Kathleen
Summer tv has started and I've been finding some new series to fill the gap left by all the cancelled ones. The first is The Whispers, which I figured I'd like since I love Ray Bradbury and Zero Hour was one of the first stories I read by him. It's not quite what I expected - less creepy for one - but I enjoy the '90s sci-fi feel, the premise, and the characters, especially Sean. I'm hoping the writers are borrowing a bit from Ray Bradbury's other stories, too, like Sean's tattoos. The children, especially Henry, are adorable, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the plot will go.

Also new is Humans and it's amazing although complicated so far. I love how many storylines it has going - Niska's and Leo's are my favorites, I adore the relationships - especially Leo and Max, and fascinating characters, as well as the incredible world building and realism.

Dominion has begun season two, which was an incredible surprise since it just barely got renewed. Because of that I'm viewing every episode as a bonus gift, just because I love this show so very much. It's amazing so far, even more impressive than last season. The shift in characters has streamlined the show nicely, and having Alex spending most of his screentime with Noma instead of Claire - I'm starting to ship them since I never did like Alex/Claire - is a welcome and refreshing change. There's also the interesting addition of Pete, an 8ball Alex turns back into a human. He gets some hilarious lines, and he seems like a sweetheart so far. Michael, much to my relief, hasn't changed completely, even if he seems lost and anchorless without Alex and Vega. I am a little worried about the weird cult he's been sucked into, though, and I don't trust Laurel at all. But once it moves past that, there's some amazing new characters, including the evil and demented Julian who makes Gabriel look safe by comparison, and Gates, who is so fabulous he makes the tedious second storyline in Vega interesting. I adore the flashbacks this season, including little Alex with Michael, and the twins, all of which make me emotional. Gabriel and Michael finally get some screentime together and it's beautiful. Best of all, Gabriel gets some layers and explanation for his hatred of humanity with a compelling and heart-breaking series of flashbacks showing him with little David - an absolutely adorable child with those wild curls!. Carl Beukes's acting has improved so much this season, and he's pulling off the mix of emotional, caring past Gabriel and hopeless, lost current day Gabriel beautifully. The writers continue to amaze me by making me learn to love characters I hated last season, mainly Gabriel who seems so broken I just want to protect him, as well as fleshing out characters I was lukewarm on before - Noma, William, and the General, and introducing new, instantly fascinating characters including Gates. Claire's trajectory toward evil might surprisingly turn out for the best as her character has been the weakest and most dismally dull since the beginning, and a dark side could give her the interesting edge she lacks. "House of Sacrifice" was a poignant episode all around with Noma still struggling over the loss of her wings - I'm grateful her relationship with Alex seems in tact at least - Michael playing cards for his life, Vega on the edge of collapse, Clementine killed again, and even David, spiraled into madness, rejected by his son, and awaiting execution, tugged on my emotions. Most heart-breaking was Gates's death. I loved him, and hoped he'd become one of the main characters, but I'm glad he got a hero's death and a final goodbye with Claire at least. Gabriel, taken over by the darkness, has me worried.

The fifth and final season of Hell On Wheels has first half and starts by breaking my heart with Cullen's daydream of his still missing wife and son. But after that it kicks up the pace by moving onto my favorite part of railroad history: the Chinese workers. The new characters are fascinating so far, especially Mei whose odd friendship with Cullen is already my favorite, and I love the change of scenery and focus on the Central Pacific. I was so happy to see Naomi and the baby again, even if only for a few seconds, at the end, and hope, if nothing else, that Cullen finally gets a happy ending with them.

Teen Wolf season five has started and despite how much I miss Derek, I'm loving the plot and how suspenseful and spooky it is, especially with the steampunk doctors and everything being told in flashbacks, even if it makes me very worried for most of the characters. Malia remains adorable; she and Stiles are quite cute together, Kira is awesome with her added powers this season, and Liam, not one of my favorites last season, has grown on me a lot. It also is giving me a new ship in Liam/Hayden, who are adorable and precious. I was a bit disappointed that I guessed wrong on what Parrish was, but excited by hellhound over phoenix which I'd doubted from the beginning.

I've started watching the new series Zoo and I'm enjoying it so far. It's quite different from the usual "end of the world as we know it" storylines most shows are doing, and the characters, especially Jackson, are likeable.

I've finished the fourth and final season of Nikita and it was a delight to see the show return to the feel of the first two seasons. I loved seeing all the sides of Nikita, from fugitive to dark assassin to happily married and freed. Michael and her scenes were beautiful as always, and I was so happy to see them grow close again. As much as I wanted to see their wedding, eloping seemed more their style, and I'm just glad they finally ended up alive and together at last. Birkhoff was as precious as usual, and it was nice to learn his backstory, as well as see a couple lovely moments with Nikita and he. Owen's story arc was beautiful, and I was so happy how he tried to become better again, even if I'll forever miss who he used to be. I was surprisingly okay with him being paired up with Alex in the end, because even if I don't ship it I just wanted him alive and happy which I got. Ryan wasn't one of my favorites but I teared up when Nikita called him family - I do so love their makeshift, thrown-together family - and the final scene of him, as a vision in Nikita's mind, was poignant.

Since I miss the show so much now that it's over I gave a try to the original show, La Femme Nikita, and while it took me a bit to transition to the differences in cast and characterizations, I was suprised how quickly I fell in love with it. Michael is delightfully French, Nikita has an Aussie accent, and Birkhoff is nothing like Birkhoff, and it's wonderful, mostly due to Michael and Nikita's relationship. I adored them from the start in Nikita but they're even better here, since I get to see them from their first meeting.

I discovered the short lived but fabulous show Moonlight and completely fell in love with it. I have a soft spot for "good" vampires and Mick is a sweetheart. My favorite part of the show is his relationship with Beth, though, and their backstory - with Mick saving Beth when she was a small child and then watching over her like a guardian angel as she grows up - instantly made me ship them. The mythology of the vampires is fairly unique, especially regarding how they can be harmed, which keeps it intriguing, and it has almost a retro, late'80s/early'90s feel which I love.

Since I loved Alex O'Loughlin in that show, I gave a try to his medical drama Three Rivers and quite enjoyed it, definitely enough to add it to my list for future watching. His doctor is sweet and appealing, I loved the guest characters, and it's an enjoyable show with a nice blend of touching and poignant.

I finally managed to find Odysseus with English subtitles and I've completely fallen in love with it. It's delightfully French in the best ways, and simply gorgeous and haunting. I love it's unique, poignant take on the characters, and especially how quickly and deeply it makes me grow to care about it's characters: Helen reduced to me to tears in only three short scenes, and Orion fascinates me. The character growth is excellent, too, especially Télémaque who comes so far in just a few episodes. On a shallow note, the scenery, especially the seascapes and beautiful palace, is stunning.

I've fallen in love with Ghost Whisperer. It's poignant hauntings and easy to love characters are right up my alley and all the different ghosts keep the plot fresh. The best thing about it is Jim and Melinda's relationship. I adore them both, and how they support each other, and I love that the show starts right out with them married, avoiding the tangled love triangles that usually doom a show.

I also started Twisted, an offbeat but intriguing mystery series, and while it has it's flaws - Danny is a bit too nice and well-adjusted for a boy who lost his childhood in prison - I can overlook it because it's so unique, and enjoyable. I'm both fond and slightly unnerved by Danny - I still think he's innocent despite the way it's being set up - and I like Jo and her relationship with Danny.

I gave a try to Baby Daddy and despite not being a big fan of comedy I loved it and laughed through most of it. Ben is precious with baby Emma, and I love the quirky other characters.

Also new to me is Haven. I'd been meaning to try it for ages and I loved it instantly. The theme and old style intro, as well as the intriguing "Troubles" grabbed me, and I adore how sweet Nathan is even if he makes my heart hurt and I want to give him a hug. I also ship Nathan/Audrey hard, and love how she's the only one he can feel.

Extant is back with season two, and a bittersweet mix of good and bad ideas. As much as I love seeing Ethan again, much of the character growth and slow-building suspense from season one has been replaced with action and convenient plot twists, as well as a disturbingly alerted cast, leaving the show not even feeling like the same series. First of all I may be one of the few people who actually shipped John/Molly. I liked the glimmer of hope at the season finale that the two were growing closer and working out their problems. And John was such a sweetheart, trying to keep his family together against all odds. For reasons unknown the writers decided to throw a not even hinted at affair into the works - with Julie, the one character the show would have greatly benefited from to kill off - and then turned Julie evil; as if she wasn't grating enough already. Then, in the show's greatest tragedy, after a fight, the loss of Ethan, and Molly refusing to answer his call to hear his final apology, John gets violently and horribly killed off, and not even the show runner's vague comments about whether or not he's truly dead can make me feel better. In other character changes, Sean, who I liked, is inexplicably dead for seemingly no reason, and half of the other characters are not even mentioned. And I'm probably against him from the start since I dislike the actor, but I don't like the new guy at all, even if he becomes more tolerable after episode one. However, there are a few good points left. Ethan remains as precious as always, and the details, such as the self-driving cars and police tape, are as delightful as last season, while the ethical dilemmas regarding the humanoids become more troubling. I'm most intrigued by Molly's strange new powers, though, and how she'll use them. The finale was stunning, bringing out the best in all the characters and folding everything up enough that whether or not it continues, I'm content. I grew to love JD across the season, and even enjoy him with Molly, quite a surprise considering how much I hated him at the start, and I was relieved that he survived his wound, and loved Molly saving him. Charlie who I enjoyed last season and came to adore this one, turned out to be quite the hero, and I loved that he and Julie survived and seem to have found each other. Ethan was precious as usual, and I was so happy John's firewall saved him. Lucy's change of heart was a poignant surprise, as was the kindness of JD's ex-wife. Most intriguing was the "TAALOR" figure at the end who, from the back at least, strongly resembles John.

I started watching and love The Wonder Years, a show I've meant to check out for a while. The nostalgic '60s setting and realistic characters sucked me in instantly, and I adore Kevin's often hilarious and relatable narration.

I also started Rookie Blue and it's fantastic so far, very much like the '70s police dramas I grew up with and love. The characters are very likeable, especially Dov, and I can relate quite a bit to Andy. I've also found an otp in Sam/Andy. I adore Sam, and the way they met, with her tackling him and arresting him while he's undercover, was right up my shipping alley. I teared up when he's shot and she's trying to keep him alive in the ambulance, especially with the forehead kiss - my ultimate shipping weakness. And I love Boo. It's definitely a show I want to watch from start to finish at some point.

I gave a try to Da Vinci's Demons and was quite impressed. It's a gorgeously filmed series with just enough fantasy to enhance the already interesting history, and the actors seem well cast, with intriguing characters and fantastic world building and details.

The new season of Dragons: Race To The Edge is on and happily it seems to be set before the second movie, so Stoick is still alive. As usual the kids antics are my favorites and I adore the twins (with their pet chicken now!), and Fishlegs's episodes best, while Toothless remains adorable. The new dragons are a lot of fun, and I like the new islands, especially the one the kids have claimed as their own.

I found a few more Sechs auf einen Streich with subtitles and I've been working my way though them. They're all lovely, even the slower ones, and one of my favorites so far is Sechse Kommen Durch Die Ganze Welt, a fairytale I'm not familiar with. It was adorable and very entertaining, though, and I've loved the characters, their relationships with each other, and how they managed to constantly fool the king and win in the end. My absolute favorite, though, is Die Kleine Meerjungfrau, which manages to make an unusually happy ending for everyone without changing much of the original story. I loved the Prince, and even Anneline was an uniquely sympathetic character for a change. I also loved Jorinde und Joringel, a sweet love story with likeable characters, and adored the final twist when Joringel gave up his youth for Jorinde, and then she, giving up her's, made them both young again. Next was the lovely Die Prinzessin auf der Erbse. I adored the clever take on the fairytale, and the characters, especially the Prince, were adorable. Next was Die Zertanzten Schuhe, a flawless adaptation of my very favorite fairytale. I adored the main character and his quiet attempts to make the Princess love him, and the magic world was depicted exactly as I'd imagined. I also loved that the other sisters got their princes and happiness in the end, too. Next was Vom Fischer Und Seiner Frau, based on one of my favorite fairytales, and I adored it, so much so it might be my new favorite of the series. I loved how kind Hein remained, and how through it all he only wanted his wife and old life back. The happier than the original tale ending was delightful, too. Next was Dornröschen. I loved Fynn - possibly the most adorable prince of any version - and was intrigued by the story making him the third in a line that had tried and failed to rescue the princess.

I've also gotten to see a couple more of the Märchenperlen series, including their version of Aschenputtel, and it was both lovely and very unique. As taken aback as I originally was by the fact that Marie's father not only doesn't die but participates in the way she's treated, it ultimately made the story more poignant, and added a new explanation as to why she fell for the prince so quickly, as he would have been the first person who'd showed her kindness since her mother died. I loved how much the film had them interacting before the ball, Leonhard's friendship with Peter and his cousins, and how he wasn't a wealthy, powerful prince like most versions. I also adored the scene where he saves Marie from the fire and carries her off on his horse, and having her family become servants was the most fitting ending I've seen yet. My favorite so far, though, is the gorgeous Die Schöne Und Das Biest, a beautiful and unusual version of the story. I love watching the Beast change - his song with Elsa is lovely - and Elsa is a likeable Beauty, escaping the more annoying aspects of the way the character is portrayed. The dialogue is stunning, including a poignant scene where the Beast and Elsa talk about her mother, and the scene where the Beast turns into the Prince. I loved the servants, too, and stripping away the more magical elements while changing the rose into a whole bush of roses enhanced the story greatly.

In other fairytale films, I saw the stunning miniseries La Bella e la Bestia, the oddest and most beautiful version of the story I've seen. Leon, despite being fully human, was the most Beast-like of any character I've seen, a tormented and deeply troubled man with a flicker of goodness still inside. The backstory of his wife, and the new character of his scheming cousin were fascinating additions, and I loved the side characters, especially the kindly Armand, and the servants. Next was Descendants and despite my early reservations about the somewhat silly premise, it was completely delightful and creative. I loved the main four - their personalities and costumes were spot on - as well as the "good" characters, and their parents were hilariously over the top and fabulous. I didn't even mind the singing and loved a couple of the songs, and the conclusion was adorable. I also saw the Asylum's Sleeping Beauty - as corny as their films are their unusual, strange takes on stories give me so many plotbunnies - and I loved so many of the ideas of it, from the zombies guarding the castle to the Phillip being a brave whipping boy instead of the prince, a cowardly prince siding with Maleficent, his kiss waking her after others fail because they weren't pure of heart, and Aurora kissing him back to life after Maleficent kills him.

I've been working my way through Charlie Chaplin's filmography so far, finding some treasures along the way such as the hilarious and creative One A. M.. I couldn't stop laughing through the bed scene, but there were so many funny moments packed into such a short show. It's also been interesting to watch his character of the Little Tramp slowly evolve from the start when he was a more violent, mean-spirited character to growing into a kinder, gentler, and usually heart-broken hobo. My favorite so far is the adorable The Vagabond, a unique story in which he plays violin, falls in love with a girl, and unusually actually gets her and a happy ending. I loved every minute, especially it's blend of comedy and sadness.

In other new films I watched The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power and loved it. I adore this goofy set of movies so much, and this was my favorite so far, a perfect blend of humor and zany adventure like they used to make and I've missed so much. I enjoyed the new cast a lot, even the bad guys, and the steampunk and science instead of so much supernatural was delightful. I'm slowly trying to watch more '80s movies and tonight was The Terminator which I surprisingly loved. The premise was both fun and poignant, and the bittersweetness of Kyle and Sarah's relationship broke my heart, as much as loved the twist of Kyle being John's father. The special effects were quite impressive, and I loved Kyle, such a sad yet sweet character, and wished he'd gotten to live. Next was the beautiful Charlie St. Cloud which I cried through most of, but adored completely. Charlie was a loveable character, and his ability to see ghosts as well as his striving to find the reason for his survival was poignant. I loved the bittersweet conclusion. Next was Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer's Curse, my favorite film of the series so far. I loved Gareth and Drago, especially his snark, and their scenes together were adorable, especially when Drago teaches him to jump in and out of shadows. I liked the happier ending of this film, with the dragon living, better, too. Next was the surprisingly excellent Outlander. I adored the reimagining of Beowolf using my ultimate weakness: a mingling of historical fiction and sci-fi with a sympathetic alien protagonist. I loved the characters, the Viking world, and the fascinating glimpses of the other worlds in space. The ending was beautiful and perfect. Next was The Jacket, a haunting, sometimes difficult to watch, and yet strangely beautiful movie. Jack and his relationship with Jackie broke my heart, and I loved the strange twists and turns of their meetings, as well as the somewhat cryptic ending (I like to think Jack survived in that time and stayed with her). That he was able to truly strange time was a fascinating, rare twist for a time travel film, and I loved the fitting theme at the end.

In new animated films I saw Minions and I loved every minute of it. The Minions are some of my favorite characters to emerge from recent animation, and the trio, especially dear little Bob and his teddy bear, were precious. Scarlet Overkill and her boyfriend were over the top and hilarious, and the opening sequence was flawless. I loved how the ending tied everything together with little Gru meeting the Minions.

I stumbled across the lovely miniseries The 10th Kingdom and fell in love with it's combination of zany twists on fairytales and cheesy, adorable romance. I miss that silliness and light-hearted touch shows had up until the past decade or so, and it's always a treat to revisit that era through something I've never seen. Wolf was flawless - the actor outdid himself - and I could relate a great deal to Virginia, even if I wanted to shake her a few times. But I loved their romance and how they ended up finding their own happily ever after. I also loved the non-traditional but beautiful portrayal of Snow White, and the fantastic world-building.

I also saw the miniseries Tut and while it didn't quite measure up to my expectations, I still loved it and I'm just so thrilled to finally have a drama about one of my favorite historical loves. Avan Jogia was perfect as Tut, slowly growing into the role and getting better by each part. His growth from sheltered boy to flawed king was fascinating to watch, and I grew very attached to him, so much so that even though I knew it was coming, I still teared up at the ending. The General and Ay were complex villains, Ka was deeply tragic - it was nice to see Peter Gadiot's pretty face again - and I was saddened by how the film destroyed the relationship between Tut and Ankhe in favor of more drama, but I loved their reconciliation at the ending. I seem to be in the minority on Suhad, though, who found her character overwhelmingly naive to the point of annoying, and couldn't see what Tut saw in her. But the filming was gorgeous, and several scenes deeply poignant, especially the haunting ending.
 
 
feeling: devious
calliope tune: "Even The Nights Are Better"-Air Supply
 
 
Kathleen
After a long wait, the third and final season of Hardy Boys is finally out on DVD, and it's glorious fun as Frank's eyes and sneakers get more blue and Joe's shirts get tighter by the episode. The boys, more grown up now, work for the Justice Department and globe-trot instead of remaining in Bayport. Traveling seems to have an interesting effect upon their hair which keeps getting bigger, but the brotherly caring is firmly in place, even more so than before. I love how Frank punches the guy in "The Last Kiss Of Summer" "for Joe", and Joe saving Frank from getting shot in "Life On The Line". Then there's also a wonderful hurt/comfort scene in "Search For Atlantis" where Joe gets buried in a collapsed hole and Frank goes tearing over and digs and lifts him out with his bare hands. Joe is fantastic this season, as usual; as much as I love Frank, Joe is my boy, and the episodes only prove why: he's so very kind and sweet, gently holding the disturbed girl who just tried to kill his brother, or defending a girl he's never met which leads the bad guy to remark that "chivalry isn't dead", even if he doesn't get a chance to sing this season. The guest stars are wonderful, including Robert Loggia in a fun episode where Frank mimics T.H.E. Cat complete with black clothes and a grappling hook, Jack Kelly as their boss, and the fabulous David Gates and Bread who play all of my favorite songs and get involved in a mystery the boys are working on.

I finally got to see the webisodes of Primeval and loved the intro to the characters. I giggled insanely over Matt commenting on his "unexpressive" face - I adore Matt but he could crack a smile every now and then - as well as his comment on Becker "really liking guns". I completely fell in love with him more than I already had when he talked about Connor, Abby, and Danny, and how he wasn't giving up on them. One of my favorite things about Matt and why I grew to adore him, when I thought I'd always hate any replacement for Cutter, was his caring and devotion to his team, determined to save them all no matter how much the risk. His early antagonism with Becker was an interesting touch, and I loved the respect on Becker's face by the end, and knowing they'll be good friends soon. I wanted to hug poor Becker, though, when he looks so heartbroken over losing Connor, Abby, and Danny, and then Sarah's death, too. In a way, I was glad if they had to write Sarah out, at least I didn't have to see her death since I liked her and there was enough sadness over Cutter's and Stephen's.

I watched the GWTW ep of the Carol Burnett Show and it was a hilarious and flawless spoof, especially the curtains dress.

I saw The Host, which I'd been looking forward to, and was thrilled to discover it was every bit as good as the book which I loved. Saoirse Ronan was brilliant as Wanderer and Melanie, keeping the two characters very distinct and equally fascinating. Jared, a character I didn't care for in the book, was surprisingly good, and I adored Ian, my favorite in the book, who was exactly as I'd imagined. Little Jamie was adorable and quite a talented actor and I loved how closely the film followed the book, even including the end with the other good alien, one of my favorite scenes. Everything was beautifully filmed, too, and very lovely and hopeful. Other new films this week included the unusual The Prestige, an incredibly odd but interesting film tinged with a bit of steampunk and sci-fi against a richly detailed Victorian era town. I found it somewhat hard to follow at times and I'll have to see it again to truly understand it, but I loved the concept and the magic acts, as well as the jaw-dropping final twist. Next was Australia, an absolutely gorgeous film. I knew nothing about the history or setting so I actually learned a lot as well as being entertained, and I loved the characters, especially Drover and how he changed through the film, and adorable little Nullah. The scenery and music were beautiful, too, and the film had lovely direction and acting. I'm starting to really love Hugh Jackman's films; he's incredibly talented and so good at every role I've seen him in so far. After that was Red Riding Hood, a well done spin on the fairytale. Valerie was a likeable heroine, and I loved both Peter and Henry. I was saddened by Peter being turned at the end but glad Valerie stuck by him. The mood and filming was lovely, too, and made me love the story more than before. Next was 10,000 BC, a fun adventure. D'Leh was a likeable character, the story was entertaining, and I adored the prehistoric world and settings as well as the amazing special effects and the happy ending. My favorite scene was D'Leh and the tiger, a very beautiful and touching moment. Then was the touching The Ghosts Of Dickens' Past, a beautiful imagining of what might have inspired A Christmas Carol. It presented a very different, but easy to love Charles Dickens than I imagine, and Victorian London was vividly alive. Next was the amusing Who Gets The House?, a fun family adventure with some adorable moments. I discovered Return To The Secret Garden, a sequel of sorts to The Secret Garden that imagines modern day children - the great grandchildren of Mary and their friend - discovering the garden. It was a bittersweet film since as much as I loved Timothy, Margaret, and Katherine, I was saddened to find out what became of the original children, and as a Dickon/Mary shipper it made me sad to have Mary marry Colin and then having him be killed in the war, and Mary dying in the garden. I loved the garden coming back to life, though, and Dickon, so much older, coming back to lay flowers on Mary's grave. I watched George Of The Jungle 2, not expecting much, and ended up laughing just as much as at the first. Christopher Showerman doesn't quite fill Brendan Fraser's shoes - and sometimes he's a bit too over the top - but he's animated and George's inherent sweetness shines through. He's adorable with Junior, and hilarious with the animals. The new Ursula is more ditzy than the original but with the zany plot it seemed to fit. The narrator was even funnier than in the first film and I loved all the jokes about Brendan Fraser vs. Christopher Showerman. In my goal to see every version, I watched 2010's Robin Hood, and while it took a little while to grow on me with it's vastly different take on the legends, I grew to really enjoy it. Russell Crowe was a surprisingly good Robin once I got used to him, more soldier/freedom fighter than outlaw, and the thievery element along with his almost supernaturally accurate aim has been removed, giving him a more human, down to earth feel than any other Robin I've seen. Likewise Marian is more realistic, a strong woman who's equally at ease fighting alongside Robin as she is tending her home. There was far too little of the Merry Men - in fact, I was never quite sure who was who even by the end - but Alan-A-Dale was included which always makes me happy, and going along with the more accurate feel King John is a tyrant. The soundtrack was lovely, and the closing credits with their living painting like feel were mesmerizing and stunning. Next was The Christmas Card, a sweet, although not perfect holiday film. The plot was lovely, though, and I giggled at the ending.

I've always disliked the Sherlock Holmes stories and adaptations, but I like Robert Downey Jr. so I gave a try to the 2009 Sherlock Holmes film. I was amazed to find how much I loved it. Unlike the stuffy, annoying character of usual, this Holmes was funny, quirky, and oh so easy to love with both a brilliant mind and fast fists. Watson, usually reduced to an older, homebound partner, got to something of an action hero, and his brotherly friendship with Holmes was touching and adorable. I teared up during the explosion and hospital scenes, and giggled at their banter. I loved the Victorian, slightly steampunk-tinged world, and the fast-moving adventure of the plot. I followed that with the sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows and loved it just as much as the first. Holmes was brilliant in his "chess-like" game against Moriarty, and his friendship with Watson was more wonderful than in the last film. I teared up when Watson tries to save Holmes after his heart stops, and again when Holmes closes his eyes before falling into the water. All the slow-motion work was lovely, and I adored the whimsy and humor of the ending.

I gave a try to The Mummy trilogy, and despite the fact that it took a bit to grow on me I soon fell in love with Rick, Evy, and their fabulous adventures. The films got better and better as they went along, and I loved the old setting as well as the passage of years from their first meeting until an adventure with their adult son. I adored the humor, action, and whump of the series. I loved the other characters, especially the fabulous Ardeth who I desperately missed in the third film but I was so happy when he survived the first two. The ending of the trilogy was hilarious and just perfect. I also saw the two The Scorpion King films and enjoyed them both, along with all their characters, especially Ari, and their adventure to the Underworld.

I watched the incredibly fun Spy Kids and fell in love with it. Carmen, Juni, and their parents were easy to love, and I adored how they worked together as a team. Everything was wild and imaginative and I giggled through most of the film while being impressed by all the gadgets. The ending was cute and just perfect. After that was Spy Kids 2, a fun and imaginative team effort with Juni and Carmen closer than last film but still teasing each other like real siblings. I loved the miniature zoos and the twist ending about the animals. Next was Spy Kids 3D Game over, and it was still a fun film, despite being the weakest of the series and almost entirely focused on Juni. I loved the clever concept of the virtual reality game crossing over into the real world and the huge group of people who came together at the end with all the wonderful cameos from characters in the first two films. I was quite sad about Demetra, though, as she was one of the few characters I truly cared about in the film and it seemed harsh to make her nothing more than a bad program in the end. Then was Spy Kids 4: All The Time In The World and while I was a little sad to have Carmen and Juni grown up, I was glad they grew close again and stayed on to head the program. All the new characters were quite fun, though, with Rebecca and Cecil nicely stepping into Carmen and Juni's shoes to head the next generation of young spies and the bonus of Cecil being hearing impaired which beautifully uses a special needs character as a superhero. Argonaut was hilarious and I wish he'd been in all the films.

In new superhero films I watched The Hulk, and while Bill Bixby will always be my favorite, Eric Bana was an excellent, sensitive Bruce Banner, capturing all sides of the character. I didn't like how violent the Hulk was, but I loved the transitions, especially when Betty appears in the street and he changes back into Bruce. The ending was perfect, giving a nod to the tv show while putting a new spin on Bruce's future. I found the very different backstory quite interesting, too, even as much as I disliked Bruce's father. After that I tried the more recent The Incredible Hulk film, and as pleased as I was with all the nods to the tv show from the "don't make me 'hungry'" line that made me giggle to the clip of Bill Bixby on the tv, I was still disappointed with the lack of heart and over the top CGI. While the idea of a second, evil Hulk was intriguing, both actors were too flat to carry the roles, and the plot dragged, only looking up during the action scenes which were let down by the unrealistic, huge Hulk and the fact that he seems to have nearly no weaknesses. I was given little time to warm to Bruce, and as he barely speaks through the first part of the film, I felt I never got to really know him, unlike all the other Hulks. Still, Tony Stark's cameo made me absurdly happy at the end. I finally got to see Iron Man 3 and adored it; a perfect end to the trilogy. Harley was a fabulous character and I loved his friendship with Tony and the adorable scene where he sees all the gifts Tony left him. I was a little sad that Tony and Pepper didn't share as much time together as in the other films but the scenes they did have more than made up for it - they were shippier than ever and finally canon. I teared up so many times, especially when Tony thinks he's lost Pepper, and especially at the beautiful ending with Pepper wearing the shrapnel in a necklace, and Tony throwing the arc reactor into the ocean. I loved that he and Pepper had their happy ending, though, and I wish there was more to see whether Tony stays a superhero of a different kind or gives it up. I was content with Tony blowing up the suits and having the surgery, even as bittersweet as it was to have him become a different sort of Iron Man. Because of my love for the films I tried Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. but was disappointed by it. Despite a few interesting moments the characters failed to grab me the way the others do, partly because, unlike the fandom, I dislike Phil. Also the question of how he survived slightly creeps me out. The plot was alright, so I suppose with a different cast I would have enjoyed it. I did love the mention of Natasha, though.

In new animated films I saw the lovely Up, a bittersweet adventure. I loved the uniqueness of the story, characters, and their relationship, and it made me both smile and tear up. Next was the charming Despicable Me. I loved the adorable children and how they won Gru over, and the hilarious Minions. The story was very creative and so cute. Despicable Me 2 was just as hilarious, and I loved that Gru got his happy ending. Next was Meet The Robinsons, a sweet and touching story. I loved the colorful characters and the lovely quote from Walt Disney, along with the happy ending. Then I saw A Bug's Life, a completely adorable story with cute characters who I instantly loved. Everything was clever and their world was precious. After that was the charming Bee Movie. I loved Barry, one of my very favorite animated characters ever, and the funny, quirky plot. The bees' world was richly imagined and I kept grinning through the whole film. Then I watched Hoodwinked and Hoodwinked Too: Hood Vs. Evil which, while not my favorite animated films by any means, were amusing twists on classic fairytales. Wolf, ever sarcastic, was my favorite character, and the singing goat was hilarious. After that was the delightfully creative Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and I adored Flint, such a sweet and wonderfully geeky character. His friendship/romance with Sam was too cute, and I giggled so much over the jello house and everything in it, as well as loving the jellybean rainbow. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 was quite adorable, although I liked the original better, and I loved the food animals, especially dear little Berry and the cute marshmellows. Then I saw the heartwarming The Croods which was surprisingly fun. I loved Eep and Guy's relationship, and the humor kept me giggling with my favorite being the "rock photographs". I also loved the setting and creative ideas. Belt was completely adorable, too, and the ending was too precious, especially with the big cat and all the other animals being rescued and becoming part of their family in their new paradise. Next was the amusing spoof of 1950s sci-fi Planet 51. I loved how everything was in reverse, as well as the alien world, and there were countless adorable moments with Lem, Chuck, and especially dear little Rover. I finished Dragons: Riders Of Berk and while it took a bit to grow on me I'm loving it now, as Hiccup, Toothless, and the others have all sorts of fun adventures. Now I'm onto Dragons: Defenders Of Berk, and I'm loving the character growth, as well as the other characters. Next to Hiccup and Toothless, Fishlegs and Meatlug are my favorites; they have an adorable relationship, and Fishlegs is very sweet. Tuffnut and Ruffnut are hilarious, too, and even Snotlout isn't as bad as I thought. The dragons get more and more creative, too, as does the backstories for Berk, and I love how they're growing the story in preparation for the next film.

I finished the third and final season of Millennium and despite my sadness at it being the last, I was pleased that it ended on such a high note as the best season of the series. Frank has left the group and rejoined the FBI, introducing a new character as his partner, Emma Hollis. Her story arc both entranced and saddened me as she grows from a kind, caring friend and antagonist of the group to a full-fledged member who betrays Frank. I hope if the series had continued her character would have come back around to the good side again. Meanwhile, Jordan comes to terms with both her mother's death and her own inherited gift, making for some interesting storylines. Peter, sadly, became more of the antagonist this season, only to find redemption in the finale by saving Frank and Jordan. His implied death was heartbreaking and a tragic end to a once wonderful character. "Closure", an unsettling episode, provides insight into Emma's past and ends with thought-provoking questions. "Skull and Bones" gives closure to Cheryl but started turning me against Peter, painting a sad anti-parallel to Emma's later change of heart. The unusual "The Sound of Snow" gives closure to Frank over Catherine's death as well as showcasing an intriguing concept of the tapes. Other excellent episodes include the superb tackling of a difficult subject with "Through A Glass Darkly", the touching Christmas fantasy "Omertà", and the haunting "Darwin's Eye". The season's best are the poignant tearjerker "Matryoshka" which is both stunning and incredibly thought-provoking, and the utterly gorgeous "Borrowed Time" which brought tears to my eyes and left me with so many questions. The finale leaves much hanging, making me wish even more for further episodes and leaving me wondering as to the direction the series would have taken. Over all, though, it was one of the most brilliant series I've seen in ages, heartwrenching and beautiful on so many levels.

I'm on season two of Laramie now, the last of the four seasons that I hadn't yet seen. Jonesy, who I'd learned to like, has left with only a passing mention, and Andy, who I never cared for, has thankfully been sent off to school and only appears in a few episodes. The actors have settled comfortably into their roles, and Jess and Slim's relationship teeters between employer-employee and friends, so while their caring for each other hasn't reached the brotherly feel of the last two years, it's quite close to a good, solid friendship. The new intro, coming in halfway through the season, only adds to that feel, and I like it so much better than the strange intro and theme used for the first half. The only downside to the season is the number of episodes which heavily feature either Jess or Slim while barely showing the other. Some work, like the Jess-lead mystery tale "Rimrock", the whumped Jess adventure "Bitter Glory", or the man on the run story "Run Of The Hunted" with Charles Bronson who's wonderful as always, but many feel awkward and leave me missing whoever is absent. "Trigger Point" is a well-paced survival yarn as Jess and a handful of passengers attempt to cross the desert after their horses and water are stolen. The many facets of Jess's personality come out, from his tenderness toward the women to the nearly chilling way he stalks and guns down the man responsible. The season's best is "Men In Shadows" in which a gunfighter who once spared Jess's life earns his help in escaping from the law, only to turn more and more violent as the episode progresses. It's also a rare glimpse into Jess's past this season which was more focused on his future and includes a wonderful scene between Slim and Jess where Slim attempts to keep Jess from returning to his past life.

I've started watching Stargate Atlantis and am loving it so far. I'm only partway into season one and it's already a whump fest, especially for the quite attractive John Sheppard who's quickly becoming my favorite character. I love the humor and adventure of the series, as well as their fun, danger-filled world. Carson is wonderful, and my close second favorite character, even if the writers treat him badly - I'm still tearing up over the "Poisoning The Well" episode with it's doomed romance and pain, and I adored Lt. Ford and the brotp between Sheppard and he. McKay was annoying at first but I'm getting used to him now, and he's certainly growing braver and more loyal as the season advances. Elizabeth Weir is the only character I haven't warmed to yet, but Teyla is awesome and I slightly ship her with Sheppard. The episodes are wonderful, with my favorites including the whumpish "Thirty-Eight Minutes", the intriguing "Childhood's End", and the deeply poignant "Letters From Pegasus".

In theatres this week I saw The Christmas Candle which was as good as I'd hoped for and better, a flawless, Dickens-inspired, touching story. Hans Matheson was amazing as usual as David, a pastor haunted by a tragedy and determined to do good in his new post, and the entire supporting cast was fabulous. I fell in love with the beautiful setting and characters, cried during the poignant moments, and grinned ear to ear at the gorgeous ending. It was perfect in every detail and Hans Matheson even got to sing in it! I also saw Frozen opening night, and while not perfect and very different than what I'd expected I enjoyed it. The animation, especially the snow and ice magic effects, was stunningly gorgeous, the music was catchy, and Anna was such a loveable heroine. Olaf was adorable and I was so happy that he didn't have to melt in the end, Sven was hilarious, and, unlike most people it seems, I was thrilled that Anna ended up with Kristoff instead of Hans. I loved him in the trailer and I was hoping it would turn out that way. I also liked that Elsa wasn't truly the evil character of the story, and even if I wish they'd followed the fairytale more closely - really, what I wanted more than anything was an animated version of the 2000's live-action The Snow Queen - I was pleased that the core elements, while heavily altered, were included in some way.

I watched The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and am still divided on what I thought of it. On one hand there were so many feelings of nostalgia: seeing the Shire, Bag End, and Frodo, and the tie-ins to the party, Bilbo's sword, the eagles, the familiar music, and the fued between the elves and dwarves; but I never felt as close to the characters as the beloved fellowship, despite liking Thorin, Fili, and Kili, and I was saddened to see Radagast, a kind and caring wizard, played mostly for a fool. Also the humor felt overwhelming and annoying at times, not the quick breathers Pippin and Merry always provided, the hints of Gandalf/Galadriel made me squirm, and the tone was often too dark for what's mostly a much lighter tale than Lord Of The Rings, attempting to connect the threads between The Hobbit and the trilogy on too many levels. While he managed the humor well, I found Martin Freeman's acting desperately lacking emotion and feeling in the dramatic scenes, not up to the level of his costars who carried off their roles, however small, effortlessly, making me wish again that the director had chosen an unknown actor for the role of the same talent as the trilogy's stars. On good points the prologue was incredibly well done and powerful, the theme was gorgeous, and the way the Necromancer was portrayed was chilling and perfectly imagined. My favorite scene was near the end when Thorin finally accepts Bilbo and hugs him, a beautiful and touching moment. But the film often suffered from an overabundence of CGI and not enough heart beneath the action as well as trying too hard to impress. I broke down and finally watched BBC's production of The Silver Chair, a remarkably faithful adaptation with lovely opening credits and quite a bit to offer Chronicles Of Narnia fans. The film adds in the clever touch of having the enchanted Rillian hidden beneath heavy clothes, a beard, and a helmet that covers his hair and much of the top half of his face, disguising him from viewers who wouldn't be familiar with the story, and even the actor's mannerisms are superbly done, very different from his earlier and later scenes and whiplashing between host and tyrant in the span of seconds. While he's more threatening and overbearing than I imagined enchanted Rillian to be, and I wasn't entirely sold on his performance in the chair at first, by the end I was impressed. His final pleas, asking by the sky and by Aslan to be released, were beautifully done, dragging emotion into his eyes and voice so I could feel Rillian's helplessness. The children are good choices as well, especially Eustace, and the special effects crew makes careful and well done achievements in pre-CGI days, especially with the giants who actually appear to be carrying Puddleglum and the children around, and the sparks that fly out of the silver chair as Rillian smashes it. Regarding Puddleglum, I've never been a fan of Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor so it was a pleasant surprise to discover him perfectly cast as the gloomy marshwiggle, even capturing his good heart and friendship with the children in a wonderful scene where he offers to die for Eustace when the enchanted prince threatens him. Glimfeather's voice is brilliant for his role, and many of the costumes are quite convincing, made so by the excellent movements and skills of the actors. On another note, for me, it's wonderful to get back to the old British series with the feel of classic!who, complete with the endearing mistakes - I especially love the part where Rillian breaks his obviously plastic helmet and can't manage to shake parts of it off his hand. I only wish the BBC had continued with the rest of the series as I imagine it would have gotten even better.
 
 
calliope tune: "Tracy"-Cufflinks
feeling: drained