First up, Big City Life by halcyon_shift is a hypnotic Dark Angel vid. It helps that I like the track a lot, but this was always a show which I thought had a lot of potential and it's great to see someone draw it together in such an attractive way. You definitely don't need to have seen the show to get a lot out of the vid--so slick, so powerful.
Now I'm going to shock everyone on my f'list by reccing a Supernatural vid! I assume everyone actually IN SPN fandom has already seen this, but I'm really delighted by Things that make you go hmm by deirdre_c. So this pimp is directed at those of you who don't watch the show but have maybe always secretly hoped that someone would vid all the amusing slashy moments together in a humorous and cutely edited fashion so you could perv without being distracted/frustrated by the bad dialogue. This is the vid for you! :)
Battlestar Inferno: So Ghetto, So Hood by crickets is totally addictive. It has the funniest use of Papadama's slow-clapping ceremonies EVER and also brilliant use of Roslin handing the bottle to Ellen which I always adored. And it has a really distinctive aesthetic. Yum!
m_a_r_i_k_s has been excitingly prolific of late and I totally owe her feedback but everytime I watch Heaven I get so emotional that I can't actually compose a reply. It's a beautiful and heartbreaking BSG ensemble piece which explores the importance of destination and 'Earth' for the BSG characters. I'd recommend it to all BSG fans. For those of you looking for something lighter (or sexier!), you might want to also check out I'm Your Gun for gratuitous Lee ogling.
Finally, bradcpu's Goodnight moon has eaten my brain. Which is apropriate since it's a Heroes vid. And watching this vid, I'm the most excited about Heroes I've been since early season one. It's fantastically meta-dense and layered as well as being gorgeous and creepy. I doubt I'm going to be able to articulate everything I'd like to about this vid, but I've got to give it a shot as I feel I've got to write it out of my system in a way that I usually only feel after episodes of show's I meta.
I'll start with a disclaimer that I have no real idea if any of what I'm about to say is what Brad intended with his vid or not. His stated intention was to explore the parent-child connection and it's relationship to violence. I know I joked in season one that Heroes was ridiculously incestuous but I think part of what I was responding too was the creepy dysfunctional parent-child dynamics--and the end result of many of these is not sex, but violence. Since I also think the violence is subtly sexualised on the show, I think there's a lot of material that could be read either way.
The lyrics of this track are distinctly creepy. The opening verses paint a picture of a dangerous intimate environment ('tacks on the floor', 'blade by the bed'). bradcpu takes a non-literal approach in vidding these lyrics though the viewer can observe that many of the lyrics work directly for Heroes characters: the dog on the floor could be Mr Muggles, the 'sleeping with my gun' works perfectly for Nicky. The shots he chooses in this opening sequence also establish an uneasiness. He works in images of domesticity (an empty tea cup, a child at home) alongside characters confronting the results of violence--a trashed house, dead bodies.
He also introduces the idea of dreaming or sleeping with shots of Micah and Nicky resting. They look vulnerable--and the lyrics enhance this with their exploration of nervous sleeping and 'things that go bump in the night'. Heroes Season One is all about those things that go bump--and disturbingly a lot of the time the source of the fright is close to home.
Nicky is explored early on in the vid--the source of her fear comes from inside her, but also from her family past with her father and her sister Jessica. As a parent herself she remains a victim to that past but also poses a threat to her son Micah. Like many parent figures in Heroes she desires to protect him but is also the most dangerous figure in his life.
The other figure who is trapped by family past is Mohinder--through dreams/nightmares he learns of his father's violent death but also the death of his sister. There are parallels to Nicky here, since both of them uncover secrets that have been dominating their life without them realising it. The dream-child (I forget the character's name) offers Mohinder a key to the past and he unlocks it, just as Nicky takes the key offered her by Jessica.
The first chorus introduces the figure of Molly hiding from her nightmares. Molly is a central figure in this vid in the same way that she wound up being a central figure in season one. It might be easy to overlook the child crying under the stairs but her plight (haunted by nightmares that conflate her parents and violence, afraid of being seen by the 'bogeyman') is symbolic of all of the characters in their 'child self' forms. They're all just 'little babies' as the song reminds us, somewhat ironically. Even (especially?) the monsters.
In Claire we see an older version of this frightened, confused child. The third verse includes the lyrics 'footsteps loud and strong coming down the hall'. It also introduces the idea of being watched or followed. This works perfectly with the painted image of a figure standing over Claire casting a long shadow. As viewers in season one we were not sure where the threat was coming from--Sylar or her father, Noah. But something was definitely 'under the bed' in the sense that her family held violent secrets. These are foreshadowed in the vid by images such as the melting handle and the kitchen on fire. But also by the construction of the shots of Claire on her bed--from outside the window, suggesting to the viewer that someone is watching her.
This leads up to one of the most wonderful moments in the vid for me--the shot of Noah Bennett to 'big black crow sitting on my window ledge'. Was there ever a more perfect metaphor for him? And the ambiguous smile he makes just adds to the creepy.
Claire too has her violent family secrets to uncover--her mother's powers and the resulting fire that she survived as an infant. Flames engulf the image of her adopted family--a metaphor that works at several levels since they're under threat both internally and from Claire's powers/past. The shot of Claire painting the 'Homecoming' vid also works brilliantly here because her 'homecoming' holds such dark power--we know it's to be the site of the foreshadowed violence.
The black and white sequence takes us back into the past where we see the origins of some of these intergenerational dynamics. The young Noah Bennett adopts Claire as his child while Hiro plays with his storybooks, from which he learnt his values about heroism. They are both taught and directly challenged by their fathers and they will both have to confront the fact that their fathers lied to them and demand certain behaviour from them.
I think of the whispered verse as the 'Sylar sequence' since it deals directly with Sylar's attack on Claire. The lyrics are too perfect! 'It kisses my face and eats my head'! bradcpu adds another layer in here by including the image of Sylar in Nathan's form attacking Claire. The Petrelli family drew Claire in close only to create new forms of intimate threat to her. They 'eat her head' non-literally by messing with her emotions.
Another moment that I completely love is the paralleling of Mrs Petrelli and Sylar's mother, both stroking their son's chins in over-controlling gestures. I remember norwich36 and I discussing when the episode about Sylar's mother first aired the fact that these two women are both paralleled and set in contrast to each other, with Mrs Petrelli playing a grand interpersonal political game and expecting the earth of her sons, while Sylar's mother confines herself to the tiny controllable snowglobe worlds and doesn't see her son's ascension coming.
I love the way the violence in this vid just creeps up on you... suddenly we're into the world of nuclear explosions and assasination and we got there seamlessly and inevitably. We see that several characters are driven to try to kill another--Mohinder points his gun, Hiro raises his sword. But it's Sylar who gets to say 'goodnight moon' by killing his mother and empowering himself as a solitary figure. In doing so he's internalised the violence and become the source of it himself.
One of the most chilling moments in the vid for me is the shot of the 'mommy and me' picture fading into the phone, which Matt's wife throws away and then strokes her pregnant belly anxiously. Because there is another child about to be born into this same frightening environment, with a(n absent) father already preoccupied with violence and struggling with powers.
This introduces the last chilling stage of the vid which invites the characters and the viewer to be complicit in the cycle of secrets, violence and disfunction. DL walks backwards through a wall saying 'shh!' to Nicky, leaving her in a padded cell. Jessica too has 'shushed' her. So many of these last images are passive and compromising--Claire's adopted mother lies on the floor, silenced by her husband; Sylar's mother is silenced forever; Nathan sits passively and watches his mother stare at her own reflection; Noah Bennett folds his hands in captivity in passivity.
And cleverly bradcpu shows us what we've been perhaps only partially aware of all along--that a clock has been ticking (clocks are woven throughout the vid) and there's a question to be answered: Do you (we/the characters) want to quit? And the answer is chilling because it's 'no'--they choose, some consciously, some subconsciously, not an end to this cycle but a continued engagement with it.