Page to Screen: Sailor Moon S (1994-1995)

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Sailor Moon S
based on the manga by Naoko Takeuchi

★★★★★

1994-1995 • 38 episodes • Toei Animation/Viz Media

Sailor Moon S had an odd journey to North America. You see, after the first two seasons of DiC’s dub performed so poorly in syndication, DiC just kind of dropped it. In fact, it kind of dropped it towards the end of Sailor Moon R, never finishing the season. But after Cartoon Network made Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon R a key part of Toonami, the show became more and more popular. DiC eventually bought and released the remaining episodes of Sailor Moon R, but it was Cloverway, the then American branch of the show’s production company Toei Animation, that produced the dubs of Sailor Moon S and Sailor Moon Super S, which ran on Cartoon Network. Sailor Moon Sailor Stars was never picked up for North American distribution, largely because of that season’s gender trouble.

I tend to think of Sailor Moon as a very cohesive whole, like a lot of manga and anime franchises, so it’s a little jarring to realize just how it trickled into North America, where it had such a sizable impact. As much as I’m mildly playing at revisiting my childhood by watching Sailor Moon at god awful in the morning while I get ready for work, I’m experiencing Sailor Moon in a way most English-speaking fans did not; I mean, I’ll actually get to watch an official subtitled version of Sailor Moon Sailor Stars.

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Page to Screen: Hannibal — Season 3 (2015)

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Hannibal: Season 3
based on
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

★★★★★

2015 • 13 episodes • NBC

It only really occurred to me on Sunday that I have spent this entire summer drowning in Hannibal. Despite declaring that binge watching was just not the way I, personally, should be consuming television, Hannibal’s circumstances and quality endeavored to make a hypocrite of me and succeeded. My appetite for Hannibal was insatiable; forty-five minutes never went so fast in my life before.

Now that I’ve returned to my other television projects (Sailor Moon and Xena: Warrior Princess, for the curious), it almost feels like I’ve just wandered, dazed, out of a dark forest and, looking back, have only just now realized how vast it was. When it comes to television, I am well-trained in the art of being completely out of the loop when it comes to television: see previous sentence, where I have somehow managed to grow to full adulthood as a queer lady geek without the power of Sailor Moon and Xena: Warrior Princess. So the experience of not only being in the loop but being in the loop with a show that has radically challenged what network television and television can do has felt like a rare honor.

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Page to Screen: Hannibal — Season 2 (2014)

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Hannibal: Season 2
based on
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

★★★★★

2014 • 13 episodes • NBC

What a time to be alive.

Maybe it’s because I binge-watched much of this season while out of my mind with a head cold that rendered me largely unable to string human words together, but few shows have energized my mind like Hannibal. Despite my previously mentioned distaste for binge-watching, Hannibal is surviving this method (I’m trying to catch up so I can finish the third season with the rest of the civilized world) and giving me plenty to chew on and wail over as I listen to Mediaeval Baebes. It’s a revitalizing experience.

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Page to Screen: Hannibal – Season 1 (2013)

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Hannibal: Season 1
based on
Red Dragon by Thomas Harris

★★★★★

2013 • 13 episodes • NBC

The only tragedy of the written word is that I cannot wordlessly scream a single note at you for the equivalent of 700+ words to convey how good Hannibal is. I mean, I am capable of recording myself wordlessly screaming, but there is no way that will accurately convey the intended message to you. You win again, the written word!

Ever the Johnnie-come-lately, I of course finally decided to put Hannibal‘s first season on hold a few days before the show was canceled. (Fuller and company are still searching for a home; Netflix and Amazon have passed.) Captain Cinema, tumblr (sweet Bowie, does tumblr love Hannibal), and the entire world have been talking up Hannibal a storm ever since the show began airing. Showrunner Bryan Fuller describing the show as not television, but “a pretentious art film from the 80s” was the only thing I needed to push myself off the edge.

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Page to Screen: Agent Carter (2015)

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Agent Carter
based on Captain America: The First Avenger

★★★★★

2015 • 8 episodes • ABC

Do I really need to tell you Agent Carter is amazing?

I kind of feel weird reviewing it, to be honest. Part of it is its obvious awesomeness to everyone I come in contact with on a regular day. Part of it is that it feels so long ago. Okay, it’s only been a month, but that’s like a year in fandom time. (I mean, the first blush of Sherlock fandom feels like another decade entirely.) And part of that is because Agent Carter is the closest thing to an original television show I’ve decided to review for the blog, being based on the Marvel Cinematic Universe instead of a specific comic, and that makes me a little nervous. Like everything that makes me nervous, that’s preposterous—it’s not as if I’m reading the Sailor Moon manga to give the anime series greater context…yet.

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Page to Screen: Sailor Moon R (1993)

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Sailor Moon R
based on the manga by Naoko Takeuchi

★★★★½

1993-1994 • 43 episodes • Toei Animation/Viz Media

When Toei Animation asked Sailor Moon author Naoko Takeuchi to adapt her manga into a one season anime series, neither of them knew how successful it would be. Toei, not one to miss an opportunity, asked Takeuchi to keep working on the manga. Eventually, the manga and the anime found a rhythm that worked, with the anime following the manga closely enough that only the production time created a month or so long lag.

But, at first, the anime demand exceeded the manga supply, necessitating two filler arcs before Takeuchi and her editor hit upon the main idea for the Black Moon arc. The first is the delightful Makaiju arc, where two aliens, Ail and Ann, infiltrate Tokyo to feed human energy to the alien tree that sustains them. And the second is the infuriating subplot where Mamoru breaks up with Usagi due to a prophecy, never mentions that to her, and she spends most of her energy tearfully trying to win him back. It’s a hard side to see to the normally brash Usagi, especially when she’s only dealt this crap hand in the anime for the flimsiest of reasons. (Oh, and he’s a college student dating a fourteen year old. This kind of stuff doesn’t make me like you, Mamoru. Step it up.)

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Page to Screen: Sailor Moon (1992)

sailormoonseasononeSailor Moon
based on the manga by Naoko Takeuchi

★★★★½

1992-1993 • 46 episodes • Toei Animation/Viz Media

When the first major wave of anime hit the United States in the early nineties, I was a small child, both in the sense that I was both young and in the sense that I was not already five six, as I would be before hitting middle school. Already entranced by the television, I began watching fits and snatches of cartoons, although the serial nature of television went over my head. It completely eluded me to the point that I would just turn on the television whenever, which was usually at four in the morning. Madame McBride was not amused. When she came across me watching The World of Richard Scarry at an ungodly early hour, she took it for Are You Afraid of the Dark? and made sure I never lay my hands upon a remote before noon again, so help me God.

This might be why I didn’t understand how television worked until I was fifteen.

But that was how I saw Sailor Moon for the first time. I’ve, in the course of my fits and starts to more personal writing, tried to pinpoint the exact airing schedule of it when I came across it, and have only come to the conclusion that being on the west coast helped. It was DiC’s now infamous American dub of the show, neatly glossing over any cultural inconsistencies, providing neat moral lessons in the Sailor Says segments, and, of course, frantically erasing any violent and queer content, from the first season’s villainous Kunzite and Zoisite to Sailor Neptune and Sailor Uranus. While I didn’t watch it religiously, Sailor Moon fit neatly into my haphazardly lady-centric view of the universe, even as it faded into the rearview mirror when we left California.

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Page to Screen: Sleepy Hollow — Season 1

Sleepy Hollow: Season 1
based on “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” by Washington Irving

Sleepy Hollow - Season 1 Promos

There was no reason for Sleepy Hollow to be good. When its first trailer debuted, I cackled alongside my friends and felt the familiar rush of stumbling across something so bizarre and high-concept that it could only gratify my ravenous hunger for good-bad media. (It’s the same way I feel about X-Men: Days of Future Past, no matter how many times I might say that I think it might be good. I mean, sure, there’s a chance! But there’s just so much going on. It’s like a Claudia Kishi ensemble.) I was fully prepared to thrill all and sundry with my retelling of the pilot, much the same way I recap Breaking Dawn or how Rasputin died to gauge new acquaintances.

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The Sunday Salon: Bookish Fall Television 2013

Because I didn’t know how network television worked until 2005 (shows come on every week? What dark magic was this?) and thus developed a taste for long-form narratives very late in my development, my television watching habits are pretty scant compared to my peers. And they look downright minimalistic compared to the tumblrinas. (A tumblrina is anyone on tumblr who makes me feel old.) This past television season marked the first time I ever had appointment television shows—ElementaryOnce Upon a Time (I should probably review the second season soon, eh?), and Saturday Night Live. And, as another first, I’m actually making decisions about what shows I should pick up come next fall. There’s a few bookish options, and I’d like to share those with you today, in order of ascending ridiculousness…
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