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The Female Perspective: What The Heck “Westworld”

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website! Or find me on Facebook at @JLMetcalfAuthorArtisan!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


SPOILERS! SPOILERS! SPOILERS!


Are you watching Westworld? You are? Are you confused, are you searching for your “cornerstone” because you think you might be a robot?

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Are you wondering:

  • What’s real?Is this real? Is life real? Is this world real?
  • AM I A ROBOT???

Good. Then we’re on the same page.

Again, SPOILERS will happen so if you aren’t caught up, don’t read this.

I have to say that Westworld is hands down one of the best sci-fi shows I have seen in AGES. Well done HBO. Well. Fricking. Done.

If you haven’t watched the show then why are you reading this? Go, get yourself some access to HBO and WATCH IT. For reals.

Okay. Now that’s all taken care of.

OH MY GOD. Bernard is a robot! He’s Arnold! He’s dead! WTF?

I loved him and didn’t love him and loved him again and now he’s gone? Oooooh Westworld, you tricky beast. You are diabolical like Game of Thrones. You keep us on our toes, we literally have no idea what’s coming and then you tell us and then BAM dead people, uh robots, and well people too I guess. It’s a violent place.

I was introduced to Westworld via the 1973 movie. It’s a great flick, written by the amazing Michael Crichton and well worth your time. It poses the same questions as the TV show in that you sit there and wonder, is this okay? Is it moral to have a “theme park” that’s humanoid robots that act, talk and die like humans, but that humans can mess with, murder, rape, etc, with impunity.

In the Westworld of the film, it’s so much more than just the Western concept, there’s a Greek concept world and others, the scope of it is truly amazing and I wonder if eventually they’ll bring that into the show. I sure hope so.

What’s similar about both the TV show and the movie is this idea that people in the future go on vacation to a place where they can literally do whatever they want to other “people” (aka, hosts as they’re called on the show). That means that people go there and have sex with whoever they want, however they want. They murder people at will, they rob, pillage … You get the idea. The worst of people comes out when they’re given free reign with zero consequences or guilt.

Honestly, It turns my stomach a bit, especially in this current world climate of anger and chaos. I don’t think I could ever hurt someone for “fun”, robot or not. It makes you truly wonder about the people who frequent the park. I mean sure, there are plenty of folks who go just to have a good time, to immerse themselves in the old West. To drink, play cards, act like a cowboy or cowgirl and have fun. No murdering or other nefarious adventures. But then there are those that go to do not so nice stuff. Who go because they have never killed and want to do so without the fear of jail time or their own death. They go because they enjoy having power over others, because they see the hosts as less than human, as below them and therefore, they see the hosts as their playthings.

Again, it’s a bit stomach-turning when you start to think of it that way.

That being said, what I love about the show is that the women are given equal, if not more, power than men. There are multiple story lines evolving, and almost all include a powerful, smart, savvy woman taking control and getting stuff done. Rachel Evan Wood, who plays Dolores, (and who is always enchanting to watch) is discovering her true self by going on a mission to discover her past,  a past which she realizes is much more awful than she imagined. After all, she has wonderful, informative chats with Arnold, only to discover that she killed him.

Oh Dolores, what did you do???
Oh Dolores, what did you do???

Dear God, what? Dolores killed Arnold???? No, say it isn’t so! But I can’t say I’m surprised, we all knew that Dolores had a dark side, we just didn’t know how dark it could actually be.

Then we have Maeve, wonderful, brutal, brilliant Maeve played with a wonderfully sinister ease by Thandie Newton. She has a nervous, unseasoned tech wrapped around her beautiful finger and I cannot wait for the finale on Sunday to see if she gets her wish, to be free of Westworld altogether. Though we know that that may be impossible, and may even kill her if/when she tries to leave.

The thing is, these women are as brutal the world around them. They are products of their environment. They are products of their past stories that they are remembering with horror. They remember the rapes, the murders, the brutality brought upon them in their other storylines and they want out. They were created by Westworld and therefore, they are cruel, they are battered and they are ready to be something more than just a plaything for humans.

She's a wiley one, that Maeve.
She’s a wiley one, that Maeve.

They want freedom, or do they? Dolores makes the point in this past Sunday’s episode that the men all assume she wants out so that begs the question, what does Dolores want?

I think it’s very simple: they want to be able to decide their own future.

They want choices.

AH! It’s fantastic! I absolutely love this show and I look forward to the finale, while also being sad that my weekly bouts of, “Huh?” and “Holy cow!” are going to be over until Season Two premiers. I also live in fear as to who is next to die. Is it Maeve? Dolores? Ford (played with perfect level of menace and sadness by Anthony Hopkins)? Oh my gosh, it’s almost too much!

How about you? What do you enjoy most about Westworld? What do you hope the finale shows us? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: The Walking Dead – Here’s Negan!

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website! Or find me on Facebook at @JLMetcalfAuthorArtisan!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


We waited for season 7 and we were not disappointed...Well most of us anyway.
We waited for season 7 and we were not disappointed…Well most of us anyway.

This post isn’t so much about feminism in The Walking Dead because I have touched on that before, but more it’s about me being a total nerd for this show and I wanted to chat a bit about the Season 7 premiere that happened last Sunday and the reaction thus far.

Do you watch The Walking Dead? Did you see it yet? No? Then stop reading, there be SPOILERS AHEAD! Why are you reading a blog instead of watching the show? Yeesh, go, go now!

Okay. Onward and upward.

If you watch the show then you  know that season 6 left us all in a quandary. We had just met Negan (if you didn’t read the comics you had been hearing about him ad naseum for quite a while I assume) and I can say that for me, I had a hard time remember to breathe the entire episode as we waited the big reveal and what it meant for our hearty band of survivors.

If you read the comics, then you know that someone is about to die, and Negan is going to be the one who does it. With Lucille, his vampire bat.

I started watching Walking Dead before I read the comics and I instantly loved the show and very quickly thereafter began to devour the comics as well. I am now currently caught up with the comics but won’t spoil those here.  Sufficed it to say, Negan is still alive and kicking and he is still a very, very, VERY bad man. Can you be a man when you’re a horrible monster in a world of horrible monsters?

Many people knew that someone was about to die, we didn’t know who and season 6 was not about to end telling us who dies, they left us all wondering, as the screen went black and the horrific crunching of bat on head echoed all around us. We waited and we guessed and we worried, and finally, we know. It wasn’t just one character, it was two. TWO! Walking Dead you’re getting greedy now.

Winner of best facial hair on "The Walking Dead" has to be Abraham.
Winner of best facial hair on “The Walking Dead” has to be Abraham.

It was a brutal episode, first Abraham got killed, but not before he got in one last, “Such my b—s” as he collapsed. It was a death worthy of the character and it was sad to see. It was actually really grotesque, but this is a show full of grotesque imagery, I mean, for pete’s sake, the dead and decaying are walking around la-dee-dah like. It’s pretty gross.

What came next was a surprise and a pretty good shock, Daryl gets a good, solid punch in on Negan’s handsome face and voila! We have our second death of the evening, Glenn. Poor Glenn, he got it via Lucille in the comics so he’s who I had my money on to be murdered on the episode. I admit to jumping and yelling when it happened. I admit to crying a tear or two when he finally cries out to Maggie and tells her he’ll find her.

Ugh.

It’s a brutal episode. Not only do we see characters we love get butchered in front of our faces, we see some pretty gnarly zombie death as well. But besides all of that is the emotional toll the show took. We watch as Negan beats Rick down emotionally, brutally, gleefully. After so many years with these characters, it’s hard to see someone as strong, as capable, as kind of cuckoo-pants crazy, as Rick get beaten down to the point of weeping and begging.

I say it again, it was a brutal episode.

Sadness...RIP Glenn Rhee.
Sadness…RIP Glenn Rhee.

So why am I so surprised that people are mad? We live in an age where people can accept gratuitous sex and foul language as par for the course, but violence on a show known for being gory and violent shocks us. People cry out, “My kids were watching!” And I ask, “What the heck were you doing let kids watch this show?” People cry out, “It’s too much,” and I ask, “So why doesn’t the violence on the news get you this upset? Why are half naked women okay, but violence is not?”

To me it’s a mark of a show doing something right. If people have such a strong and emotional reaction that they vow to stop watching the show, then the writers, the actors, everyone is doing something right. It means it’s effecting people (either positively or negatively) and that is what any entertainer wants to do. As a writer, I would LOVE to effect people with my words so much so that they have an emotional reaction so strong as to be angry, sad, happy, etc.

Is the show too violent? I don’t think so, not in the context of everything else that surrounds us. Not to mention the show is on at 9 AND has multiple warnings about violent content. They’ve done their job in warning people, if parents are letting their kids watch the show and the kids have nightmares, that’s on them. I’m sorry, but it’s true. It’s not AMC or The Walking Dead’s responsibility to censor itself because parents don’t make good decisions. I also think that if you don’t read the comics, then this weekends premier was probably a shocker for you, I get that. For those of us who have seen it, we know that Negan is horrible, violent and sadistic. We know what he does. If it was a surprise how violent things got and you are angry, that’s okay, but take a breather and think about the show you’re watching. It’s a show where the dead walk. Where people have been killing each other, sometimes there’s cannibals, always there’s death, and you’re surprised it got violent?

I do agree though that it was still brutal. And brilliant. That was some of the finest TV I’ve seen in awhile. Not because it was violent, but for the quiet moments after the violence was past us. When Rick and Negan are having alone time, when Rick is going through what’s just happened again and again. When we see the look on Daryl’s face when Glenn is killed. It’s those little moments that make it brilliant. The violence is just wrapped into that, it’s the catalyst for those little moments of true brilliance.

I personally cannot wait to see where Season 7 goes. If it’s anything like the comic book, we are in for quite the horrifically brutal treat.

Oh Negan...
Oh Negan…

What did you think of the premier? Too violent? Are you going to keep watching the show?
Yes or no?
Why or why not?
Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: The Women of the Marvel Netflix Universe

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


It’s no secret that I have a soft spot for superhero films and TV shows. I, like so many others, have been enjoying everything Marvel, including their foray into the world of binge watching on Netflix. Recently my boyfriend and I sat down and watched Luke Cage and I have to say, it was phenomenal. It also got me thinking, how come Marvel, and by extension, Netflix, can get this stuff so right and so many others get it so, so wrong?

The awesome women on "Luke Cage" on Netflix now!
The awesome women on “Luke Cage” on Netflix now!

What am I talking about? Not the content necessarily, though they nail that, but more specifically I’m talking about the women. The female characters are well thought out, they’re developed in fascinating and engaging ways and they walk around fully clothed and act like the grown ups they are.  It particularly struck me during Luke Cage as something that is a pleasure to see. Women who are powerful and smart, not just sex objects.

Take Rosario Dawson’s character for example, Claire, she its he connecting character between Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage and in all the shows she’s tough, she’s no-nonsense and she’s brave as all get out, especially when surrounded by larger than life enhanced people. She doesn’t wuss out when things get tough, she grabs the closest weapon she can find and she fights, or she used her words, which she’s more than capable of stringing into full sentences and fights that way. The women of the Netflix Marvel Universe are so much more than just women, they’re partners to the crime fighters they stand by. They’re equals. 

"Jessica Jones" on Netflix.
“Jessica Jones” on Netflix.

Of course, it’s not just in the Netflix programming either, the Marvel Cinematic Universe is equally as impressive in its female roles. No quiet wallflowers here, they’re all out to protect those that they love, keep themselves safe and fight toe-to-toe with some of Earth’s greatest hero’s. It’s something that strikes me as at odds in today’s world of angry anti-feminist rhetoric. It’s amazing when you look at the toy lines and the fight that it’s been to get the female characters represented alongside the male characters. How can Marvel and the studios get it so right on the screen, but so wrong in other places?

Now I can’t pretend to be knowledgeable about comic books since I haven’t read most of the ones that are the basis of these shows, but the comics I have read have struggled with representing women as equals to their male counterparts. I will never, ever understand why someone thinks it makes sense to draw a woman who is in a life or death fight as wearing a strapless top and a skirt. I know comics aren’t meant to be realistic and I love being sunk into  fantasy world of super hero’s and super villains, but still, I want my super ladies to wear pants, is that so much of a stretch? And shirts with sleeves and stuff would be good too, but one thing at at time. Pants would be great.

Elektra stands on her own (and apart) from her male counterparts in "Daredevil" season 2.
Elektra stands on her own (and apart) from her male counterparts in “Daredevil” season 2.

Anyway … What do you think? Have you watched any of these shows? What do you think about the portrayal of women in the Marvel universe? Sound off in the comments! Tell me what you think!

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The Female Perspective: Vampires, Bats and Crazy, Stuff I’m Watching

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


With fall quickly approaching that means new TV shows are coming soon, but if you’re looking for something entertaining to binge watch this weekend (or week, whatever works for you) I have some great ideas.

Now, I could go with the typical like Stranger Things which is fantastic and totally binge-worthy, but chances are you’ve already watched it. So I’m going to go a with few shows that seem to have flow under the radar, but are fantastic all on their own

Penny Dreadful (Showtime & Netflix)

Penny Dreadful
Penny Dreadful

Now, this show took a while for me to warm to. I thought it was  bit overly dramatic, a bit slow, and I still think that at some points it does get a bit dry, but overall, the 3 season drama/horror show is truly fantastic. Using old-time characters like Dracula, Frankenstein (both Doctor and Monster) and even Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, you really can have a lot of fun with this show. Not to mention, the female characters are not just relegated to damsels in distress. No sir. One of my favorite plots was when Dr. Frankenstein created a bride for his monster and … Well, let’s just say things didn’t go as he planned. Instead of her being a docile housewife type, she declared a war on men and started an entire revolution against the men that had been using the women for so very long. It was fantastic, and horrific the methods she used to get what she wanted. There is so much mythical goodness wrapped up in this show it’s hard to summarize and still do it justice, sufficed it to say, if you have fond memories of old-school monsters, this is a great show to revitalize the myths and maybe change your perspective on these characters while also getting a heavy dose of horror, drama and feminism.

Ray Donovan (Showtime)

Ray Donovan on Showtime
Ray Donovan on Showtime

This one might be a no-brainer since Donovan has been on for 4 seasons now, but I have heard about this show for quite awhile and only just got to start watching it. I’m on season 3 now and zipping right along and I have to say, this is a terrifically written show not afraid to face challenging topics like child abuse, alcoholism and more. It’s a show about a family and the mess they are along with the insane work Ray does as a “fixer” of sorts in LA. He’s like the Olivia Pope for the Hollywood elite. It makes for some mighty fine TV I have to say.

Not to mention, in the role of Donovan we have Liev Schriber, who is one of my faves. He has a way of acting with his face that conveys exactly what he is thinking without him having to speak, it’s dynamic and exciting to watch. Not to mention, every time he gets out his baseball bat, you know something big is going down! Add to Schriber’s fantastic portrayal of Ray, we have Jon Voight as his father, Mickey Donovan and he is brilliant. He is a horrible, horrible father and human being who  you also fall totally in love with because he is such a mess.  I have to say though that my favorite character is Ray’s little brother, Brendan, aka Bunchy, played by Dash Mihok. Bunchy has been through the ringer and is sweet and kind and I just want to hug him all the time! This is not to say the women don’t get their fair share of screen time. I love how the women are written on this show! They are strong, capable and just as messed up as the men folk. Again, as with Penny Dreadful, the women are not damsels in distress, they are smart and their growth in the last few seasons is amazing to watch (especially Abby, Ray’s wife. I can’t decide if I feel bad for her or if I love her or if I hate her, that’s how awesome this show is!).

My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Season 1 is on Netflix)

https://youtu.be/AIuh1mMKsEs

I started watching this show because I was curious after doing a transcription with one of the show runners. I had passed on this show originally because I wasn’t interested in a show about a crazy ex-girlfriend honestly. I thought the term was sexist and that did not interest me in the least bit. After learning that the title is meant to be a joke of sorts, I thought, okay I’ll give it a go.

Color me surprised when first, they had musical numbers. MUSICAL NUMBERS in the middle of the show. The musical stuff is hilarious and often extremely clever and I have to applaud them on that. I’m still trying to decide if I actually like the show as it deals with, as expected, the main character being in love with her ex-boyfriend from camp when they were kids. I have issues with the way she runs about desperately trying to get his attention even though he has a girlfriend (who’s equal parts horrible and kind of hilarious, see video above for her song about Yoga).

I’m about 2 episodes away from the end of season 1 and I have to say that this show is worth a watch if you like musical numbers and can distance yourself from the stupid, unbelievable stuff she does or at least find it mostly funny. I’m willing to give it a chance because the supporting cast and their stories are pretty engaging (one character just outed himself as a bisexual and it’s pretty funny and also kind of amazing) and I am hopeful that by the end she will be over her ex and onto something more interesting.

So those are some of my faves, what are YOU watching?

What are you looking forward to seeing in the next couple months? I’m pretty psyched about Luke Cage on Netflix and the return of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D!

 

 

 

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The Female Perspective: Character Drama In Adaptations

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


This week there have been a few bits of information regarding the re-casting of comic book characters. One is that the new female Iron Man will be called Ironheart and the other is that Zendaya will supposedly be playing Mary Jane in Spiderman: Homecoming. In all honestly, I am not overly concerned with the re-casting of characters in terms of race of sex. If they can portray or tell good story, then their skin color and sex shouldn’t matter one bit.

The sad thing is, it seems to matter to quite a few people, I’m sorry, trolls.

When I was checking out the story about Zendaya playing Mary Jane the comments that ran along with the story were what interested me more than the actual story (I really have no clue who Zendaya is, nor do I care to find out and I am not a Spiderman fan in the least). The fact is that Zendaya is the daughter of an African-American father and a white mother, and she is playing a character that has always been portrayed as pale skinned with red hair. So you can imagine the derogatory comments and accusations of racism that have abounded alongside the announcement, many of them I cannot print here.

Where it gets murky is when people start covering their racism by saying they want these characters to be “portrayed in their true form” on screen.

Comparing Zendaya, Dunst and their comic book counterpart leaves you realizing that actually, Zendaya looks more like Mary Jane than Dunst did.
Food For Thought: Comparing Zendaya, Dunst and their comic book counterpart you realize that actually, Zendaya looks more like Mary Jane than Dunst did.

Is that racism masquerading as fandom or is it just simple fandom? It’s a question I don’t know the answer to and honestly, in the current cultural climate, I think casting a woman of mixed race as a character who is known to be pale skinned with red hair is perfectly fine. What matters in the end is the performance,  not the skin color.

Where I get annoyed (and hang in here with me, it gets confusing) is when those same people that got mad over changing Mary Jane, then get mad when others get mad over white people playing Egyptian or Asian roles. I’ve seen those same people who pitched a fit over Mary Jane go on and on about how race doesn’t matter. Argh! Pick a side of the debate and stick to it people!

Where is the line where it becomes okay to hate on casting because of skin color or sex? The answer to that one is it’s never okay, but in a world constantly on edge, it’s very difficult to say or do the right thing, no matter what side of the debate you’re on.

I’m not a racist fanboy, but I want to see a white Mary Jane, like comic books, the same happen[ed] in The Flash (Iris West) and Supergirl (James Olsen). What happens if there was the other way? If they put a white Black Panther?

Junior Sara on Facebook

When you have to start a comment with “I’m not racist”, then you need to stop typing or speaking right away because the chances of you saying something intelligent after are pretty much zero. The fact is this (poorly worded) comment stuck out to me (among others I cannot put in this blog) because this is really comparing apples to oranges. The character of Mary Jane is not rooted in her cultural identity, Black Panther is. He is the leader of an African tribe, he is the first black superhero–changing him from African-American to white would be a comic book catastrophe, not to mention hugely insulting to the characters legacy and backstory.

Don’t get me wrong, I get it, while I am a fan of comics, I love books even more and when I see a movie based on a beloved book, I want the characters to make sense. I want to see the character I always imagined on screen, but the simple fact is, the people making the movie are not seeing the same thing I am!  A recent example of that is Idris Elba being cast as The Gunslinger in the upcoming gunslinger movie. I was PSYCHED they picked Elba, but many, MANY people were upset. They had always seen Roland as a white man, a Clint Eastwood type, and if this movie was being made 30-40 years ago, yeah Eastwood would be great. But it’s not being made in the long ago, and honestly I think that Elba will do a phenomenal job at it. He has that broody, quiet thing down pat and it’s going to be a blast seeing him on screen playing one of Stephen King’s best characters. In the end for me it comes down to character portrayal, writing and directing. I do not care one whit what color or sex they are.

Does Elba look exactly like the Gunslinger? No. But is he going to be amazing? I think so!
Does Elba look exactly like the Gunslinger? No. But is he going to be amazing? I think so!

The fact is, what I see time and time again online is people that are unhappy. People who don’t have the faintest idea what it takes to make a movie, especially one that they are adapting from beloved source material. Same thing with comics, when writers and artists and studios want to revamp a character (Like making Thor into a female) it throws people off, we are creatures of habit (and some of us are racist, sexist jerk-heads) and as many have stated, we want to see the characters we loved stay the same, to be on screen looking the same as the writer described.

As a writer, I can think of nothing more exciting then having one of my books made into a movie. I also know that I would really want nothing to do with it because I would become endlessly frustrated. I have a vision for my characters and story that someone else might not have. I am also completely unbiased and would not be able to make the hard choices of what gets cut and doesn’t get cut. That being said, would I care if they changed the ethnicity of a character or turned a she into a he or a he into a she? If it served the story, I wouldn’t care one bit.

Art is a fluid, always moving aesthetic. One person’s vision is not the same as another persons. We have to learn to not get stuck in the rut of expectation. Instead we can feel shocked, dismayed or disappointed (I felt all those things when Ben Affleck was cast as Batman, but you  know what? He did a killer job) and then we have to move the heck on because guess what folks? It’s only a movie. If you don’t like something, don’t watch it, don’t buy it, don’t read about it. Just live your life as if this stuff doesn’t really matter because it really doesn’t. Enjoy the parts of an artistic vision that you can, be wowed by it, love it and let that be enough. For the stuff that annoys or disappoints, let it go. That won’t help with the racist trolls, but it will help us all get a little less tied up in thinking a character has to look a certain way, because these characters were created out of thin air and therefore, they can look pretty much any way they want.

Calm thyself, tis only a wee movie...
Calm thyself, tis only a wee movie…

What do you think? Are studios using too much “artistic vision” in their character changes? What casting/comic character change has irked you the most or made you the most happy? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: The Rio Olympics and Feminism

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


When I was a kid I adored the Olympics. The pageantry, the excitement, the athleticism was so impressive when I was younger and full of dreams. I thought, wouldn’t it be amazing if I could be that dedicated to something, to anything. The 2 weeks would fly by and then it was all over for another few years.

Rio-Olympics-2016-logo-640x360

I haven’t actively watched the Olympics in a few years now. I simply find it difficult to find the same excitement I did when I was a child. Don’t get me wrong, it’s awesome to hear about Phelps winning his 27,000 gold medal, but I simply don’t get excited about the Olympics anymore.

This year was different though, I felt actively angry and insulted about the Olympics. First off, with them being in Rio, a country that is extremely poor and in desperate need of financial stability, seemed in poor taste. Sure, it will bring money in, but the fact is they had to borrow millions of dollars to create the venues needed to host the massive events. The water is practically poison and even though it’s technically winter there, Zika was  a fear on many people’s minds. Not to mention crime that runs rampant through the streets. But I don’t make the choices over who hosts the Olympics so like many, I shrugged it off as “better minds know better”.

What really got me peeved was the blatant sexism being expressed by the commentators and news outlets. From the female athlete’s being referred to as “girls” even though they are grown women, to the news headlines in print and social media that state things like:

I don't know about you, but it would seem to me that someone breaking a WORLD RECORD is a bigger deal than a TIE.
I don’t know about you, but it would seem to me that someone breaking a WORLD RECORD is a bigger deal than a TIE.

AND…

With the headline: "Wife of a Bears' lineman wins a bronze medal today in Rio Olympics"
With the headline: “Wife of a Bears’ lineman wins a bronze medal today in Rio Olympics”

These 2 examples are perfect as to what’s wrong with the world in terms of feminism and sexism today. First off, a woman breaks a WORLD RECORD and she gets the smaller, less impressive headline while Phelps, who TIED for silver, gets the big headline. There could not be a more perfect example of sexism if someone actually tried. To essentially push someone to the side who broke a world record is insulting to her athletic ability. Besides the fact that hey, Phelps has won like a gazillion medals, let’s let someone else have the spotlight shall we?

When I saw the Twitter post from the Chicago Tribune regarding Corey Cogdell winning bronze I wanted to scream. Not only does the post not even mention her name, but it also puts her neatly into the box of someone’s wife. Not bronze medal winning athlete. No, we wouldn’t want to let her have her own achievement. Her husband has to be in there as well. It’s unfair and it’s also ludicrous.

There have been other examples of this, commentators praising another female swimmer by giving all the credit to her husband for her ability to perform.

NBC credited Hungarian swimmer Katinka Hosszu’s coach/husband as “the person responsible for her performance”. ~News.com

That one stunned me as well, I’m sorry, is he in the pool pushing her along? Is he paddling along beside her? Because it would seem to me that she did all the hard work. She was in the pool. She is in the Olympics. Not him. Why does it seem to be impossible for the media to give credit where it’s actually due when it comes to the women? Why do their achievements have to come tied to some man in their life? Why can’t these women be praised the same way that their male counterparts are?

Sadly, there are quite a few examples of this type of sexism that have run rampant through the 2016 Rio games. From commentators discussing the importance of makeup on the female gymnasts during their gymnastics routines to NBC completely botching the coverage of a HISTORY making swim by Simone Manuel when she became the first African-American woman to win a swimming medal in an individual event. They did air the medals ceremony eventually, but an hour after the historic moment occurred rather than airing it in real time (as the BBC did).

The fact is, our country is going through a massive period of change. A huge paradigm shift. From racial tensions to sexism to financial inequality, we are all watching our world shift and break apart in ways we never though we’d see. Donald Trump spews hatred and bile everywhere he goes while Hilary Clinton makes history, only to be overshadowed by her husband in the press coverage. It’s a strange world and the Olympics is simply putting a magnifying glass on that strangeness and showing us how the things we thought were gone (racism, sexism, etc) are still very much here and they are no longer as subtle as they once were. Now they’re right in our faces. It’s painful and it’s infuriating to watch women talked about as being “girls” and to have their accomplishments, in many ways, shrugged off or obscured by a male figure in their lives.

The fact is, women have been competing in the Olympic Games for 116 years;

Female athletes have been a part of the Olympic tradition for a whopping 116 years, since they first competed in the sufficiently ladylike lawn tennis at the Paris Games in 1900. –News.com.au

And yet, even after over 100 years of competing, the women still have far to go in terms of finding equality in their sports, but I will admit, progress has been made. I don’t want to deny that fact. I am hopeful though that it won’t take another 116 years for us to get to a place where female athletes are treated as equals to the male athletes and we will no longer talk about them in terms of their husbands or boyfriends, but in terms of their accomplishments and athleticism.

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What do YOU think of the Olympics? Are you watching?

Tell me your thoughts!

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The Female Perspective: My Fave Comic Con Trailers!

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


Like many, I was not at San Diego Comic Con last week, but like many, I got to enjoy the trailers and videos that came out of it with nerdy abandon. Today I thought I’d go over some of my favorites in case you haven’t seen them and to find out what other people enjoyed.

American Gods

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I read the Neil Gaiman book a year or so ago and while I enjoyed it, I wasn’t overly ecstatic about it. That being said, I was curious when I heard that Starz was developing a TV show based on the book. It’s a fascinating premise so I thought, well holy heck, this might be a cool TV show!

If you haven’t read the book, here’s a short synopsis:

The central premise of the novel is that gods and mythological creatures exist because people believe in them (a form of thoughtform). Immigrants to the United States brought with them spirits and gods. The power of these mythological beings has diminished as people’s beliefs wane. New gods have arisen, reflecting America’s obsessions with media, celebrity, technology, and drugs, among other things. ~Wikipedia

The trailer released at SDCC did NOT disappoint. Besides this being an amazing cast, I think it having a home on Starz is the perfect place for it. Not to mention, the guy playing Shadow, who I adored on The 100, is perfect casting for the quiet felon who is thrust back into the world after this best friend and his wife are both killed in a car accident.

Watch the trailer HERE.

Justice League

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Okay, this look pretty cool. I was a bit hesitant on the new Flash since I love the TV kid so much, but there appears there is some humor to break up the darkness. More than anything, I cannot possibly get enough of seeing a posse of superhero’s all together, there is something so amazing about it that I honestly will watch anything just to get my fix of that. Maybe it’s wish-fulfillment, where are our superhero’s?

Check out the trailer HERE.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

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I love me some Harry Potter magic, and really, magic in general. Not to mention the vast void of emptiness left in my life since the final book and movie were released so you can imagine my joy about seeing this trailer. The first trailer left me feeling a bit cold, but this one looks awesome. Plus, that familiar Harry Potter music brings back all the feels.

Check out the trailer HERE.

Doctor Strange

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Holy smokes, I can’t even … This look so flipping amazing I can’t even! Here, watch the trailer and tell me this doesn’t fill you with all the feels when it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Check out the trailer HERE.

Now, I know virtually nothing about Dr. Strange, but I can tell you two things with certainty.

  1. Benedict Cumberbatch can do no wrong. I don’t care. He’s awesome.
  2. Magic and mind-twisting magic. Dude. MAGIC.

This is one of those trailers that gets you all goose-pimply and excited for the movie to come, but as excited as I am to see Doctor Strange I am even more excited for the next on my list of SDCC wonders. Can you guess what it is? Or who?

WONDER WOMAN

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I am one of the people who thought that Superman V. Batman: Dawn of Justice was a good movie. Not great, not perfect, but really good. Having just watched the “Ultimate Edition” I realize that it’s even better than I remembered it and one of my favorite parts is the introduction of Diana Prince, aka Wonder Woman. Seeing Wonder Woman on the big screen like this, tall, proud and powerful, makes me feel all weepy. Add to that being able to finally see the trailer for her movie and I was a total mess.

For years, those in power in the movie world said that a woman-centered stand-alone film wouldn’t do good in the theater so they avoided it like the plague. Now, to see it actually happening is almost overwhelming. Will Wonder Woman outdo her male counterparts? Hard to say, but from the looks of the trailer, it looks like she is going to kick some serious butt and do it in wonderfully awesome fashion.

Also, the line, “What I do is not up to you.” BOOM! That’s my Wonder Woman!

Wonder woman was obviously my favorite of the trailers, I can’t lie. Not to mention, the poster is phenomenal, “Power. Grace. Wisdom. Wonder.” AAAAAAHHHHH!! They are doing so right by this I cannot imagine it will go wrong (my fingers and toes are crossed anyway).

A few honorable mentions in terms of fun videos that came our way are below. These aren’t high profile movie trailers, but they are a bit of fun.

Honorable Mentions:

Rick Grimes tries to Glitter Bomb Daryl and becomes the dread pirate Glitter Beard!

Superman goes undercover!

There you have it folks, some of my fave videos from SDCC 2016. Did you have different ones? Show them to me in the comments and let me know what YOU think of the upcoming slew of movies and TV coming our way!

 

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The Female Perspective: Why I Finally Started Watching “Game Of Thrones”

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


If you read this blog every once in awhile you have picked up on the fact that I like to read, I like science fiction, I like the mysterious and all that good stuff. I even wrote last week about the fact that I recommend the Song of Ice and Fire series (aka Game of Thrones) as some good summer reading. The reason it’s in my mind so much right now is because I have finally decided to sit down and “catch up” on the 6 seasons of Game of Thrones and finally find out what all the hoopla is about (mild spoilers ahead).

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Now, you might be wondering, if I am such a huge fan of the books, why would I wait so long to watch the series? It’s a good question so definitely pat yourself on the back for that one! For years now I’ve been totally wishy-washy about the show because I watched the first season when it first aired and was just frankly bored by it. It’s mystified people for years that I would recommend the books as highly as I do and yet never watch the TV show that people are adoring. Well, that time has passed and as Ygritte says to Jon Snow on more than one occasion, “I know nothing.”

As I’ve gotten older I’ve pushed aside my stubbornness and pride and actually listened when people recommend things to me. It’s how I finally ready the Harry Potter series and it’s how I finally decided to watch Game of Thrones. My boyfriend was watching the current season and loving it and he kept saying how he wished he could talk about it with me, and he’s right, at this point, the show is ahead of the books and therefore he can’t really talk to me about it. Not to mention, it’s been years now since I’ve read the books so they are a bit foggy in my mind. I decided that he has good TV taste and therefore I should give it a second chance (it’s how I fell in love with iZombie as well, fantastic show and I had given up on it after the first season!).

Oh Jamie, you disgusting hero-type.
Oh Jamie, you disgusting hero-type.

I have now zipped through the first 3 seasons and I am LOVING this show. I forgot how rich and wonderful the world that George RR Martin created is. I’ve forgotten how violent it is well, but also how strong and powerful the women characters are, how flawed each character is and how you want to hate them, but you also find reasons to love them a tiny bit. Jamie Lannister is an excellent example of this and one I remember from the book. I hated that guy, he is horrible. Pushing kids out of windows and having relations with this sister, gag, yuck, gross! But then…He gets captured, he loses his hand while also being keenly aware of the honor of Brienne of Tarth and coming to her rescue more than once. He is flawed, yes, his sins are the worst kind, but he also…He’s got an honor, a bravery that  mystifies.

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Martin manages characters that are awful but lovable. Flawed but honorable. Characters you enjoy watching every week and you are devastated when they die, because make no mistake, they are all going to die eventually. Martin isn’t sentimental about his characters, he isn’t trying to shock people, he’s proving a point that life was hard back then and life was short. In 2014 he penned an open letter regarding the deaths (beware, profanities abound!) that is worth reading and he makes some good points. The fact is, the death in Game of Thrones is for a reason, they serve a purpose and honestly, as a writer nowhere near close to Martin’s talent, they create a world that leaves you wanting more, that leaves you unsure about the future of your favorite character (Tyrion!) and his writing inspires my own.

Not to mention, he writes some of the strongest women characters I’ve ever read. He has taken male-dominated landscape and turned the tables so that the women are in charge. The Mother of Dragons is forever my hero, and she also makes me want to have dragons at my disposal, so handy for setting ones enemies on fire!

Baby Dragons!
Baby Dragons!

If you haven’t checked out either the show or the books be warned that there is a lot of violence, foul language and brutality, so if that isn’t your cup of tea, this series might not be for you. If you don’t mind bad words and sex, then go for it! It’s well worth your time and effort.

Tell me what you like to read! Sound off in the comments! I’m always looking for more books!

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The Female Perspective: Ninja’s Abound

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


With everything going on right now in politics and more, I wanted to write a blog that focused on the lighter, more fun side of life. It can be hard for me to not focus on the negative, but when you really look around, there’s a lot of positive in our crazy world. One of those positives is the show American Ninja Warrior. Yep. That’s right, I said American Ninja Warrior, the insane obstacle course show hosted by a comedian and a former NFL player.

I think June marks the start of the 8th season of this show. I’ve only been watching for one or two seasons, I always saw it as a silly show with no merit whatsoever. I have since changed my mind because there may be more male competitors than female, but the women that are creeping into the ANW team are powerhouses that give feminism, that give healthy, and strong good names.

Here are a couple examples of the cool women of American Ninja Warrior.

Kacy Catanzaro

The Might Kacy!
The Might Kacy!

You may or may not have heard this woman’s name, but Catanzaro was the first woman ever to make it up the famed “Warped Wall” on American Ninja Warrior. She showed that women can in fact compete on ANJ. Not only can they compete, they can stand toe to toe with the guys. An impressive feet for the 5 foot tall woman.

In 2014, Catanzaro became the first woman to complete the qualifying course of American Ninja Warrior, making it up the warped wall on her second try at 5:26.18 at the Dallas qualifiers, ranking her 21 out of 30; this also makes her the first woman to make it up the warped wall in competition. On July 14, 2014, Catanzaro competed in the Dallas finals of American Ninja Warrior. She was the first woman ever to complete the course (and the second woman to attempt it after Jessie Graff in season 5), qualifying for the national finals in Las Vegas with a time of 8 minutes, 59 seconds. Host Akbar Gbaja-Biamila remarked “I’ve seen greatness during my NFL career…And I’ve been in awe of people, but I am really in awe of Kacy”. Her achievement made her a social media phenomenon, with her run being viewed over 100 million times. –Wikipedia

Kacy had a really tough season last year, the stress and pressure of being the first woman through the course got to her and she had a few tearful moments that broke my heart. I have a lot of respect for her because she keeps coming back,she doesn’t stop trying. She does not give up and I have hopes for her 2016 season. She’s going to make it all the way to the end!

Jessie Graff

Jessie rocking it, ANW style.
Jessie rocking it, ANW style.

Jessie Graff is probably my favorite of the female competitors. She is a stuntwoman who has worked on Supergirl, The Walking Dead, X-Men: First Class and Iron Man 2 to name a few. She often rocks some kind of awesomely adorable outfit (last week she wore a Wonder Woman ensemble) and she is strong. Like, seriously strong. In season 8 of ANW they have raised the height of the “Warped Wall” to 14.5 feet and Jessie was the only woman in the LA qualifiers to make it up in one try. Many of the seasoned male competitors didn’t make it up the wall at all.

This chick is amazing. She makes me want to train even harder when I watch the agility and confidence with which she moves through this course.

I could go on, because thankfully, there are A LOT of women now on American Ninja Warrior and that makes it worth a watch for families especially. Little girls (and boys) can see what the human body can actually do when perseverance and commitment are at their top. For a show about jumping through obstacles, it continually impresses me with it’s message of hard work, dedication and heart. This show has a lot of heart. We hear stories about compeitors competing for their families, for loved ones they’ve lost, for loved ones battling disease and so much more.

It’s not just a show about being the best, it’s a show about being a human and it shows you that giving up is not an option.

The Warped Wall. Now 14.5 feet high!
The Warped Wall. Now 14.5 feet high!

American Ninja Warrior is on NBC on Thursday nights at 8pm. 

What do you think? Do you watch the show? Who’s your favorite Warrior? Sound off in the comments!

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The Female Perspective: Ode To “Agent Carter”

Welcome! This is a weekly blog* by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website!

For now, sit back, relax and enjoy the blog!

*All views expressed in “The Female Perspective” are those of J.L. Metcalf, not Great Stories, Inc


It’s been a few weeks now so I have been able to process my sadness at the fact that after only two (dynamite) seasons, Agent Carter was cancelled by ABC. I’m sure they have their reasons but to them I say, “You ABC people are a bunch of doodie-heads.” I know, I know, this is a family blog nd such strong language shouldn’t be used but I’m darn angry about the loss of Agent Carter so I just don’t care anymore!

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Joking aside, I am annoyed that ABC cancelled it. I wasn’t shocked, Haley Atwell had signed onto another show so it was looking as if Carter’s days were numbered, but I was sad. Agent Carter was really the first TV show to focus on a female character. Unheard of in the Marvel Cinematic (or TV) Universe. It was a story about a woman who battled tremendous grief at the loss of her love Captain America, along with massive waves of sexism as well as the pain of survivor guilt (not just because of the loss of the Captain, but also, as we find out in season two of the show, her brother’s death). Peggy Carter is the hero we ladies always wanted but never got. She didn’t have super powers, she was just wicked smart, incredibly brave and amazingly talented. She was the kind of “superhero” I want to be as an adult. When I was a kid I wanted powers like Wonder Woman or even Batman, I wanted gadgets and seemingly super human strength. With Peggy Carter, it was different. She was the kind of woman that most women aspire to be. Smart, sassy and respected.

“… [T]hat’s what I love about Peggy and why I’m not ready to let her go. She’s easy to relate to: Her spunk, sass, determination, brawler fighting style—all of it is special and everyday at the same time. Peggy is utterly human and completely wonderful, and it’s a state I both aspire to and am inspired by.” – AMY RATCLIFFE for The Nerdist

The fact is, when we first meet Peggy Carter in Captain America: The First Avenger we don’t really see her at first. We see a pretty British woman who seems smart and uninterested in Steve Rogers. We’re so focused on the Captain that we don’t see Carter right away. Then, when the poop hits the fan, we see a woman brave enough to stand in the street shooting at a car that is driving right at her. Then she shoots at Rogers’ shield in a fit of anger. It was both a funny moment and also one that is extremely telling of her character. In a world full of men, Carter wants to be seen as tough and above “typical” female emotions, but she likes Steve and doesn’t like seeing him kissing another woman. It’s a wonderfully human response, but in the best, most comedic way.

It’s a moment that makes her memorable. It’s that moment that I wanted to know more about Agent Carter.

Agent Peggy Carter has become a beacon of feminism for the Marvel Universe.
Agent Peggy Carter has become a beacon of feminism for the Marvel Universe.

Both seasons of Agent Carter are excellent, but season two of Agent Carter was hands-down some of the best writing I’ve ever seen on TV. It was a complicated tale of two women going up against each other, trying to find their power in a male-dominated world. One, Peggy Carter, chooses to do it by fighting against the darkness. The other, Whitney Frost, chooses to do it by becoming the darkness.

Peggy and Jarvis, what a wonderfully odd couple.
Peggy and Jarvis, what a wonderfully odd couple.

In the midst of their battle, people get hurt (Mrs. Jarvis almost died for goodness sake!) and Peggy and Jarvis are constantly at odds with one another as he fears that Peggy will do whatever it takes to take down the bad guys, without concern for her life or others, and Peggy desperately wants to keep Jarvis safe, even if it doesn’t always look like that.

Now that I’ve mentioned him, let’s talk about Jarvis a bit, he’s blundering and wonderful comic relief but the chemistry between him and Peggy is electric and wonderful to watch (as is her interactions between her and Stark). I could watch them put together a stereo and be highly entertained. It’s a marvelous dynamic because even though Jarvis helps Peggy in many ways, she ultimately saves him time and time again. Jarvis keeps her grounded in her humanity, he gives her a reason to survive the missions. That push and pull is part of what makes Peggy so compelling to watch. Like so many of her male counterparts, Peggy wants to do what is right and save the world, but at what cost to her life and her humanity? Peggy deserves a third (and fourth, and fifth!) season to work this stuff out. Not to mention, don’t we want to watch her found S.H.I.E.L.D? I know I do!

Bring Peggy BACK!
Bring Peggy BACK!

I don’t usually get too upset over the cancellation of TV shows, the exceptions being Firefly and Constantine, but now I have to sadly add Agent Carter to that list. It’s a big loss for women and for TV viewers to lose such a smartly written, engaging show. There’s been a lot of talk lately of Netflix picking up the show as well as Atwell herself saying she would do “whatever it takes” to bring Agent Carter back to the small screen, fingers crossed people!

Here’s hoping Netflix picks it up!

Did you enjoy Agent Carter? How do you feel about the shows cancellation? Should Netflix bring it back? Sound off in the comments!