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22 March 2009 @ 10:28 pm
I need a TV icon  
Reading the reviews of the BSG finale on my friendslist, I have seldom been so glad that I bailed on the show back in season 2. Technology bad, patriarchal colonialism good? THAT was your big message?

On a somewhat happier note, we finished up the second season of Burn Notice. It's not a great show, but it's a fun one, driven mainly by the likeability of the actors and characters involved. Bruce Campbell is pretty much the essence of likeable, Sharon Gless is close, and while I've never encountered Jeffery Donovan before, he's been great. McGyver as an ex-spy in Miami is a snappy high concept, and they are quite playful with it, down to the amusement of the titles they flip on screen to identify various players (my favorite was when 'The Client' whooshed off screen to be replaces by "The Assassin".

The beginning and end of the second season were dragged down by yet another 'omnipowerful giant conspiracy' plot, which I'm desperately hoping they'll mostly ignore next year. Michael being hindered by the US Government, powerful agency that it is, worked. Giant private agencies that control the government and can send squads armed with automatic weaposn to shoot up suburban houses without any fear of law enforcement, not so much.

Burn Notice... is surprisingly good for its type in gender issues. Michael's relationship with his mom is treated respectfully, as an important thing, and they've worked pretty hard to keep it from being a one note comedy of 'mom interferes hilariously with Michael's jobs'. She's gotten genuine character development. Fi not so much, but the actress manages to deliver the occasional romantic shenigans they dump on her with impish glee rather than needy clinginess, and the show does make a point of showing that Fi has her own career and life outside of Michael.

On the race front, they white-ify the shit out of Miami; it's a Caribbean city, with ninety percent of the population Latino or black, and you sure couldn't tell that from the show, even the extras. I wouldn't say it has skanky race issues, really, but it's sort of frustrating when so many roles that aren't racially coded invariably end up white, and the only black faces have been a football player, a Haitian father seeking revenge, and a Haitian criminal lord. Though that's doing better than the Latino front, where I'm not even sure there has been anyone who wasn't a drug smuggler, crime kingpin, or gunrunner.
Elspethelspethdixon on March 23rd, 2009 05:33 am (UTC)
Technology bad, patriarchal colonialism good? THAT was your big message?

Don't forget the part where the series villains are femmbots. That was where I bailed on it, just upon hearing the promotional info.
Lauratavella on March 23rd, 2009 06:25 am (UTC)
And apparently femmbots were pretty much the only female characters that survived to the end, and non-white characters didn't fare much better (though I suppose you could count Olmos, even though he's coded white on the show.)
ShadowHuntress Deliverance: Alton Brown is...THE WAFFLERshadowhuntress on March 23rd, 2009 06:47 am (UTC)
surfing in from friendsfriends
Hope you don't mind. ;-)

that's doing better than the Latino front, where I'm not even sure there has been anyone who wasn't a drug smuggler, crime kingpin, or gunrunner.

The undercover police lady in 2x02 was Latina, Esai Morales played the store owner Michael helped in 1x07 (though yeah, the villain was a Latina, too), and David Zayas was a good guy in 1x01. While I love the show, they definitely need more diversity in their recurring characters. The latest casting news does help a little bit, though.
Lauratavella on March 23rd, 2009 07:01 am (UTC)
Re: surfing in from friendsfriends
Yeah, I spoke a little too fast on them *all* being drug dealers or gunrunners, but it still seems a little lacking in *Miami*. But yes, the monocolor of the recurring characters does not help. What's the latest casting news?
ShadowHuntress Deliverance: Shakirashadowhuntress on March 23rd, 2009 08:11 am (UTC)
Re: surfing in from friendsfriends
What's the latest casting news?

I heard that Moon Bloodgood (who is part Korean, I think?) is going to be a cop in a multi-episode arc next season. So that's finally one recurring character who is not completely white, but there's still plenty of room for improvement overall.
Madeline the Edifyingzdashamber on March 23rd, 2009 06:49 am (UTC)
I've thought about Burn Notice race, too. Seems to me that they try very hard to keep all the villains from being minorities, which is nice, but they don't try hard enough to get Mike more minority clients.

For good hispanic guys, there was the shop-owner who wanted Mike to clean up his neighborhood, and the DEA undercover agent lady. For black guys at all there was the rap star with the sleazy white guy helper, and I guess Mike's black client in that episode.

But 90% black or hispanic I hadn't realized, and yeah, they're clearly falling down on the job. I wish some of the reocurring secondary characters like various other agents or criminal contacts or love interests were minorities. And extras yeah.
Lauratavella on March 23rd, 2009 07:07 am (UTC)
Many of the Hispanics are early-wave Cuban-Americans, who often look quite white (if not precisely Anglo), so it probably looks a little paler than than 90 percent might indicate, but there's a lot of brown in there too.

And I had forgotten about the accountant -- that's an excellent counterexample of someone whose role wasn't coded black. That's why I wouldn't say they have skanky race issues, they are putting *some* effort in. But it would be nice if the reoccuring characters like the money launderers, etc, weren't quite so pale.
Mr. Flonkflonkflonkcarneggy on March 23rd, 2009 02:42 pm (UTC)
Miami actually has less black residents than many of the major cities (heck, even Boston has a higher percentage of black people, Miami's only around 20%), but yeah, it's hugely Hispanic by any standard.

Elspethelspethdixon on March 23rd, 2009 03:50 pm (UTC)
Washington, D.C. is over 50% african-american. I've yet to find a network television show set in DC that reflects that (I love you, NCIS, but could you stick some more non-white faces into your supposedly-DC-but-actually-filmed-in-some-other-city crowd scenes, please? Bones, you could stand to do so, too).
Lauratavella on March 23rd, 2009 04:40 pm (UTC)
It's filmed in Miami, that's what makes it sad. The population is there! I'd give them more of a pass on it if they were trying to make Vancouver look like Miami.
my cock still thinks you're a superheromumblemutter on March 23rd, 2009 12:43 pm (UTC)
i have not watched the bsg finale la la la *scrolls past*

but! burn notice! i think dexter is also set in miami? and wow with the difference! you'd think america was in fact not utterly all white all the time! madness!
Lauratavella on March 23rd, 2009 04:27 pm (UTC)
Does Dexter have a better balance? I haven't seen it, not a fan of serial killer shows.
mikkeneko on March 23rd, 2009 12:45 pm (UTC)
On the race front, they white-ify the shit out of Miami

Ask me about the Avatar movie. Actually, don't.
Lauratavella on March 23rd, 2009 04:16 pm (UTC)
Oh, I've heard. That's definitely skanky! Turning *Avatar* into "noble white people oppressed and exterminated by the Evil Brown Empire" is um, special.
(Deleted comment)
Lauratavella on March 23rd, 2009 04:10 pm (UTC)
Census 2000 has white non-Hispanics at 11.8 percent. That page is doing all of Dade County it looks like, so slightly different percentages.
Lauratavella on March 23rd, 2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
I'm working entirely from second hand here, as I said I didn't watch it, but it was the "we'll teach them what we feel is suitable for them to know and withhold what we don't, and oh yeah, breed with them whether they like it or not" thing. Given the mostly-male makeup of the survivors of power... nasty patriarchy and colonialism vibes there.

Though as someone pointed out, considering that nothing they "taught", not even agriculture, lasted -- even language is questionable, true human language may be as late as 50-70K years BCE -- what *actually* happened is they all got slaughtered in short order by disease, accident, and predators, while Hera staggered out the latest bloody scene to be adopted by the kindly native neighbors.
DNAmotleypolitico on March 23rd, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
Sharon Gless, you need to go back into the archives of Cagney and Lacey since the last time I saw her on a regular series.

Haven't seen enough Burn Notice to know the demongraphics, so I won't contribute to that.
Lauratavella on March 23rd, 2009 08:29 pm (UTC)
Indeed! I've seen her here and there since then, but I remember her best from C & L.