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making the geekdom cool...or the cooldom geeky

2/13/11 01:50 am - Top 5 Guilty Pleasure Movies

We all have them. Those movies that we openly acknowledge are not exactly winning any Oscars anytime soon. They might even be great movies by the standpoint of writing, but we admit to liking them with a sheepish smile. They are the ones we openly point out the flaws in, but every time they are on TV we can't help but stop. Or in my case..own the DVD and watch them on rainy days. These are my top 5 guilty pleasure movies!


 5. Reign of Fire
Has anyone else ever noticed how good Christian Bale is at brooding? Most of the time it seems like he's not even trying. He just comes onto the screen, gives a dark look and downcast lips and instantly I get the "this man is in serious need of a hug" vibe.
Sadly, Matthew McConaughey doesn't hug him, but they do wrestle shirtless. It's...not as attractive as it sounds.
This is a post apocalyptic movie about dragons with A-list actors (and don't forget it included Gerard Butler before anyone knew that name). Should be great right? The main problem here I think is that it straddles the line between gritty and emotional fantasy drama and action movie. Honestly, it was better at the drama. Some of the moments with Quin and his people were downright heartwrenching. And lets face it, the dragons were pretty darn cool. If the movie hadn't tried so hard to please everyone I think it would have done a better job.
Alright alright, we'll stop ignoring the Elephant in the room and get to it. Mathew McConaughey. Those of you who have seen the movie are probably groaning. Those of you who haven't are probably squinting at the scene going "That's Matthew McConaughey!?" To misquote Bogey, In all the strange casting choices in all the movies in the world, he walked into this one. I think he was trying to show his acting ability by breaking the type casting. What he succeeded at was breaking my mind and proving he will rip his shirt off in any movie.
The movie is strange, but it's fun. There are genuinely deep moments. I love Bale's Quin. He really is a great leader, and not the norm for this type of movie. He's soft and caring before tough and hard, and it played out well. Butler's character was hilarious on purpose and McConaughey's character was hilarious by accident, but they both made for some amazing laughs. This movie is totally guilty, and totally a pleasure. Bonus, ever want to see Christian Bale in Star Wars? Watch this movie and you get your wish.
Guilty Confession #1: I don't know how many times I saw this movie before I realized it was McConaughey


4.  Eragon
What? Two dragon movies in a row? Yes, sadly. Ok, I know this movie is bad. It's really bad. Admitting one likes this movie to a fan of the book series is about like admitting to being in the Nazi party. But I can't help it. I love this movie. You may be thinking, how? How can you love this movies. Fans of the books don't even love this movie. That is certainly true, and maybe that's why.
I hate the books.
If I ever do a top 5 most hated books, the sequel, Eldest, will be on it.
So I will save that rant for a later time, but with that in mind. The only thing that keeps me from completely loathing the first book was the same reason I love the move. Brom and Murtagh.
Jeremy Irons did an amazing job as Brom. He was wise and amusing. His character was strong and deep. His performance was subtle and effective. Sadly, I can't say the same for Ed Speleers who played the title character. -shudders-
Still, Garrett Hudland's Murtagh managed to steal the show. This is especially impressive when I realize he was only in about 25 minutes of the movie overall. His character was dark and slightly psychotic in a strangely lovable way. He was a mix between the angst wrought dark hero and Murdock from the A-Team. Really. This was especially driven home in the extended version which had far more scenes of him including one where he gets attacked by a dragon and just keeps laughing.
This movie was terrible, and extremely fun at the same time.
Guilty Confession #2: This movie has spawned a rather fangirl obsession with Garrett Hudland and I can't wait to see Tron Legacy


3. Princess Diaries 2
Ok this movie is cheesy. Really cheesy. No one is denying that. I also love it. And before you say it's because of Chris Pine playing the lead, let me remind you that nobody knew who Chris Pine was when this movie came out.
I liked the first movie well enough. It was entertaining. But I love this movie. As far as sequels go, that is virtually unheard of. Why? Well...
There were a lot of goofy moments. Most every prince she danced with was a ridiculous caricature. Some of the jokes were bit humor. Those moments annoyed me at times. The plot was not the most genius. However, the actors were all amazing and they brought such heart and sincerity into the plot that it made everything work. The romance was really fun and the dialog was always pithy. The villain was over the top, but let's face it, some of the best villains are. I particularly love the moment where they have him quoting Niccolo Machiavelli. Sheer brilliance. 
My favorite moment actually was between Chris Pine's Nicholas and Hector Elizondo's Joe. It's the only moment they actually have together in the movie and it is terrific. The scene could have easily been flat and transient if Joe had just been there to confront Nicholas about his attempts at the throne, but they brought a lot more to this scene with the undertones of sympathy. Joe knows where Nicholas is coming from and sees the potential in him. Subtle, but brilliant and one of the reasons I adore this movie.
Ultimately this movie was made with love and the end result shows it.
Guilty Confession 3#: This movie actually made a Trekky out of me.


2. The Thunderbirds

I remember seeing the trailer for this movie. It absolutely showed nothing of what the movie was about. Go figure huh? When I saw it, I was the age of the target audience and never considered watching it. In fact, I forgot it even existed until my good friend Isy said I had to watch it. Her argument was literally, the movie is quite lame but once you watch it you will love it. And it's true. This movie is a strange mix of cheesy and simply epic. I watched it once and was captivated. I watched it twice and was obsessed. Now I must have seen this movie a couple dozen times. There is something suprisingly fascinating about the International Rescue and the family who runs it. You only see the brothers for a very short time but they all manage to convey these dramatically different personalities.
The movie was based off a TV show from back in the 60s made with...puppets. It's strange and yet too good to pass up. Seriously, go check it out.
There is, also, the wonderful Lady Penelope. Played by Sophia Miles, she is my absolute hero. Anyone who can look death in the face and saw, in flawless Oxford English accent no less, "that is enough losing for one day" just wins instantly in my book.
I think the best thing about this movie is the subculture. Weirdly enough. I was told as soon as I watched the movie to check out the fanfiction. I admit I was blown away. Some of the writers could be professional. There is a whole fanon of information that everyone agrees on (I'd really like to know where it all came from) and a whole world created by the heads of many aspiring writers. It's too fun too pass up!
This is a fun movie with a fun group of fans. It's a little break from reality and a great stress reliever for me on bad days.

Guilty Confession 4#: I got the Ultimate Guide to Thunderbirds for Christmas one year and plan to dress up as Lady Penelope for Halloween

And the number 1 Guilty pleasure is...
1. Fast and the Furious franchise
I may be one of 4 women who actually saw this movie but I don't really care. There is awesome cars, a fun story line and surprisingly deep characters. A lot of action movies cheap out on writing characterization, but F&F created people that felt really human. It's hard not to route for Brian (even if wanting to smack him happens sometimes), it's hard not to get invested in his romance with Mia and of course there is the epic Bromance. Or Bromances I should say. Dom and Brian, and then Brian and Rome in the second one. Fans of the bromance can wait with baited breath for number 5 when Rome and Dom will be in the same movie. Raising the important question, is there such a thing as a bromance love triangle?
In the end the Fast movies are a joyride--both literally and figuratively--and a blast to watch.
And last but certainly not least...the Charger. Ah the Charger. Have I ever loved a car more than Dom's Charger? I think not!

Guilty Confession 5#: The only time I screamed during the entire superbowl was when they commercialed fast and furious 5

1/21/11 11:40 pm - Top 5 Fictional Cities

Par suggestion from my good friend Ryan, today we are looking at the coolest cities/towns. A lot of debating went in to making this list, because lets face it there are so many great ones to choose from. So, Ryan helped me narrow it down by stipulating. It has to be the top 5 coolest fictional cities where I would like to live.
And here it is!

Honorable Mention: Sanford from the movie Hot Fuzz. Once all the murdering stopped, Sanford really is a nice place to live. The locals are friendly--at least the one's not trying to kill you--and the police station is so friendly and inviting. Stop by Aaron A. Anderson's model village, or chase geese around the castle. It's a nice relax trip.
Actually, the fact that it didn't make the list is not an insult to Sanford at all. Instead, it just shows how much awesome is about to come your way.

To the list!


5. Four Corners (TV: Magnificent Seven)
The wild west is a tremulous place, especially if you live more than a days riding distance from one of the fort outposts. But with Seven lawmen protecting it, the little town of Four Corners is safe as a bug in a rug--given, the rub may have an occasional bullet hole in it. You take what you can get. Four Corners is a great place to live and an awesome little western hamlet. They are also extremely progressive with racial acceptance surprising for the time period and a woman running the paper.
Stop by saloon and have a game with Ezra, if you don't mind losing. Hear the sage words of Josiah's philosophy. Beware of Buck though, between you and me there isn't a skirt he hasn't chased ;)


4. Highbury (Book/Movie: Emma by Jane Austen)
A little fictional village nestled in England in the early 1800s, Highbury is a place of refuge. Though the Neopolianic war is persumably going on, nothing touches anyone here.
Go to a ball or dinner party and you can be entertained by the musical genius of Jane Fairfax or the lively charm of Emma herself. It's a great place to be if you know the right people, and if you know Emma she will make sure you know the right people.
Just watch out for Mrs. Elton if you don't want to become her next "project" and believe me when I say, you don't.


3. Sanctraphrax
(Book: The Edge
Chronicles by Paul Stewart)
In the world of Edge there is a garden that grows floating rocks. These rocks have long been used to fly airships. One giant rock was harnessed and tied to the center of Undertown with a giant anchor. It was the perfect city in the clouds, and a great way to keep out undesirables. It soon became a city of proverbial ivory towers. The only citizens aloud were the few, the worthy, the higher class academics. Linus was not as happy with the status quo and made great strides to improve Sanctrahrax of its selective ways, but another problem arose. The Island-city was nearly destroyed before the series hero, Twig, a sky pirate came and saved it. All and all, Sanctraphrax is a great place to live if you can deal witrh the politics. Who wouldn't want to live in a city that floats? In fact the only reason it is not higher on the list is (other than the cultural selectivity) is that it is a great place to live, or was. Before it got distroyed.

2. Stars Hollow (TV: Gilmore Girls)
First. I'm a girl. There is nothing wrong with me loving Gilmore Girls and if anyone saw it they would have to admit it's a pretty awesome place to live. It's the penacle of small towns. The place is just beautiful, and there is always something to do. Never a dull moment, the people of Stars Hollow can make everything entertaining. From a meeting of the Edger Allen Poe Society that turned into a poet slam down to the break up of a prominant couple which leads to a "I Support Lorelei" and "I Support Luke" button war, it is a unique experience. Especially when New York boy, Jess comes to visit. Fake murder and very real mayham follow. There is choas of course, but mostly they are just having fun. Stop by Luke's if you want the best food--and the grumpiest service--or attend one of the palethera of bizzare town events. If you thought cheers was bad about knowing everyone's name, in Stars Hollow everyone knows everyone else's everything. But in a clutch they will be there for you. It's a great place to live and down right hilarious.

And now, the number 1 coolest fictional city is...

1. Atlantis! (TV: Stargate Atlantis. Movie: Atlantis the Lost Empiror)

Whether you are talking Disney or Stargate, the Lost city is the place to be. In Stargate, Atlantis is lost across the universe buried under water. In Disney's take the city is under the ocean. In either case the city is beautiful and just the place to be. Extra plus, both cities rise above water! Stargate's Atlantis is, unsurprisingly the cooler of the two. With its expansive tunnels to explore and all the technology of the ancients just waiting there to be used--if you can figure it out--Stargate's Atlantis is awesome. Not to mention it rises and sinks on command to protect from enemy attack. Now that is what I call a city.

Thanks to Ryan for the suggestion and all of you for reading! Please comment with more suggestions or just to let me know what you think. If you are feeling especially adventurous, make a list of your own and send me the link. I'd love to hear from you!
This list inspired another and next time we are going to look at the 5 coolest fictional houses!






1/21/11 04:38 pm - Musing- Must Art Be Beautiful?

In my college there hangs a painting. Twice a week last semester I had to walk by it to get to my Psych class. Even though I saw this painting, going and coming, each of those days it never faded into the background. So many things we take for granted once we have seen it a dozen times, but this work of art I never could.
It was a painting of a little girl, cast all in shades of grey. Her eyes were wide with horror, her hair unkempt, her clothes rags. The background was dark and indistinct like clouds of black and green. Out of the shades reached a black hand that clamped around the girls arm. Sticking out of the canvas is some pieces of bent metal and crime scene tape.
No matter how little time I had I always spared this painting a glance as I walked by, and no matter how many times I saw it it always struck daggers straight into my gut.
Throughout history many people have argued about how we should define art. Can I stick needles in my eye, stand in a museum and be praised an artist? The truth is, the debate goes on. Some argue that art must be beautiful. In which case, the painting hanging outside my Psychology class room is definitely not art. There is nothing beautiful about the little girl who stands as the focus on the picture. There is nothing beautiful in the dark and almost putrid color scheme. There is nothing beautiful about pieces of old metal and sickly yellow crime scene tape.
But then, the artist never claimed there was.
I don't remember must of what the information hanging beside the painting said, though I must have read it a dozen times. In truth, I always got stuck on the first sentence. It has been ingrained in my mind and I doubt if it will ever be going anywhere. "This painting should not exist".
The painting hangs outside my Psych class to symbolize rape. It shows the death of innocence, it shows the dark of hopelessness. It shows everything with a raw emotion that seems to hang in every ounce of paint on the canvas and protrude with the pieces of metal. Rape is not beautiful, and neither is the painting.
I want to take a moment to mention a painting done by Pablo Picasso.
Guernica is far from beautiful, and Picasso would not want it to be thought so. Picasso felt the cruelty of the Nazi's first hand and saw it displayed many times over. In the face of such raw evil it is no surprise that such emotion would bleed over into his canvas. Guernica was a city that was bombed by the Germans. Guernica felt the devestation and choas that Picasso choose to memorialize.
In 1940, Picasso was questioned by the Gustopo. It is rumored that one office saw this painting and asked him, "Did you do that?"
Picasso is said to have turned to him and replied, "No, you did."
I imagine that the words "This painting should not exist", would also fit nicely beside Guernica.
You may at this point ask, if the painting should not exist then why did the artist make it? The answer to this is simple. The artist did not make the content, the artist merely showed it. The artist did not invent rape for the sake of his canvas, he merely showed the effect of it. The unknown artist who hangs on my college wall and Picasso both had one thing in common. They painted works that in a perfect world would not have existed. They gave voice to those who no longer could speak. Picasso's work lives on forever speaking to us through history, and the artist speaks on in my mind continually.
I find it no surprise they choose to put this work outside my Psychology class room, because every day when I walked by it I remembered why. I remembered why I wanted to study Psychology and understand the human mind. I remembered why I have commited myself to years more of college than the average person. I remembered why I want to be a therapist. Because that painting shouldn't exist, but it does.
These two works, and countless others stand as memorials to a fallen world. A world of pain and atrosities that turn the stomach. To stare into one of these paintings can change a life, if one allows the change to occure. These paintings speak when others are silent, and work when others are motionless. Now tell me. Must art be beautiful?

1/20/11 02:14 am - Top 5 Shows that Lost Their Allure part 5 of 5

Thank you all my faithful readers. Here we are at the final part of this series. On a quick note, I will be continuing my top 5 lists though in the future they will be shorter explanations of each rank and should all be in one blog post. This was special as my first and also because the situation demanded some expounding. Please leave suggestions for a top 5 list if you would like to see one. I'm focusing on TV, Movies and Literature.

Now...
-drum roll-

It's the show that had Hillary from Kyle XY exclaiming "Oh My Peter Petrelli!" It's...
1. Heroes



Unlike last post I am not apologizing for putting this on the list. In fact, I'm not even sure where to start.
To begin with, this show had problems from the start. There were too many characters, there are too many plotholes, the writing is inconsistent, there are too many characters, they write themselves in corners and there are too many characters. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
To begin with Heroes was an interesting premise. It was an attempt to show what real life would be like if one was to suddenly develop the ability to stop time, fly, ect. They started out with a nice hefty cast which was perhaps their first mistake, because when they wanted to add new characters they already had so many. However, when it started they did a good job balancing and it was pretty easy to keep up with everyone. There seem to be characters for everyone to enjoy and each had their merits. Off the bat though, one family caught my attention and maintained it the whole show. The Petrellis.
It began with Peter and Nathan. Peter has the feeling he is meant for more than life as a hospice nurse. He is the first to realize his power--in fact, realizing it before it's developed enough to use. Nathan is a politician trying to keep his good name a good name, harder task than you might imagine with his family.
Their relationship is incredibly volitile but the minute Peter needs him Nathan is there in a big way. The complexity of it made the show for me.
Then there is Mama Petrelli, or Angela. She is one confusing bundle of mystery. Sometimes cold as ice, sometimes loving mother, this woman walks the line between charming and psychopathic but it's hard not to love her for some reason.
Nathan has a family that I loved, his supportive wife Heidi and his two sons.
Later it is discovered that Nathan has a secret daughter, a girl named Claire who is inseperable from the main plot. "Save the Cheerleader, save the world" the show, and many a fan, whispered.
A mysterious man traveled from episode to episode bringing the plot with him and his strange horn rimmed glasses. We came to know him as Mr. Bennet, Claire's adoptive father but his name was a well kept secret until he told Peter just before the young Petrelli's near death. Noah. It's impossible to put into words the reaction fans had to finding out his first name. For some reason we all got so excited. Applause may have been involved. You kind of had to be there.
Noah and Angela are very similar in their ethically grey out look. In fact, many of the characters fall there. Things are always a little more than they seem and trust is a very fluid notion.
Peter being one of the only notable exceptions, which I think really worked for his character.
There was Arthur, a character Nathan admired, Peter felt conflicted about and Angela killed. Bet dinner with your family at thanksgiving is looking a lot less dysfunctional isn't it?
The final Petrelli is Gabriel, (the serial killer formerly known as, then known again as, then formly, then again...oh forget it, Sylar.) For all the fans out there going "Hey you can't count..." yes I can, shut up.
There are many, many many, ridiculous amounts of other characters. The characters on this show sometimes felt like a horde of zombies--for everyone you took down, a hundred new ones popped up. And this show did love the killing.
Even though I loved many of the characters, for the sake of simplicity and my own personal sanity we are going to stick with the Petrellis for this review (they made the show for me anyway.)
In season 1 the relationships were great. Peter, Nathan and Angela had a lovingly antagonistic thing going on. Sometimes they were helping each other, sometimes their actions directly hurt each other but when the gloves came off if you messed with one Petrelli, you felt the force of the whole.
Sylar was a haunting serial killer trying to kill the cheerleader, and Peter was out to save her. The episode "Homecoming" when these three finally meet for the first time is so momentous I still get a chill thinking of it.
Once more I should mention that the shows on this list keeping intermingling but Claire's love interest of the season? Zach! Played by Thomas Dekker. Kind of makes me wonder what it would be like if Claire had dated John Connor...now there is a crossover made of emo!
In the end of season 1 the show rumbles up to a majorly evil cliffhanger where Peter loses control of his powers and nearly proves spontaneous human combustion is possible--nearly taking out all of New York with him--when Nathan finally comes through, flying him up into the atmosphere where he can explode in peace.
I'm not going to lie, I cried my eyes out in this scene.
The hiatus was so painful but soon enough season 2 rolled around and...I was instantly lost. But this time it was in a good way. Nathan survived, though he's not sure how. Peter is missing and it is killing Nathan. Angela tries to hide behind her steely shield, and Claire is openly weeping. (Hey Chris, she looks like you when you watched the final. Yes...yes I know.)
Peter spends a short sojourn in Ireland with no memory and makes friends with a guy that quickly dies and falls in love with a girl he inexplicably leaves in the future on a time traveling escapade and never mentions again. It's kind of like that whole Ireland thing never happened. Yeah. Forgive me while I go in the corner and rant about that gaping plothole.
Heidi loses all ability to be sympathetic when she leaves Nathan because he's grieving over his brothers presumed death. I mean...really? 
Claire spends some time trying to start a new life, which has the exact same drama as her old life while Sylar makes friends with the world's most annoying Wonder twins. Both of these plotlines were horribly annoying, but the season was over all good.
Then. Came. Three.
To begin with, all of the plots--including the massive amount of stuff not covered here--was starting to get ridiculously convoluted but out of the darkness came one of the best twists.
Gabriel/Sylar is revealed to be Angela's son! The change in him is instantaneous. Well, sort of. With someone to care about more than himself, Sylar endeavored to leave his serial killing ways behind him. He began working side by side with Noah Bennet and started developing a strong brotherly relationship with Peter. To say I was more than shocked would be an understatement but I loved it. Gabriel became a great addition to the Petrelli family and I was so curious to see where his plot went.
Unfortunately, it went the same way as the rest of the show. Straight down the tubes.
Arthur Petrelli came back from the grave because (retcon) he is alive and (retcon) he has powers! Forget the fact that it is explicitly stated that he was normal before. Ignore that. Oh...and he's evil! Arthur goes crazy trying to kill people and Nathan starts going down the dark path too. This is where the show started to lose me.
I will grant, I loved Sylar saving Peter from his father. It was brilliant and well played but it was about the last thing I enjoyed in this show.
I'm not even going to begin to untangle the mess that this season became. Nathan attacks Peter inexplicably, Sylar/Gabriel turns out to not be a Petrelli brother (just kidding folks!) and the plot spirals out of control.
By season 4 everything was a mess. I guess the writers decided they liked Sylar better as a villain and Nathan better dead because they did him in for real this time. And somehow Sylar took over his body and...you know, it makes no sense.
Claire became intolerably annoying and Mr. Bennet's shades of grey lifestyle ended up more in the lines of absurd wavering.
This season was all over the place and ultimately I turned it off for good.
Even the fight between Sylar and Peter that was built up to for 4 seasons was a cop out, they didn't SHOW it. We only know it happened because we see the wreckage after.
The whole Petrelli family fell apart and took the show with them.
What happened here? There was so much potential! The dynamic was great! I feel like this is a case of a show creator that wouldn't know a good thing if it bite him on the nose.


They started off as an enjoyably dysfunctional family with lines such as "I never kid about brunch", they ended up a broken heap of nothing. It was absolutely traumatizingly bad writing. By the end of the show there is nothing left of the family.
The show went from Peter going to the future and finds Gabriel Petrelli making waffles with his son that he named after Noah Bennet, to Sylar killing Nathan and a family in ruins.
This show took their most interesting set of characters and bashed them against the rocks, pissing me off and making their places as number 1 on the list of Shows that Lost Their Allure.

Thank you my loyal readers for tuning in!
More top 5 lists will be coming soon. This was a special addition, but most of the following lists will be shorter--taking place in one blog post. Please come back, and if you have a suggestion for a top five you would like to see, leave it in the comments.
Much love!
 

1/20/11 12:45 am - Top 5 Shows that Lost Their Allure part 4 of 5

Almost at the end! Thanks for all the feedback. I'm thinking of continuing to do top 5 lists after this one is done. Anyone interested? Requests/suggestions would be wonderful.
Without further adu...

2. Supernatural



Before I get attacked by flames and rabid fangirls let me just clarify. I love Supernatural. I love all the actors, the writers, the directions and pretty much everyone involved. I own the DVDs, have the T-shirt and even have Dean's necklace. This girl here is true blue Supernatural fan who tips her hat to Kripke.
After that intro, I will say that it makes me cry a little inside to add this one to the list. This entry is more opinion than any of the others, but I do know I'm not alone in my disappointment. In fact, talking to another disgruntled fangirl just a couple of days ago gave me the boost I needed to post this entry.
Back when my love of brother's stories was in its fledgling stages the girls over at Psychfic introduced this young and impressionable fangirl to the world of Supernatural and I went head over heels.
The writing was fresh and exciting, the characters were instantly likable. It was exactly what I look for in a show.
It focused on the lives of the two Winchester brothers, raised to hunt the monsters most people pretend don't exist.
There was Sam, the young Stanford student trying to live a normal life. He was moody, intelligent, stubborn and a magnet for every imaginable monster to attack. For some reason every creature and their blood thirsty cousin had a thing for trying to strangle him. 
And then there's Dean. He's the cocky, street smart, skirt chasing big brother who would do anything in his power to protect his little brother (even give in to the bemoaned "Chick flick moments").

Sam and Dean reunited from their brief estrangement when their father goes missing, kicking off their adventure and one awesome show.
The only way to explain my disappointment is to show you the transition from season to season.

Season 1: Everything starts with a bang. Mystery shrouds the brother's lives, but they don't let it overtake their every action. Instead they devote themselves to helping people out along the way. Every episode brought the brothers closer. The Impala, Dean's notorious car, became a character of it's own. And the show was scary. The good kind of scary. Not grotesque and horrifying, but it got down to the real psychological level that bothered me straight to the soul and it was fun. I like all the jumps and screams along the ride.
There is no better episode to demonstrate this than one of my all time favorites, Bloody Mary. This is actually the first ever episode I saw and it had me freaked out of mirrors for months. To this day Mom and I still say "BM" instead of the full name...just in case. (Interestingly, Hillary from the aforementioned Kyle XY was one of the first people to get the bleeding eye treatment in this episode).

Season 1 also introduced us to the best villains of the series.
The beautiful and "buckets of crazy" Meg Masters, and the demon
 notoriously known only as "Yellow Eyes". They were the kind of villain that were just fun to watch. When a baddie walks on the screen and you feel a mix of dread and strange fascination than you know it's a good one.

Sam and Dean weren't alone in their fight. The brilliant Jeffrey Dean Morgan joined the crew as their long lost father, and Jim Beaver as their friend Bobby Singer. Jim Beaver is a seriously impressive actor and Bobby Singer owns every scene he's in.
Season 1 was all around awesome and has major rewatchability.

After a horrifying cliffhanger that to this day makes me twitch whenever I hear "Bad Moon" playing, comes...

Season 2:   After the death of their father Dean was falling apart and Sam had to majorly swing around and be the strong one. Yet, Dean never lost his protective "I'm the big brother" attitude, which is what made the shift work. While not as scary as the first season, 2 holds its own in that department. Especially with a certain clown escapade that makes IT look like child's play.
The plot gets thicker, the baddies get closer and more people take a chance at poor Sam's neck.
I could spend forever fangirling these two seasons alone, but then it came. Suddenly, in a scene so intense I cry just thinking about it, Sam dies. Jensen (who play's Dean) pulled the most amazing performance in this scene and the ones that followed. I could feel the pain radiating off him and he was very impressive. To get Sam  back he made a deal with a demon and offered up his soul. Which brings us to...

Season 3: Here is where my feelings end up getting pretty mixed. To begin with, Dean was bizarrely whiny for my taste. It was like he suddenly started feeling very entitled, which was strange. It's not like Sam got on his knees and begged Dean to give up his soul like he wanted a bedtime story. Dean made his choice, one he presumably didn't regret, but he milked that sucker for what it was worth. Luckily this improved after a few episodes.
Sam took a bit of a backseat in this season which bugged me. There was nearly no episodes devoted to him. With one notable exception which will be mentioned in a minute. Still, the lack of development for Sammy was not my friend.
The first time I watched this season through I was not too happy, but upon revisiting it has grown in my liking considerably. The best part I think was the addition of the two girls. 
Bela was a witch (but with a b), but she was so much fun.
She was a clever and conniving match for Dean. Their back and forth repartee was always a pleasure to watch, and she made possible one of the only exceptions to the lack of Sam of the season with Bad Day at Black Rock. This was a hilarious episode where Sam gets cursed and Bela's conning begins. She was a great addition, but sadly it was not to be. Her bloody death ended the fun--for her and the watchers. 
The other addition was Ruby...more on her later.
All and all the season grew on me with further viewing. It had ups and downs and it was no where near as good as the first 2, but it was a fun watch and worth the time.

Season 4: Here is where everything got hinky. At the end of season 3 Dean dies, literally getting dragged to hell and 4 starts with him miraculously returning. However, the world is not how he left it. Sam has gone straight off the deep end during Dean's absence. The youngest Winchester has given in to his darker impulses despite Bobby's attempts to save him.
This season started out with three amazing episodes. We get a flashback to the Winchester parents, an episode of literal ghosts from the past, and a whole new mystery--why is Dean alive again? Then out of nowhere we were hit with an abnormal amount of comedy filler episodes. I took that as an ominous sign for the rest of the season and I was right.
4 went dark fast and stayed there. The episodes grew in intensity, but sadly also grew in unwatchability. For me it became depressing, twisted and frustrating. The dynamics were all screwed up, the villains were on all sides of the fence, the morals flew out the window and the fun of the show was just sucked right out. I came to the show to see the brotherly love not to watch them nearly dismember each other, literally (and the episode Sex and Violence nearly made that a reality).

Then there was Adam. He was entered in an episode actually called "Jumping the Shark". I am not sure what I was expecting from that episode but not a new Winchester. Actually a new Winchester. Apparently Papa Winchester was not all work and no play. He had a kid named Adam who got the normal life Sam and Dean never had. This episode confused me. They called in "Jumping the Shark" like a snarky indy film inside joke, but then they actually jumped the friggin shark. Still, I was willing to give it a chance. It could be cool to have another brother along right? Two brothers are great, three might be awesome! But wait...Adam was never there he's dead...
When did we enter Days of Our Lives Winchester version?
I took a lot for me to get over the hurtle of accepting that the writers went there, pulling a bad fanfiction plotline of the secret sibling, but once I finally had the writers then throw the "this isn't the real Adam, he's dead!" plot and it felt like a kick in the teeth.
I will grant, I did like that Adam entere literally wearing Sam's jacket from season 1--did John give it to him or something? It was a good reference and I will give credit where it's due.
Since I already spent a whole blog ranting about the episode Family Remains, I'll spare you this time.

The one shining part of season 4 was the angel Castiel.
For some reason he seemed to be the only angel actually on God's side. This guy was tough and gentle at once. He was aloof, but his warm side came out. He was full of love and mercy but could bring down the wrath when the need arose. He entered with a bang, literally. Castiel was amazing, sadly the other angels were not. This really got my goat. Douche bag angels? Kripke, really?
There were some great episodes, but they really were the rarity and the season was ultimately more frustrating than good.
And it all lead up to a dramatic conclusion that left me wondering if I would even come back for more.
Sadly I did...
Season 5: I can't say much about this season, I didn't really make it far. There were a few good episodes at first but it fell apart for me quickly. The brother dynamic did not get better and the hopelessness of the apocalypse plotline became overwhelming. Beloved characters died, tears were shed and eventually I had enough.
I reluctantly gave up on the show I'd loved for so long and we parted ways.
The characters were what ran the show and it didn't feel like the show was true to them. Though I loved how Dean developed into a more warm and caring person, he also lost some elements that made him who he was. Like his unabashed love and unconditional regard for his brother. Yellow Eyes suddenly lost his place as important and his replacements were hard to stomach. Sam became a fraction of himself and it was hard to watch his transition.
The most inconsistent though, was Ruby.
Katie Cassidy's blonde haired Ruby in season 3 was smart, sarcastic and somehow still likable. From calling Dean "Short bus" to titling fries "deep fried crack" she was charming in her spitefulness. Ruby was a demon, but you got the idea that if it was possible for one to be redeemed, it would be her. She had depth and sympathy. I also loved the obvious Devil in a Blue Dress reference with her name.
When they brought in Genevieve Cortese to play the new form of Ruby in season 4 I had my theory that she was an imposter. After all, this Ruby was surly like a bad teen drama. She had all the charm of a wet paper bag and half of it's depth. This is not to say I blame Geneieve, no she sounds like a great person. The writing here just got strange. Sadly my predictions about this being a false Ruby were mistaken. They just ruined the character without an explination.

I didn't make it to the end of the world, because before season 5 was out it was the end of the road for me. My dreams of Carrying On until the finale were crashed on the rocks of inconsistency.
I'm not even sure if the writers meant for the show to end up where it did but part of me really thinks they didn't. They never explained why Yellow Eyes was making a second generation of psychic kids back in season 1's "Salvation". If the end of the world was coming why do that? Were they a safety net? Or was this a serious case of retcon. I can only imagine.
From what I can gather the world didn't end. I suppose we should be glad? And apparently Adam came back, but as I didn't make it that far I'll save this rant for someone else.
In the end I loved this show so much that when it went down it disapointed me more. I expected so much more of this show than what it achieved.
Now season 6 is rolling around and Kripke has handed over the proverbial reigns to Sera Gamble. Her writing always impressed me and I am curious if this show can yet save itself from my disapointment list.

But for those out there as disapointed as I am, go check out the Brotherhood AU. This is a series of fanfiction so brilliant and so well written it could be canon, and in someways it's better than cannon. The girls over at Brotherhood worked very hard and it's worth checking out.

and the number 1 show that lost it's allure is....
tune in next time

 

1/17/11 05:48 pm - In the Name of Love

In honor of Martin Luther King day, a local art center showed To Kill a Mockingbird. The theater was packed when I walked in and when the credits rolled at the end of the film the audience broke into applause. I've never been to a film that elicited such a response, but there it was and it was heart felt.
The 1962 film of Harper Lee's excellent novel shows how injustice surrounded even the justice system. It framed perfectly how racism can hinder every part of life, but also how one man can make a difference.
This lesson is mirrored in the life of Martin Luther King. So many figures in history are remembered for winning wars, taking over countries or killing those who stood in their way. Martin Luther King left his mark on history by promoting peace. His name is forever remembered for bringing love and unbending acceptance. We honor him for his sacrifice, we remember him because of how he lived.
Martin Luther King and Harper Lee's Atticus Finch were men with presence. Love them or hate them, you would not soon forget them. They were strong, but not because they fought--though I imagine both of them could have--instead because they turned the other cheek. Unlike so many people in the world, they understood that from love is not born of violence.
That is the legacy we remember on this day. May we endeavor to live as they did.



1/10/11 04:46 pm - Top 5 Shows that Lost Their Allure part 3 of 5

Welcome back readers! Thank you so much for all the feedback, you all help make this so much fun!
So once again we are exploring the top 5 shows that I found disappointing. They were great to begin with and either slowly fell into madness or made a dash into absurdity.
Let's dive right in!

3. Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles


I have a feeling a lot of people will disagree with me on this one, but this show did not end up meeting its potential. TSCC was hit or miss from the beginning, with some episodes being startlingly awesome and others strange and confusing. However, it was a good concept. Who wouldn't like a show that takes all that was good about the first two Terminator movies and then fixes the gaping problems with the third? There is no arguing that this show was marketed well. The commercials were really well played and the show just looked good. Literally. The filming was brilliant and the very design was very aesthetically awesome.
The Terminator movies were epic. Having three older brothers I grew up watching them and had way too much fun. The series works hard to stay true to the movies. It picks up a few years after the second movie and focuses on Sarah as she fights to raise her son and keep him from dying. The fit hits the shan when the big bad terminator shows up to try and once again end John Connor.
Then when everything looks lost, Cameron shows up and utters the phrase that will remain the most notorious of the series. "Come with me if you want to live".
As I said before, season 1's episodes were hit or miss, but it was entertaining.
They made a good call casting Summer Glau as the helpful Terminator of the series. She's no Arnold. I leave to you to decide whether that is good or bad. ;)
Cameron was a great character and the creators really seemed to understand that by the 2nd season where she literally gets a few screws knocked lose and goes crazy. At this point Cameron straddled the line between hilarious comedy relief and kick butt action chica and she did it well. When you think about it she was TSCC's equivalent of Gir. Laugh all you want, but remember she can kill you with her pinky.
My feelings are a bit more mixed when it comes to Sarah. British actress Lena Headey worked hard to reimagine the role and look at it from a different angle. I respect that and when you are following up a legend like Linda Hamilton's Sarah it's often the best thing to do. But how did she fair?
Linda Hamilton's Sarah was just your average woman when Kyle Reese fell into her life, or she was supposed to be. Let's face it, there was a natural kick butt instinct in this woman and when everything came to a head she proved it. Sarah was ready to do anything to protect her son and protect the future. You don't mess with a mama bear...especially when she's got a semi-automatic.
Lena Headey brought a softer side to the Sarah character. She was a strong woman but she was a world saver first and mom second. I liked going deeper into her character and I enjoyed her character at first but eventually her parental skills became really questionable in the series. At one point a psychiatrist even becomes convinced she's abusive, with good reason. I understand that priority one should be the survival of the world, but wouldn't you like to work a little harder to raise a mentally stable son? I liked Lena Headey but I felt the character in the series was far too self involved. From romances on the side to personal struggles of her own, Sarah barely had time for her kid. You know...the rescuer of the world? And I don't care how she tried to play it off in the season 1 finale...she did too forget his birthday.
Confession. Love for the original films aside, Thomas Dekker was the reason I started watching the show. I always found  John Connor to be a very compelling character. The weight of the world is literally on his shoulders. Edward Furlong played him as a kid in the 2nd Terminator movie. He was tough as nails and old beyond his years. I have no problem imagining him growing up to be Christian Bale's tough and gritty future fighter of the 4th movie--yes I am going with the series here and pretending the 3rd movie got washed away by all the time line rearranging. How does the series John compare?
As said, I love Thomas Dekker. He's a brilliant actor I first saw in Heroes and I firmly believe he can play whatever role he's handed. Once again, however, my feelings are mixed. I loved John in the series but I had a hard time imagining him as the John Connor. He was emo, world weary and about one straw away from complete mental break down. To be this can be a pretty good recipe for an interesting plot. That is until the beginning of the second season where he actually does have something of a break down. Though I loved this character, I honestly can't see Edward Furlong becoming him and I can't see him becoming Bale. It's too much of a leap from me. Maybe we should once again blame series Sarah's abusive parenting? I honestly don't know. He started out in season 1 as interesting but by season 2 he was ready to let the world take the fall so he could have a "normal" life. Before season 2 was even over I was so sick of his whining I really wanted to slap him and ask if he even remembers why it is he's running. This is a case of a great actor who gets a great character but is royally screwed by sloppy writing.

The series introduced several original characters of its own. For instance Charley the EMT. He was a great character and in many ways the best "parent" John had in the show. Sorry Sarah, but really. There was Agent Ellis, poor man. I feel bad for any FBI agent and/or policeman who gets the Connor case file. It usually means confusion, headaches and in Ellis' case a swimming pool full of dead agents. (Possibly the single most disturbing thing I have ever seen on a TV show, and that is saying a lot considering I watch Criminal Minds).
Also, there was the aforementioned psychiatrist who I loved. He took one look at the Connor family and was ready to call a hotline. It was surprisingly amusing.
Most importantly, though, was Derek Reese. Kyle's brother and unbeknown uncle of the rescuer of humanity. The minute Derek entered the scene in episode 6 the show went from interesting to amazing. With a firm nod to Michael Biehn's Kyle Reese of the movies, Derek is tough and smart. He comes back with a mind to finish what Kyle started and instead finds the nephew he never knew existed. Derek takes a hand in helping to shape John and often goes head to head with Sarah on exactly how that should happen. Derek tries to do exactly what I complained about series Sarah not doing. He works on readying John for the coming war and making sure he's mentally sound enough to lead. He's the balancing force John needs and all of their scenes together are pure gold. John was more confident and strong in his scenes with Derek and they were simply fun to watch. The two best episodes of the series centered around them and their interaction. In the season 1 finale Derek is the first person to remember it's John's birthday and gives him a present like no other: a chance to "meet" his father. They watch young Kyle and young Derek play baseball in one of the coolest scenes ever.
Then in season 2 "Goodbye to All That", Derek and John have to infultrate a military academy and play drill sergent and student. It's so epic to see them, John actually shows his tough side to the point I honestly believed--if only for one episode--that he could be the rescuer the movies foretold.

Sadly Derek  too went the way of the series and became self involved and actually annoying. He developed a love interest and suddenly couldn't focus on anything else. Actually, that happened a lot. John likewise meets a girl and suddenly the world isn't very important. Sarah had a hard time giving up Charley to go on the run. I mean come on. I'm sorry saving the world is putting a cramp on your love live's heroes, but...don't you think I'd be easier to have a love life if the world doesn't end?

There were some great villians in the series from the Terminator Cromartie (I swear they were saying "Come Moriarty" all the time, or maybe it was the Sherlock Holmes fan in me) to the far more subtle Catherine Weaver. I'm not sure what was so scary about her, but I think it was the forehead. When she started brushing her hair over her face to look more human she lost like 9/10s of her fear factor. She stayed cool through and through but Cromartie lost his cred when he died in one of the most ridiculously melodramatic death scenes of any terminator franchise moment ever. That is including Arnold's deaths in the movies. But don't worry if you miss the actor, they bring him back as a baby skynet computer with feelings. I know...I know. I don't honestly know what to say about that subplot.

Unfortunately, I think the main problem with the series was actually the same thing that made it awesome. TSCC tried really hard to be a smarter version of the movies. Where the James Cameron--hmmm wonder where the robot got her name--movies were primarily action films that were quite the thrill ride but not exactly intellectually challenging, the series had a deep and complex story line. I think. They explored how Skynet got started, wandered into the broken psyches created by too much pressure and focused too much on John's confusing family tree. In fact, they tried to look too closely at everything. Terminator was always a fascinating franchise but there are so many notable plotholes, and when TSCC shone light on it you could see straight through all the cracks. The plot became too big for itself and the series only created more plotholes. They tackled too much at once and tried to throw everything at the viewer. Every new idea spawned about a dozen subplots. What would it be like to love a robot? Well, that has angst in itself but when John falls for Cameron, is internal angst enough? No! They introduce two new future people who's soul purpose in the past is to make sure John doesn't fall for the adorable hunk of cogs. What? Why not just tell him?
How was Skynet created? Well it started as a chess robot. What?
And every time Derek and John talked about their family it became clear how messed up the time jumbling Connor/Reese family tree was.
The movie had plotholes sure, but it didn't try to take itself to seriously. The series, however, wanted to be a throught provoking piece of fiction and just fell apart.
Because of this TSCC became wrought with angst and issues. I mean look at the wallpapers they used for this series. It looks like the cover of a My Chemical Romance album. John cried too much, Sarah spent a lot of time posing dramatically. Derek bemoaned the fact that his nephew was never actually going to be a hero at this rate. In fact, Cameron seemed to be the only one who knew how to live life and she was a robot. Before season 2 wrapped up the characters were all suicidally depressed and both Sarah and John had multiple nervous breakdowns. Where as Kyle Reese in the movies is mistaken for a mental patient, the Connors of the series really need to be committed. Honest to blog I would not like the fate of the world to be in their very unsteady hands.
To sum it up, TSCC took a simple group of movies and tried far too hard to make it a masterpiece. They weren't true to the movies and in the end they weren't even true to the characters they created. Good plots were underplayed, romances were ridiculously overplayed and they killed Derek. They killed Derek. I don't even have words to rant about this. There seems to have been a strange alternate reality plot to bring him back, but I honestly couldn't bring myself to watch any further to find out.
So much promise, so little follow through.
Tune in next time for...dun dun dun...the 2nd most Disapointing show!

 

1/7/11 12:26 am - Top 5 Shows that Lost Their Allure part 2 of 5

Here we are again folks! Thanks for reading this first installment of the list and for coming back for more. The responses were so much fun, keep them coming! Thank you also to the whineyfangirls  for hosting my top 5 list! Check out the community, it is fun and full of frustrated fans haha.
In case you are just tuning in, this is the top five list of shows that "lost their allure" or in other words, pissed me off. This is not the shows I hate. In fact, I love every one of these shows. They are the shows that won my heart and ultimately trampled on it.
Now...the list!


4: Kyle XY

 
I hate adding this show to the list. I really, really do. Kyle XY didn't get enough credit when it came on. It was original, it was funny and it was sweet. TV doesn't have much room for shows that can honestly be called "sweet" these days and it was refreshing.
It centered around a family that gave the Huxtables a run for their money. The Traggers' house was the place to be and a whole cast of characters were constantly showing up there. In fact, it got a bit crowded in season 3...but I'm getting ahead of myself. They end up with a boy who has amnesia and needs a home. Oh, and he has no belly button and a boat load of mystery hanging over him.
Kyle XY was smart and just fun. The plot line was straight up Scifi but it was set in a happy suburban home that was too fun. It didn't always balance the usual high school drama and the scifi mad scientist plotline perfectly, but it was generally well thought out. Most importantly, the actors and the writers worked hard and it showed.
Matt Dallas who played the title character really brought emotional depth to the role. Kyle is just a great character. He is caring and to quote everyone's favorite blonde movie--no not Legally Blonde, I mean the other one--he was "totally clueless!" It made for a fun lead and a surprising amount of philosophy.
The Traggers themselves were far too fun. The parents were loving, but also had their own intrinsic personalities that made them full fledged characters in their own right. You really get the feeling that there was life before parenthood, which happens so little in TV. The kids were fun too, even if Lori started out a bit annoying.
The show focused on the family but it wouldn't be complete without the rest of the cast.
Declan began as a two dimensional love interest for Lori and ended up as Kyle's best friend and Secret Keeper. He is loyal and ultimately the best ally Kyle has in the show.
There is also Andy. She was a spunky, fun loving gal who survived cancer only to fall in with this crew. haha. More seriously she was very compelling.
And Hillary. Who could forget her? She was almost never a central plot character but she was always there to be hilarious. Some of her lines make the best of the ser
Then there was Foss. Nicholas Lea is a brilliant actor who needs to get snagged up for a lead role somewhere. He started out as Kyle's creepy stalker, was discovered to be his protector and ended up his mentor. Foss would give Chuck Norris a run for his money...or wait is saying that blasphemy? (also, he happened to guest star on Without a Trace. Look a segue I didn't use!)
There were other characters who came in and out including Finn from Glee, but in generally it was these characters who made the show.
Season 1 started off a bit slowly, but it was instantly fascinating. Then the final episodes of the season really brought the mystery to a head. The season final had me sobbing in a good way and clammering for the next season.
Then season 2 rolled around and blew my mind. This show quickly reached levels of one of my favorite shows just for the kick butt joyride that was this season. The peak moment was "Ghost in the Machine." 
When I say this episode is as good as it gets, I'm not exaggerating to any degree.

At this point you may be asking yourself how this show made my list. After all this is the Top 5 Shows that made me red in the face, not the top 5 shows that I absolutely fall into fits of raptures talking about. Yes...had Kyle XY stopped with season 2 it would still be firmly in my most beloved show category only.
There were some problems that really were annoying. In season 2 they entered a character named Jessie who was nearly as annoying as Sam Spade. They also had a character named Emily who was complex and interesting..so she got absolutely no screen time and got quickly swept under the rug. No idea why on that one.
The main love interest for Kyle was another flaw. Amanda was a sweet character and a good friend but ultimately forgettable. She served more as a plot device for Kyle than a character in her own right no matter how hard the writers tried to force it. To be fair I liked a lot of the seasons with her character, but she was two dimensional at best and annoying jealous girlfriend stereotype at worst.
Still, the most annoying part of the show was actually how under used Foss was. The character had so much potential and it was never fully realized. I'm not sure if Nicholas Lea was too expensive or the writers didn't understand what a gem they had in him, but either way he never got what he deserved in that regard. Not to mention that his interactions with Kyle's family was always so entertaining in just how creepy they found him.
However, these problems are not why the show is on the list. If this was the only problem it would still be safe.
Unfortunately something terrible happened.
We all remember it. It snuck up and attacked when we didn't expect it. It hit, and it hit hard. It was the
-thunder strikes-
Writers strike of 2007-2008 and it was horrifying. Kyle XY was a victim.
Season 2's cliff hanger really was the downside of season. Kyle's extremely uninteresting time filler, I mean his girlfriend Amanda, goes missing. I know I was supposed to be worried but honestly it just didn't happen. Unfortunately, the writers strike pushed the start of season 3 back and the show didn't come on again for nearly a year. At which point the uninteresting cliff hanger was so far passed adding any tension that it was hard to care whether he found Amanda or not.
Still, the show could redeem itself from there right? Could have. Didn't. What happened next you ask?
That's right kids! It jumped the shark. Out of nowhere Kyle XY took a page out of the Heroes play book and made Kyle's psychic abilities into full blown super powers. Powers that developed suddenly even though his psychic abilities took months of training before he could even channel them. Kyle and Jessie started flying around and using gosh awful special effects against villians that the old 1960s Adam West Batman would have been ashamed to fight. I mean...who is this guy and why does he look like Prince Caspian's unwashed mannerless older brother?
After this point all of the previously established relationships and friendships are thrown into the balance for no clearly defined reasons and the show becomes wrought with ridiculous amounts of angst. It was trite, it was annoying, and it wasn't Kyle XY.
And for some unexplained reason everyone moves into the Traggers house. There is no real reason except that I imagine they spent too much money on special effects and didn't have enough left over for extra sets. This got just plain silly to the point of spawning ridiculous amounts of crack fanfiction. It practically seemed like bad fanfiction itself!
I don't know whether the show was screwed by the network or just ran its course, but it makes its place on this list by simply fizzling out to madness.
I gave up on it a few weeks before ABC Family did  and it ended up in the bucket of cancelled shows that could have done better.
Still, despite season 3 the show is still worth watching. Honestly, everyone should see it. Go watch season 1 and 2 and pretend it ended with the strike. It's a lot of fun and worth the ride. The mystery is answered in season 2 anyway, they have to create new questions for season 3. The main baddie is taken out, the plot is fairly well wrapped up and then there is a tiny meaningless cliff hanger to keep you coming back in the end. If you are like me you won't care too much what happens to Amanda. So go enjoy and pretend season 3 is an evil spin off that shouldn't have happened.
 
Come back next time for the next installment!
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1/6/11 01:08 pm - The Top 5 Shows that Lost their Allure part 1 of 5

This was inspired by greenleofiend who got me started on this rant.

Let's face it: every long running TV show has it's ups and downs. Season 3 of the OC was nearly unbearable. Season 5 of Stargate SG1 actually had me, an avid Daniel fan, ready for Jonas's appearance.  Season 3 of Numb3rs was so dark it had be surprised it was the same show. It just happens. However, what sets great shows apart from the shows that don't stand the test of time is that they always improve. The 4th season of OC was the most brilliant,  Jonas was a perfect refresher that jump started the show and paved the way for Daniel to come back new and improved, and Numb3rs literally got help for Don.
Then there are the others. You know the ones I mean. The shows that start out brilliant, but lose you. Now I am a rabid fangirl. I tend to be furiously loyal to a TV show, because after all if I am going to invest my time in it week after week I actually have to like it; but there is only so much a girl can take.  I'm not talking about ones with horrible endings, no I'm talking about shows so terrible I never made it to the ending. Here they are. The top 5 shows that lost me.
Because I wanted to go in depth here I split this into 5 parts. Stayed tuned for more fun.
5. Without a Trace

This was the first procedural show that really caught my interest and honestly is responsible for sparking my long time love of the genre. For a time Without a Trace was big news. The lead actor Anthony LaPaglia even one a Golden Globe for best lead in a drama series back in 2003, and he deserved it. Most of the actors brought their best work to the table with this show and the drama was apparent in every subtle glance and change of tone. Season one was mind blowing. The mysteries were exciting. The emotions were raw and intense, and the characters were compelling. For the most part.
This show was not without it's issues.
Issue number 1 was the girls. Ok, so you're a girl in the boys world of the FBI and I get that you have to be tough, but what was up with these two?
I'm not sure exactly what made the character of Sam so annoying to me. 
Was it the eternal whine and the fact that her attempt at "tough" always came off more like pissy? Or was it the fact the she was the wicked witch of the west with all her teammates and no one ever seemed to mind it? Or was it that she came off as aloof and perpetually annoyed? It could be, or it could be the fact that the writers had the guts to name her Sam Spade. Sam Spade? Really? A detective named Sam Spade? Where have I heard that before. Hmmm Let's think.
How about the genius Humphrey Bogart vessel "The Maltese Falcon"? That's right. The writers of Without a Trace had the nerve to name her after the master of Film Noir detectives. That's a pretty big promise to the viewer there, writers. So, if you hear that there is a female character named after one of the legends of her genre wouldn't you imagine she would have to be one of the most mind blowing characters on television? Instead we get Samantha Spade, and insult to female detectives everywhere. Every episode that focused on her--and there were far too many-- felt like nails running over a chalk board. Even her unsurprisingly tragic background story was so ridiculously portrayed I felt no sympathy for her.

Then there was Vivian. I liked Vivian, I really did. Back in season 1 she was epic. She was not what I expected and I loved it. Vivian was no classic Hollywood beauty, but she brought her unique charm to the screen. She had a surprisingly maternal character that really worked. There was no one else like her in crime shows. She was the wise woman with inner strength who cared deeply for everyone and saw their problems. She knew how to fix it and often did. She was The Mom of the crime genre and I ate it up. It was different, I've never seen a character like her before or since. Unfortunately, her awesome and unique character lasted about 1 1/2 seasons. Suddenly, Vivian has the potential for promotion and she grew fangs. Mama Smurf went nasty and self serving. I imagine if I were one of her "kids" I would feel stricken at her sudden coldness. 
Look just how sad Danny looks, Vivian. Just look at him.
So, the girls were pretty awful, Sam from day one and Vivian from day two; but I will give the writers a hand. They tried to fix it in the only way screenwriters seem to know how. Have problems with existing characters? Add more characters!
Out of this came Elaina. She was everything the other girls should have been. She was smart, sexy and could match the guys but still maintained a feminine quality that made her feel real. She was a lady for the ages with gumption and spunk and I loved it. Honestly, she is to this day one of my favorite female agents and she impressed the heck out of me.
Even still, the girls out there reading this know exactly why they watched the show. Two simply reasons:
Danny and Martin. They were attractive, funny and a perfect duo. Their bromance started out with friction. Let's face it, they hated each other until they are forced to work souly with one another on a case of a man with double lives. Jack's philosophy is, either they will learn to work together or one of them will end up dead. Either way the office will be more peaceful. The episode was amazing and the resulting bromance really made the show. They were competitive but ultimately there for each other when the fit hit the shan.
Here is where the show lost me.
Somewhere in the midst of an annoying plotline which every crime show that takes themselves too seriously seems to feel the need to do at some point or other where Martin gets addicted to pain medicine, their friendship just ends. Sure they have a few interesting moments here or there but the show actually seems to get tired of them. Their plotlines trickle down to nearly nothing and the show starts obsessing over Jack's family issues and Sam's...issues with everything she can think of.
The thing about crime shows is they are gritty. When you are watching them they feel very real. They desperately need characters you can relate to and love to make counterbalance the darkness of the plot lines. Especially in a show like Without a Trace, where 4 times out of 10 the victim ends up dead before they can save them. The first two seasons had this, season 3 got a bit shaky but by season 4 everything was just going down hill until season 5 where I gave up and couldn't take watching it for another episode.
I remember the exact one that did me in. "Win This Time" in season 5. Jack is kidnapped and tortured. No surprise there, most every crime show has this at least once. Reid from Criminal Minds gets kidnapped so often they honestly should insert a tracking system into his brain for safe keeping. But Without a Trace decided they were going to do it right. Which apparently for them means, a brutal horrific episode with no redeeming qualities that is honestly so revolting it could belong in a Saw movie. They pay far too much attention to the torture and are light on the scenes of the actual rescuing. The scenes are drawn out and overplayed, and it's just a precursor to the rest of the season. Drawn out and overplayed dark spittle out of the writers mouths.
This show melted. I have no other way to describe it. It's plotlines ended up gimmicky, it's annoying characters just became more annoying while the interesting characters became severally underplayed, Elaina came in too late to actually save the show and in the end the writers didn't seem to know what they wanted anymore. I actually cheered, yes literally cheered, when Numb3rs beat out Without a Trace and took its time slot when the show was canceled. Seriously, if you want a procedural, go watch Numb3rs or Criminal Minds. Leave Without a Trace in the CBS trash bin where it belongs, and tune in next time for number 4.

7/14/10 02:59 am - Ye Old Hollywood

Explanation fromgalindaxxxx
AH! :D Another Old Hollywood fic meme. Admittedly, the last fic meme I did wasn't supposed to be geared toward Old Hollywood, but, of course, a lot of my character/pairing picks leaned toward the classics (because, seriously, unless you have [who is hereby tagged!] on your flist, too, who else even knew who Slim and Steve were? [my icon should be a clue]). Well, now I give you The Many Characters of Old Hollywood, pt. I meme! Pick ten of your favourite characters from classic cinema, and assign them each a prompt. Then, get some of your lovely friends to write them as commentfic! Okay, okay, maybe write a few yourself, too.


Now for the list:

1. Character: Guy Holden (The Gay Divorcee)
Prompt: Obsession. He was caught, she had him without even trying. From the outside he may look like a stalker, but when the stalker gets the girl...isn't he just a romantic?

2. Character: John Robie (To Catch a Thief)
Prompt: Temptation. He may be reformed but even after a long time sober a lush still remembers the taste of fine wine.

3. Character: Lazlo (Casablanca)
Prompt: Sacrifice. All his life he had sacrificed himself for others, for his country, for his people. For all men who would be free. Now he would sacrifice Illsa to the man she loved more, anything if it meant she could get out of Casablanca alive.

4. Character: Norma Desmond (Sunset Blvd)
Prompt: Romantic. Norma was a romantic, despite the stark raving levels of insanity that was one thing she always held to.

5. Character: Wallace and Davis (White Christmas)
Prompt: Concern. It wasn't always singing and dancing on the battle field.

6. Character: "Steve" Henry Morgan (To Have and To Have Not)
Prompt: Who is she? So who was the girl that left him with such a high impression of women?

7. Character: Comander Quegg (Caine Mutiny)
Prompt: Unstable. Did he ever know what was happening to his mind?

8. Character: Eliza (My Fair Lady)
Prompt: Infuriating. It infuriated her how much she didn't hate him.

9. Character: Sam (Casablanca)
Prompt: Letting go. He didn't like the new boss, but he was glad the old boss finally got out.

10. Character: Ninotchka/Leon (Ninotchka)
Prompt: Resistence. For a well trained opperative, she sure wasn't a hard egg to crack
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