Not The Fox News: The Good News In The Bad News

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Markus Schreiber/AP/REX/Shutterstock (6975532f)
SJ Clarkson Director SJ Clarkson attends a photo-call for the movie Toast at the International Film Festival Berlinale in Berlin on
Germany Berlinale, Berlin, Germany

SJ Clarkson is about to have a very good year. You don’t know their name, odds are but believe me you’ll have seen some of Clarkson’s work. She’s directed for everything from Life on Mars to The Defenders and is one of the never ending stream of excellent female directors who drive the US TV drama industry along. Clarkson’s work, most notably on the first two episodes of Jessica Jones, is known for being clean, character-centric and elegant. She’s excellent and when it was announced last year she’d be helming Star Trek 4 it was a pleasure to see her get the slot, and to see the franchise’s directorial blinkers finally be lifted It was also confidently announced that Chris Hemsworth would be returning as Kirk’s dad. Most people instantly assumed it was time for the Mirror universe but I figured time travel and some sort of Quantum Leap situation.

Regardless it’s a moot point now as Pine and Hemsworth were caught up in a contract dispute with the studio that ended with them leaving the table. Now, Clarkson has left the project to direct the pilot of the upcoming Game of Thrones prequel and serve as executive producer for the series. Star Trek 4 appears to have been indefinitely shelved as a result.

And that’s brilliant news, for basically everyone, here’s why.

Clarkson first off. I wasn’t kidding about the legions of female directors keeping US TV afloat, there are dozens of them and they’re all brilliant and underappreciated and underpaid. Sandra Oh’s gag at the Golden Globes this year about ‘FIRST MAN!’ being the default choice for directors and a movie about Neil Armstrong is funny, and sad, because its true. So any time someone makes it over the fence, as Clarkson has done here, I’m delighted. GoT: 90210  or whatever the Hell it’s going to be called is the definition of a prestige gig and there must be a ton of confidence in her for her to be put in place. Deservedly so too.

Then there’s Game of Thrones itself. The world’s angriest Ren Fair is the largest TV show on the planet by a considerable margin and, now it has finally overtaken the books, has been having visibly more fun season by season. However, it’s also got a justifiably shitty reputation for how it deals with female staff. And characters for that matter. This is a great breakdown of the show’s massive fondness for ladymurder season by season but weirdly the horrific statistic isn’t the big number, it’s the small one. In the entirety of its run the show has had 3 women on the writing and directing staff.


In 73 episodes.

With none either writing or directing for the final season.

On its own, that’s a hilariously shitty metric. Placed against the show’s cheerful willingness to use rape the way some people use punctuation marks, it’s disgusting. The largest show on Earth has employed three whole entire women in its biggest roles. That’s an unforgivable failure, if absolutely nothing else, of leading by example. But it does give you a starting position to row back from and, seven YEARS LATE, that’s exactly what the production office is starting to do by hiring Clarkson.

(As an aside, Mo Ryan should be your go to for this sort of thing on Twitter. One of the best entertainment journalists on the planet.)

But what of Star Trek? Well, it’s good news for that too.

The Kelvinverse movies get a lot of hate and the vast majority of it is undeserved. The original Star Trek is great, everything in Into Darkness that isn’t Khan being whitewashed is fun and Beyond is a legitimate love letter to the franchise. In fact, Beyond is a perfect capstone for these movies for all sorts of reasons. Also THIS IS STILL THE BEST THING. It gives Kirk the test he’s always needed and ties the present of this universe to the past it shares with the core timeline. It also sets up an ending that’s elegant, could absolutely stand a sequel or two but is in no way incomplete without them. And can stand toe to toe with the ending of The Undiscovered Country and The Voyage Home, where they get the 1701-A and the music swells and I become a human avatar of ugly crying.

But most importantly, bringing the Kelvinverse into land here salutes the cast members who are no longer with us. Don’t get me wrong, part of me would love to see a fourth movie with Jaylah sitting next to Sulu. But the rest of me is quite happy with that role being filled by Anton Yelchin’s instantly likable take on Chekov, off-screen and quietly, enthusiastically immortal.

Besides, Trek’s far more at home on bookshelves and the small screen now.  The astonishing work consistently being done by novelists like James Swallow and Doctor Una McCorrmack has continued to expand the core timeline. Meanwhile, the launch of Discovery last year, the imminent second season as well as the new Picard show and recently announced pair of animated series all speak to a new found dedication to Trek on TV.

Tellingly, the existence of The Orville does the same thing.  While the show is still very Seth MacFarlane’s bad days on its bad days, the rest of it is a fascinating look at established Trek tropes through new lenses. It is to Star Trek what Scrubs is to ER, a profoundly affectionate and respectful riff playing all the right notes, just in a different order. That’s why the the people who cite it as the ‘true Star Trek’ because it doesn’t let politics get in the way mystify me so much. Not just because they’ve presumably never seen Star Trek before but perhapsnot The Orville either. Social issues are at the core of both of them. It’s just sometimes on The Orville, there’s a punchline as well. Regardless, it’s existence and success speaks to the strength of Star Trek as a small screen concept, whether it’s branded as Star Trek or not.

So like I say, this is one of those rare occasions where a project falling through is good news. Clarkson has a great new job, Game of Thrones gets to take the NO GURLS ALOUD notice off the front door of the production office and the Kelvinverse gets the ending it deserves. Plus Trek as a concept gets to grow in new ways. Seek out new life and new civilizations. Perhaps even, boldly go?

Seriously though this is great news all round. Congratulations everyone. Now, who’s working on that Chief Miles O’Brien show? Take your time, I’ll wait. And turn up the beats and the shouting, yeah?


When Alasdair Stuart is not hosting PseudoPod and Escape Pod, or running Escape Artists Inc., he’s professionally enthusiastic about genre fiction on the Internet at places like, Barnes & Noble, The Guardian, Uncanny Magazine, SciFi Now and MyMBuzz. He’s an ENie-nominated tabletop RPG writer for his work on Doctor Who: Adventures In Time And Space. His other RPG writing includes Star Trek, The Laundry Files, Primeval, Victoriana, All Flesh Must Be Eaten, N.E.W. and Chill, meaning he’s got a playbook for any variety of invasion you can name.  He also makes ketchup sometimes and can bake the HELL out of focaccia. Read about his ongoing culinary adventures, as well as a whole lot of pop culture enthusiasm in his weekly newsletter, The Full Lid, published every Friday around 5pm.

He lives in the UK with the love of his life and their ever expanding herd of microphones. Follow him on Twitter as @AlasdairStuart, or at his blog, The Man of Words.

Not The Fox News: Star Trek is Punk Rock

There are two ways to view the news that Alex Kurtzman is not only going to be the showrunner for the remainder of Discovery season 2 but is spearheading the development of a fleet of other Star Trek shows. The first is to worry about the brand, nod grimly towards some of Kurtzman’s previous projects and wander off muttering about how Star Trek isn’t the same anymore.

The second is to kick a hole in the speakers, pull the plug and pogo off stage. Because, as I realized earlier today, Star Trek is and always shall be punk rock.

First off, yes Kurtzman has some ropey projects on his CV. The vast majority of people do. Not everyone has the massive success of the original Kelvinverse Trek movie, Fringe (Especially its early seasons) and the best Mission: Impossible movie on their record. Kurtzman does. And while there’s bad stuff on there as well, I’m remaining belligerently hopeful. Not only because the showrunners he’s succeeding were reportedly verbally abusive to their writers (Yell at your writers and they will eviscerate you in fiction forever) but because Kurtzman’s new deal, as reported by variety, is taking Trek the exact place it should go; where it’s never gone before.

The word is that his slate currently looks like this:

  • A confidential mini-series.
  • An animated series.
  • A mini-series focusing on Khan. Or perhaps KHAAAAAAAAAAAN!
  • A Starfleet Academy show run by Stephanie Savage and Josh Schwartz, currently in charge of the excellent Marvel series Runaways.

How about we start with the one giving everyone palpitations. The Starfleet Academy show is a great idea that arrived a couple of decades early. The original idea was to create a second tent pole franchise that would be

  1. Cheaper


  1. B) Logistically far easier than bringing the original cast back together.

It’s a great idea in principle but at the time it played too much like a back door replacement and was nixed. The brilliant thing about the idea is that it works far better as a TV show than it would as a movie. Plus Schwartz and Savage have shown, with Runaways, they’re exceptionally good at exploring the lives of gifted, difficult, weird young people and that describes pretty much every Starfleet Academy class you’d care to name.

This show has the potential to be the heart of the new Star Trek TV universe because cadets are the heart of Starfleet itself. Yes, it’s a military organization, a Navy that works in X, Y and Z axes but it’s also a fundamentally altruistic, compassionate, curious organization. Starfleet exists to explore the universe, make everyone’s lives better, meet new cultures and learn from them. That’s a powerful motif at the best of times and it’s no accident Discovery’s best episodes centred this concept. It’s also an immensely powerful, hopeful platform to tell stories from. Especially now and especially with a young, presumably multi-national and multi-species cast.

Then there’s that mini-series, whose plot may not be as confidential as anyone thought. Io9 are reporting that Sir Patrick Stewart is in talks to star in what would be the first Next Generation sequel since Nemesis. That’s going to make a massively vocal fan base immensely happy, and also put to rest one of the longest standing fan conversations; What happened after Next Generation?

Better still, it gives the shows a chance to break undeniable stylistic new ground in a more permissive environment than Discovery did. A mini-series with a beginning, a middle and an end? Trek as event TV? That’s so perfect I’m stunned it’s ever been done before. And better still, to do so with Captain Picard?! That’s like Christmas coming early, having brilliant diction and knowing Shakespeare.

It’s interesting too that there are plenty of gaps to fill in the post-Next Generation time period as well as amazing stories that already exist there. Star Trek‘s tie in novels have done an astonishing job of continuing the narratives set up in the various time periods, introducing new characters and new ships, crossing over with massive success and keeping the franchise very much alive and kicking. Likewise, Star Trek: Online does an excellent job of continuing the timeline in a new era, three decades upstream. All these stories, and their creators, deserve your time and the biggest challenge these new TV series may face is threading the needle between all the various islands of established stories.

Either way, there’s lots of opportunity for cameos from familiar faces and, more importantly, a chance to tell a compelling story in a different way featuring one of the greatest characters in the franchise’s history.

But seriously, sign me up for that West Wing model if we get it.

The Khan mini-series is a little harder to parse but I can see why they’re going for it. Khan remains the most iconic villain the series has ever had, and, after the misstep of casting Benedict Cumberbatch as him in Star Trek Into Darkness, there’s certainly room for a new, definitive take on the character.

As to what the series could be about, there are a couple of possibilities that spring to mind. The Eugenics Wars have always been somewhat…movable, within Star Trek canon and an origin story that explored them would have a lot of potential. It would also, if done wrong in the current climate, be the televisual equivalent of a slow motion 4K train wreck.

What might be more interesting is an exploration of Khan and his people’s time in exile on Ceti Alpha V. Perhaps there were other visitors before the Reliant or some of them were able to get off world. Either way, it’s the show we know the least about and has the most potential as a result especially as this may well be the secret project Nicholas Meyer has been working on for the last couple of years. Let’s face it, if anyone can bring Khan back and make it work, it’s him. And if Miguel Ángel Silvestre from Sense8 isn’t in the running to play Khan then something has gone seriously wrong.

Finally, the concept of a new Star Trek animated series fills me with glee. Not just because the original did such a great job but because the new series of Voltron in particular has demonstrated time and again just how well episodic SF adapts to the format. It’s also worth noting that this could be where Stewart shows up again. He’s got years of experience doing voice work with Seth MacFarlane and it’d be oddly fitting for him to bring that skill set back to Trek.

Then there are the possibilities of what a Marvel-like approach to Star Trek open up. What if the Academy show introduces a character we see, as an adult, in a later series? Or a crossover which starts in one show and flashes back there for an episode? The Arrowverse has proved time and again how effective these storytelling techniques can be and this is new ground for Trek so anything goes.

And, of course, there are the side benefits. Discovery took endless flak for both its design choices and the fact it didn’t ‘feel’ enough like a prequel for some people. Others wanted a continuation rather than a new start and still others objected to the perception of liberties being taken with the show’s canon and design.

All of those things were and are, for me, among the show’s strongest points. And the beauty of it is now they can be again without being, ironically, the torchbearer for the entire franchise. Trek contains multitudes, and here, at last, is a chance to prove it. Any era, any approach, any subject matter.

It doesn’t matter what we get in a way because the simple act of it being presented in this way means it will be different, and new and interesting. Let Discovery be Discovery. Let the new shows build on what’s gone before. let the audience pick which flavour works for them.

So why is Star Trek punk rock and not metal? Because it’s Star Trek. Because ‘Out there, thataway’. Because of trans temporal cetacean rescue missions and coffee hidden in nebulae. Because of baseball and holographic civil rights. Because of Tom Hardy’s first big job being playing Evil Jean- Luc Picard. Because of dogs named after musketeers and officers who are emotionally compromised. Because of Saru’s ability to sense death and what he says when it isn’t approaching. Because of the untidy canon and the dubious timeline and the hundreds of novels and comics and games.

Because Star Trek is an exuberant sprint, head up, arms wide, into a future where we aren’t alone and we don’t deserve to be. It’s a universe built on hard won compassion and hopefulness, on the joy of discovery and learning and communication. Infinite Diversity in infinite Combinations and sometimes those combinations will absolutely have weird uniforms, or a strange theme tune and that doesn’t matter. Because Star Trek is a universe built on hope, on curiosity and on engaging with and learning from the other. And right now, that’s almost as punk as you can get.

Four new series. Four new takes plus more Discovery and more Orville which plays a lot of the same notes, just in a different order. I can’t wait. And I’ll see you in the mosh pit.

Not the Fox News: The Reader’s Duty

Hi! How’ve you been?

Since last we spoke I’ve:

-Attended Nine Worlds 2016 and run their comics programming.

-Attended MidAmericon II where I ran two panels, was on several more and attended a whole bunch.

-Eaten a lot of barbecue.

-Spent four days in Atlanta talking to the various Escape Artists staff we have out there.

-Seriously, it was a LOT of barbecue.

-Come back to the UK where we moved house and town and met the movers at the new place about four hours after getting off the plane.

-Done two podcast interviews.

It’s been a bit intense.

Also great.

Also it was a LOT of barbecue.


The upshot of this is I’m just about back into the groove and, in returning to said groove, I’ve been thinking about what the next NTFN should be. It was nearly a piece on panel etiquette for audience, panellists and moderators alike and that one may still be coming. At present it’s a page of notes orbiting the phrase ‘DON’T BE AN ASSHOLE’ so I’m guessing there’s some work still to do there.

Instead I find myself thinking more and more about one of the conclusions every panel I saw seemed to either articulate or come close to articulating;

This is the age of the Reader. More specifically, The age of the reader’s duty.

Here’s the thing. Whether talking about tabletop RPGs, computer games, board games, novels, comics or any one of a dozen other art forms there are three truths that keep coming up; there’s more signal than noise, it’s hard to find an audience and that places a very different, very positive obligation on readers.

It’s traditional to think of the cultural atmosphere we move through as being predominantly noise. In a lot of cases it still is; go take a look at Twitter moments or what the trending topics are. Better still, click on any trending hashtag and see how quickly it’s infested with people desperate to get eyes on what they want to talk about, regardless of whether or not it’s relevant. That, right there? Noise.

But it’s noise that we need. Or at least we can work through. Life, as the great philosopher Bueller once put it, moves pretty fast. However he didn’t have a smartphone and the ability to see just how fast life is moving or to understand where it’s going. We do. We’re assailed by so much signal it becomes noise and while that’s a definite improvement it’s also an immense challenge for creators. It’s no longer enough to be better than most people around you or to stick around long enough. Now you have to be unique enough to stand out from a field that’s, by default, orders of magnitude bigger and better than it’s ever been before.


Want proof? Awesome, here you go. The Omega Men is a short lived comic series written by Tom King with art by Barnaby Bagenda, Toby Cypress, ig Guara and Jose Marzan Jr. It was inked by Romulo Fajardo Jr, Tomeu Morey and Hi-Fi and was lettered by Pat Brosseau with covers by Trevor Hutchison. It’s a great series, a Guardians of the Galaxy with blood on its knuckles that explores what happens when the high-handed, naïve optimism of the Lantern Corps is dragged down to ground level. Smart, nasty, complicated fun.

And it got cancelled.

Now it’s a New York Times bestseller.

What does this teach us? A bunch of stuff. That comics are a team sport, that single issues are a brutally unforgiving format for mainstream experimentation and that the audience that waits for collections is in some cases much bigger than the people who buy individual issues.

Most importantly, it shows us that great projects can get read as noise when they’re really signal and that, in order to save them, sometimes creators have to shift format to get noticed. The Omega Men is a perfect example of this, a complex, novelistic story better suited to being read in one chunk. Likewise Matt Wallace’s excellent Rencor: Life in Grudge City which started life as a TV show pitch and has ended up as a novella. In each case the story was a near miss in its original format. In each case the story shines in its new format.

And that brings us to the reader. Which in this context could also mean ‘viewer’, ‘player’ and any other name for ‘person interacting with culture’.

There’s more noise than signal. There are countless projects that deserve audiences and never quite get them. That’s partially on the creators or distributors. The rest?

That’s on us.

We have never lived in more signal than we do now. We have never been surrounded by more inspiring, brilliant art in every single form than we are now. If you are at least a little invested in modern culture than its almost impossible not to run around like a caffeine-addled child in the biggest candy store in human history trying to get as much awesome into your brain as possible.

The thing is, faced with a choice that huge, human nature says we default to what we know. We don’t take risks, we don’t take chances. We just watch the same things and read the same things and play the same things because they’re known quantities.

That’s fine. In a lot of cases, that’s great. I’m playing Uncharted 4 right now because the first 3 were so great. There’s nothing wrong with returning to wells you’ve drunk from before. There’s everything wrong with only going to those wells. You may not risk as much but after a while that’s all you do, the only places you go. Your world shrinks to nothing but routine when that routine should instead be the foundation of something new. And that something doesn’t have to cost money either. Try a podcast. They’re free, there are countless thousands of them and oddly, I know a thing or two about what’s good there.

It doesn’t have to cost anything but time, but the Reader’s Duty is one we all have. It’s a duty to find new things, to talk about them and…actually you know what? I know someone who can articulate this way better.


Thanks Captain. Couldn’t have said it better myself. See you next month, folks.

Things I learned from Cult TV : Brian Baer

Going into the World 

As I grew up, Cult TV provided a precious escape from suburbia. Being trapped in a cul de sac in a small, dull town was somehow more bearable when I could imagine Fox Mulder and Sam Beckett out there having adventures. The more escapist, the better.

Initially, that’s what drew me to Star Trek. The outside world never seemed bigger than when I was watching Kirk, Spock, and McCoy in the 23rd century, overthrowing evil computers and having their three-headed debates about human nature. Their Technicolor sets were often little more than cardboard, but they still hinted at an intergalactic grandeur that inspired me. But I didn’t travel for myself, at least not at first. That didn’t happen until I discovered Doctor Who.


I was one of many who came onboard after the 2005 relaunch and began devouring every episode, new and old, that I could find. Doctor Who‘s scope of adventure seemed even larger, as I watched those lucky companions travel through both space and time, but it was also somehow more grounded. It was easier to picture myself as part of the action. It was no longer simply watching someone else experience a new place, it was practically an invitation to have my own adventures. It was an invitation I couldn’t refuse.

So I went out into the world. I visited the Torchwood tower in Cardiff and attended a Star Trek exhibition outside of Berlin. I took blind trips, stepping off of a bus in a strange country with no idea what language they spoke, what sort of money they used, to better feel like I’d just beamed down or stepped out of the TARDIS. As great as it was, I began to realize I’d overlooked the underlying point of these programs.

Star Trek was never really about exploring the stars. Doctor Who isn’t about running from Daleks. They’re both about exploring humanity, discovering our strengths and our flaws, and how to be our very best. They promote acceptance and celebrate diversity. That shiny veneer of the future I’ve been drawn to is these shows’ inherent optimism, the belief we could get over what plagues us now.

Cult TV has inspired me to try new things, go to new places, and consider new ideas. It shows us that the future can be a better place, and encourages us to be better people as well.


Things I learned from Cult TV by Fiona Hutchings

Life Lessons in 50 Minutes

Cult TV shows become cult because they provide the viewer with something to relate to.  It might be a character or story resonates with the audience straight away or makes us laugh.  Equally it might provoke confusion and even distress but being aware that we are reacting is why we watch some things over and over, quote them to our friends and ‘like’ them on Facebook.

ST:TNG and DS9 both taught me that no one is every wholly good or bad and that sometimes painful decisions are necessary.  Troi sending La Forge to his certain death in order to pass her command exam has always stuck in my mind.  While Roddenberry’s optimistic view of humanity was a welcome relief from the many apocalyptic/post apocalyptic visions of the future, it didn’t shy away from showing some situations can not be resolved neatly and painlessly.  While Kirk revelled in being the boss, TNG explored the weight of responsibility that comes with power.


This was also a recurring theme in The West Wing.  In the season 2 finale ‘Two Cathedrals’ the President stops being the commander in chief and instead becomes accessible.  He stands alone in the great and holy space and vents his sheer fury with the God he believes in.  His anger and confusion and disgust as he rails against a force unseen and unheard resonated with me so powerfully the scene left me sobbing.  I thought I was the only person who struggled with reconciling the idea of a supposedly loving God  with the pain and hate and downright unfairness I see in life everyday.

Doctor Who taught me that love can run very deep without being romantic or parental and that no man is an island, even a mad man in a box.  The Doctor in all his regenerations has been very clever but despite having two hearts he has relied on the human sensitivities of many of his companions to come to important decisions.  In return his companions and his audience have been presented with ethical dilemmas with no obvious answer and resolutions that must be reached with the minimum of violence, at least on The Doctor’s part.

Firefly demonstrated that morality is a social construct not an absolute.  If Inara Serra was being portrayed in a TV show set in the present, her job as a companion would not be lauded or as glamorous as it seems aboard Serenity.   She would be damaged in some way, there would be drugs and violence around her which would wreak havoc inside and out.  She would be judged and discarded and be presented as an invisible part of a society that would like to pretend she didn’t exist.


In Whedon’s world Inara is perfectly happy with her chosen profession and it grants her a higher social standing than Captain Tightpants and his ragtag crew of soldiers, preachers, medics, mercenaries and, well, River.  Inara is one of the few female characters who is shown as at peace with her sexual appetites and partners.  That some clients are female provoke no anxiety about her sexuality, she is truly comfortable in her own skin.  Plus although there is a strong romantic undercurrent between her and Mal, neither sees those unspoken feelings as meaning they can’t have sex with other people.  In making sex such a fundamental part of Inara, it actually freed her from the usual stereotypes and expectations so many female characters become buried under.

Sometimes 50 minutes considering what constitutes a violation of the prime directive or a UN peace treaty, crying with a President because grief and loss leave scars that never quite heals or getting lost in a space western is the best therapy there is.

What I Learned From Cult TV – Jay Andrew

No Assembly Required

I grew up in a very dislocated, fractured and otherwise dysfunctional family. Any closeness and bonds were formed in pain and of secrets, of showing the world a united normality while hiding our wounds. I left as soon as I could.

All of my fandoms have bands of brothers and sisters, if not of blood then of spirit and purpose, brought together by happenstance. The various crews of the Enterprises, Voyager, Deep Space Nine, Firefly, the Liberator and Galactica. The Scoobies and the Dollhouse actives. The Doctor and his companions. With my father dead and estranged from my mother and brothers, I set about building my own team of loyal compatriots who would have my back and supply the kinship I craved.

Fortunately for me, I found my life partner very early on in my search. He’s my Wash, my Paul Ballard, my Imzadi. That was the easy part. Slightly less easy but most satisfying was the child we have together. There aren’t a lot of good examples of parent-child relationships in the fandoms. I’ve tried hard to be more Joyce Summers or Beverley Crusher than John Winchester.


I set about auditioning likely candidates. Over the next 20 years, I tried and failed to bring together disparate people to fill the roles I was hell-bent on casting them in. I tried workers’ co-operatives, anarchist groups, theatre companies and I even dabbled in paganism.

The problem, as I was so very slow to grasp, was that I was not Gene Roddenberry, creating a world of harmony. I was George RR Martin and Joss Whedon at their most brutal. When these people didn’t come up to scratch, I killed them off. Not literally, you understand (although there were some who, if I could have got away with it I would have) but they were written out from the series in my head. And like George and Joss, I didn’t care that other people had become attached to them – when they failed to live up to my expectations or let me down as I saw it, they were gone.

I was not Captain Janeway, uniting the Federation and the Macquis. I was not Buffy, fighting the good fight at the Hellmouth (or Glasgow, same difference) no matter how much I tried.

This year the sharp truth finally dawned. I was destructive and controlling. I was Boyd Langton in the penultimate episode of Dollhouse –


“You’ve proven yourselves in so many ways. I-I-I wanted you all with me – except for Paul.”

There have been too many Pauls. I am Angel, sending Lorne off with Lindsey to do his dirty work for him (I have a soft spot for Lindsey – so sue me!) and Angelus at his raging worst. I am Bennett Halverson, trying to make dolls out of real people. I am Echo at her worst–

Paul Ballard: I think you’ve got a hundred people living inside your head, and you’re the loneliest person I know.

Echo: That’s kind of sweet.

Paul Ballard: Not for the person who’s with you.”

It’s hard to admit to yourself that you’re not the hero in your own story, not the captain of your ship. That you’re not even the wise-cracking Zeppo-like Xander or horror of horrors, the Neelix of the crew.  That maybe, you’re the one that’s broken. Alpha. Willow. Faith. Starbuck. But as in all the best stories, the most damaged and fucked-up person can be redeemed. It’s never too late to turn that corner. And I am trying. I’ve realised that the best people in my life are not the ones I put there but the ones who turned up and stayed. People I’ve known for decades, people I have grown up with who have always been there. My watchers, if you like. Yeah, I’ve been lost in the Delta Quadrant but I’m bringing this bird home. It just turned out I was the one in most in need of a rewrite and an edit.

“Love. You can learn all the math in the ‘Verse, but you take a boat in the air that you don’t love, she’ll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps her in the air when she oughta fall down, tells you she’s hurtin’ ‘fore she keens.”