January 18th, 2008


Why online news is formatted like that

The SIL from hell annoyed me all over again at breakfast when she started an argument about layouts and fonts and editing. She talks stridently over people and treats everyone like a schoolchild she's dinning something into, possibly as a result of having been a high school teacher (she's now an editor), but I'm too stubborn to take it and argue back. I do however think it's mostly her natural personality. I am soooo glad I'm not going to Greece and Bulgaria with them. She had a map out last night on which she was showing Greg (very loudly and definitely) where she's decided they'll go.

However I did learn something this morning. I loathe the layout of on-line news reports where they have a sentence per paragraph and have often wondered why they do it. She used to write a column for her local newspaper and apparently the standard is 30 words per paragraph which looks fine in a narrow column, but doesn't on a web page. It makes sense now!


Chris Boucher and Vila

I know a lot of people revere Chris Boucher, but I don't. He's a good writer but I never thought much of Boucher because of his arrogance. I then had my impression confirmed in The Cult of Blake's 7 when he blamed everything on others and trotted out a nasty comment about Gareth Thomas. I already knew he was the one responsible for writing Jenna and Cally's roles down because he thought Sally and Jan were pushy in asking for more, but I hadn't realised what he'd done to Vila.

However when I was watching Shadow this week and puzzling over why Vila was so out of character, I realised that it was due to the writer.

All through season 1--and Redemption--Terry Nation depicted Vila as a clever, witty, and capable thief who is actually very brave despite his protests of cowardice. Then we get to Shadow and suddenly he's a useless idiot with a drink problem. Even if Boucher took Avon's insults as fact rather than opinion, that still doesn't explain where the drinking suddenly came from.

So Vila is useless and stupid in Shadow, what about other episodes; is there a pattern? I only looked at Boucher and Nation episodes because most of the other writers followed Boucher's lead though Robert Holmes wrote an adult and intelligent Vila who could talk to Avon as an equal, espeically in Killer.

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