been pretty much telling you how I feel, albeit mostly couched in jests, so here I am again being as candid as I am able but without much humor today. His performance was fine in the context of the show, but I have a hard time saying it was great or should garner him a BAFTA. The melodramatic tone of it was a little hard to bear. Then again, I’m not sure what the BAFTA committee judges a great performance.

What I do know is the character’s turning was awkward and supported by a plot so thin it could be used to strain tea. There just wasn’t enough of the story developed to make it plausible for this character, and it left an icky feeling which made me want to cast off Spooks. Almost needless to say I’ve been very disappointed in the writers and believe they are a great part of the reason that RA’s performance is not great. I say almost needless, because, well, I have a great need to say that.

These thoughts as well as a host of others, of which I won’t bore you with all of them, have made this overwhelmingly familiar. Yeah, I’ve been here before, and for the last two series I’ve been fighting off the feeling that I’ve been sort of reliving another story. In very late 2006 a friend of mine had the first few series of Spooks, and she encouraged me to watch them with the comment, “the guy who played Darcy is in this, and you’ll like it.” Well, I did like it until I got to the Series 2 finale, and then Tom Quinn was no more, and his send off was an awkward piece of writing that left me with so many questions and being disgusted at the plot so shakily contrived to bring him down. I was so disgusted I thought I wouldn’t watch anymore.

Last week I had a great rant ready with my disgust of these last couple of series and was about to post it, but I caught sight of a comment that this was the best send off since Tom Quinn. I’m not sure yet about “the best,” but it was definitely similar in its feel and quite a few particulars. In fact, here are the similarities to Tom’s demise from my memory:

A woman who’s a love interest is at the crux
A person from the past comes back to haunt him
A student from university is involved
Some co-workers not trusting him
Harry chastising the co-workers for not trusting him and then doing an about face and having them hunt him down
A threat occurs to his love interest
Love interest is somehow co-opted by authorities to try to catch him
He threatens Harry
He’s in such despair at what’s happened that he kills himself at the end — or does he?
Harry hangs in the balance

And I wonder how many similarities there may actually be. Since I haven’t watched those shows in a while, it might be interesting to watch again and find out. At the least, the ones I remember have me more convinced than ever that Lucas doesn’t die. For those of you familiar with early episodes of Spooks, you know why I’m saying this. If you’re a novice at this Spooks watching, and I would deem a novice someone who has only watched the last three series, then you need to know that the story is never over no matter how it looks. Of course there are differences in Tom’s and Lucas’ stories, but at this point it’s a little hard to believe the writers would lift that much from Tom’s story, whether consciously or subconsciously, and not have lifted the final resolution.

Mostly I simply forgot this is a tv show where a character’s story arc can never eclipse the show itself. The show is only about the experience of an episode, and enough of those strung together can make for a thrilling ride of a series, which hopefully, will become addictive and increase ratings. Isn’t the thrill of a roller coaster the ride itself and never the ending? It certainly seems to be about things rushing at you, pricking your senses, and when it’s over, you are anxious to go again or relieved it’s done.

For those who were interested in my rant, it was a good one. LOL! I just don’t have the heart to post it. This is about as negative as I’m willing to go. Maybe I’ll gut it up and post all that crap later. Hopefully, not.

In the meantime, how about something to lift your spirits:

Photo courtesy of mokulen on LJ.

Can’t Drink the Kool-Aid Yet — SPOILERS

I’m not kidding when I say spoilers. Please take me at my word.

My thoughts as of Wednesday, 11/03:

With respect to Lucas North’s story, the plot of Series 9 has been completely predictable. Almost nothing has been surprising, and unless I’m stupid, that’s the crux of this story — the unexpected unraveling of the web of who he is. Each week I work myself up for a thrilling show, but sadly, I’ve been underwhelmed by the revelations about Lucas. Not one cell in my body was shocked by Lucas/John being a sort of bad guy, and I’m surprised at anyone who was not expecting this. I keep waiting for something really interesting, and yet if it comes, it’s not going to be a big surprise because I’m expecting it! And why is that? Because of the blasted spoilers. We already knew he wasn’t going to be who we thought he was. If that knowledge hadn’t been telegraphed, and then repetitively tapped out for us like a drumbeat by the BBC, I might be jumping at every new revelation and barely able to wait for the finale. As it is, I’m just waiting to see if the ending stops short of being lame. Wow. Is that what Spooks has come to?

Perhaps significant spoilers have always been a big part of Spooks. I don’t know because I watched the first seven series without reading or seeing any promotional coverage. Oh, some things were predictable, but then I cared enough about the characters that it didn’t bother me. But this series has been a lumbering elephant to get to the point already made — Lucas isn’t who he says he is. Yeah, yeah, now what?

Then added to all of that is minutiae that seem designed to do nothing more than make this story look complex, and yet much as I try to make it so, the information looks like simple plot devices to create tension that the surprise of Lucas not being Lucas would have done without all this mess. I can almost hear the writers in a room saying, “Perhaps we can construct this to confuse them?” And yet they confused themselves I think since the character development is all over the place with the plot going in several different directions and yet it really means nothing? Which would be great if the revealed truth were more interesting than what the scattered pieces possibly portend. For instance the whole thing about Blake. Where did that go? What does that mean? Was that supposed to go somewhere? Or was it just something they came up with on the fly and didn’t know how to really pursue? My gut says it was the latter. Yet the possibilities about Blake were so fascinating that I actually broke down and read the biography by Peter Ackroyd. If I had nothing else to do, then that might be fine, but I had to work that into the other 430 things I do on a given day. No, I had no gun to my head to do that, but in hindsight I could have been doing something else, and maybe next time I will be. It just seems the pistol hung on the wall by the writers, or in this case the painting, is going to mean very little or nothing and the big reveal doesn’t mean much either. But I hope I’m wrong and there really is something which the writers take down and use to blow me away.

And my gut feelings about the love interest were right. It was unnecessary — at least so far. It looks like more of the minutiae, and it’s pretty much boring and sometimes downright irritating. Maya has zero personality. She’s almost atonal when she speaks and certainly not inspiring of Lucas (yeah, he’s going to remain Lucas in my mind) doing a 180. Frankly, if she had been blown to hell last episode, then we might see some justification for Lucas going off the deep end. As it is, the more I see of her, the less inspiring she’s becoming. Apart from Lucas looking at his laptop and that first kiss, this relationship is becoming more nothing as it progresses, and damn! we didn’t even get the kitchen table scene. That was a spoiler I could have lived with!

So far, my secret desire has become Lucas really being a bad guy. I mean yank the mask off of him to expose something really ugly at the end. If he’s bad, then chuck the half-hearted attempts at the conflicted officer for someone who really is evil through and through and just boggles our mind. Say something smacking of Keyser Söze? That might actually be interesting and might be easier to pull off for the writers than a conflicted character, and unless the writers are under a rock somewhere, the use of Bateman as the last name was not random. Manchurian Candidate did flit through my mind and apparently crossed the minds of some others in cyberworld, but maybe we should be thinking American Psycho instead. Oh, it’s not believable with the development of Lucas’ character in the other two series and even with some of the episodes in this series? When did that start mattering again?

Further thoughts as of Monday morning, 11/08:

Oh shit! I’ve seen the rooftop spoiler. Stumbled onto it, and yes, I watched it. I was mad at myself when I realized what I was watching. But what difference does it make now? It’s exactly what I thought was going to happen. I cringed. The caged animal routine? Is that all the writers had? This is so obvious it’s pitiful. Well, that and maybe Lucas will fall backwards off the roof or shoot himself, and we won’t know if he’s really dead until next season ’cause Harry’s not going anywhere, my friends. I hope this clip is misleading! But as I watched, I thought that these people at the BBC really don’t want any surprises do they? Haven’t had any so far. I so hope I’m wrong. If I’m not, then what the heck are these spoilers about? I really don’t get why they would sabotage their own show.

Question for the writers: if the character development has to be somewhat obliterated each series, can we at least have a thrilling plot? Maybe you need to shoot the people in the PR department.

Post script: I was not going to post this out of fear of offending some fans, but the spoiler pushed me over the edge. I’ve been so good about staying away from spoilers, but I watched that one, and I’m mad as hell at myself. It severely eroded my hopes of a great twist. I was so hoping to get on this ride or at least get doped up somehow to enjoy it.

I’m still a rabid Richard Armitage fan, but this shows sucks, my friends. Of course that’s my not so humble opinion. :D But give me a chance to redeem myself with a piece on why I don’t think this show worked for RA. LOL!

And I’m serious when I say I want to be wrong. I would be happy to fall over in a faint at a killer ending.

Note: need a new tag, “rant.”

Screencap is mine.

I Haven’t Been On For the Ride

It’s occurred to me that my thrill factor has been pretty low with regard to Spooks Series 9. Lately my attention has been diverted by other things in my life. Maybe that’s an excuse for why I’m just not as into Series 9 as I was all the other series of Spooks. I’m not sure. But in fairness to Richard Armitage and to the other wonderful cast members of Spooks, I’m going to watch Episodes 1-7 again before next Monday’s finale. Then perhaps I will be infected with what many of you are infected with — enthralling anticipation of Episode 8. And I so want to be infected with that. I really do want to be on the ride.

In the meantime, I hope some of you can bear with me and my less than gushy response to Lucas North. I will say this, I’m not alone in what I’m thinking amongst the fandom. Several fans have told me privately they’re not that into Lucas and would rather see him in stills than animated. Wow. I’m not quite that down on him, but it made me feel less of a “traitor” to hear that. LOL!

But I have to agree with them that he looks mighty fine in stills, and I noticed that Servetus and I made some of the same screencaps. At the risk of merely objectifying Richard Armitage, I could not pass up the chance to capture that jawline. Phew!

I mean c’mon that should elicit a response from most women. Notice I didn’t say “all.” I realize there are a few women who would not find him attractive. They have to be in the minority, and they might be dead. LOL!

I wonder how many women would not be moved by this coming at them:

Screencaps are mine.

Lucas Doesn’t Die!

Okay, that’s my gut talking. Sometimes it gets away from me and blurts things out. I just couldn’t resist messing with all of you even at the risk of being labeled the uh, girl who cried wolf. :D

But I really do think Lucas North won’t die even if he might still be toast, i.e., Richard Armitage will probably no longer be a regular on Spooks (MI-5). My gut says he will go off to prison or defect to another country or something that will allow him to come back as a guest star OR possibly be in the movie version of Spooks that RA’s talked about a few times. Yep, mention of that one too many times has tipped the scale in favor of Lucas surviving this series if not being a regular.

What say you?

Our Guy and the Lucas Countdown

Unless you’re under a rock in the RA universe, you know by now that our guy Richard Armitage is going to be playing Thorin Oakenshield in “The Hobbit.” What I found interesting is the filming schedule. Begins in February. What else do we know begins filming in February? Oh, I understand if you’re a novice at this Richard Armitage watching. So let me instruct you as an act of public service. ;-) You may not be aware that the BBC show Spooks will start filming in February, and RA plays one of the main characters, Lucas North. No, he’s nothing like Guy of Gisborne in this one. At least that’s what I have been thinking, but on second thought, he might be a bad guy (pardon the pun).

I’m trying to process the speculation about Lucas, and now? Is it too early to say he’s toast? I mean RA is good at running from location to location, but no one’s that good. London to New Zealand is still quite a trek (assuming the squabbling over labor is settled and it will be in NZ). Or maybe Spooks is going on location again? No, they’ve got their Greek God replacement, so I think they’ll stay home.

Whatever the case with Lucas North, I hope he goes down in a blaze of glory. Does it have to be a peaceful death? No offense to RA’s wishes. Somehow that wouldn’t be nearly as much fun, and a peaceful death is harder to write, and well, do I need to explain why I don’t hold out hope for a well done peaceful death? Of course if it’s a violent death, then I suppose it will have to be a bomb. Maybe I can hold out for a death like Guy’s where he still gets to say a few words at the end. All I know at this point is that I’m on for the ride with Lucas, and I will enjoy it no matter what. But my most ardent wish is that he will come to his senses at the end and have a mad, passionate love affair with Beth. She can even be Alpha.

In the meantime, I’m salivating at the thought of SO, who is an LOTR fan, paying to watch Richard Armitage in a movie.