How about Sanctuary fandom + Once Upon a Time (show)?
Ok cool. This will be the top 5 things off the top of my head, so I reserve the right to facepalm if I forgot something important. Thanks for the ask!!!
send me a tv show/book/fandom and i’ll say the top 5 things i’d change about it
Well first off let’s address the elephant in the room that there are two ways to answer this question. 1) Is how I would change it to make it more like what I wished it was, 2) Is how I would change it to improve on what they actually chose to do. Those are two very different things. I am going to attempt to answer in the vein of number two, accepting canon and just tweaking it to be better, rather than throwing out everything in favour of the show I would have written, as I feel that’s more in the spirit of what the question is actually asking.
So without further ado!
(I am longwinded so cut)
- Will was an entitled arse and that reflected badly on Helen. Why did she allow it? I’m sure he had some skills… maybe? I mean Season One Will wasn’t so bad, but merlin by Season Four I was like “why is he even here?” and “the stones to demand Helen let him be an equal partner” – I mean how was he an equal??? Like NO! Anyway ahem I would change this. Lose the entitlement, increase the respect and definitely increase the competence. I’m not saying he shouldn’t disagree with Helen because debate is healthy, and even the legendary Helen Magnus will sometimes miss an angle to consider but there are ways to write that respectfully.
- Ashley lives! Is Sanctuary the Helen Magnus show? Or is it an ensemble? I think it sort of walks a middle ground, and I definitely feel like there should have been room for other characters to go on their own journey’s and Ashley had a rich seam to mine. The whole “only child of the Five” thing, and her bio-dad being possessed by The Ripper. I googled after one of the previous asks made me go ‘hey why did she leave?’ and apparently it was a network decision and ugh. No. She still had a lot to contribute. Just imagine Ashley and Kate sparring together. Ashley noticing something was wrong with Biggie and saving him (I mean he was like her father figure right? Family!). Ashley being there for Henry, roasting him as only a sister can over Erika. Being all protective future auntie when he discovers he’s going to be a dad.
- This leads to the next point really – amp up the family vibes. I love James Watson as a character (and not just for ship reasons). Killing him off in his second episode was so wasteful and one of those reasons was because he was a link to the past. To Henry and Ashley growing up. To all those decades as Helen’s friend. James was family. Yeah we had a couple of plot-centric flashbacks interweaving with present day. I loved seeing him like that but it wasn’t enough. I know I said I would try and answer this as ‘tweaking canon’ rather than rewriting the show, and my desire for more of The Five probably falls under the latter, but still Uncle James, head of the London Sanctuary had more to contribute.
- More worldbuilding/make use of the environment. I appreciate that this was probably a budget thing but I am dying to know more about Old City vs New City. From the pilot they teased that Old City had rumours of weirdness, and season 4 showed a large abnormal population (had that always been there?). I headcanon that an abnormal is what wrecked the old bridge but how? It just would have been cool to make more use of the setting, and deepen it/ground it more.
- Last one (from off the top of my head) and I say this about most things I watch but honestly more politics. I know that we had the UN and SCIU and I mean that but also not. I feel like it would have been good to have more of a feel for the Sanctuary network as it was. Hear more/see more about the different Sanctuary’s around the world before the network got rolled up in season 4. The whole “everyone has an abnormal taskforce” in season 4 was interesting but why did it wait until then? Like yes the Sanctuary network had a mandate but full offense really to the military complex – I call bullshit. The Sanctuary is about helping people, not about using abnormals for their skills. The show touched on this occasionally with Kate, and the black market, and of course we had The Cabal who seemed to be corporations in it for the money. I also get that the show was relatively light and it would get depressing being too realistic about how darkly self-serving governments could be. I just feel like the delicate balance/other players etc. should have been established earlier than season 4 somehow. Because even if they supported the Sanctuary officially, I can’t believe they didn’t have shady underground projects the whole time.
- I know, I know it was supposed to be five changes. Call this one a bonus. Something a bit more about how the secret was kept. Why the world in general didn’t believe/know? Especially with the advent of the internet/video. As a big picture thing. And then so I don’t make a Point Seven – consequences. More about people struggling to fit in, struggling to hide, or not wanting to hide. A bit like “mutant and proud”, as why should they have to? The whole abnormals thing speaks to me as someone who is other, and I wish they had delved more into this, “putting a face” on it so to speak, with individuals grappling with what their abnormality means in a world where it’s “secret”. I mean if there are those who want people to know, does the community force them to not stand on rooftops and shout? (metaphorically speaking). Do they keep silence for all the others who wish to hide? So yeah. More about the personal struggle.
Once Upon a Time
- Neal should have lived. I said what I said. I know that wasn’t the show they wrote, but I stand by the fact that is when the show started to really go off the rails. Now this isn’t about shipping anyone in particular with Emma, it’s about the heart of the story. Neal was a linchpin, connected to everyone, and made for a deeper story with more feeling. He was the reason for the dark curse, he was Henry’s dad, he was the son of the dark one. I’m not Hook’s biggest fan (I will get to him) but Neal (or Bae as he was known then) knew Hook on Neverland. Hook loved Neal’s mother. Now I said this wasn’t about shipping so CaptainSwan was canon, so we’ll keep that, but imagine Hook pursuing Emma with Neal still alive. I think it would have humanised Hook a bit more, to have him apologise for having let Milah down, when he let Bae down on Neverland, and to promise that he wouldn’t do that for Henry. To let Neal have feelings about that, to have them come to an understanding over it. Imagine a season 5 with Emma now as the Dark One, with Neal looking at Henry in horror, as his son now has a parent with that curse, for Neal to see his dad without it, and then to see his dad take it back. I could write far more than a (very extended) paragraph about this as Neal would have added so much to every plotline they wrote (even if I wish they hadn’t written some of them).
- Consequences. This is a theme I sort of touched on but oh man it’s true. My biggest issue with Hook is the disconnect between reality and what the characters say. It makes it feel very OOC. Just declaring someone a hero, doesn’t make them one, it doesn’t erase their past or grant them instant redemption. Hook and Zelena did whatever they wanted with impunity and it was all just glossed over as they were “one of the heroes now” but they never actually changed. I’m not talking about punishment here, or justice, as that’s a whole can of worms, I’m talking about the fact that they didn’t do the work on themselves. Regina is probably my favourite character so I’m definitely not against redemption, but she struggled with it, wrestling with herself and with her past. She made clear steps over and over to make better choices. That was not true at all for Hook or Zelena. Actions speak louder than words. I absolutely hated how the narrative said one thing, but then the characters parroted something else – it just did not make sense. What the characters said/thought/felt needed to reflect the events on screen.
- Pacing, logic, common sense. I often say that up until mid-season 3 the show was better, and it was downhill pretty much after that. However, season 3 was not immune because dear oh dear Neverland. The way they just wandered around the jungle for episodes and episodes, and then everything just got all crammed into the last couple of episodes in the arc. I really, really, really hate this tendency of shows. I rant about it often. Some shows are worse than others, (Picard Season 3 was a particularly bad offender), but Once had it’s moments and it didn’t even make sense. Another thing I super hate is when for no apparent reason really competent and powerful characters don’t use the skills we know they have. If there is a) no reason why they can’t, and b) they don’t because it would solve the plot too easily – that’s a writing problem. Make the villains more powerful, make there be a reason why they can’t use their powers, but just to have them be incompetent is incredibly frustrating. Let them be awesome and still fail – that is fine. I’m not saying they need to be successful. I’m saying I shouldn’t be side-eyeing them for walking around a jungle for eight episodes before doing what they should have done Day One.
- Answer the damn questions and respect the viewers intelligence. Harsh? I said what I said. I am a writer and I create worlds and yes you don’t have to know everything, giving the allusion of depth is a valid strategy – right up until the point that a plot point hinges on it and it doesn’t make sense. Season One started with Henry stealing Mary Margaret’s credit card, and using the internet to find Emma. The town was cursed, frozen in time, how did she have a credit card? WHY did she even have one? They couldn’t leave. What about food – where did that come from? Petrol for the cars. Fashion – they were not dressed like it was still the 80’s. Yes, I know magic/the curse, but how? It seems like such a vital underpinning they handwaved away, and it doesn’t stack up. Going with the premise of “well it’s cool” is fine for a personal project, but a multi-million dollar primetime show? I expect better.
- Finally in the same vein – continuity. I have referred to this many times because it annoys me so damn much. In the Underworld arc they established that a special chisel/hammer thing was the only way to etch the tombstones. Then three episodes later Hook’s hook could do it. When I complained about this before I vaguely recall somebody telling me it was spelled for that. All these years later I’m not sure but I am a detail-orientated person and I find it hard to believe I would have been so up in arms at the time, if that had been the case. At the very least it wasn’t explained properly/shown explicitly, and I pay attention. I do. So if I missed it then GA would have. And the entire plot hinged on how they couldn’t leave because of these tombstones so it was a pretty important detail. Anyway! This is only one example and there are others (but I have rambled long enough). I just feel like they should have had a series bible where they had a complete timeline of events, where everything they had established as fact was written down, so they didn’t contradict themselves or wind up rehashing the same plot point a different way, like we’d forgotten this had already been dealt with (as I had not). Once is not the only show with this issue. I yell about it often. It’s not hard to keep track of your own canon and I wish shows would do a better job of it. Callbacks are a favourite of mine because yes I do remember, thank you for respecting me.