tried to eat the safe banana
11 June 2010 @ 11:03 pm
Best Beloved said no more recs until Friday! And now it's Friday. So: crossovers.

The One in Which We Learn That Jack Harkness Has Apparently Been Spending Some Time in Chat. Think about That for a Bit. Bluebird, by basingstoke. Torchwood x Addams Family, Ianto Jones/Jack Harkness.

Okay. I have seen the Addams Family movies - um, two of them, anyway. Are there more? But my point is - that was the Addams Family played for camp. And you might think, when you see the fandoms for this story, that that's how it would go here, because, let's face it, camp always seems like such a good fit for Torchwood (or Jack Harkness, anyway).

This story is not camp. If there is a country called Camponia, or Campite, or something like that - this story is located on a different planet than that country. This is the Addams Family taken seriously. And holy fuck it is creepy. If they'd made a movie out of this, people would still be watching it, and then they'd be sleeping with all the lights on. But t isn't horror as we typically think of it - there's no undead serial killer with a need to shove his chainsaw into token minorities and teenaged girls who have had sex. (Yes, I am entirely aware that I am stereotyping the entire genre unfairly, and there's a reason: when I was in high school, I sometimes got dragged to horror movies, and if you don't understand movies as storytelling and are entirely unused to discounting visual scenes of violence, horror movies are hell. I learned that it was better to spend the entire time staring at my own hands. So my experience with the genre is limited and it's never going to get better while I have any say in it. ) It's not even scary. It's just - it's just creepy. I can't put it another way.

And I love it. I love how well this works, how completely and bizarrely this makes sense, and how utterly I believe the last line. This is one of those crossovers that should never have worked, and yet it works so well that I find myself wondering why things are never this awesome in canon.

If that hasn't convinced you, I offer you a major bonus: after you read this story, you will think of your family, no matter how weird it is, as almost shockingly mundane. And you will always be able to tell yourself it could be worse when they come to visit.

The One That Teaches Us That Really Good Lipstick Has Many Uses. Seriously, I Almost Want to Buy Some, Just in Case. I Lie, I Cheat, I Steal (and I Just Don't Get Any Respect), by fiercelydreamed. White Collar x Leverage. Genish.

There are, in general, two kinds of crossovers for me: the kind that make me wrinkle up my nose in confusion and blink at my screen blankly (sometimes going so far as to say, "Really? Really?"), and the kind that make me do a wiggle dance of glee because SO OBVIOUSLY YES. I have learned, in my time in fandom, that the category a crossover is in does not signify; you get awesomeness in both categories, and both categories bring equal amounts of joy. (The only difference is how you feel if it doesn't work; with the first kind, you feel stupid ("What was I thinking, clicking on that DCU x LotR crossover with the Batman/Legolas pairing? My Bitter Old Fandom Queen raised me better than that!"), but with the second, you feel betrayed ("But it was a SURE THING!").)

This story fits into the SO OBVIOUSLY YES category. (Disappointment doesn't even enter into it, of course.) Because, I mean, totally: Leverage and White Collar. They were BORN to cross tracks. When I saw this story's header, I did the customary wiggle dance, all squeaky and happy. But I didn't anticipate the awesomeness that ensued, although, in all fairness, I'm not sure anyone could.

I mean, this story has so many great parts. I enjoy seeing Neal Caffrey being the Unflappable Hostage as much as the next girl, and of course I love the role-playing the Leverage folks get up to, and naturally I like seeing Elizabeth Burke reveal her fabulousness (in fabulous shoes, to boot). But this story is so much more than the sum of its parts. There is extra wonderfulness hidden in the kerning, I swear.

And then there's Hardison's narration. Dear Fandom: Please write many more stories with Hardison as the viewpoint character. Like, even in totally other fandoms. Because never has there been a character who so totally spoke the fannish, geeky language; you could write a story in which he communicates entirely in quotes from Star Wars to celebrate Star Wars day, and it would be, if anything, only surprising he didn't reprogram all freeway signs to speak in Star Wars quotes, too. And when he's not getting his geek on, he's checking out people's asses. He's one of us, is my point.

And you know you want to read that.

The One Featuring the Most Terrifying Sandwich Ever Made in the United States. China, by [personal profile] torch. Highlander x X-Files, Methos/Fox Mulder.

Okay, there are two ways to do this kind of crossover - there's the way where everyone has secrets (in this case, especially Methos) and the crossover characters don't necessarily know or ever figure out all of each other's secrets, and then there's the way where the author gives all the characters a sealed enveloped containing ep summaries, Wikipedia entries, and headshots. I prefer the first way.

And that is the route Torch goes here. I love stories like this, where you see two characters you know well (or, in my case, only sort of know well, since I read this back when I still thought the X-Files characters were named "Mully" and "Sculder," and since then have progressed all the way to the point where I can even tell you the first name of - okay, one of them, which I had to look up just now, BUT STILL) meeting and trying to figure each other out. And I especially love it when the characters can't figure each other out entirely.

But this is not just some snippet of awesomeness (although I tell you what: Torch's snippets are so reliably awesome that many fans have ascended to a higher plane just reading them). This is a whole story, with, you know, Mulder being Mulder, Scully being Scully, and Methos being whoever he feels like being this decade. There's a small town! There's accusations of witchcraft! No one gets burned at the stake! I just - I really love that it's not just about Methos and Mulder; there's all these other things going on.

And there's Methos, and Methos is never a hardship; I would read Methos is every fandom ever devised - I mean, Methos in Gundam Wing? Sure. Methos/Johnny Weir? Why the hell not? Methos on Sesame Street? I have no idea how it would work, but I'd read it.

Plus, you know, there's the sex. That doesn't hurt. I'm just saying.

The One That Teaches Us That a Giant Alien Robot Best Friend Is Hard on Family Values. Bumblee ex Machina, by hackthis. Generation Kill x Transformers. Brad Colbert/Nate Fick.

I think I first suspected hackthis had superpowers when she picked a song for me. If you ever get the chance to do this, take it; she has uncanny gifts. She found a song that was so perfectly me in every particular that I was astonished, and it is still one of my favorites. One of the main reasons that I haunt her LJ is the hope she'll do another song meme.

But, okay, fine, so she has a song-related superpower - that doesn't mean she has powers, plural, right? Except she does. It's so unfair. I'm not even sure what her other superpower is called - TFV Catnip seems awfully specific. Maybe it's just called You Know You Wanna. Whatever the case, I have come to accept that if she plunges into a fandom, I have no choice but to follow her. I resisted her on Entourage for the longest time, and what was the result? I ended up in Entourage anyway, and she laughed at me for waiting. Seriously. I'm done resisting this woman.

I did think, though, that she might have pushed her superpowers too far by crossing Generation Kill with Transformers (although, you know, from what I understand about Michael Bey's profound love for the American military, maybe it does make sense). On the one hand, we have a canon about a bunch of sweaty, mouthy guys in Humvees. On the other hand, we have a canon in which those Humvees would transform into giant alien robots. It doesn't seem like a natural fit, right?

It fits. That's all I'm going to say. It works. And I have a strange soft spot for high school AU Brad and Nate (um, probably that can be blamed on hackthis, too, but then so many things can be), so this story is like extra joy for me.

Really, I'm not surprised. This woman could cross Justified with Jack and the Beanstalk, and I'd probably end up loving it. And you would, too, so stop resisting and start reading.

Also posted at Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.
tried to eat the safe banana
28 August 2006 @ 07:40 am
Last night, Best Beloved said to me, "Hey, remember when you used to rec fic?"

Of course, I immediately snapped, "I still do rec fic." And I was entirely correct. But it seems that some actual recommending of actual fan fiction might go a long way toward proving that.

And, possibly because it's been long enough that I have forgotten a hard-earned lesson, I've decided to start with everyone's favorite thing: an extra-long set of shorter gen stories!

Um. I don't hear any actual cheers. Or even any polite clapping.

That's - no, that's perfectly all right. I'll settle for a "Well, it's better than nothing." Can I get one of those, at any rate?

Fine. See if I care. I'm going to do it anyway. Let me just see if I can ... hmm. You, um, press some buttons, right? It's kind of been a while. But I'm sure it's like riding a bicycle. Although, of course, I can't actually do that.

Ah, well; unlike riding a bike - which, seriously, I have never understood how you're supposed to learn that, since you have to be able to do it just to sit on the damn thing - it's probably best to learn by doing. Shall we begin?

The One That Reminds Us That Batman Is Not Just a Mysteriously Sexy and Seriously Broken Crimefighter in Need of Several Successive Lifetimes of Therapy. He's Also a Skilled Nurturer of Those Qualities in Others! Squandered My Resistance, by Petra, aka petronelle. DCU.

Perspective is a major kink of mine, and this story hits my kink just about as well as anything ever has. (Okay. Except An Instance of the Fingerpost, which hit my kink for something like 500 densely printed pages and still left me wanting more.) The perspective, in this case, is Jim Gordon's, and if you know anything about the Batman canon (and I do mean anything - like, if you know who the Robins are, and how the first two retired, that's enough), you know more than he does here - only a bit more, though, because the man's no idiot. So it's not like we're learning any new plot in this one; the change in perspective is the story. And it's amazing what that change can do.

Jim Gordon is a good man. But he accepts the unacceptable, or what should be unacceptable, because, see - Robins, whatever else they are, are kids. (Dick Greyson was age 12 when he started as Robin, as you'll know if you're even vaguely familiar with All Star Batman and Robin the Boy Wonder (and if you have a sense of humor at all, click on that link, people - you don't need to know anything about comics to marvel at this truly stunning train wreck), also known as Who the Fuck Are These People in the Batman and Robin Costumes and How Did They Get out of Arkham Asylum?) Hands up everyone who thinks that it's a good idea to put kids in spandex and send them out to fight vicious criminals and psychotics, often in the company of someone only marginally saner than said opponents. All right. Frank Miller, seriously, put that hand down. And, oh my god, do not even tell me where you have your other hand. Okay. Anyone else have a hand up? No. And Jim Gordon's hand wouldn't be up, either. But he still accepts it - and not only that; he uses it, uses the Robins. And this story explains that. Which you will grant is amazing.

The other amazing thing about this story is that it's interstitial. All the action takes place off the page; it's like this is the text that happens in the space between the panels of a comic book. So, really, all we see is a series of conversations. But you don't need to know a thing about the canon to understand what's happening all around these conversations. This is the written equivalent of the kind of play where you hear the shots and the body fall, but you never see anything on stage but the characters' reactions. Except that in this story, we don't hear the shots. But it's impossible not to hear the body fall.

No, wait, I was wrong. There's a third thing that's amazing about this story, and that thing is Jim Gordon himself. Because on the Worst Jobs in Fiction list, Police Commissioner of Gotham has to rank in the top 50. And Commissioner Gordon is just a guy, a decent guy in an awful job he does because he can. That, to my mind, makes him as interesting as Batman, but it's rare that anyone, canon or fan fiction, actually shows that. Petra does. And that? Is totally amazing, and I love her for it.

The One That May Actually Make You Grateful for Adolescence. Who Knew That Was Even Possible? Slouching, Forever, by Torch, aka flambeau. Good Omens.

And now let us speak briefly of Torch, who has evidently recently ascended to the next level in her mystical pursuit of fictional perfection; in fact, I suspect she may be close to achieving union with the fictional godhead. If you cruise by her house, I bet you'll find her all swathed in robes and sitting in a lotus position, meditating. And then, once in a while, she'll leap up and go over to her computer and type stories like this. She calls them snippets, but oh my god. In almost all of them, she's turned the canon inside out, shaken out its pockets, and found a whole new universe inside, and I - I'm kind of scared of her, actually. What if she has other powers? What if she can change the universe or something?

I'm just saying, maybe we should wonder if there's a reason that Lance Bass came out recently.

Anyway. This story is maybe, maybe my favorite of all the "snippets" she's done recently, although it's kind of locked in a three-way tie with Over the Hills and Far Away and Suburban Consumption Rituals. (Which was written for meeeeee! And that just proves that Torch has mystical powers, because, as anyone who has ever gotten one will tell you, I give the shittiest fic prompts in all the universe. Only a very few, highly cherished writers have ever managed to make one of mine work. And yet - Torch took one of my prompts - and did - well, this.)

Of course, I've spent all this time talking about Torch because I can't really tell you anything about Slouching, Forever, except that you need to have read Good Omens to get the story. (But, well, you need to have read Good Omens, period, no exceptions, so I'm hoping all of you have.) If you have, get clicking. (The other two snippets, by the way, are SGA, and I can't tell you anything but that about either, except that they are just fucking amazing, so if by some chance you haven't read Good Omens yet, head for the other ones. And then get your butt to a library or bookstore and do some light reading about Armageddon.)

The One That Proves (Yet Again) That the Ancients Are Not Our Friends. In Fact, Just As a General Rule, I Think It's Best Not to Trust Those Who Think That Superior Power Makes Them Superior Beings. Uncanny Valley, by Sarah T., aka harriet_spy. Stargate: Atlantis.

I. Here's the thing. I secretly kind of believe this story. I've seen dozens of fictional explanations for Why John Is Weird (But We Love Him Anyway), and many of them made me want to do highly intimate things with the author. And most of them really worked. But this one works maybe the most of all of them, and - well, it doesn't make me want to do highly intimate things with Sarah T. It makes me want to take her hostage until she writes a fix-it sequel to this. Because the fix is hinted at, and I believe it's coming, but I want more. I want an ending with puppies and sparkles and love and very probably some pie. In general, I need stories with explicit happy endings way more than I need or even want stories with explicit sex, and for this one - well. I want "And they lived happily ever after" in writing. Signed by the author. And notarized. (Doesn't have to be in her own blood or anything, though. I'm no fanatic.)

You know, I'm kind of amused that I'm writing this whole "This gutted me but in a good way" writeup for a story in which no one dies and no one is, like, raped or tortured or drained by the Wraith or just anything like that. All that really happens is that two people eat breakfast. But, you know, in fiction, especially when it comes to making people honestly ache for a character, less is more. You really want to turn the knife? Don't give me star-crossed lovers killing themselves because they each think the other's dead. Don't give me all the death, loss, torment, and abuse you can pack into 57 chapters. Give me one loss, one loss of something essential, and then make the characters - and me - live with it.

(I'm also amused that I didn't rec the other SGA gen story that seemed to fit in this set because I was like, "Nah. Don't want people to think all gen is depressing." But, really. It's not! Even this story isn't, actually! It's just - it hurts. But there's a happy ending on the far horizon, and - okay, screw it, that's never going to work. How's this: the last story in this set is the perfect antidote. I'm offering the pain and the cure, people. What more can I do?)

The One That Proves That You Really Can Get Used to Anything. But You Might Not Want To. All His Funerals (Back in Black Remix 2006), by Punk, aka runpunkrun. X-Files.

This is such a small story in terms of word count. And it's in a fandom that I, despite all my efforts, still don't understand at all. But it doesn't matter - you can read this no matter what you know about the canon, as long as you know something about serial fiction. Because this is, yes, a gorgeous story about how one person gets used to a very particular kind of loss, but it's also a great meta commentary, because we've all been through this, I think, in one canon or another.

(I realized this at the end of X2, which I saw with my mother and Best Beloved. My mother knows nothing about comic books and had never heard of the X-Men before the first movie. And my mother is, by the way, the queen of being spoiler-free. As in, she saw The Phantom Menace and had no idea that Anakin was going to grow up to be - spoiler warning, people! - Darth Vader. And that Darth was Luke's father. Anyway, at the end of X2, she was all upset, and Best Beloved and I were stunned that anyone could be upset by that ending. Because knowing comics mean you develop the same attitude that Scully has in this story.

And, wait. Did I just spoil the story (or X2) or not? I can't tell. Um. If I did, someone let me know so I can cut-tag it; even if it is a spoiler, I don't think it'll have any effect on your enjoyment of either, but I aim to be polite. My mama - okay, she didn't give a shit about my manners, but my internet mama raised me right. Admittedly, my internet mama was Usenet, so she mostly did it via a constant stream of very clear examples of what not to do, but still.)

But here is the coolest part of this story - cooler even than the meta commentary. This is Punk remixing one of her own stories, and how insanely excellent is that? I would so love it if other folks who have been writing a while did this, because I've read the original of this story, and it is just. Um. Not the same. At all. Whereas the remix is brilliance. So the two stories together are the most perfect example in the world of how Punk has changed as a writer, and I would love to see that same demonstration for other people. So if any of y'all are, you know, bored or anything - well, just don't say I never give activity suggestions along with my recs.

The One That Gives a Whole New Meaning to the Phrase 'Body Dysmorphic Disorder.' The Kingdom of Heaven, by c_elisa. X-Men comicsverse.

This story contains spoilers for a certain development in at least one iteration of the X-Men, uh, "plotline," for lack of a better word. (Sorry, but I have no idea how many X-Men books/movies/universes/parallel dimensions/other assorted thingies have this development, and I lack the software equivalent of the TARDIS crossed with Hal, which is what it would take for me figure that out.) I'm not at all sure I can discuss the story without mentioning that same spoiler. So I"m cut tagging this.Collapse )

The One That Proves That, Looking at It from a Technical Perspective, the Wizard of Oz Should Have Been a Zombie Story. Big Damn Zombies, Sir, by shrift. Firefly.

This is another fandom I don't know from Adam, Eve, or in fact the entire garden of eden. I mean, Jayne - that's the guy with the hat, right? I see him in vids, acting dim or showing the ethics-free brand of cunning. He's generally comic relief in vids, except he also occasionally seems to do the thing that no one else could quite manage to, even though it really needed to be done. But, hey, I don't know him at all, so I could be totally wrong there.

My point is that obviously you don't need to know diddly-squat about Jayne or Firefly to enjoy this story. Because, see, what happens here is that Jayne turns into a zombie, and mirth ensues.

Now, wait. You need to understand just how weird it is that I am recommending a story about zombies as comic relief. Because, okay, I admit it - I'm afraid of zombies. I was not the happiest person in all of fandom when zombie stories got popular for a while there, because I'd be reading a story quite happily and then suddenly Daniel Jackson would be lurching around calling for brains. (But I never did see, say, zombie Aragorn, so I have much to be thankful for. Believe me, I'm quite aware of it.) And I would have to flee the story, or possibly the room, for a while.

But this story is funny even to a certified zombiephobe, because - I just, I can't explain it. It just is. I avoided it, for obvious title reasons, for quite a while, and I so should not have, because Shrift proves that zombies can, in fact, be entertaining to have around, providing they are made from the right sort of character. Or, more specifically, providing that the right sort of characters are standing around commenting on the zombie, because it is the dialog that makes this story. And that includes, but is not limited to, the dialog that goes, "Braaaaaaaains."

(I do feel the need to state, just for the record, that there is nothing amusing about zombies. They are a major imaginary scourge against which our planet has no defenses. Garlic does not work on zombies, people. Think about it. And in the next election, make yours a vote against the zombie menace. And don't forget to ask your politician of choice what he's doing to prevent the zombie takeover!)
tried to eat the safe banana
29 January 2006 @ 01:43 am
First, a tiny request for help. See, I am currently typing this while seated on a chair that - okay, no one is allowed to laugh - has a tendency to collapse in a way that dumps me on my butt on a hardwood floor. Like, this has happened more than once. This week. Also, it makes these very ominous noises when you sit in it, or move it, or look at it too closely. And parts keep coming off of it, and some of them are bound to be important.

So - anyone out there have recommendations for a good computer chair? Something comfy and, you know, ergonomically correct. That wouldn't just fall over from time to time. Ideally, something with rolly feet, although I don't insist on it. And, also - is there a decent online source for these things, or am I going to have to venture into the real world to buy one? Help me, people. I am on tenterhooks, here, and not because I'm excited, but because I'm very likely to fall over backwards at any moment. Makes it hard to recommend things, although I persevere nobly. (It is so noble. The recommender's calling cannot be defeated by mere chairs!)

Okay. Now. Vids.

This is the last damn post in the giant series of vid recommendations. I have recommended at least one vid for every fandom (except books and ones I haven't seen vids for) that topped 150 votes on the poll. I feel accomplished. If you managed to wade through these posts, you should, too.

And you know, I'm really looking forward to recommending some FF, for a change. I think the vids are getting to me. I've started to have vid fantasies for every song I hear. Elvis says, "a little less conversation, a little more action, please," and I immediately think of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Mike Doughty says, "It's your misfortune that sweetens my song," and I think about Brokeback Mountain, a movie I haven't even seen. (But I've read the story! And you could so vid the story to that song! If, you know, it was possible to vid something that had no visual source.) Nick Cave talks about a man with a red right hand, and I think of Yami no Matsuei, and the thing is, I don't even think you could vid Red Right Hand. I know damn well that I can't vid anything. And yet it's become the 24-hour fandom vid show in my brain. Clearly, I need to stop thinking about this for a while. Also maybe lie in a darkened room for a bit.

Will I be recommending more vids? Probably. It gives meaning to my compulsive vid-watching habits, for one thing. Plus, I'm starting to have the same reaction to really good vids that I do to really good fan fiction: I feel this overwhelming urge to share, to get everyone on earth to enjoy this. I'm like an Amway saleswoman, here, except that I still have some part of my soul.

So. On to the vids. No obligation to download! Try before you, um, don't buy!

Previous parts of this series: one, two, and three.


I've never seen X-Files. I never will. I barely know who the main characters are (although I'm learning!), and all I knew about the show itself before this month is that it was long, complicated, and very popular. But I developed an inexplicable fascination with it while I was doing this project. I can pretty much trace it to the comments on my third post in this series, wherein runpunkrun and a number of what I can only assume are members of her evil cohort revealed to me that Scully is really cool and even shoots Mulder once. Punk is a bad, bad woman, and never let anyone tell you otherwise. So I've pretty much gone from "X-Files? Um. It was a TV show, right?" to actually persuading Best Beloved to watch it in the space of about two weeks. (And wow has this combined badly with my current 24-hour vid show deal; I keep saying things like, "Why can't I find a Scully vid to I Am a Scientist?" In other words, I am mentally vidding for a canon I have never seen and know nothing about. Fandom is a cruel mistress, people, and you only learn this after she's driven you crazy.)

The Vid That Suggests to Me That the Smart X-Files Character's Motto Is "Fear Everyone." Harder to Breathe, by Xandra Zander, aka xandra_ptv.

Availability: All the time, and that link will take you straight to the vid page.

So. I've seen this song used in vids in several fandoms; I almost picked one of those other ones to recommend in this Vid Recommending Extravaganza (perhaps I should call it the Rec-o-rama?). But when X-Files crossed the 150 mark (you people obviously have dark, dark things hidden in your pasts), I knew I'd have to pick this one. Now, here's the part that is either cool or pathetic (feel free to make the call). Remember, I don't know anything about this show. So I'm watching a vid about a character I'd never even heard of prior to seeing it. And Alex Krycek does not seem like my kind of character. In this vid, he seems, um, and I don't want to offend anyone who loves him, but - he seems scary as fuck. And yet - this vid made me sympathetic towards him anyway, and I don't know why. It's just, well, okay, obviously he's an evil little fucker, and he kills and betrays and, um, has really mutant eyes on occasion, but...I feel for him. I almost, um. Like him. I know this is probably very wrong, so, - am I allowed to blame the vidder? She used her talent to force me to like him! I was the innocent victim of nefarious vidding! It's not my fault! Except it probably really is - some kind of moral failing or something. But this vid definitely had something to do with it. It's well-edited and it tells a story. (And, based on that story, I have to say that Krycek's motto should probably be: "It's always darkest just before something really terrible happens. But that's fine. I like it dark.")

The One That Suggests That the Smart X-Files Character Will at All Times Keep His Eyes Peeled for an Iguana with a Fan Taped to His Back, Filmed in Extreme Close-up. Science Fiction Double Feature, by stellar_dust.

Availability: All the time. Scroll down until you see it.

Okay. It is time to introduce a theme that will be recurring throughout this post: I am just - I am totally the bitch of anything that can make me laugh. If it's funny - to me, I mean, and I think it should be made clear up front that my sense of humor has been described as everything from "sadly warped" to "completely absent" - I will serve it faithfully and also possibly perform indecent acts at its request. And, see, this makes me laugh. And it did this in a fandom where I always go into vids braced and wary, because I never really know if it will be about a sweet, repressed romance or a vicious eyeball-sucking squid. And then it - well, it has this ending. See, normally I'm kind of opposed to including sound clips from the source in the vid, but here the vidder uses it as an end-of-vid cookie kind of thing, and so that's all right. And this cookie - okay. It made me love Scully, because what she says? I said almost precisely that, just before she did, the first time I saw this vid. (Mulder clearly has issues, people. That's all I'm saying. Also, the boy needs to get out more, although, given what I've seen in the vids, I don't blame him for staying inside.) Um. And reading this over, I realize that I have once again managed to write a summary that doesn't summarize anything - I consider it a personal specialty at this point, actually - so, just to provide some actual information: this vid is The X-Files as a '50s SF B-movie. Complete with giant, um, unpleasant creatures (look away, is my advice on that one) and assorted oozes and dubious special effects and very interesting headwear. What could be better than that?

The One That Suggests That If You Can't Believe the Impossible, You Probably Shouldn't Be a Character on the X-Files. Not Only Human, by Killa, aka killabeez, and Laura Shapiro, aka laurashapiro.

Availability: All the time. You will need to request a password if you download it through Laura's site; you can also find it under "Other Fandoms" at Killa's site, which doesn't require a password. (I linked to the LJ entry because it's the easiest place to leave feedback. Hint.)

You know how you can love something so intensely that you can't really explain why? Like, it's obvious to me that everyone should love lettuce and reading and my dogs, and when people don't, I don't argue. I just kind of stare at them, wondering how I can have a planet in common with this person who is so different from me, because loving those things is pretty much like breathing oxygen in my mind. It's how things are. I love this vid that way. Which means I don't have much to say about it, because it's the kind of love I can't analyze. But I do watch the vid regularly, and I think everyone else should, too. (And if you don't like it, feel free to tell me. I won't dislike you, but I will ask you for details about your homeworld and your species. Just out of curiosity, really.) Given my policy of silent adoration of this, it's kind of hard to write a summary for it. I can say (See? I can always find something to say. It's my secret power!) that this is about Scully, although when I first saw it I thought her name was Molly. (Um. The X-Files turns out to be enough a part of popular culture that even the utterly clueless will know a few syllables of it. Given that this is me, though, and I bring cluelessness to the level of an art form, it's really no surprise I got those syllables wrong.) And there are two ways I can see the vid. Either it's about being a skeptic in the world where everything is true, or it's about asking the questions that don't have answers. Either way, it's about belief and knowledge, and the places in our lives where faith and proof intersect. And I - I have a great and inarticulate love for it. And if you breathe oxygen and are carbon-based, I think you will, too.

Stargate: SG-1

The Vid That Makes Me Think the Writers of SG-1 Will Never Need a Punching Bag as Long as They Have Daniel. Another Train, by barkley.

Availability: This will take you to the entry page, where you'll need to enter user name hiro and password protagonist in order to get to the vid listing. (I have Barkley's permission to give the password here, so please no letters informing me this is rude, wrong, or illegal. Seriously. I mean it.) Scroll down until you see it.

This vid is, okay. Sweet and sad and it makes me love Daniel a little more each time I see it. (And given how many times I have watched it in the course of picking vids and writing them up, well. Let's just say that my cup o' Daniel love o'erfloweth. Fortunately, I know the cure for this: OMG-poor-pwecious-widdle-Daniel fic should bring me back into balance.) Because Daniel's life (well, along with all the other members of SG1) is about getting up and trying one more time, about finding one more thing to try, and this vid shows that very clearly. (I've said it before and I'll say it again: he gets knocked down, but he gets up again. They're never gonna keep him down.) But I'm recommending this vid now, out of all the other SG1 vids I have and love, because it also makes my jaw drop open in astonishment each time I see it. (This is after the Daniel love increases. There's a strict order to this; it's not just some haphazard series of reactions, you know.) This is a vid to an a capella song, people. And it's slow, and percussion-less, and just generally the song that should not be vidded. But the vid works, and it's gorgeous. I don't even miss the cutting on the beat, because Barkley has found a way of making the editing and motion of this vid match the vocals. This is - this is the vid that proved to me that there's no such thing as an unviddable song in the hands of the right vidder. Just, wow.

(Side note: does anyone have a copy of this song? Does anyone even know who is singing it? Because there are several million versions of this song out there.) Got it, thanks!

The Vid That Makes Me Wonder What the Hell the Writers of SG-1 Can Possibly Do That They Haven't Already Done. Twice. Often by Giving Someone an Unfortunate Outfit or Haircut. Eight Years On, by Brihana25, aka brihana25.

Availability: All the time. Don't try to play this one in VLC.

Part of me feels bad for recommending this, because it's a context-dependent vid. In this series, I've been trying to pick vids that anyone can get, even someone unfamiliar with the source. But to understand this vid, you need to be familiar with most or all of the references in Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire," and it would probably also help to be at least a little familiar with SG-1. (I myself am only marginally familiar with the canon; I've watched vids but I've never seen any eps of the show itself. But then, I'm probably missing a lot in this.) But I am damn well going to recommend this anyway, for two reasons. First, it makes me laugh. (Yes, there's that predominating theme again, but let's just say it's probably a good idea to have a peppy vid after "Another Train.") I mean, any vid that has a shot of angsty, he's-not-crazy-he's-just-seeing-things Daniel in the padded room matched to the lyric "Catcher in the Rye," that's a vid I'm going to keep and watch again and again. And, second, it makes me nostalgic. Which is impressive, since it's nostalgia for a place I've never been, or rather, a show I've never seen. But this is Brihana25's celebration of the first eight years of SG-1 (what you might call the "Classic Team" years), and it's just - I watch this, and I need to go read some nice solid team-centered fan fiction immediately. In short, this vid makes me love the source. And that's why I need to recommend it, and why you need to watch it. But, uh, only if you can tell Jack from Daniel and you know who Boris Pasternak was.

(I can't help you with the Jack from Daniel thing. But this site has links for all the references in the song. Warning for non-Opera users: the site is eye-breaking. Warning for Opera users: switch modes the second this loads, because otherwise ow ow ow. And if anyone has a better, less migraine-inducing site for this, let me know, okay?)

Some TV Shows Not Mentioned Above (Look, It Was a Category on the Poll, Wasn't It? And It Got More Than 150 Votes. Technically, It Counts.)

The Vid That Will Spring to Your Mind, No Matter How Much You Wish It Wouldn't, the Next Time You See a Member of the LAPD. Bawitdaba, by Melina, aka melina123. The Shield.

Availability: All the time. Scroll on down.

I once saw this vid described - and unfortunately I don't remember where - as the ultimate action vid. And it is, no doubt; if you want to see a strong action song with an even stronger action source (apparently; I mean, I make no promises about the actual source, but the clips Melina chose are sure, um, action-packed), watch this. But I actually like it for the contrasts and the narrative progression. I have no idea who the bald guy is (We'll just call him Baldie, shall we? Although he'd probably prefer Bald Eagle), but this vid is about him, and the weird contrasts in his life: his grim, dirty working life and his normal family, and his job, where he's supposed to be one of the good guys, but frankly it's sometimes pretty hard to tell the difference between Baldie and the people he arrests. (Aside from the badge, of course; that's always a helpful clue.) It's also - I know better than to say "the song choice is so perfect," because it's not all that persuasive, but I'm going to say it anyway, because it is. I mean, it just pretty much sums up the whole vid (and says some interesting things about the source, I would think) that Bawitdaba is so perfect for a cop show. It could've been written about this show, although possibly Kid Rock had other ideas. (I wouldn't know. Even if I could read minds, Kid Rock's is not one of the ones I'd choose. I have limits.) This is one of those vids that makes me want to know much, much more about the source.

The Vid That, Because of My Tragic Past, Brings Me Right to the Brink of Writing a 12-15 Page Paper (One Inch Margins, Double Spaced) Every Time I See It. Circles, by Laura Shapiro, aka laurashapiro. The West Wing.

Availability: All the time. You will need to email Laura for the password to her vids. (Seriously. You want the password for her vids.)

Laura's pretty much done Don Quixote one better, here; she's vidded the unviddable fandom. See, I've never seen The West Wing, but I've seen Sports Night, and I know that the strength of a Sorkin show (Or, you know, whatever. Show that was originally by Sorkin and still kind of bears his footprint even if he's moved on.) is the dialog. And you can't vid that. So any vids based on this show should pretty much look like actual footage from the White House: boring, repetitive, and slightly worrying. This vid? So very not. I don't even know these characters and I'm entranced by this. She's - see, okay. I'm struggling here, because in my dark and murky past I wrote not one but two papers about circle symbolism in Moby Dick, and that kind of thing marks a woman for life. So I'm really afraid that at any minute I'm going to stop talking about Laura's brilliant use of movement and the way the circles are literal and figurative - and, see there? I was about to do it - and start talking about how the concentric circles are metaphors for the progression of the...and of course you've already tuned me out, and you may well be having hideous flashbacks to freshman English. I'm sorry. Let me back away from my little issue here, and just say: you have to see this to understand what I mean. This vid could probably be used as a textbook on movement within clips and the matching of movement to music. You need to see this. And I need to stop talking about it, because I feel the Moby Dick madness coming on again.

The Vid That Is Just Like Billy the Singing Bass, Except That It's Actually Funny and Good to Have Around. Bright Future in Sales, by Gwyneth, aka gwyn_r, Jo, aka feochadn, and Christy, aka movies_michelle (Thanks, Killa!). Wonderfalls.

Availability: All the time. You will need to email Gwyn for a password to get into the site.

This is another vid that makes me deeply curious about the source. See, I picked this one in large part because it makes me laugh. It's a very funny vid, and not in the "OMG Aragorn and Legolas are the Princes of the Universe!" way. (Not that there is anything wrong with that. Not at all. I adore joke song vids; I have many and watch them regularly.) It takes a very deft hand (or, in this case three hands, or do I mean six?) to create a vid that showcases the humor of the source. Even if the source is like nitrous oxide in TV form (and I guess Wonderfalls could be, but it seems unlikely), that generally doesn't carry over to the vid. But in this one, the humor so totally comes through. I have no idea why or how, but I'm betting song and clip choice have something to do with it. This vid is 50% the perfect (by which I mean perfectly hysterical) reactions the main character has to her weird, weird life, and 50% singing animal statues, and I just don't know of a better recipe for joy anywhere. And when you have reactions to the singing animals? In a store? While the song is talking about a bright future in sales? It goes well beyond joy, into that sublime and perfect ecstasy that fic characters mostly experience during their One True Sex Scenes. But this vid, this is better than se - okay, no. I was about to go too far, there. But it's definitely funnier than almost all the sex I've ever had. And, face it: you need to watch a vid that has animal statues singing a song by the Fountains of Wayne. Don't even try to deny it.

Some Movies Not Mentioned Above (Likewise, and You'll Never Know How Sad I Was That Anime Didn't Also Make the 150 Mark)

You Know All Those Stories in Which a Male Character Is Described as a Thirteen-Year-Old Girl? This Is the Vid That Does the Same Thing. My Happy Ending, by Katheryn, aka tallulah71. Gladiator.

Availability: All the time. Scroll on down - it's near the bottom.

Yes, this is the Avril Lavigne song. Yes, I mean that Gladiator, the one with Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix. No, these two things should never, ever work together - but oh my god how they do. This vid pretty much had me from the second clip, because I was just - Avril says, "So much for my happy ending," and Maximus goes thonk on the ground and I laugh and laugh and laugh. It is absolutely perfect and the knowledge that it should be so very, very wrong just makes the whole thing sweeter. (I told you I had a thing for "Why Does This Work, God? Why? Why?" vids, right?) But I warn you: once you have seen Maximus as an angsty, love-sick teenaged girl, there is no going back. Oh, you can watch the movie seriously - I have, in fact - but at the back of your mind there will always be this little voice reminding you that Commodus is everything, everything that he wanted, and you will giggle just a tiny bit. Or maybe a lot.

(Side note and dire warning: Shortly after I first watched this vid, I visited my dentist, who has an extremely annoying in-house video thing, where they play a handful of movies, and always in the same order, so that if you make a series of appointments at the same time of day, you will always see precisely the same thing, which sucks because whoever selects the movies must do it by throwing darts at the IMDb. Anyway, on that visit, the movie I got to see was Gladiator. Really. No, I have no idea why they showed this in every room in a dentist's office - I mean, something a little less gory (and more PG-rated) would seem, you know, a bit more apposite. So I was sitting there having my teeth cleaned and trying not to give in to the impulse to run away now now now, and over the dentist's shoulder I saw Maximus going thonk, and suddenly I was giggling. Not a good idea when someone else's hand is in your mouth, for the record. Although my dentist took it pretty well, but then I'd already bitten him a few times. So it might be better not to watch this if you go to my dentist.)

The Vid That Will Destroy Your Entire Childhood in the Course of a Single Verse. Don't Worry, You'll Be Laughing Too Hard to Care. Frigging in the Rigging, by Skud, aka damned_colonial. Muppet Treasure Island.

Availability: All the time.

This is another recommendation that arises from my tragic love affair with highly inappropriate vid songs, except that this song is right. It's just also very, very wrong. Like, you can't really know the definition of wrong until you've seen this vid. The first time I saw this, I spent the first portion desperately trying to believe it was any other movie, and then the first shot of actual muppets showed up, and, and - okay. I can't speak of it. The trauma is still too real. But oh my god how this puts a whole different complexion on every damn shot in the vid, from Kermit looking noble and captainy at the wheel to Long John Silver chasing Jim. And I love the muppets, I really do - Beaker is one of my favorite characters anywhere, right up there on the list with Ein from Cowboy Bebop. (Um. Not that I have a preference for characters that don't speak an actual language or anything.) And I adore Kermit. And yet I love this vid, even though it strongly implies things about Kermit that I can't even bring myself to type. Oh, and this one has a cookie at the end that you absolutely must see, because it's a shot of Sam Eagle (Sam the Eagle?) doing exactly what you yourself will be doing by the time you're done watching. But don't let the wrongness dissuade you! There are muppets! Cheerfully singing about buttfucking! No, really, you have to see this. Don't let your kids anywhere near it, though, or you'll be answering hideous questions about Kermit's relationship with Fozzy forever.

The Vid That Makes Me Say, "Oh, James, You Tragic, Cracked Shell of a Crime-Fighter." (Which, of Course, Takes Me Immediately to a Very Unfortunate James Bond/Batman Place. But We'll All Pretend I'm Sane Anyway, Right?) This Is War, by halcyon_shift. GoldenEye.

Availability: All the time. The link will take you to the vid page. But you might want to hurry and download this one, because the vidder wanted to take it offline, like, a year ago, and I asked her to leave it up so I could rec it. Now that I (finally) have, she might take it down.

See? I'm not only posting comedic vids with songs that should not work, because this is not funny and the song is absolutely damn perfect for this source. I love the way this vid is cut, and I love the clear narrative here, but most of all I love the way the combination of song and source juxtaposes (oh my god, listen to me, I sound like I think I know what I'm talking about) the personal and the - hmm. Professional? Which is something that this movie did better than any other Bond movie I've seen. And it's weird, because somehow giving Bond something to be genuinely conflicted and angsty about makes him look cold and dead and vaguely creepy. (And also kind of gay, but we aren't talking about that.) Or maybe it's just that when you subtract the shiny and put Bond up against some more realistic music, you get to see what he really is. Which is, um. Well, let's just say I finished this vid with a much greater understanding of why I found Alec Trevelyan more compelling and sympathetic than Bond himself. (And, no, it was not because Trevelyan was played by Sean Bean. Shut your mouth.) This was one of the vids I watched in the first month or so of compulsive downloading (TFV: fucking her bandwidth through the floor since April 2004), and I'm astonished at how much more I get out of it now; I still adore it, but I can see a lot more of why I love it. I can be taught! This is very exciting. In another four years or so, I might also understand cutting on the beat, and then there will be no stopping me.
tried to eat the safe banana
I just want to say up front that I realize it's wrong to kill off canon characters in fan fiction, and I definitely realize it's wrong to celebrate said stories with snark and kisses. But here's the thing - sometimes canon character death is just gratuitous, but sometimes it's the only way a really great story can come to be. I think these are great stories.

Just don't say I didn't warn you, 'cause I am: these are not happy stories, and my nomination summaries are not cheerful and amusing, and there's a very good chance these fics could upset you. And did I mention that somebody dies? So if this isn't your thing, read no further; the next entry will return to that old familiar beat.

Best FF That Really Brings Home the Eeriness of a Certain Nursery Rhyme Song: Clock Eulogy, by Mia. X-Files, gen. Sing it with me, now: "And the clock stopped/never to go again/when the old man died." The narrator (who is not identified, sorry) never wanted to believe in the paranormal. Fox Mulder made one last attempt to convince her. That time seems to stop when someone dies is hardly a novel observation, but what happens here is a little less common, and frankly, I'm glad.

Best FF Featuring a Sarcastic Argument That's Literally Done Over a Dead Body, Proving That Some People Really Can't Just Get Along: The Virtue of Decision, by Penknife. Harry Potter, gen. What I love about this one is how it makes Hermione a person, a real person, in a way Rowling has just not managed (though I guess we can continue to hope). I actually found myself wanting to give feedback to the character as I read this - I wanted to tell her that when you're 16, you don't have to be a wizard to feel out of place at home or like you're walking into a dangerous situation your parents could never understand. And when you want to give advice to a fictional person, you know you've bought into the story maybe a little too much.

Best FF That Makes You Wonder What Little Secrets You've Got Lying Around Your House: Executor, by Kat Allison. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski. Come on, admit it. Haven't you worried about what your parents or other loved ones might find if you died suddenly and they had to sort your stuff? I'd like to think this is a common fear. (The alternative, that I am morbid and paranoid, may be equally appealing to Occam, but it definitely doesn't appeal to me.) And then there's the things you might be glad for them to find out, because you do want them to know but you don't want to be around to experience the consequences of their knowledge. So which problem did Fraser and Kowalski have? You decide.

Best FFs That Elucidate the Sadness Inherent in Shampoo and Green and White Curtains: This Is How and the sequel, Ours, by Siarade (sorry, no link for her). X-Men comic books, Cable/Domino. (Links go to character bios, and if you don't know who these people are, please do scan the first part of the linked pages.) See, the problem with entwining your life with another human being's is that eventually one of the strands snaps. And then you really come unraveled. That's what's happening to Cable here. Siarade captures the feeling of loss so perfectly I found myself a little concerned for her mental health; I'm hoping she's just got a lot of empathy and imagination.