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Obsessive much?.. 
11th-Dec-2009 10:47 pm
Life on Mars (Sam Giggles)
Interesting spoiler-laden interview with Matthew Graham about A2A and LoM

The idea was to get darker with each series: series one would be quite frothy and iconically '80s, then series two we would peel back the layers and get a bit darker, then series three we would get right down to the nitty gritty and all the deep stuff we have to go through to get all the revelations we want.

Matthew is always such a liar. Ashley's said before that when they went back to the drawing board for S2 A2A they rethought the tone of S1 --- pretty much stating it was a mistake that they went so light. Does Matthew not think people would remember Ash saying that? Well, clearly he didn't bank on fans like me. I am a total anorak about these things (she says, as if you couldn't tell.)

Q: So with that in mind, can we expect Life On Mars characters to come back in Ashes series three?
A: Umm... you can!
Q: How about a specific character...?
A:Umm.. no! Hahaha! But you can expect Life On Mars to be bleeding in to Ashes To Ashes. I think that's a better way to explain it.

... like it always has? GOD, MATTHEW. Why do I love him so? (Because Matt said 'awesome'? Hee. HEE!)

Huh. The ending to A2A is sad. I wonder if that's anything like the ending to LoM being 'happy'?

My tinhat is falling to pieces. It's looking strongly like a no Simm series three, which makes me sad... I just really, really want to see Sam and Gene on screen together again, okay? I can't help it. I also properly hate the dispelling of all ambiguity. I cling onto my little plotholes (so far as you can cling onto a hole. Maybe just at the very edge, danging into the void?) I like there being no definitive answer. I have never really understood why Matt doesn't get that this is what was always good about Life on Mars?

But if that definitive answer is parallel dimensions? I won't be complaining.

No, scratch that. Knowing me, I probably will.

Also, hi. I am in Adelaide. My house keys were never found, but let's hope the gigantic padlocks on my doors are enough of a deterrent to keep unwanted visitors out. My birthday and Christmas are coming and these are the things I am going to concentrate on, in glee.
11th-Dec-2009 01:31 pm (UTC)
I agree with you completely about wanting more Sam and Gene - I think I'm wearing out my LoM DVDs. I will never get enough of them.
11th-Dec-2009 01:58 pm (UTC)
11th-Dec-2009 02:02 pm (UTC)
I've seen more spoilers than most people, as I get to see Deano's private pics from set...I will never give anything away, but let me say I am definitely looking forward to S3 more than I've probably ever looked forward to anything, specifically eps 5 and 6, which they're filming now. :)

11th-Dec-2009 02:05 pm (UTC)
Dude, insider knowledge is just cruel. Taunt away but I am unfazed.

I am even more unfazed because I know you're not a Sam-fan and therefore wouldn't be excited by Bonus!Simm.

... I am, however, insanely jealous ;) :D
11th-Dec-2009 05:17 pm (UTC)
I must add the disclaimer that what makes me excited may not make anyone else squee in the slightest!!
11th-Dec-2009 08:47 pm (UTC)
Exactly. All I am expecting now is lots of awesome Ray action, which --- I love Dean, but not so much Ray, though I do appreciate awesome Ray action. I'd probably be happy, but not up to levels of OMGWTFBBQ MATTHEW, HAVE MY SOUL.
11th-Dec-2009 03:23 pm (UTC)
Hmm, I suppose I should finally start watching A2A, then...
11th-Dec-2009 08:48 pm (UTC)
No! Save yourself!

Actually, I wholeheartedly enjoyed S2, so I would say 'yes'. Just don't be expecting the amazing brilliant use of subtle as well as loud, because the subtle doesn't exist in A2A.
12th-Dec-2009 10:01 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I've been trying to make myself watch it for quite a while! I pretty much hated the pilot. That's all of A2A that I have watched so far. Well, I think I watch 25 seconds of the second episode was like "fuck this, I'm not watching this crap"!

I hear the second season is much better than the first. I probably will watch it at some point. Maybe.
12th-Dec-2009 12:13 am (UTC)
I just really, really want to see Sam and Gene on screen together again

Me too. They should do it just for the fangirls. And boys. Hell, they should just do it!
12th-Dec-2009 12:17 am (UTC)
I know.

Fanservice, dammit.

Except --- I don't know, I don't think many A2A-leaning fans would feel all that glad about that. Many of them think people like me belittle A2A merely because it doesn't have Sam (which in some ways, I'll not lie, is kind of true. But there are other reasons there too.)
12th-Dec-2009 06:10 am (UTC)
Yay for making it to Adelaide!

(By the way, I was tripping out the other day about the fact that it's been almost a year since I left for Australia.)
12th-Dec-2009 09:25 am (UTC)

I know. It's crazycakes.
13th-Dec-2009 12:11 am (UTC)
I like there being no definitive answer. I have never really understood why Matt doesn't get that this is what was always good about Life on Mars?

Ditto, ditto, ditto, ad infinitum. Well it was what was good about LoM until 2.08. *sighhhhh*

I've given up on A2A. Husband still watches, but I just can't. You know I gave it a fair shake, but I just couldn't keep with it, if only because everyones' characterizations were so frakkin' haphazard and inconsistant.


13th-Dec-2009 12:32 am (UTC)
I still include 2.08 because of the ridiculousness of SURPRISE CANCER. It's the one major inconsistency that means there's a shred of 'wtfbbq?' there.

... I kind of love S2 A2A ...
13th-Dec-2009 01:43 am (UTC)
I've basically hated Matthew ever since that interview after 2.08 where he said we were all stupid.

I'm sorry, but imo he is simply an idiot, and one that doesn't respect the audience. He thinks we don't remember anything that was said earlier than yesterday.

The other problem with Matthew is that he simply doesn't realise the responsibilities that come with being Head Writer, or whatever the hell he is, of a prime-time show on the biggest channel in the country. He needs to take lessons from Rusty, whom I will adore forever more.

Russell will lie and lie again, subtly, blatantly and all points in between, but he does it in support of the brand. He lies to build up tension and because he passionately believes in keeping major plot points secret. I don't mind at all when Rusty lies, because he's doing it for me, not to me.

Whereas Matthew lies because he wants to rewrite history. He admitted a year ago that he hadn't taken a lot of notice of the fact that people weren't enjoying Ashes series one. He actually said that it just didn't register (owtte). And now it was all planned? Don't insult me.

Another thing he has said in the past is that he doesn't do forums during the writing and production stages because it's best if he simply doesn't know what we're saying. That makes a lot of sense. So what is he doing now? Twittering about it. And answering other people's twits tweets on the subject.

I just really, really want to see Sam and Gene on screen together again

Oh, me too. So much.

And talking of together again - great interview with John Simm in the latest Doctor Who magazine. Too long to go into detail here, but he says he requested - and Russell totally agreed - that there should be a lot more scenes of the Doctor and the Master together on screen this time.
13th-Dec-2009 02:22 am (UTC)
Ack. I really, really dislike Rusty. I have no love towards him whatsoever. His writing doesn't resonate with me on any level (the episodes of DW and TW I like are never penned by him) and he showed far less respect towards the audience after Ianto's death than any other writer I have ever seen. I know that part of it is that he just doesn't write stories that interest me --- I cannot deny he has some talent, because look at the legion of fans who bow down at his altar --- but, to me, as a writer, he's too manipulative, too derivative and doesn't have the dialogue, characterisation or plotting skills to balance this. And he's hyped as all get-out. He really, really is.

I like Matthew because, even though he is flawed, he's really talented in a way that gels with my own personal preferences. He does have the dialogue, he definitely has the characterisation, occasionally he has the plotting skills. (Not always, I will grant you.) He's amusing and he has a charming self-deprecating streak. He's super enthusiastic and loves his job. You can see that, despite some of the things he says, this isn't just work to him. Often, he'll contradict himself because he's always crossing the space between work and play.

So, sometimes, he says stupid stuff. He tries to change his tune and doesn't always hit all the right notes. 99% of fans of his shows don't remember every little last thing he says. It's really not surprising he doesn't give much consideration to the 1% who will. He's not an idiot. He definitely underestimates the audience, but most television writers do. And, sometimes, with good reason. The majority of the audience don't really care and don't think about these things. So, what, you base everything you do on those few who do? Television's a business.

I don't do twitter, and if I did, I would stay the hell away from Matt simply because I've said some relatively nasty things about him on occasion. But, really, 140 characters per message isn't the same as reading an entire thread on a forum and responding in paragraphs. Matthew's always wanted a close relationship with fans, he simply doesn't know how to converse in the fan domain. He's always seemed to think he can act like a fan, but then maintain that level of Power that Be, which often doesn't work and is always going to entail complicatons. I'd like to think he's beginning to learn, hence the change of medium.

I understand that you're mad at Matthew, because, you know, been there, bought the badge. But I think it's quite easy to judge him and find him wonting because of that closeness he attempted to foster early on. If he'd remained the faceless writer, we'd never talk about him beyond referring to 'the writer'. Because he made an effort to do interviews, step into the fan domain, start up a dialogue and engage with fans, we feel we know him enough to hold high expectations of how he does all of these things. And that doesn't seem fair. He is only human. I don't think he's ever meant to offend fans, if anything, he often kind of wants to be one. No, he doesn't always keep the (slightly more obsessive/anorak wearing/perfectly harmless, really!) fans in mind, but we're not the entirety of his consumer base.

I guess what I am saying is --- be mad, go right ahead, I get that. He can be a bit of a pillock, don't be afraid to say it. But don't hate him because he doesn't meet expectations that so few people would ever have to meet. He's never set out to intentionally hurt people, he's made some mistakes and doesn't realise it.

Edited at 2009-12-13 02:24 am (UTC)
13th-Dec-2009 02:58 am (UTC)
He's never set out to intentionally hurt people

Hmm, going to have to agree to disagree, on Matthew and on Russell. Nothing more to add on Matthew, and not being a proper writer I can't - and don't care enough to - analyse other people's skills with dialogue, characterisation and plot.

But in my view Russell is fabulous at mining the emotion and the fears in a situation. Somewhere he's done a lot of observing on how people feel about their children, for example, and I love the way he's handled things like the fear of dying, the fear of dying alone, the burden of carrying huge responsibilities.

I don't care that he killed Ianto - for me Torchwood is about Jack, and the horror of having to live and die and live forever while people die all around him. There's a lot of emotion to be worked with in series four (presuming we get one? haven't seen anything definite) regarding Jack recovering from yet another major loss and starting again, yet again. Also, in - I think - School Reunion, the Doctor said he could never get that close to anyone because they grow old and die while he just carries on. Captain Jack is in many ways a human version of the Doctor, and I'm not sure which of them carries the greater grief and loneliness; it's there very clearly in the Doctor, but it's barely even hinted at in Torchwood despite the fact that many of Jack's deaths are utterly horrific.

The only true resolution for either of them would have been a long-term long-distance relationship. Always each other's, always knowing there was someone.
13th-Dec-2009 07:39 am (UTC)
I can understand you disagreeing because you like Rusty. Like Rusty all you want, I just really don't, in any way. But do you really think Matthew Graham sat down and thought 'I'm going to make people angry and sad to the point they curse my name'? In terms of wanting to produce an effect in the audience and create a tear-jerker --- maybe. I do that one occasionally (admittedly not much, because I don't like that approach to storytelling, but once or twice, yeah.) But Matt's always wanted his audiences to come back and think he's a genius, from what I've seen of him. And he doesn't get it when people get mad at him for saying silly stuff and being an irresponsible or lazy writer. If we're going to keep up the comparison, Rusty's far more renowned for killing off characters purely to make the audience upset and has publicly cackled about it afterwards.

Did you see any of the interviews he did after Ianto's death? (Sadly, the one that truly set my teeth on edge can no longer be found.) Even if you don't care about Ianto himself, Rusty's reaction to the audience was so condescending, and so offensive. He clearly thought the people who were upset and angry were stupid idiots who didn't know good drama if it bit them. He mocked like crazy. He was a massive wanker about it.

Matthew has never actually done that. He wrote one tongue-in-cheek post years ago when people were complaining about the ending of his show. He shouldn't have made the post, but the thread was called "Questions for Matthew Graham". Since then, he sometimes says stuff that shows he underestimates his audience, but he doesn't go out of his way to mock fans.

...not being a proper writer I can't - and don't care enough to - analyse other people's skills with dialogue, characterisation and plot.

You don't have to be a writer to appreciate writing. For me, it comes down to really simple things. I don't remember a single line that Rusty's written, but I can quote whole sections Matt has. I honestly haven't had too many emotional reactions to Rusty's writing other than rolling my eyes, but Matt's had me laughing, crying, falling in love with his character dynamics. I find both the Doctor and Jack fascinating constructs that are never truly capitalised on enough because most of what we get from them is "I'm so alone because I can't die, wahhhhhh", in, like, seven different shades of beige. Almost all of Matthew's characters have facets to them that get explored in interesting ways. I find Rusty annoyingly melodramatic in how he handles his themes, in Life on Mars and sections of A2A, Matthew tackled his with subtlety (definitely LoM more than A2A in regards to subtle.) And as I said, that's a me thing. That's my opinion. I'm not a proper writer either. Do I care enough to think about it? Clearly, I do. But it doesn't start out as analysis, it starts out as a visceral, emotional, unthinking reaction. "Oooh, I like this!" "Wow, this is rubbish." You know?

To me, Rusty and Matthew may share commonalities, but they're very different writers in lots of different ways. They appeal to overlapping audiences, but that doesn't mean their product is the same. And, naturally, they're not going to respond the same either.

Edited at 2009-12-13 08:18 am (UTC)
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