Wednesday, 1 October 2014

My Obscure Fandoms

Over the past few years I've come to realise that I get far more passionate about stories than most people. Most of the people that I know simply can't understand how I can love, say, Les Miserables or Sherlock so much. They don't understand how I can be a crazy, nerdy, obsessive fan and I can't understand what it's like to be a casual fan. How can they have such... polite affections? To love is to burn, people! :D That's one of the reasons why I enjoy spending so much time on the Internet. The Bloggers that I talk to are very cool people and understand this attitude. But you know what's even more frustrating? When you're a fan of something with a tiny fandom - something so obscure that the average person on the street won't have heard of it and not even all that many people on the Internet talk about it. At first it can be pretty cool when you discover something that hardly anyone has heard of, I must admit. You kind of feel that you've stumbled into a small and highly exclusive secret society. Well, I feel like that at first anyway! But after a while I'll start to find it depressing that so few people know about the awesomeness of this particular thing. It makes me feel sad that not enough people are appreciating its brilliance. So, here's a little list of things that I love that not many other people do. I've narrowed it down to seven things.

The Fall (2006)

The Fall is an indie film with a small but passionate cult following. I only watched this film for the first time a few months ago but oh my word how I love it! I'm planning to write a more in-depth review of it before the year is out. The Fall is one of my absolute favourites: definitely my favourite film that isn't based on a book. It is truly magnificent. It's visually breathtaking. Its two lead actors Lee Pace and Catinca Untaru are both astonishingly good. The story is incredibly moving and is full of heart. This is a story that's actually about stories. It reminds us of how important they are and of how they can lift us out of depression. As a literature nerd how could I not love that?! This film is absolutely beautiful and it makes my heart ache that hardly anyone has heard of it :( It means sooo much to me!

Cabin Pressure (2008-)

This is a BBC Radio 4 sit-com about the wacky antics of an oddball aeroplane crew as they fly all over the world. The most famous actor in it is Benedict Cumberbatch. You may have heard of him ;) Yes, you've probably already worked out why I started listening to this radio sitcom but it really is brilliant. It's absolutely hilarious and it's made me laugh hard! As in, "hysterical laughter with tears in my eyes" hard. All of its actors are wonderful and the characters are all hugely likeable and endearing. Sadly the show will be finishing soon. The final episode Zurich will be played at around Christmas time this year. Cabin Pressure is seriously one of my favourite comedies ever and I'm really going to miss it!

The Phantom of the Opera (1990)

If I were to ask a random person on the street whether they'd heard of The Phantom of the Opera I'm sure they'd say "yes" but the first thing that would probably come into their head is the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. I love the ALW musical! But there's another Phantom of the Opera adaptation that I really love as well and no-one outside the Phantom fandom knows about it! The 1990 adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera is a three-hour miniseries adaptation of the book. It stars Charles Dance as the Phantom and it's fantastic! I love it almost as much as the ALW version! This miniseries isn't a very faithful adaptation of Gaston Leroux's book I have to admit. Sadly they changed the Phantom's backstory and swapped Raoul's character with his older brother Philippe. Why they felt the need to do these things I don't know! But despite these changes to the story I really can't help but love this version, and if you're a Phantom fan and go into this thing with an open mind then I think it's quite likely you'll think the same. It's a truly beautiful and emotional take on the story and, to date, it's still the only Phantom adaptation that was actually shot in Paris and at the Opera Garnier! It's on YouTube if anyone is interested in watching it :) Hopefully you are!


Around this time last year I took part in a "Celebrate Musicals" blog party which gave me an excellent opportunity to talk about this gem of a musical. Elisabeth is an Austrian musical and is based on the life of Empress Elisabeth of Austria. In Britain and America it's frightfully obscure but I believe that in Austria, Germany and Central Europe it's much more widely-known. I adore this musical! I found out about it on a Facebook group about three or four years ago and then discovered that a girl on YouTube had uploaded its 10th anniversary concert with English subtitles. I watched the whole thing and fell in love! The songs, the story and the acting are just plain awesome! :D I'm not going to go into very much depth about the musical's plot here but if you click onto the "Celebrate Musicals Week" tag on my blog you'll be able to read my review of the show - in addition to my West End/Broadway Dream Cast.

The Great Mouse Detective (1986)

For a Disney film this is pretty obscure. When I was about six the teacher asked my class what their favourite films were. I shot my hand up and I said this film. There were many blank looks. *sigh* The Great Mouse Detective is basically Disney's take on Sherlock Holmes and it's absolutely fantastic! It's in my Disney top three - along with Beauty and the Beast and Tangled - and it's a wonderful and affectionate homage to Sherlock Holmes. Basil is actually one of the best and most accurate portrayals of Sherlock Holmes that I've yet seen. Definitely more Benedict Cumberbatch than Robert Downey Jr or Jonny Lee Miller! This is another film that I want to review fairly soon.

Dr Horrible's Sing-Along Blog (2008)

To be fair this musical seems to be very famous online but the average person on the street probably won't have heard of it so I feel justified in including it. Dr Horrible is a short musical that was created by Joss Whedon and it was made exclusively for the Internet. It stars Neil Patrick Harris, Nathan Fillion and Felicia Day and it deservedly won many awards. The story is brilliant! It's told from the POV of a super villain for crying out loud! Could that be any more awesome?! This musical is laugh out loud funny. It's sweet. It's sad. It has great songs. And it's on YouTube! Joss Whedon really wants to do a sequel for it but he keeps being delayed by a little movie franchise called The Avengers. You may have heard of it. I think it did fairly well at the box office.

Jekyll (2007)

To my shame I almost forgot about this one so I had to go back and edit it in! Ahem... If you thought Sherlock was Steven Moffat's first modern-day adaptation of a classic then think again. Before Sherlock there was Jekyll - Moffat's fantastic and criminally underrated take on the Jekyll and Hyde story. This miniseries has a far darker tone than Sherlock but it's still very funny in places. James Nesbit - Bofur from The Hobbit - gives a surprisingly brilliant performance as both Jekyll and Hyde. Mark Gatiss makes a terrific cameo appearance. And the ending of this miniseries literally made my jaw drop!

So, hopefully I've piqued your interest in these obscure fandoms of mine! That was my agenda in writing this post after all! I want more people to share these fandoms with! If you like any of these things already then let me know because it would make me so happy! :) But it's only fair that I give you the opportunity to return the favour too. Do you have any obscure fandoms? If so then let me know! If they sound like something I'd enjoy then I'll probably check them out for myself at some point!


Miss Jane Bennet said...

Seriously, there's a faithful long miniseries of POTO??
Um, anywayyys. Great post! I love TGMD, but I haven't heard of any of the other things you listed--I'll have to check them out. :)

Hannah said...

Hi Jane! *waves* Thank you!

Yes there is a long miniseries adaptation of Phantom but I have to make it clear, it's not THAT faithful to the Leroux novel! Sorry for any confusion, I've edited my post so it's more clear. Lol. But I still really love this miniseries :)

Yes! Another TGM fan! :) *happy dance*

samara said...

"I can't understand what it's like to be a casual fan. How can they have such... polite affections? To love is to burn, people!" Oh goodness yes! I just don't understand... "What must it be like in your funny little brains?" It must be so RELAXING!! Anyway... brilliant post. I'm a big fan of The Fall (as you know), TGMD, and definitely appreciate Dr. Horrible (one of the good things to come from the writer strike!).

Miss Dashwood said...

No casual fangirling over here either. Excellent use of the Marianne quote! :D

I've heard a lot of good things about Cabin Pressure and it sounds like something I'd enjoy listening to-- do you know if the episodes are available online?

Sarah said...

I am ashamed to admit that I haven't seen any of these. But that's only because I can't get my hands on a copy of The Fall (I really want to see that, I'm almost positive I'll love it) and I could have seen Dr. Horrible, but I didn't want to watch it alone (I like watching comedies with people) and none of my family wanted to watch it! Grr.

You piqued my interest with Jekyll! I'll have to look into that.

As for my obscure fandoms, I tell everyone who will listen about Endeavour, which I rate just under Sherlock of best crime shows. I guess it sounds boring in premise to people, but I just adore it! Great mysteries and an incredible hero. I also obsess over the US version of Life on Mars, which is just mindblowingly awesome. And this little indie movie called The Way Way Back. :D

Hannah said...

Samara - Thank you so much! :D And well done for working in that Sherlock quote! I find it far more relatable than it was probably intended to be! Also I'm so, so grateful that we're united in our love of TGMD, Dr Horrible and The Fall (gah, that movie, THAT movie), :)

Miss Dashwood - Why thank you! I thought you'd approve m'dear ;)

I'm actually listening to my favourite Cabin Pressure episode right now - "Ipswich". Another huge favourite of mine is "Paris" which is one great big homage to "Sherlock". It's hilaaarious! I'm sure you'd love it! Oh wait, that doesn't answer your question! Er, I don't know where you'd be able to listen to it for free if that's what you were thinking. Audible has Cabin Pressure episodes though. Maybe you could do a free trial?

Sarah - Watch The Fall! Watch it! :D
And do watch Dr Horrible! I know you say you prefer to watch comedies with other people but it's better to watch Dr Horrible by yourself than not watch it at all.

I've heard of Endeavour. That's that Inspector Morse prequel right? I've never felt the urge to watch Endeavour because I've never felt the urge to watch Inspector Morse but I will look into it.

I'd never heard of The Way Way Back back but I just had a look at its cast and it's great! That sounds very interesting now! :D

Ah, the US version of Life on Mars. You see I'm kind of biased there because the original UK version of the show is just excellent and when one of my friends described what the US version of the show was like it sounded, well, lame. Sorry! But feel free to persuade me otherwise if you want!

Hamlette said...

Thanks for reminding me of "The Great Mouse Detective" -- I've put it on my wish list for when my mouse-loving little ones are a bit older.

I love "Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog."

I've heard of "Elizabeth" thanks to you.

And I will be seeking out that version of POTO and "The Fall."

Did you happen to post about this because the Sept. issue of Femnista is about Underrated Classics?

Hannah said...

I thought you'd be a fan of Dr Horrible's Song-Along Blog! I know you love Joss Whedon & Nathan Fillion :)

Woo hoo! I'm getting veeery excited about all of this potential fandom sharing!

No, that's just a happy coincidence!

Sarah said...

Yeah, that probably another thing, that people think it's important to already be a fan of Morse in order to enjoy Endeavour, but really it's not. I'd never even heard of Morse when I saw the first series, and it wasn't at all confusing! There are a few tidbits for the fans, but they made sure there was no pre (post, really) knowledge necessary. :D

Haha, I understand, it's the same with me; my dad described the UK version and he said they didn't use the 70's music as much, which is my favorite aspect of the show, and I think I like the US's ending better... though that could easily be because it's the one I saw first. I'm sure the UK one's amazing too. I'd like to see it someday. :D

I'm gonna go on the offensive to find The Fall now.

bookwormans said...

Wonderful post! I've enjoyed The Great Mouse Detective since I was young, and am now a fan of both Dr. Horrible and (thanks to you) Elisabeth. Totally excited about the Phantom adaptation! I'm reading the book now and would leave to see a version that is not Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Hannah said...

I've had a look at the Endeavour trailer and I like the look of it! :) It has Roger Allam in it! I love Roger Allam! He's in Cabin Pressure, he's one of my favourite Javerts from Les Mis, and I got to see him in a production of The Tempest once. I don't know when I'll get round to Endeavour but I intend to watch it.

I think you'd love The Fall. I think it has an R rating in the US but don't let that put you off. There aren't any sex scenes or nudity in the movie. There isn't really any bad language (GD is used a couple of times but that's not a very bad swear word). I think the only reason why it got an R rating is because it gets a bit bloody towards the very end but I wouldn't say that the violence is excessive or graphic. I think the rating is too harsh. It shouldn't have got anything higher than a PG13.

Oh, just to let you know I've tagged you for a Jane Austen challenge. Don't answer it if you don't want to though. Or you could just fill in the tag in the comment box if you'd like.

Hannah said...

Bookwormans - Aw, thank you so much. And I'm so pleased that we love three of the same things! Okay, I saw that you were reading Phantom of the Opera - which got me excited! - and I would strongly advise you to watch the 25th anniversary concert of the ALW musical. It's a much better representation of the stage musical's brilliance than the 2004 movie. I hope you'll enjoy the 1990 version too!

Sarah said...

Cool, I'm glad I got you interested! I'll look forward to maybe hearing your opinion of it sometime. :D

Thanks for the explanation of the rating -- sounds like it won't be a problem at all! All I have to do now is find it...

Cool. I think I might do it actually, you asked some good questions!