A little while ago on lj ruuger wrote about her die hard narrative kinks, causing me to think about the narrative ‘kinks’ that keep me coming back for more. I don’t have quite as many as ruuger, but there are a some that do it for me every time.
1. Unrequited Love
I am a TOTAL sucker for narratives that feature characters being tortured by unrequited love. Considering that pretty much all of my love was unrequited until I hit 29 you’d think I’d be rather averse to this sort of story, but not a bit of it. In Babylon 5 we have Lennier being slowly twisted by his love for Delenn plus Marcus sacrificing himself for Ivanova (no wonder I’m addicted to that show). In Star Trek Deep: Space 9 poor Odo the shape shifter is obsessed with the oblivious Major Kira. I’m also inclined to include McCoy and Spock from the original series of Star Trek here – I think it’s the way McCoy persistently attempts to get Spock’s attention only to be rebuffed by “logic”, much to his neverending chagrin.
Favourite unrequited love story
Spike and Buffy of course.
2. Unresolved Sexual Tension between women
Not surprising really! I think this kink is a hold over from my sexually repressed adolesence during which I preferred same-sex tension unresolved because that meant I didn’t have to face up to the implications of resolving it. I love the relationships between Captain Janeway and Seven of Nine in Voyager, Buffy and Faith, and Ivanova and Talia in Babylon 5.
Favourite unresolved tension
Xena and Gabrielle, which they managed to string out forever. How much time did these ladies spend in the bath?
3. Love/hate relationships
Can’t get enough of that love/hate dynamic. The passionate loathing between Ambassadors Londo and G’Kar in Babylon 5 is one of the finest things in the series. The only time I have any interest in Angel in Buffy is when he interacts with Spike. I’m also very fond of the love/hate vibe between Odo and Ferengi bartender Quark in DS9. We could include Buffy/Faith and McCoy/Spock here as well.
Favourite love/hate pairing
Londo and G’Kar. They hate each other’s guts but we also know that theirs is a very deep relationship, deeper than they realise until Season 5.
4. The non-human character who shows us what it means to be human
Star Trek comes into its own here: Spock in the original Star Trek, Data in TNG, Odo in DS9, the holographic doctor, Tuvok and Seven of Nine in Voyager, Q whenever he appears. Then there’s the intelligent Sharon/Athena in Battlestar Galactica, the wonderful Anya in Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Teal’c in Stargate: SG1. I’m also rather fond of the Terminator robot in Terminator 2.
Favourite non human who shows us how to be human
This was a particularly hard choice, but in the end I felt I had to go with Mr Spock because the guy’s been showing us what it means to be human since 1966, which is an awful lot of standing around looking bemused and saying that things “aren’t logical”. I think Anya from Buffy and the holographic doctor from Voyager are tied in a close second place though.
My Christian upbringing is probably showing here, but I am the kind of person who reads A Christmas Carol and watchesIt’s a Wonderful Life every year, so enamoured am I of redemptive storylines. By ‘redemptive’, I mean stories in which a character opens up to the possibility of change, renewel and growth. The Shawshank Redemption is one of my very favourite films and I think I’m especially taken with stories in which the redemption comes through friendship. In Season 7Buffy Andrew is redeemed through his desire for friendship with the Scoobies and manages to be affecting and hilarious. Spike is finally redeemed through his friendship with Buffy, Seven of Nine by Captain Janeway’s faith in her, and Londo and G’Kar through their eventual acceptance of each other’s friendship in Babylon 5.
Another very hard one and I think this time we have a tie!
I want to give it to Anya from Buffy becaue I love her and she gets redeemed twice. I will never ever forgive Joss Whedon for the way he kills her off just as she’s finally coming into her own.
But I have to put a word in for Londo and G’Kar again. I think I love this storyline so much because it’s very dark and makes the point that sometimes the only way to redemption is through death.
6. Very Scary and Almost Insurmountable Threats!
I like my threats seriously scary and almost indestructable because I like to see my heroes overcoming massive odds. There are the Shadows in Babylon 5. The Borg in Star Trek. Sauron in the Lord of the Rings. Caleb is possibly the scariest villain in Buffy. The Reavers in Firefly are almost too scary for me, but I think they give the show its edge.
“We are the Borg. Lower your shields and surrender your ships. We will add your biological and technological distinctiveness to our own. Your culture will adapt to service us. Resistance is futile.”