FOMO Media

When it comes to media, I have a fear of missing out.  I started to notice it when the MCU became more of a “thing.”  If I missed a Marvel movie, I felt left out and unable to understand a meme or joke online.  (Insert Captain America’s I understand that reference meme.) 

This FOMO became more apparent during the pandemic. Marvel released WandaVision and everyone was talking about it.  I deeply enjoyed the multilayered show, so I was eager to watch and see it unfold.  But I’ve watched too many things just because I didn’t want to miss out on what everyone was talking about.  That didn’t mean this media was good; often it was the opposite.  For example, I watched Falcon and the Winter Soldier not because I liked it.  I knew everyone online would be talking about it and I didn’t want to be out of the loop.  I was slow to watch it, but I still did.

I think Marvel in particular plays on this FOMO.  You can’t miss one part of the story unfolding over years’ worth of media, or you’ll miss a quick reference or character in another piece of media.  I haven’t felt the same push from DC.  I didn’t watch Joker or either cut of Justice League.  I watched Wonder Woman 1984, mostly because it was the pandemic, and I was starved for entertainment.  I felt no pull to see Joker and I don’t feel I missed out.  After watching a few reviews, I gleaned enough to know I didn’t need to see it.  There was no way I was sitting down for Snyder’s Justice League when I haven’t even seen Batman v. Superman.  No thank you.

On the opposite side of this coin, I find myself watching shows and films that don’t get spotlighted enough.  Legends of Tomorrow continues to entertain and delight and I look forward to the upcoming season.  I like the Umbrella Academy and plan to continue with it.  There is simply too much media to consume.  In fact, media shouldn’t be consumed.  It should be savored.  I imagine I’ll revisit both Legends and Umbrella Academy, but I doubt I’ll revisit any of the Marvel shows.

With the oversaturation of comic book heroes, burnout is bound to happen.  Marvel will probably be pumping out movies—and now shows—until the sun explodes.  I’ll check out Loki and Thor 4.  But I feel tired. 

I want new stories with new characters.  I want new voices.  As much as I like Marvel, I see the flaws.  There is too much queer-baiting and no substantive representation.  There needs to be more voices at the table.  The studio continues to be average when it could push itself to be more.

In the end, I don’t want more media.  I want better media worth talking about.

Higher, Further, Faster: Imbuing Captain Marvel with Meaning

I used to have Deadpool on my iPhone as the Lock Screen and Home Screen.  But after starting my weight loss journey, I wanted a sort of motivation mascot and the best place to keep this icon was my phone, which I look at often.  After a few months of searching, I settled on Captain Marvel as my mascot.

I’ve never read a Captain Marvel comic (but it’s on my list, I promise).  I saw the character for the first time when she debuted in the MCU this year.  Although I have mixed feelings on the movie, I watched it twice in theaters this March.  There has been debate about Brie Larson’s portrayal and her dynamics with other characters.  I’ll admit that besides the memory loss plot structure, it was a cookie-cutter Marvel movie.  So what did I see in Captain Marvel?

Captain Marvel, for me, has a character similar to Captain America Steve Rogers in that both are empty signifiers.  Both have vague characteristics, but they stand for a bland positive idea.  Carol Danvers is a mere human before she gains her power through an accident.  It is not her power but her character that gives her strength.  She always gets back up when she’s knocked down.  I’m willing to admit that I’m imbuing Danvers with more that appears in her movie or Avengers: Endgame.  But she is the most powerful character in the MCU and she’s able to go against Thanos one-to-one.  She protects people with her immense power.  Someone with her level of power could easily be greedy, but she empowers her friends and helps the helpless instead.  Like Rogers, she does the right thing.  She uses her power for good.

I first saw Brie Larson acting in The United States of Tara as Toni Collette’s daughter.  I have a few of her well-praised movies in my Netflix queue (I’ll see them one day).  I loved her in Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, which is one of my favorite recent movies.  (You can’t go wrong with Edgar Wright.)  I cheered when she won an Oscar.  She is going to be one of the defining actors of my generation.  And despite the backlash, I like her politics based on what I’ve seen.  Larson also seems like a cool person.

So one day I searched for iPhone wallpapers featuring Captain Marvel (see below).  I bid Deadpool farewell after explaining that I needed a new icon to motivate me.  He’s cool with it.

Now when I look at my phone, which I do too much, I feel a warm spark of empowerment.  Yes, Captain Marvel is not perfect—no one is.  But, like me, she tries every day, and I think that counts more.

“Higher, Further, Faster” – Captain Marvel (Carol Danvers)

For those wondering, after six months of work, I have lost around 40 pounds and I have gained tons of muscle strength.  So I guess Captain Marvel as motivation icon is working.

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Lock Screen

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Home Screen

 

PS: I know I’m putting way too much thought into this entire thing.

Fandoms and Universes: A Quick Essay

151784Recently, I took stock of all the various fandoms of which I am a part.  Here’s the list: Harry Potter, Whedonverse, Supernatural, iZombie, and Veronica Mars.  Probably Marvel if you only count the MCU, not the comics.  Some of the DC CW shows almost made the list too.  I’m not a member of the Star Wars fandom, although I’ve seen all of the movies at least once (not Solo).  I’ve never seen the Star Trek shows or movies.  I’ve seen a handful of Dr. Who episodes at random but I keep hesitating to dive into that intense fandom.  There is too much content to devour it all.

The worlds are too big!

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Many of the fandoms I joined when they were just beginning.  I read Harry Potter as it came out.  I watched the Whedon shows on DVD (before Netflix was a streaming services).  I began watching Supernatural and iZombie when the first seasons aired.  I was two seasons late to Veronica Mars but soon caught up and finished before the last (at the time) season aired.  I went to my first Marvel movie because I knew that Joss Whedon was directing The Avengers, which would be the final team-up movie featuring all of these new characters (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America).  I’ve seen every Marvel movie since then (Curse you, Whedon!).  But, in short, I joined these fandoms on the ground floor.

Why do I avoid new fandoms?  Why doesn’t I just watch Dr. Who or Star Trek already?

The simple answer is that I’m afraid.

To be clear, I’m not afraid of the fandom itself.  I’m afraid of diving face first into a deep pool of content.  Dr. Who is a huge series.  Where would I start?  The rebooted seasons?  The older seasons?  What about Star Trek?  Do I begin with the original series?  In what order do I watch the Star Wars movies?  This doesn’t begin to include the expanded universe of all these fandoms.  That’s too much homework for one lifetime!

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In other areas, I’m more selective.  I saw the DC movies Wonder Woman and Shazam in theaters and rented Aquaman.  But I avoided Suicide Squad, Batman Vs. Superman, and Justice League (which I actually forgot existed while writing this post).  Continuing with DC, I’ve seen all of The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow (which I love).  I’ve only watched half of season one of Arrow though.  It doesn’t grab me as much.  Barry Allen is more watchable than Oliver Queen, in my opinion.  I prefer Grant Gustin’s Barry to what I’ve seen of Ezra Miller’s portrayal, although I loved Miller in Perks of Being a Wallflower.

Like I said, I’ve seen all the Marvel movies, but I didn’t watch Agents of Shield.  I enjoyed Jessica Jones on Netflix and liked Daredevil, but I haven’t watched Iron Fist and wasn’t drawn in by Luke Cage.  My fear with the new Disney Plus streaming service is that the new content featuring Marvel movie characters will be required viewing to understand the movies.  From what I’ve heard, this will probably be the case, namely with WandaVision and the second Dr. Strange movie (LINK).

b6c2f9925ae1d585576022bc06a20832.jpgThe MCU is becoming far too big, and frankly, I’m losing steam.  I’m a dirty casual viewer, so they have to take it easy on me.  (I’ve never read a Marvel comic and I’ve barely read any comics.)  But I know Marvel and Disney will not slow down anytime soon.  Marvel movies like Avengers: Endgame are now cultural events.  The comic book movie has come a long way.  What would Christopher Reeve think?  DC and Marvel, no matter the setbacks, are in it for the long haul.  They are not going away.

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What does that mean for the viewer?  Well, we have to learn to be more selective.  I’m not going to become a part of the Star Wars fandom, but I’ll go see The Rise of Skywalker in the theaters.  I’ll probably never watch Star Trek or Dr. Who as a whole.  I’ll continue watching the CW shows (except iZombie, which is in its final season) and go to see the Marvel movies.  I’ll wait for a week to see the next DC movie, if I go at all.  I’m not planning on seeing the next Fantastic Beasts movies after the dud that was the second movie.  Basically, I’ll seek out the characters I find interesting (like Legends of Tomorrow, seriously, go watch it now) and ignore or miss the characters or content I don’t find compelling.  I know fans of the properties I avoid probably don’t like everything I find enjoyable.  It’s a free world.  But we can both enjoy our respective fandoms without swaying the other.  I’ll praise the likes iZombie and Veronica Mars because fewer people know about these shows, but that is becoming rarer.  Everyone knows about Star Wars and Dr. Who.  For the most part, I’ll trust the recommendations of myfriend and family, but that doesn’t mean I’ll watch everything they suggest.

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The sheer amount of media in the world today (movies, shows, books, etc.) is too much to take in and not feel exhausted.  Modern media is overwhelming.  The viewer must decide what to filter out to avoid a never-ending list of shows on your chosen streaming services.

Don’t mindlessly consume.  Use your judgment and narrow the flood of media to a stream.

Good luck, fellow viewer!enhanced-17040-1446660609-11