Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

Posts tagged “J.J. abrams

Here’s the Thing: Revolution

Guilty Pleasure: something one enjoys and considers pleasurable despite feeling guilt for enjoying it.

Revolution has become my guilty pleasure.

Let me back up.

I have a love/hate relationship with J.J. Abrams and when I say “love/hate” I mean I mostly love every project that he is involved in. LOST and Fringe were defining shows in my television history. I remember Regarding Henry and Forever Young as staples in my childhood movie diet (okay, I was a weird kid). The “hate” part happens when he makes something that I find simply unbearable. Like Alcatraz.

For me, though, Abrams has been more hit than miss.

So, when Revolution came along, a creature dwelling in the middle of my gut rolled over and seized control of my brain waves. I knew it was too high concept for lesser mortals, but Abrams has the chops, right?

The pilot was less than impressive. I wasn’t sure why. Perhaps it was because everything was revealed in the trailers. There wasn’t any new ground covered. Maybe it was because of a shallow Katniss-wannabe in the lead (no one would accuse me of being a Katniss fan). Revolution wasn’t breaking any barriers. It wasn’t something I hadn’t seen before. While the main mystery of the show is “what caused the blackout?”, I have a hard time wrapping my head around why I should care. I wanted to see people moving on with life, rather than dwelling on a 15 years gone past.

Revolution Hunger Games

My younger sibling, who I feel responsible for, has been chosen. Quick! To the bow and arrows!

Is Abrams attempting to reach the young adult post-apocalyptic dystopian audience? If so, he’ll need a few more bread references (Panem? Peeta? Tell me I’m not the only one loafing around…)

But, the worst, most unforgivable maneuver? My favorite actress in the show was killed off in the first episode.

Or was she?

Elizabeth Mitchell.

Elizabeth Mitchell is the J.J. Abrams secret weapon. Her appearance in LOST at the beginning of Season 3 reinvigorated my passion for that show. Finally, I was watching the intriguing people. Finally, we were seeing a new side to the mystery that had history and context.

After LOST, Mitchell went on to star in V. Though not an Abrams project, Mitchell again brought something to the series that was undeniably her.

So, when I was told in episode 1 that Mitchell’s character was dead, I signed off. But, she was in the promos for the next episode. Kids, when Elizabeth Mitchell shows up in a scene, there’s only one thing you need to know: Shit’s going down.

Episode 2 of Revolution was again underwhelming. Something about the American flag referred to as a rebel symbol, as though it was something lost in history (while only 15 years has passed, so it’s still within working memory). The episode bounces from the “present day: 15 Years Later” timeline to the days immediately after the blackout. During one scene, when I was practically yelling at the television for someone to grow a pair and DO SOMETHING, Mitchell picked up the gun and did.

Elizabeth Mitchell Revolution

Following my emphatic “thank you”, we flashed back to 15 Years Later and, lo and behold ***SPOILER***, she isn’t dead at all.

No, no, my friends. Elizabeth Mitchell lives on in both timelines. The strong, powerful woman is playing a con, or being kept prisoner, or God knows what. So here’s the thing:

Rachel Matheson is the most interesting character on the show. She doesn’t need that complexity nonsense or fabricated teen angst. All she needs to do is take action. I will be watching gleefully as she takes matters into her own hands and kicks ass.

If he pulls a Joss Whedon, so help me…

If you’re looking for something extra exciting, don’t miss J.J. Abrams on Conan coming up this Thursday, 10/4. It will be a-mah-zing!

The Babbling Paradigm

Recently, at a book signing, an author told at story about meeting Sue Grafton.

This author was at a major publishing event, one of those ALA’s or RT’s or RWA conferences where authors at different stages of their careers hobnob with the other members of their profession.

You all know who Sue Grafton is, right? The Alphabet Mysteries? A is for Alibi? Chances are you’ve seen these wildly popular mysteries around. She’s a very popular author.

While Jane Author was hanging out, someone said to her, “Don’t look now, but Sue Grafton is standing right behind you.”

Like all self-respecting human beings would do in that situation, Jane whipped around and yelled, “SUE!” For the next few minutes, during which she was shaking Sue Grafton’s hand, Jane blabbed her way through the encounter and didn’t actually remember what was said.

Which brings me to my point:

Who, if you had the chance to meet them, would you absolutely flip your shit over?

During lunch (with the author), she laughed about her Sue Grafton encounter and admitted that she would do it again. I answered, “We all have someone we would so that to. It’s just finding that person.”

I think this is an interesting question. Everyone has someone they would become a babbling idiot over. In the recent Nerdist podcast, host Chris Hardwick admits that he got a little flustered when talking to Tina Fey. If Tina Fey made time in her schedule to hang out with me for an hour and a half, I might lose it a little bit myself.

We’ve all seen that moment when the little girl meets the Disney princess at Disney World. Her eyes light up, she gasps, she runs across the park paying no heed to what’s going on around her. She wants to tell her everything. She babbles.

We never really grow out of that phase.

I have my stock answers: Robert Downey, Jr. and J.J. Abrams, but I don’t know if that’s particularly true. I suppose I would actually have to meet them in order to know whether or not that’s true.

You’re Iron Man. I-you-you’re Iron Man.

When does the mere idea of a meeting person become life-changing?

At the same event, a girl hung back and waited a little, quiet and unassuming. She stood in line, got her books signed, and walked around the store until the rest of the crowd cleared out a bit and the authors were left alone, signing stock and making plans for later.

When the time was right, she walked up to one of the authors and asked, “Are you ____?”

Author: “Yes.”

Girl: “Did you write _____?”

Author: “Yes, I did.”

Girl: “It’s one of my favorite books! I read it, like, a year ago and I want to read it again every time I finish another book!” She became a babbling idiot.

What does it take to be the person on the other side? How do we accept that praise? It’s not just admiration, it’s adoration. It’s breathtaking to behold. As a storyteller, I can only pray that I can reach someone on that level. You can write it off, play it down in front of your peers, ignore it in front of your friends, but that has to be an amazing moment.

You changed someone.

And, in the end, that’s all we can ever hope for.