/The Ecstasy of Bursting Forth (Mad Men).
A gen fic about Joan, post-S2 finale; written for me and basically hitting all my kinks. Where canon!Joan's strength (paradoxically) lies in her passivity towards Greg, this Joan does the thing we want her to do: she starts to take control of her life. The fic has this great mirroring effect, following her through two mornings and listing the differences. On top of that, there are quiet character notes on Peggy and Salvatore (oh gosh, the latter is heartbreaking) and the atmosphere feels very true to the show. I'm totally in love with it.
Angels in America
/I'll Find You in the Morning Sun
A look at Prior in the years between the end of the story and the closing diatribes. It's a despairing story, but one that is so hopeful, too. Like many of the stories I'm reccing, there are no easy answers for Prior, but he's a fighter. The portraits of the other characters - Louis especially - are acute, and the fic leaves you in that same quiet frame of mind that the mini-series did.
Friday Night Lights
/You Can't Put a Price on Tim Riggins
Tim finds Matt Saracen's grandma wandering down the road and takes her home. Why do I love Tim Riggins? Because he's a fuck up but he doesn't really mean to be. This fic hits all the voices and really gets the characters. It's wonderful.
Homicide: Life on the Streets
/Learning is Fundamental
Season 1. In which the department is called upon to offer its skills to cadets. A great in-character ensemble piece with plenty of laughs which bring those early seasons back to life. Truly wonderful.
Season 2. Ted tries to make Christmas happen for Charlie and Rachel and things don't go exactly to plan. This is a very kindly piece, entirely endearing, and at the end you leave with a distinct and pressing need to hug Ted fiercely.
/A Basket of Cellophane
Season 2. I am basically head-over-heels in love with the Rachel in this fic, even though it's another story about Ted. The humour is brilliant, and some of it took me by surprise to the extent that I'd start laughing loudly and The Mother would get annoyed. I enjoyed this one more than I thought I would.
Season 2. Tis the season of Joan's resurrection, obviously. Another story about Joan's conformity to societal expectations but what I love about this is how she actively constructs her identity. There's something very Don-like about Joan in this fic - the way she discards her past, layer by layer. What strikes me about Joan and Peggy is that Peggy is a force for change, and that makes her beautiful; but Joan is a force for consistency and maintaining the status quo, and that makes her beautiful (because staying the course is as difficult as the other thing when it's not truly what you want).
The two refrains, working tangentially, are bittersweet.
/Things That Never Were
Season 2. A gen fic about Pete that takes everything that is ugly about him and makes us sympathetic for him, regardless. That frisson - that sadness - between him and Peggy is fully exploited here and gosh, if it isn't terribly, terribly good.
Season 2. My notes for this read: "a character piece that occasionally stabs you in the heart" and that's exactly what this is, a look at the women of Mad Men which every now and then makes you ache. It's not a single blow, more a volley.
/Here's to Knowing What You Want and Getting It
Season 2. Another great Pete fic, this time with a twist. There are parts of this fic which sound like they came straight from the show, it's that well-written, and then there are parts of this fic which sort of wander off in a different direction and you willing traipse after it. As with most stories about Pete, the sly portraits of Don and Peggy are also well-executed.
/The Ursine Therianthrope Divination
Wendy raised her eyebrows. "Wow, those are... pretty obscure statistics to have at your fingertips, Hy Turkin."
Unconventional pairing which I won't spoil here, but this fic is JUST THAT GOOD that you won't care even a little bit. The dialogue is spot-on, the tone is sheer elegance in its simplicity. Um. Or something. But really, this is a great fic about the trials and tribulations that come with being The Middleman, as well as the vulnerable side of him.
/The Bellicose Doppelganger Auter-ization
"1980. Wow," Wendy replies breathlessly. "So, do we know what happened to the Mexican Hitchcock?"
"Not really." The Middleman shakes his head and shrugs. "Does the name Guillermo del Toro mean anything to you?"
"Get outta here!"
HITCHCOCK CLONE!!!! Lacey gets into some trouble, The Middleman and Wendy help her out. BUT. That is a lame summary because this fic is full to the brim of all the oddities that made the show such a delight to watch.
/Far Across the Stars (Aliens)
Ripley doesn't take shit from anyone. This fic is a Sarah-Connor-Chronicles-style insert into the Alien-verse where the third movie gets ditched in favour of a superior narrative. When no-one will listen to her, Ripley goes renegade, fighting the good fight across space.
/Duck Soup (Brick)
Holy cow, guys. This is one of my favourite fics, written from Brain's perspective, but also with the smooth quality the film has. The fic throws Brendan and Brain back into the highschool underclass and takes us on a long road to revenge. It's cold, and precise, and so, so good. There's a lot about this to love.
/To Her Own Tune (Chocolat)
The film was a little different to the book for a fair few reasons, but one of the things it nailed was Josephine, mostly because Lena Olin is fantastic. This fic is kindly and light, and is about Josephine's rebirth.
/Days Like These (Empire Records)
A fic following Deb from before the film through to after. I always loved Deb, and this fic does justice to her and the other characters in the film. Girl is fierce, yo, and this fic is kind towards her. There's a lot of love in this story.
/Through a Glass Darkly (Hancock)
Mary loves Ray. Mary loves Hancock. Hancock and Ray love each other. A lot happens in this fic - heartbreak, renewal, a shifting of values - but the story never wavers. There are no easy answers, and the fic doesn't give us any. Very, very well written.
/Nine Steps in a Circle (Little Miss Sunshine)
This is possibly my favourite fic to come out of Yuletide this year, with most of these movie picks coming in a little behind. I don't know what it is about these two - whether it's that they're two of the more relatable characters in the film, or simply the more likable ones. Possibly it's that scene at the beach where Dwayne calls bullshit on the world and Frank says, yeah, but that's the point. Whatever it is, I love this fic. I love what this fic does for both those characters, and I love that it remembers that there are no easy routes. The film's ending is subversively happy because it doesn't solve any of the problems the characters are actually facing, but this fic says, well, there isn't really an end to the minutiae of life, and so there are no straight-forward answers. Guh, I LOVE THIS.
/Walk the Wire (Speed)
True story: I have seen this film way too many times. But, oh, oh, this fic is great. Again, it takes the ending of the film and stretches. Annie is fierce and sharp and even the little victories sting. Oh, oh, oh. ♥
/Red Sky by Morning (Chinese Mythology)
The story of Matsu (Mazu), goddess of the sea. What I love about this is the tone; this is a folktale in the tradition of folktales and it's beautiful for that. The closing image is especially endearing.
/Small Step for Man (Greek Mythology)
Artemis and Apollo, through the ages. There's a lot of sadness here, a lot of weariness, and at the end of it all Artemis really has is her brother. I found this a little wicked, in the traditional sense of the word, and a little biting.
/This Is Not A Chick Flick (Greek Mythology)
This is not a romantic story. But it is a story of love, nonetheless.
Persephone and Hades: The RomCom. This is funny and charming, and ever so light. I really enjoyed it, and I think it has a universal appeal because it plays with the conventions of romcoms and screwball comedies with a playful hand.
The story of Miriam, who sang out loud. A beautiful portrayal about a woman who rolled with the punches. Like the story of Mazu, this fic nails that story-telling tone.
One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights)
/One Thousand and One and Counting
Women are still telling stories to save themselves. It's an interesting concept, and played out wonderfully. I was left stunned by the end of this one.
/A Lovely Way to Spend Christmas
Season 2. Emerson Cod and Olive Snook, talking the talk and leaving The Pie Maker and Dead Girl to whatever the whatever. A great fic, very much in tune with the humour of the show, and great characterisations.
/One Minute, Counting
Emerson's sixty seconds, oh no. I really, truly love Emerson which is why I love it when fanfiction does his character justice. This is a very funny and somewhat touching fic, which I think every fan of the show will enjoy.
Sarah Connor Chronicles
/First You Have to Have a Soul
Season 2. I really enjoyed Self-Made Man as an episode and this story slips in neatly before that. Cameron organises her behaviour to elicit certain responses from people, but even she can be surprised. I really love the rendition of Eric here, in all his awkward glory. This is a great read and like all these stories about Cameron, neatly discusses that dichotomy between human and machine.
John, on Cameron and the machine. A great ficlet about how she can sometimes elude definition, and mostly eludes comprehension.
/Cinderella, Made of Steel
So, you know how Cameron is fucking scary? Those moments in the show where you get lulled into forgetting she's a machine and then she does something wacky like walks away from two people being murdered? Yeah? This fic is littered with those moments, whilst also being so completely endearing. It's funny, and warming, and every now and then throws you for a loop. There's a kindliness to the characters in this story that you won't find in canon, but it's worth it just to see Cameron and Sarah trying to be mother and daughter.
/Red, Red, Red
Derek hates himself for being attracted to Cameron, and this relationship is something of a fight. What I particularly liked about this fic was the structure, and the refrains. Metal killed Kyle. Listen to all those Ls and Ks, oh my.
Slings & Arrows
Season 1. I love the idea behind this, and would have liked to have seen it expanded on, but this fic does a great job dealing with the initmacy between a director and his fledging actors.
Oh. Oh. Perfectly in-voice, perfect in temperament. I laughed several times throughout. What a great story - this fandom throws out the best one-pieces sometimes, and this is a slice of the show. Just marvellous.
/Slow Sky, Still Water
Lucas and Jo in the aftermath of 7.08. Well-drawn characters, cool atmosphere.
/Missing and Present
Lucas and Ros in the aftermath of 7.08, though in a very different way. There's something truly visceral about the two of them together that I wouldn't care to see in canon but could probably read about all. damn. day.
The Time Traveler's Wife
/und mit Geistesstärke tu ich Wunder auch
You know how the book could sometimes take hold of you and squeeze hard on your lungs? This fic replicates that sensation so well. The author really got to grips with the jolité and difficulty of what it means to be Alba, and it doesn't neglect Clare, either. If the closing section doesn't touch you... oh my.
Wire in the Blood
"DCI Jordan, what kind of man do you take me for?"
"The kind that's smart enough to not mess about and do as you're told."
GUYS, THE END OF THIS. !!!! In short, Tony interrupts Carol's date, and it's basically a scene from an episode. So good; so in-tune with both of them. And like I said: THE ENDING OMG.
Includes: Angels in America; Friday Night Lights; Homicide: Life on the Streets; Life; Mad Men; The Middleman; movies (Aliens; Brick; Chocolat; Empire Records; Hancock; Little Miss Sunshine; Speed); Mythology; Old Testament; One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights); Pushing Daisies; Sarah Connor Chronicles; Slings & Arrows; Spooks; The Time Traveler's Wife; Wire in the Blood
The rest of my Yuletide bookmarks are, natch, at my delicious account.