Early summer bingeing: Sci-fi and politics

What we’re watching today will likely impact what we’re writing about tomorrow - here’s some of what we have started our summers with. This week we write about The 100, hegemonic masculinity, Doctor "Meh", House of Cards and Alix's inability to sit in unmediated silence.

What we’re watching today will likely impact what we’re writing about tomorrow – here’s some of what we have started our summers with.

Art: So, based on numerous recommendations, I finally decided to start The 100. This post-apocalyptic, science fiction drama is something right up my alley. However, I have one nagging problem that continues to pester me as I watch: hegemonic masculinity.

For those not familiar with the concept, it is hard to make it simple. However, it begins with a basic belief that ideas associated with being a man can become toxic. For instance, U.S. has long romanticized the lone hero who sets out on his own (usually riding a horse) to create the life he wants. This myth of masculinity is often about achieving without the help of others. Wanting to achieve individual goals can become wanting to achieve individual goals at the cost of others, and thus toxic.

In The 100, this brand of masculinity can be seen across the characters in both men and women; however, it is also what most often leads to the crises that are created on the show. Over and over again, group decision making is shown as slow and complicated, then a single character “does something.” In the end, others have to live with the consequences of those actions.

This masculine myth of deliberation not constituting action and action only coming from individual risk and reward is problematic. It also seems to be the downfall of the characters on the show over and over again. After a while, one has to wonder why they won’t learn, but hegemonic masculinity is still prevalent in our culture as well. So, why won’t we?

Adam: What am I watching? What am I NOT watching? I am sure this group will have a whole discussion on Wonder Woman, so I will hold on that. I think this is best constructed around two segments:

  • CWTV/DC Season Closers (specifically, The Flash and Arrow)The current season of Doctor Who (aka Doctor Meh).
  • The current season of Doctor Who (aka Doctor Meh).

Andrew: What am I watching? Darn near everything. I just wrapped Season 4 of The 100. (You are welcome Art!) Pounded out Sense8. Binged season one of Ash vs. the Evil Dead. (I’ll leave the zombies out of this because I wrote a zombie post that’s in process. Trust me.) Wrapped up the last season of Luther and Sherlock. I’m just starting the 12th season of Supernatural. So yeah. Just about everything.

However, I want to give kudos to House of Cards. In our reality, where there are multiple simultaneous investigations into the leader of the free world regarding connections to Russia involving everyone from Jeff Sessions to Michael Flynn, where said leader cannot keep his unhinged Tweets to himself, and where the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation just testified in front of Congress regarding the President’s interference in said investigations, I thought that there was no way House of Cards could live up to what I call “The Current BANANAPANTS Situation of American Politics.”

I was wrong. If you think what’s going on in real life is crazy, watch House of Cards. Frank Underwood gives everyone a big smack of his initials, gets a couple FUs back, and Claire – OMG – Claire! (No spoilers!)

Alix: Oh geez – this could all be about The 100 right now, couldn’t it? I’m the kind of person who has to have something on in the background almost constantly. Sometimes I re-watch old favorites that I don’t have to pay close attention to. Sometimes I know that the work I’m going to be doing won’t take all of my brain power, so I put on something new. For these purposes I’ve JUST started watching The 100. It seems just fluffy enough to not have to always pay complete attention, but interesting enough that I won’t get bored when I’m doing a lot of tedious work. I’m JUST a couple episodes in at the moment, but the first episode definitely has me hooked – it was a solid pilot. There wasn’t too much over-explaining of the world, its people, and the conventions therein – we continue to learn things about the world as we progress through the episodes and the stories. (There’s a LITTLE bit of awkward explaining, but compared to many other series, I think it’s at a minimum).

Adam – re: your thoughts on Doctor Who, I personally think almost ALL of the episodes with Capaldi’s Doctor have been meh (and that’s putting it nicely). His Doctor has been written completely inconsistently. While I have not seen much of the current season (it’s sitting on my Tivo), it seems to me as though the show (writers/directors/etc) just does not  – or did not – have a good grasp of exactly who this Doctor is and what his relationships with those around him should look like. I don’t think it’s a reflection on Capaldi’s acting ability at all – I think it’s inconsistent and poor writing.

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