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Great TV Couples (Who Would Actually Be Terrible Together)

20 May

There are a lot of types of TV romances. Many of them are planned by the writers and producers as long, drawn-out, will-they-or-won’t-they, for-fuck’s-sake-just-kiss-her relationships that are meant to keep the audience watching and hoping.

God, and it works, too.

There’s usually no payout with these kind of couples, but what if there were? There’s a lot of drawn-out sexual tension out there in the televerse and I think that sometimes we forget that just because the writers want us to want a couple to get together doesn’t mean that they actually should.

So, let’s remind ourselves that sexual tension ≠ compatibility and take a look at our list. Some of these couples actually did happen, some of them still might and some of them just never got the chance, but none of them would have been good together. Let’s look at why.

6. Josh Lyman and Donna Moss, The West Wing

I take it back. I want them to be in love for always.

I’m so fucking in love with The West Wing. Mostly because it avoids the petty bullshit of drawn-out relationships and chooses to focus on the workplace and real life.

That all changed when the writers decided to start dropping hints that Josh and Donna were into each other. The tension lasted through the Bartlet administration without anyone making a move, despite the fact that there were no real obstacles in the way of them getting together.

Except this guy in Season 6. But seriously? Lucius Malfoy?

Why we think it would have been awesome: Because we know they really care about each other! It’s depressing how in real life most of our relationships start out as a base level attraction that we desperately pray contains something of substance. We always want to see friends fall in love, even if it’s weird in real life.

Why it shouldn’t have happened: Because it’s weird when friends fall in love in real life. Josh and Donna have an unequal relationship, power-wise. He yells her name and she comes running. Bad for foreplay, methinks. Also, when they did finally get together, it wasn’t cute anymore. We’d been waiting for seven fucking seasons for this, and a payout is never going to be worth it after that long.

Just like grad school!

Their likely future: He forgets himself and yells at her to do things for him all the time. She reminds him that she is way hotter than he is. She has an affair with someone 4 inches shorter than she is (as is the West Wing way) and he drinks himself to death at work while making grimly ironic expressions.

Perfect.

Who they should’ve been with: Josh should have been with Joey Lucas. That was fun. Donna should be with Ronald Reagan.

5. Merlin and Morgana, Merlin

The internet really wants this to happen, I guess.

For all of its focus on relationships, Merlin only rarely considers whether or not its main character might have consistent romantic or erotic feelings towards anyone. Sometimes the thought will occur for an episode and be gone the next time Merlin has to fuck himself over by indulging in needlessly complicated plots and the impulse to not confide in the right people.

One storyline that almost went somewhere was his possible attraction to Morgana. He brought her flowers once or twice and she…barely noticed him. She was too busy practicing her evil “secret” smile every time Uther turned his back.

Other people can still see you, Morgana.

Why we think it would have been awesome: They’re two extremely powerful sorcerers and they start out with similar issues and the problems of trying to cope with magical abilities in a society where such things are forbidden. It’d be kind of hot to see sexy magic times, even if it was just them battling it out and then making out.

Why it would have sucked: Morgana’s not much of a character, and Merlin’s interest in her seems both shallow and transitory. Also, she gets super evil really fast, and there’s just no empathizing with characters that make bipolar disorder look like the Monday Blues.

Their likely future: The relationship lasts only as long as it takes for them to run out of kinky ways to use their magic powers in bed.

Ohhhh yeahhhhh

Who they should’ve been with: Merlin should’ve ended up with the only person he cared about: Arthur. Seriously. And Morgana should’ve ended up with Elton John so they could have the whitest babies ever.

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Top 10 Creepiest Sci-Fi/Fantasy Villains

10 Apr

Please note that this is not a list of the BEST villains in Scifi/Fantasy, just the creepiest. These are the insidious shadows and barely-suppressed manic grins that make your skin crawl. What’s really surprising about this list is how many of these are from network television shows, and how they’re way scarier than most horror films.

 

10. The Hitchiker, The Twilight Zone

And then he asked for spare change. The horror!

For those of you who are too young/uninformed to know what this entry is but still hate M. Night Shyamalan, I have good news: The Twilight Zone made a metric fuckton of scary (for the ’60s) TV episodes that outtwisted M. Night way before his movies even got terrible. One of my personal favorites is “The Hitchhiker,” the story of a woman who keeps seeing the same creepy homeless man no matter where she drives. Naturally she has to drive on the most deserted roads and of course she has to stop and get out of her car at several points, because this was back when we all wanted our cars to use a tank of gas over the course of five miles or so.

Twilight Zone: Brought to you by Ford.

What makes it creepy: Society and its multitudinous civilians have given us the impression that we’re always safe, that help is never that far away. This episode shrinks that feeling of safety down to two areas: 1) The inside of an otherwise empty car and 2) Moving. If you don’t have both those things, you’re suddenly not safe. Don’t drive at night after this episode.

 

9.The Puppetmaster/Bloodbenders, Avatar: The Last Airbender

Everyone’s favorite grandmother

“The Puppetmaster” was just about the creepiest episode of children’s television I’ve ever seen. It happens in Season 3, around the time the writers realized that if Katara could “bend” her own sweat, she could probably do it to other bodily fluids as well. So did they depict her stopping a hemorrhage? Blowing awesome snot rockets? Introducing the most creative form of birth control ever?

NO. They gave us a creepy-ass old woman who could literally control people by bending their blood.

What makes it creepy: She can control people by bending their blood. Also, it looks really painful. Or maybe arousing?

Guess where she sent all the blood in this picture?

 

8. Hands of Blue, Firefly

Stopped being a proctologist after all the “Hands of Brown” jokes

I don’t know what these men are technically called. I’d prefer they stay nameless, but we’ll call them the fanon-deemed “Hands of Blue” for clarity’s sake, which is better than “Blue Myself  Twice”

Not the same.

Firefly was cancelled much too young, but one good thing that came out of that was never knowing what these guys really wanted. Having them stalk our heroes through the episode “Ariel” and killing their own men while River freaked out was confusing enough to be really, really creepy. It’s all based on knowing the victim’s reaction rather than the villain’s motivation, so you never know what will happen next.

What makes them creepy: They seem to be immune to their own weapon. Unlike Men in Black, when they set off their flashy-thingy, they wear no protective gear. They look like humans, they wear no armor, but they’re curiously emotionless as everyone around them pukes blood out of every orifice.

 

7. The Pale Man, Pan’s Labyrinth

“The fuck?”

Pan’s Labyrinth took fantasy and mythology and made it insidious and terrifying. All of it reflected the horror of the real world happening outside of Ofelia’s addled little mind. Nothing was creepier than the Pale Man, an emaciated creature that sat and starved at a feast, the only thing on its plate being its own eyes. It mirrored Ofelia’s stepfather, who kept an abundance of food locked in a barn, waiting for people to try and take it so that he could kill them.

What makes it creepy: 

Exhibits A – M

Enough. Fucking. Said.

 

6. Vasha Nerada, Doctor Who

The most primal of fears.

The “Silence in the Library” and “Forest of the Damned”, Steven Moffat’s two-parter mindfuck really dug into the most basic human fear: the fear of the dark. The Vasha Nerada are sentient shadows that latch onto a host and strip them of their flesh. You never know which shadow might have an aerosol piranha in it, and you never see it coming. You just look down and suddenly you have two shadows. And then you know you’re dead.

What makes it creepy: I always thought I was afraid of things that might be hiding in the dark. Now I’m afraid of the dark itself.

 

5. GLaDOS, Portal

“Cake followed by light bondage?”

Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System (GLaDOS) is creepy the same was HAL is creepy in 2001: A Space Odyssey. It’s terrifying to imagine our robotic creations trying to murder the tits out of us. What GLaDOS has on HAL is the format of Portal itself. You think you’re just playing a typical puzzle game and she’s the annoying Navi telling you what to do. It’s helpful, but bland, and she even has the cool, neutral robotic voice.

Then she starts slipping in little things that make you wonder, like “Cake and grief counseling will be available at the conclusion of the test.” Then you start seeing stuff like this:

The brilliant idea that was ruined by a thousand memes.

Then she starts trying to kill you.

What makes it creepy:  The fact that since it’s a video game and not a movie, you have to play her psychotic little game. It’s like the difference between taking a roller coaster ride in a haunted house and walking through one on your own two feet.

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Hottest Sci-Fi/Fantasy Couples

12 Mar

I learned something disturbing about myself while writing this. While some of my favorite couples in sci-fi and fantasy are based on affection and shared interests, the sexiest romances in my canon share two main traits: lust and violence. As we were all taught by romance novels and Wuthering Heights, the hottest couples are so conflicted that they’re always about two inches away from murder-fucking each other in the middle of a dinner party.

What, you thought it was just a chick flick period piece? Read the damn book.

So. There will be no soulful resonance in this list. No emotional safety. Certainly no romantic stares. Just two people who are designed to bone each other. Let’s see who they are.

*[Editor’s note: My top three picks change places depending on my mood, age, and how many times I’ve re-watched Buffy today. Keep it in mind.]

6. Jon Snow and Ygritte, A Song of Ice and Fire

“You think this is big?”

If your only experience with this medieval, sword-happy, incest-is-the-bestuous murderfest fantasy is the TV show Game of Thrones, then you probably don’t know what I’m talking about yet. You think that a sexy couple is Renly and Loras, or Dany and Khal Drogo or Littlefinger and the sound of his own voice.

Providing monologues over the sound of two women fucking since 2011.

You’re wrong, though. All of those relationships (especially the latter), are caught up, to some degree, in politics. In getting something out of the other person (gross.) Jon and Ygritte, though, have a fantastic chemistry outside the bounds of societal strictures that makes their coupling totally sexy. For Jon, it’s the forbidden. He can’t take a wife or sire children according to the vows he’s taken. For Ygritte, there’s the total freedom to do whatever the hell she likes. This amazing combustion of “Holy crap, no rules” and “Oh my god, this is so taboo” is what makes this couple so freaking sexy. There’s no thinking, reasoning, or scheming, just hormonal teenagers keeping warm the only way you can in the medieval equivalent of  glacial wastelands.

Which is basically Yukon Territory.

Best Moment: When she tries out her old “You know nothing, Jon Snow” catchphrase and then–bam–he introduces her to oral sex.

(I know it hasn’t happened in the show yet. Pick up a book every now and then, will ya?)

5. Malcolm Reynolds and Saffron, Firefly

Sometimes the special hell is worth it.

Malcolm Reynolds was a strong contender with several candidates for this slot. Everyone wants him to hook up with Inara (except for me, because I think they would make a terrible couple. More to come on that.) And he did have incredible sexy-time with the terrifying cat woman who looks like Angelina Jolie’s mom.

Porn music invariably starts up wherever she goes.

In the end, though, the best coupling involving Malcolm Reynolds is with Saffyobridge, the mysterious, psychotic con artist who goes from sweet and innocent to terrifying in less than a second. What’s great about this couple is that their sexual dynamic shifts as the show goes along, but no matter what, you always feel a resistance to them hooking up. It keeps the tension alive and kicking. First it’s because she’s so child-like, but then it’s because you’d rather have them fight than bang.

Or both. Both is good too.

Best Moment: The look on his face when she recites her wifely duties from the world’s greatest Bible.

4. The Doctor and Madame de Pompadour, Doctor Who

Ohhhh, yeahhhhh.

The problem with making Doctor Who as a serial television show is that, by his nature, the Doctor must always be alone. Sure, he has companions, but no one that sticks around longer than two or three seasons. He’s immortal and ever-changing and always in the process of leaving. They did a great job with the Rose storyline, but he had to really think about it and have a lot of conflicting feels, and there was nothing spontaneous or sexy about it because he never lets himself lose control.

Doctor: “That was a genetic transfer.”
Martha: “But you also grabbed my-“
Doctor: “GENETIC. TRANSFER.”

That’s why the episode “The Girl in the Fireplace” is so brilliant. Reinette is straightforward, collected, decisive and uncompromising. She sees the Doctor for the first time in years and does what anyone seeing David Tennant would do. She makes out with him. She gets behind his defenses and keeps him off-balance and smitten for the rest of the episode. He never gets the chance to act untouchable and god-like, or to set up barriers.

What does he have time to do? Slip her the tongue.

“Actually, I’m 945 years o–well, okay then.”

The brilliant chemistry between this couple packs a three-punch wallop: Steven Moffat’s brilliant writing, the French people’s inability to hear the word ‘no’ when it comes to dancing or sex, and the fact that David Tennant was totally plowing Sophia Myles at the time.

Best Moment: Scroll up half an inch. There it is.

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The Best Couples in Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV

21 Jan

I’m going to warn you right now that this list changes drastically depending on my mood, whether or not I’m wearing pants, and the amount of time I’ve spent staring at pictures of Harrison Ford online.

Yet not even a picture like this could make me say that Buffy and Riley were a good couple.

Now, if we’re going to talk about the sexiest couplings that sci-fi/fantasy has to offer, we’ll end up with a different list, which I will provide for you at a later time. This list is about compatible, romantic couples. And you should just know that romance, to me, is more about this

sad

and somewhat less about this

Not a lot less, but…sorry, what was I saying again?

So. The List. And speaking of David Tenant’s beautiful face…

5. Doctor Who The Doctor and Rose Tyler

The Doctor and Rose get put at the bottom of this list, and I think we can all agree on the reason.

This.

The reason I love Rose Tyler (and I do love Rose Tyler,) is not that she’s brave or the slightest bit clever or particularly witty or even amazingly attractive. I love Rose Tyler because the Doctor loves Rose Tyler. And that’s the only reason anyone loves Rose Tyler. Want proof? A spin-off was greenlit after “Doomsday” called Rose Tyler: Earth Defence starring Billie Piper. Here’s a screenshot of the pilot episode.

The project was cancelled because Russell T. Davies felt that it would cheapen Rose’s last appearance, but I think the real reason is that no one would care about Rose without the Doctor, and that show would flop anyway. But that leads me to why I like this couple at all.

Usually I’m against “shipping” a couple when only one of the characters is interesting, but actually in this case they kind of make each other better. He’s bitter and angry and genocidal and lonely and she turns him into a romantic. She’s a small-town girl wearing too much make-up and an entire year’s worth of peroxide, and he makes her a badass. The whole point of the Doctor seems to be that he must always be alone and apart from humanity. This romance blew that right out of the water. It showed us a side of the Doctor that we don’t get ever again, and it was both beautiful and heartbreaking to see him so invested in a single human being.

Rose: “I love you.” The Doctor: “I know.” No, wait. That’s a different movie. Harry Potter or something, I think.

This romance is about as close as you get to a happy ending with the Doctor. You get a lot of beautifully devastated expressions from David Tenant, Billie Piper cries unattractively a lot, and you learn that a character not saying the words “I love you” can be the best damned line in a show.

4. Firefly, Zoe and Wash

Zoe and Wash are the couple that everyone loves, but no one really knows why. By all accounts, the relationship doesn’t make sense. She’s a tough, military-minded ex-soldier who could be categorically defined as “terse.” Hoban “Wash” Washburne is precisely none of those things.

No one wearing a shirt like that will ever be described as “terse.”

Okay, so we don’t ever get a really good reason why these two people are so great for each other, but that’s part of the beauty. Instead of establishing a will-they-or-won’t-they drama based on their differences and probable misunderstandings, Whedon introduced them as a loving, married couple.  That is so amazingly unusual in television, it deserves special recognition. Most of the time television makes it seem like getting married to someone you actually like is the most statistically unlikely event in the history of the universe. Then, once you’re married, you cease to be an interesting character with an interesting relationship, possibly because all TV writers believe that marriage is horrible and that an honest portrayal would lead to divorce (which you can never have.)

Unfortunately.

Zoe and Wash are both great characters, and their relationship is in no way diluted because of their stable commitment to each other. They’re unusual, intriguing and complementary. Joss “I’m a Filthy Liar” Whedon even said that Zoe and Wash were the one couple he would never ever break up. They are the couple that makes you want to just see two characters being happy together, instead of the traditional whirlwind romance.

Although I imagine that Zoe is usually the big spoon.

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The Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV Shows on Netflix Streaming

30 Dec

I have this need to not only make people watch the shows I like, but to sit down and watch them at the same time. Something about recapturing the magic vicariously through the coerced enjoyment of others. Sadly, I can’t do that for the internet, but I can make you all watch what I want you to watch. Don’t worry, it’s not shitty Buffy the Vampire Slayer porn (although the acting is probably on par with early Sarah Michelle Gellar.)

Hey! I said no BTVS porn! Get back here!

No. Instead I’m going to give you the top 5 sci-fi/fantasy shows that you could start watching right now. Provided you have Netflix, or know someone who has Netflix, or are an unscrupulous person who pretends to have Netflix that you’re actually stealing from an aged relative. These are all viable lifestyle choices. Just watch these damn shows.

(By the way, I’m going to list them in order of how easy they are to get into, not on how much I like them. Because I love them all.)

5. Doctor Who

If Doctor Who was just this all the time, it would be #1

Doctor Who gets #5 on this list because Season 1 is EXTREMELY hard to get into if you’re not a fan of the old series, cheesy plots, bad CGI, farting monsters, Chris Eccleston’s ears, Rose Tyler’s cat mouth or Russell Davies’ use of extreme closeups on people’s faces.

I think Jackie’s actively embodying four of the things I just mentioned in this picture alone.

That was a really good pitch. Let me start over.

Doctor Who is the story of a 900-1100 year old alien (who looks like an attractive British man) who can travel through time and space in a police box that is bigger on the inside (or smaller on the outside, depending on which companion you are.) The Doctor and his (usually) young and pretty companion travel around solving mysteries that always link back to malevolent alien species. Sometimes there are bowties. Sometimes the Doctor loses his friends or the people he’s trying to save. But he almost always saves the world.

And when he’s not attractive enough, they change actors so he can look like this!

Doctor Who is an amazing series, and you don’t have to know anything about the 1960s version to get into it. Unfortunately, Season 1 (2005) starts off a little shaky. A trash can eats a dude and burps. It’s that kind of show. However, it rapidly gains something that very few sci-fi shows attain: heart. It gives mere lip service to science, but whatever. More than being a show about aliens and time travel (which is often very cool,) Doctor Who is mostly about how terrible it is to be in charge of other people’s safety and happiness, and how lonely it is to be a god.

“Too many beautiful women love me.”

All of the actors who play the Doctor have been brilliant, and each manages to portray a quirky, adventurous, excitable man who really wants to show off his knowledge and impress people. They also manage to show a man who tries to repress his loneliness, his bitterness, his guilt and his shame and can’t quite pull it off.

Watch Doctor Who for the relationships and the acting. Watch it for Steven Moffat’s clever writing or scary bad guys, but mostly watch it to piece together the beautiful, powerful mess of a man who wants to save everyone and never quite manages it.

Total Seasons Available: 6 available on Netflix, but the show is midway through Season 7.
Total Episodes: There are about 87 45-minute episodes, although you have to search through Netflix for a few of the specials.
Best Episode: “Blink” is one of the greatest episodes of television. This award is not up for debate.

4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Six reasons right here why you should watch this show. (Count ’em.)

Buffy the Vampire Slayer is technically the story of an extremely annoying cheerleader who doesn’t want the superpowers that she’s given. Then she gradually learns to slay vampires, kill demons, and solve mysteries, always with a terrible pun and some witty banter. Actually, though, this show is the brilliant deconstruction of almost every trope, genre and pop culture phenomenon ever. And it’s funny as hell.

Buffy is another one of my favorite shows that takes a bit of effort to get into. This is Joss Whedon, whose writer’s block probably cures cancer, but he starts off a little slow. Like Doctor Who, you must be patient with Season 1. Your patience will be rewarded. Buffy has everything you could ever want.

Except when she opens her mouth.

It’s a feminist text set in a campy horror setting. It’s a show that stars powerful women that is not just watched by women and that doesn’t just focus on romance. It delights in classic tropes that you didn’t realize were cliches, and then it inverts them.

Very few high school shows outlast the high school years. Most of them shouldn’t. This one thrived and it stayed fresh for almost its entire run. Inside jokes, sexy-ass romance, Seth Green as a laconic werewolf, clever dialogue, real heart, and mostly this…

Don’t expect this for Seasons 1-3 or you will be disappointed by the amount of fuzzy sweaters

…Are all great reasons to start this brilliant show right now. If you’ve ever hated cliches, wanted more continuity, enjoyed witty banter or had an emotion, this show is for you. If you’ve had too many emotions, try watching Angel.

Total Seasons Available: All 7
Total Episodes: 144 45-minute episodes. It sounds like a big time commitment and it is. Yet I feel no shame in telling you that I downed this series in just over a month and I regret nothing.
Best Episode: The two episodes that embody the extremes of BtVS with the most innovation, beauty and fun are “The Body” and “Once More With Feeling.” I could write essays on “The Body” and I might, because it is the most amazing piece of film ever written or directed. “Once More With Feeling” is just an extremely catchy musical. Continue reading