Friday, March 6, 2015

Top 10 Fictional Characters Who Are Black

For those of you not aware, March 6 was declared to be #Blackoutday by someone on tumblr. We are only liking, posting, and reblogging posts of/about black people. In honor of that, I'm listing my top 10 fictional characters who are black. In no particular order, they are:

Martha Jones (Doctor Who)
Martha Jones is a character whose value is often disputed in the Whovian community. Some people don't appreciate her, but I am one of the people who thinks she's totally awesome. Yes, she had a crush on the Doctor, but so did most of his female companions. She has clear goals of what she wants (to become a doctor), and she works towards those goals, eventually achieving them. Like Donna, she makes the Doctor earn her respect. She saves the ENTIRE WORLD from the Master while the Doctor stands by helplessly. She knows when to move on from the Doctor and find someone else, and she does. Which brings us to the next person on the list.

Mickey Smith (Doctor Who)
I bet most of you are thinking that Mickey Smith is stupid and lame. I did at first, but not any more. See, there's a little thing called character development. Throughout series 1 and 2, Mickey grows and changes to be smarter and more independent, among other things. The one thing that doesn't change is that Mickey is fiercely loyal. He keeps waiting for Rose, even when she disappears with the Doctor. When she's gone for a year and he's a suspect in her murder, he says nothing because he wants to protect her (also because he knows he won't be believed). When he realizes that she will never love him and treat him the way he deserves, he moves on, but he still does everything he can to help her and the Doctor. He joins Torchwood and is totally awesome. He marries Martha, who has also been unappreciated by the people in her life, and they go freelance to fight aliens. Mickey goes from a cowardly, clingy "tin dog" to a brave, loyal, and strong man.

Danny Pink (Doctor Who)
I was really worried Danny was going to be a poorly written character, but it turned out that Moffat actually did a good job with Danny. He reminds me a little of Mickey and a little of Rory, but he's different from both of them. He's really accepting and supportive of Clara, even to the point that he allows her to continue traveling with the Doctor. And he has a fierce loyalty towards Clara, doing everything he can to help her. I wasn't sure about the whole soldier thing, but I like the way it feeds into his character, making him brave, smart, and strong. Also, the "bad day" he had as a soldier gives him a strong sense of guilt which serves to make him more real and the "bad day" also gives him a heightened sense of morality, which I think is very important.

Gwen (Merlin)
My mom pointed out that there would not have been black people in Europe during the time of King Arthur, but oh well. I'll happily take POC representation over historical accuracy (unless it's a documentary, of course). Gwen is sweet and sensitive and smart, but she can also be super tough when she needs to be. Like Merlin, she helps make Arthur a better man.

Sam Wilson aka Falcon (The Avengers)
The Avengers are awesome. Every member of the Avengers is awesome, including Falcon. Because he's a newer member of the group, he doesn't get as much attention as he deserves. He's smart, funny, and talented. Also, his suit is totally awesome! Another score for superheroes who have super technology instead of superpowers.

Captain Ray Holt (Brooklyn Nine-Nine)
If you don't watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine, you should. It's awesome. Captain Ray Holt is one of the major characters (he's the captain of district 99 of the NYPD). Not only is he black, he's also gay. Representation for the win! He's strict and smart, but he can also be funny at times. And he's the only one with the willingness and ability to call Jake out on his antics.

Agent J (Men In Black)
Have you seen Men In Black? No? Go watch it right now. Don't come back until you've read it. Okay. Now you agree that Agent J is awesome, right? Will Smith is the bomb, and he portrays this role really well (I also really like Will Smith as Alex Hitchins in "Hitch").

Tiana (The Princess and the Frog)
I love Tiana. She's smart, funny, and most importantly, hardworking. I think she's a really great role model for people who want to fulfill their dreams. She's really good at being kind to and respectful of other people. Also, she doesn't put up with other people's bad behavior.

Sid (Galavant)
Okay, so he's basically the show's comic relief, but I still like him. He's funny and, as we learn in "Two Balls" (did they think through that title? Did they do that on purpose?), not nearly as bad as the average squire. He expresses resentment at being always ignored, and after the aforementioned episode, he does gain a little more respect from Galavant, who had to spend some time in Sid's shoes.

God (played by Morgan Freeman)*
Obviously nobody can know for sure exactly what God will be like until getting to heaven, but I always picture God as basically Morgan Freeman. I'm also really glad that they cast a black guy for God and not a white person. Jesus was middle-eastern (and Jewish), so I'm glad God was portrayed as POC as well.

*God is not a fictional character, but he is a character in the fictional movies Bruce Almighty and Evan Almighty. I wanted to include him in the list. Don't judge.

Alright so that's all well and good, but I need to mention something important: I had a lot of trouble thinking of enough people to put on this list. If I were making a list of my favorite fictional characters ever, I would have trouble limiting it. I think it's disgusting that POC characters are portrayed by white actors. We need more POC representation! *raises fist for emphasis* That is all. Have a nice day!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Fandom School (7th period): How to Find Related Fandoms

So this was supposed to be written yesterday. Sorry. Let's just say that Fandom School had a snow day because my school didn't (but we do have one today). But enough about snow, let's talk about fandoms.

As a huge fangirl, I'm always looking for a new fandom to add to my life (more like become my life), and I'm sure many of you are the same. While you may like a wide variety of things, most people like fandoms in the same genre. But how do you find fandoms similar to the ones you're already in? This post will give you advice as well as a few fandom recommendations. (Note: if you want more detailed recommendations instead of an "if you like this, you might like that" approach, you should read this post.)

Step 1: Make a list of the fandoms you are in
What do you watch/read? What are you obsessed with? You have to figure this out first before you can find what else you might like.

Step 2: Find out what genre(s) you like
Now, look at your list. What categories do these fit into? I like several different genres, but most of my fandoms are sci-fi or fantasy. I also like musicals, mystery, and Disney. There are a few fandoms I'm in that don't fit in any of those categories (those are what we call outliers).

Step 3: Pick a few of your biggest fandoms
If you're like me, you have a LOT of fandoms (just take a look at my list on the right sidebar- and that's only the beginning!), so focus on the one's you're most obsessed with.

Step 4: The Google search
Search for similar shows/movies/books. For example...

Step 5: The "Recommended for you" section
Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and most places you would get books/movies/TV shows will give you recommendations based on your watching/browsing history. Check out the shows it recommends.

Step 6: See what your friends are watching/reading
Ask your friends (this includes online friends) what fandoms they are in. Chances are, they watch something you might want to start watching.

Step 7: Look for crossovers has a section specifically for crossovers. On other fanfiction websites, you can search the works in one fandom for other fandoms. See what fandom is often put in a crossover with your fandom. You might like it! 

Step 8: Investigate spin-offs
Many popular shows (and to a lesser extent, books and movies) have spin-offs. For example, Torchwood and The Sarah Jane Adventures are both crossovers of Doctor Who. Sometimes, spin-offs keep going even when the original is done.

Step 9: Look at various adaptations
If a book is popular enough, it will often be made into a movie or TV show. Arthur Conan Doyle's books about Sherlock Holmes have had many adaptations, including Sherlock and Elementary.

Step 10: See what else your favorite actors/writers are in
How many times have you watched a movie just because your favorite actor was in it? Yeah, probably a lot. For example, Broadchurch (which just started airing Season 2 on BBC America) has several actors from Doctor Who, including David Tennant, Arthur Darvill, and several other people who were minor characters in Doctor Who. You can also look at who writes your favorite shows and what else they write. Steven Moffat writes both Doctor Who and Sherlock (whether that's a good thing or a bad thing is for you to decide).

Finally, I provide you with some fandom recommendations.

If you like: Thor, Captain America, Iron Man, the Hulk
You might like: The Avengers, Agent Carter

If you like: Doctor Who
You might like: Torchwood, The Sarah Jane Adventures, Sherlock, Supernatural

If you like: Sherlock
You might like: Elementary, Agent Carter, Doctor Who, Supernatural

If you like: Star Wars
You might like: Star Trek, The Avengers, The Big Bang Theory, Doctor Who

If you like: American Idol
You might like: Sing Your Face Off, The Voice, Pitch Perfect

If you like: musicals and/or fantasy
You might like: Galavant

If you like: The Hunger Games
You might like: Divergent [note: read the books; the movies aren't that great]

If you like: Harry Potter, fantasy, Arthurian legend
You might like: Merlin

If you like: The Lord of the Rings, How to Train Your Dragon
You might like: Eragon