No one else is writing high school girls like Nancy in Stranger Things, and so I hope writers in the industry are taking notes.
We usually get two kinds of characters when it comes to teenage girls: the ditzy girly-girl or the messy tomboy.
Stranger Things ignores both of those tropes and just gives us a teenage girl. Nancy wants to be popular and fit in, but at the same time, she doesn’t hide her intelligence around the cool kids. She shows compassion toward Jonathan, even though other students make fun of him.
Nancy drops the trivial high school stuff when she realizes her friend is missing and there’s a mysterious threat in town. She is brave and takes lead when circumstances call for that. Nancy is tough. She has good aim with a gun, and she does whatever is necessary to rescue Will—whether it’s something small like breaking a padlock or something terrifying, like going into the Upside Down and setting up a trap for the monster.
And best of all, no one acts like it’s a big deal that Nancy is a mixture of all of those things. She’s just being herself.
I enjoyed reading a new adventure with the Harry Potter characters in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, but after I finished the story I realized there a big problem with it.
I posted a new playlist on 8tracks called Enough to be dangerous. It’s the kind of music a superhero might listen to in training or on patrol. Here’s the full tracklist:
- Superhero – Simon Curtis
- Get Some – Lykke Li
- Icarus – Bastille
- Run Boy Run – Woodkid
- Kerosene – Maurice
- American Beauty/American Psycho – Fall Out Boy
- Somewhere to Run – Krewella
- Don’t Hold Back – The Potbelleez
- Runnin’ – Adam Lambert
- Radioactive, My Songs Know What You Did in the Dark (Mashup) – OneVoice
- Light It Up – OneRepublic
I re-watched Sense8 over the last couple weeks. The first time I watched it, I marathoned episodes. This time I could pay closer attention to character development, and I noticed that Riley is the only one in the group who doesn’t have a defined “thing”—an ability that she uses to help other people in the cluster.
The other sense8s each have their own strengths:
- Will – detective skills, fighting, knowledge of police procedure
- Nomi – computer hacking
- Lito – lying, discovering secrets
- Kala – medical skills, chemistry
- Wolfgang – fighting (even killing)
- Capheus – driving
- Sun – fighting (especially calm under pressure)
Riley doesn’t have a skill that’s called out specifically. Maybe that means it’s something we’ll see in season 2. Or maybe Riley’s skill is subtle and interwoven into everything else. I think of Riley as the comforter. She appears to Will when he’s worried or lonely. Riley appears to Sun when she is in prison and upset. In the finale, it’s Riley who takes care of Will after he sees Whispers. With Will, Riley shows an ability to have a deep connection with someone (even between sense8s) and maybe that’ll extend to the rest of the cluster in season 2.
Spoilers for season 1 of The Magicians (and if you know what happens later in the books…you know where this is headed).
The idea that certain people can tap into an incredible amount of power but at an incredible cost is interesting story material. You can play with motivations. What circumstances would push a person to take on that much power, knowing they will probably die?
TV Tropes calls it the Deadly Upgrade. In The Magicians, a deadly upgrade results in a niffin, a malicious spirit of magic.
Do you know what a niffin is? It’s when too much runs through you. It consumes you. Only the magic is left. But you’re not you anymore, you’re lost.
– 1×03 “Consequences of Advanced Spellcasting”
What if most magicians have something like a gag reflex when they get up to high levels of power? Some kind of hard-wired reaction that makes them back down so that they don’t turn into niffins. What if certain magicians can ignore that reflex and keep using a dangerous amount of power, even though it’s harmful to them?