Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Arrow episode 3

I talked about Arrow yesterday on my blog.

WARNING: Spoilers for the first three episodes.

I missed the first few minutes because I had a phone call (picture but no sound), then the reception went down (no picture or sound) but I got it working and the first line dialogue I hear is:

Guy: "You should come with to meet him."
Oliver: "I slept with his fiancé."
Guy: "That was before the wedding."
Oliver: "It was at the rehearsal dinner."
Guy: "Yeah, that's before the wedding."
Then they both laugh.

What a shame.

That's great if it's a sleazy episode of Friends but this is our hero. It annoys me.

For the third week in a row, I'm not impressed. I should probably stop watching, instead of watching and complaining on my blog. It's just so difficult to give up Paul Blackthorne again!

I actually think it's a good show and done well (even if the writers are going one way when I'd go another - and they're missing golden opportunities) but it doesn't quite fit my taste.

On the good hand, from the first episode, I hoped the bodyguard would find out Arrow's identity. It seemed like it'd be a natural move. (As I said yesterday, I haven't read any original Arrow material so I don't know how the story played out.) Now I have to wait until next week to see the bodyguard coming to terms with his charge being Arrow! (Not that I'm hooked, I just want to see it.)

Oh, and this was cool for me:

In the first episode, Oliver was kidnapped and beaten for information. I assumed it was the stepfather who ordered this done. I was arrogant about it, I knew it was the stepfather. I was rolling my eyes as they were all dramatic and the camera wasn't showing the perpetrator.

When they revealed who it really was - I was shocked. That was very cool. If the show can keep the great fight scenes, stay not-so-bloody, drop the boring sex talk and not drag out the island back story, I might be able to watch and enjoy the show. As long as Paul Blackthorne stays in it. And I'd like some underlying humor, please, if it isn't asking too much. Just a bit, to draw me toward these characters I'm supposed to like.

(I'll have to watch the first few minutes on Hulu+ tomorrow to see why that guy was tattooing names all over his body. That was just weird.)

Anyone else watching this show? Liking it? Having problems with it?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Arrow the TV Series

First of all - I have not read or seen any original Arrow material, this new TV show is my first exposure.

I watched the first episode of Arrow a couple weeks ago. I love superhero movies, TV shows and books. Could that be why I wasn't all that impressed by Arrow? There are so many similar storylines, I'm not grabbed by this one.

Starting a series with a man cheating on his girlfriend (with her sister) is boring to me. And he's supposed to be our hero? I don't see it.

He's cute, he's got that going for him but that's about it for me.

And his disguise is a hood? I guess that beats Superman but this show is presented as serious and moody.

However, I adore Paul Blackthorne, I loved him from the moment I started watching Dresden Files when it first aired on the SciFi Channel back in 2007. In this, he plays a cop, the father of the sisters the Arrow guy 'dated'. The one daughter is alive and well. The one that was cheating is now dead (sort of because she was cheating - karma, I guess). So the cop/dad is no more a fan of Oliver Queen (the Arrow guy) than I am.

I watched the second episode of Arrow and I'm still not hooked but I'll watch the third. I noticed the Arrow guy wears a mask of some sort over his eyes. It might be make up, I'm not sure, but at least he's attempting to blur his features.

The action is good and I enjoy the stunts and special effects. They're not overdone, which I like.

And Paul Blackthorne is in it. In case you missed that.

I think my only problem is that the show hasn't set itself apart from all the other shows, movies and books I've enjoyed throughout the years. If it had a humorous streak, I'd probably be hooked by now, regardless of the typical storyline.

I didn't like the end of the second episode when Oliver Queen (the Arrow guy) decides to adopt a billionaire playboy persona and show up drunk to a press conference/shopping mall opening or whatever it was. He embarrasses himself and his family just to let us know that his secret identity is actually Oliver Queen and that Arrow is his true self.

Been there, done that. Zorro is my favorite superhero in which the unmasked person is actually the disguise.

The books (written by Johnston McCulley in 1919) are a bit harsher than the Disney version (Zorro played by Guy Williams in1957) but both depicted the son of a rich man as a foppish, lazy, disinterested man. The TV show, having to keep the disguise longer than the original stories, had Don Diego reexamine his actions (or lack of) every so often and he had to face the scorn his friends, neighbors and bad guys threw on him when he wouldn't rise to the occasion.

He wouldn't fight. He wouldn't stand up for freedom or other people's rights.

The most difficult person to keep up the disguise with was his father - because the father accepted him no matter what. The disappointment would read clearly on his face (shame for his son) and be erased by fatherly acceptance. Sometimes he'd get mad and chew his son out for not standing up for justice. Other times he would just look at him sadly and quietly - you knew he wished his son was different but he wouldn't say it. And then the father would pick up his sword and go fight alone.

THAT is drama. THAT is gripping. THAT is what's missing in Arrow. I already don't like the hero because he cheated on his girlfriend. (Besides the obvious, I find myself wondering, if he can't keep his pants zipped, how am I s'posed to buy that he can clean up rampant corruption in his city?)

I'm supposed to like this guy, respect him, root for him, care what happens to him?

I guess Oliver Queen acting drunk in public didn't sit right with me because of his terrible back story. He watched his father shoot himself to save him. Then he had to carry and bury his own father and then lived on a deserted island for the next five years. That'll mess you up, I admit. But with such a heavy, heart-wrenching past, why go for the stupid drunk persona? I think the writers could have pulled me in if they made him carefree and disinterested because of his dark past. He'll eat ice cream instead of run his father's business. He'll play with the new iPad during meetings and laugh at inappropriate times just because he's not on that island. They could have played up the social-awkwardness his character might have (at least in the beginning) due to being alone for five years and now thrown into the public spotlight.

I'm not saying I don't like the show because I would have written it differently but I guess, as a writer myself, I'm miffed they're leaving all these wonderful paths untrodden upon. The writers seem to be skipping over the unique aspects of this superhero that does set him apart from all the others.

Batman watched his parents murdered before his very eyes. That's different from Superman, who was adopted and then raised by a loving farm couple.

Harry Dresden's parents' deaths are not what they at first seem - but you'll have to watch or read those to find out why. (Or do both, you wouldn't want to miss Paul Blackthorne.)

Arrow reads to me as drama for the sake of drama. Situations created for the sole purpose of shoving drama down our throats - instead of them creating situations in which drama would naturally follow.

Am I being too harsh on this fledgling show? Perhaps.

Unlike certain channels (ahem, SciFi, why the heck did you cancel Dresden Files after one season?), I'm willing to give Arrow a try.

I hear John Borrowman will be making an appearance. (He played Captain Jack Harkness in the new Doctor Who.)

I can't wait to see that!

And yes, I'll probably only keep watching because Paul Blackthorne is in it.

For now, that's enough.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Writer's Police Academy - Handcuffs Are Uncomfortable

Writer's Police Academy is a unique convention for writers to experience the things they write about.

In any regular writer's convention, a class named 'Handcuffing and Arrest Technique' would likely be chock full of good information for a mystery writer to compose a realistic arrest scene.

But in THIS convention, you actually get arrested!

You can't really see in the picture but you always want to arrest a person with their palms facing out so that even if they've hidden a key, they can't get at the lock.

I've got to tell you, I struggled and moved my hands and wrists and there would be no way to twist my hands anywhere near the lock.

I NEVER noticed prisoners (or anyone in cuffs) with their palms facing together or out but that night I was flipping through the channels in the hotel room and they had a documentary on a prison and they happened to show a prisoner in that lovely orange jumpsuit and his hands were cuffed with his palms facing out.

Not only is this convention great for information, real experience and a lot of laughs but even if you have an unobservant mind like mine (I've never been accused of being a Sherlock Holmes), you'll remember the info because you'll see it in real life! Because YOU'RE involved in the activities, not just taking notes.

(I forget to take notes at this convention, to tell you the truth. Heck - I forget I'm a writer at this convention because I'm having so much fun or I'm so intrigued!!!)

Stan Lawhorne is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force and retired police officer. He was in SWAT and currently is a field training officer and SCAT instructor - he teaches self defense and arrest tactics.

Cpl. Dee Jackson was one of the first female soldiers in the Gulf War. She's retired from the Marine Corp. She helped Stan out in this class, by being a good-natured victim of his handcuffing techniques.

They were highly entertaining and professional. That's another highlight of the Writer's Police Academy - these guys aren't (necessarily) teachers or instructors, they're real professionals taking us through their world.

Stan wrapped a strap around Dee's feet and attached the lead to the cuffs.

This would be used for particularly violent or uncooperative suspects.

It was a process even with Dee allowing him to do so. I couldn't imagine how difficult it would be if someone REALLY didn't want to be hogtied...

To sum up:


Writer's Police Academy 2011

My Mom's Blog about Writer's Police Academy

Monday, October 1, 2012

Writer's Police Academy 2012

Writer's Police Academy 2012 was - wait for it - AWESOME!

I don't know how Lee Lofland, the instructors, the volunteers and everyone else involved with putting it together topped last year but they did.

Check back for posts about the different classes and demos.

All my non-work time has been spent with the new addition to our family - my cute little month-old niece - so blogging has taken a back seat lately!

But rest assured, I'm back and can't wait to catch you up on the Writer's Police Academy, as well as other things going on.

I'll write soon!