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
 
 
Kathleen
I went backwards to season four of Smallville and the last of Clark's high school years. While the season's storyline about Clark's, Lana's, the Luthors's, and the Teagues's hunt for the mysterious stones of power is my least favorite so far, the unrelated episodes more than make up for it. Lex continues his slow journey toward evil, unfortunately just as I've finally come to appreciate the sadness of Clark and his friendship and it's eventual fate, while Lois, new this season, won me over at last with the glimpses of her past and a quirky introduction to Clark that finally has me shipping them. Jonathan and Martha end up somewhat in the background, but shine whenever given the chance, and Martha gets a hilarious scene in which she's possessed by a teenager and dances to her iPod. Chloe finally learns Clark's secret, unbeknownst to him, and I love her attempts to hint to Clark that she knows without actually telling him. New this season is Clark's adorable dog Shelby who sadly doesn't get to keep any of the superpowers he displays in his introduction episode, including saving Clark's life when he gets trapped in a kryptonite-filled truck that's on fire. Also there's Jason Teague, and I'm not sure if the fact that he was supposed to be in more than one season caused the writers to rush his storyline or if I just keep getting distracted by looking for Sam Winchester everytime he appears on the screen. Either way he starts out as a decent, even sweet person, despite unfortunately being yet another love interest for Lana, and then partway through the season snaps and turns into this mother-devoted psycho trying to get his hands on the stones of power who ends up getting shot, thrown off a cliff, and dragging himself back to the Kents to take them hostage during the second meteor shower. He does do the deranged thing very well, though, especially in the season's finale, and I wish the writers had done a better job with his transformation like they did with Davis. My favorite episode of the season was the moving "Ageless" in which Clark and Lana discover an abandoned newborn who quickly grows into a child and then a teenager. It's both sweetly funny as Clark cares for an infant and then a little child who leaps into his arms and calls him "dad" - if Clark and Lois had a son I think he'd be exactly like Evan - and completely heartbreaking as it's revealed that Evan's genetic quirks will cause his death in a matter of hours. As sad as it was I liked that they didn't do a last minute rescue and instead had Clark just stay with him in the end, since Clark can't save everybody and it was more powerful that way. I also loved "Blank", a fascinating episode with a unique and sympathetic antagonist featuring Clark losing his memory and Chloe attempting to teach him about his powers. Then I finished season five which starts the shift from Smallville to Metropolis as the town picks up the pieces following the second meteor shower while Clark adjusts to a human life without his powers. Chloe and Clark have a wonderfully deep friendship this season, with Clark finally learning Chloe knows his secret, even if it makes me slightly sad to think how Clark will end up treating her before long. In one episode someone refers to them as "Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy" which put all sorts of happy ideas into my mind of an updated, grown up version of the books with both of them and reminded me of how I used to ship Clark/Chloe in the first season. It's also Jonathan's last season, and even though I was prepared for how sad it would be his death hurt to watch. I suppose it was the most powerful choice to have Jonathan be the one to die for Clark, but I wish he'd been in at least a season or more beyond this because Clark was so much more of a hero when he was around. "Exposed" was offbeat and fun with Lois and Clark's awkwardly hilarious relationship and Tom Wopat guest starring as an old friend of Jonathan's. There were all these nods to The Dukes Of Hazzard and I kept giggling when Jack slid in through the window. I loved "Aqua" and wish AC had been in more of the series instead of just a few episodes. He's a perfect contrast to Clark and so much like Mark Harris that I kept grinning through the whole episode. "Mercy", a spooky episode in which Lionel and Martha become trapped in a bitter man's twisted games, gave me a new appreciation for Lionel and cast him in an entirely different light than I've thought of him in before. I also liked "Fragile", a perfect blend of sweet and scary as the Kents take in Maddie, a little girl who can manipulate and explode glass and is unable to control her power when she becomes upset. Clark's interactions with her were adorable and made me wish Clark had a younger sibling on the series. "Lexmas" was my favorite, a heartwrenching Christmas episode in which a badly wounded Lex gets a chance to see the path his life could take depending on his choices where he finds himself having left his fortune, married to Lana, raising two children, and close friends with Chloe and the Kents. The ending was heartbreaking, and I wish the writers had gone with that storyline, even if only in the parallel world, since as much as I usually dislike Lana she's strangely good when paired with Lex, and Lex makes a surprisingly sweet father. Now I'm on season two which includes the fantastic and unique "Nocturne" about a teenager locked in a basement because exposure to sunlight turns him into a vicious killer, and the heartbreaking "Ryan" which shows just how kind and good Lex could be before he was completely corrupted. His interactions and comic book discussions with Ryan are beautiful, and poignant, especially when they talk about the issue in which the hero and his friend turn against each other. Also I love how Lex can have anything at his command from the restraining order that keeps Ryan with the Kents to the best doctors in the world, basically the same role Oliver will later fill. I never saw them as a parallel before but it makes sense: both Lex and Oliver have wealth, power, family issues, a shaky friendship with Clark, and a dark side, but while Lex's eventually destroys him and everyone around him, Oliver is able to overcome his and become better for it. The offbeat "Skinwalker" has Clark foretold by American Indian cave paintings and legends while weaving in skinwalkers and another hint to Clark and Lex's future. My favorite story of the season is "Lineage", a gorgeous and touching episode in which everyone searches for the truth about their past: Lana to find a mysterious man in a photograph of her mother, Clark to elude a woman who believes he's the son she gave up for adoption in infancy, Lex to discover whether Clark is Lionel's son by his mother's nurse, and even Chloe, coming to terms with her mother abandoning her. Sadly, it has the first rift between Clark and Chloe as he hurts her by saying things about her mother and then stumbles over an apology while Chloe, of course, forgives him. I wish she'd just once told him off, because it might have helped Clark stay who he was at the beginning before he became an alien angsty antihero. On the bright side, though, the child who played little!Clark was precious! He looked like a little angel with that smile; the scene where he touches little!Lex's cheek broke my heart, and there's something incredibly heartwrenching about Jonathan being the one to find and save little!Lex, launching the entire story. I wish there was a full episode with toddler!Clark using his powers and growing up with the Kents. The storyline of Lucas continues strangely with "Prodigal" in which Lex discovers him alive and brings him back. Lucas is somewhat annoying and abrasive, so different from Lex's later "brother" Grant, who had so much potential and was sadly never fully explored by the writers who wrote him out much too quickly. The episode does provide some interesting insight into the sort of person Lex would be if he'd grown up with the Kents when he's forced to stay with them for a few days. Whitney finally gets a conclusion in "Visage", and despite the fact that he dies a hero, trying to save another soldier's life, it left me saddened, probably because he was my second favorite, after Chloe, in season one. Whitney was never fairly treated by anyone in Smallville, and didn't deserve either his ultimate fate or having someone impersonate him and destroy his character. It's not easy being Jimmy. Across season eight he gets elaborately lied to by Clark, forced to play a psychopath's game, has a heart attack, gets attacked by a shadow creature, is ripped to shreds by Doomsday in the middle of his wedding, witnesses a murder, breaks Chloe's heart and his own, becomes a drug addict, is beaten up, and ultimately is killed leaving Chloe's and Oliver's lives shattered. So while Smallville's Jimmy isn't my favorite version by any stretch I can't help but feel a little sorry for him. But I love Davis because he's the most tragic person in the series, an EMT who saves countless lives and is lost from the start no matter how hard he tries to fight his other half, and Chloe tries so hard to save him and can't. The most heartbreaking part of the season is after he tries to kill himself when she keeps him in her basement and stays near him because her presence keeps him from transforming. His backstory with the Luthers in "Eternal" is emotionally devastating, and thought-provoking. I'd love to see a parallel world where the Kents found and raised Davis as well. Lana unfortunately showed back up but does manage to redeem herself by having a final episode that even I found somewhat sad as she turns into walking kryptonite and is forced to leave Clark. Not that I'm not a little glad, though, because I'm getting used to Lois and she's completely wonderful compared to Lana. On the bright side watching the seasons out of order means seeing everything in the light of what will happen including Oliver trying to keep Chloe safe in "Beast" and "Hex"'s early hints of what will eventually spark Oliver and Chloe's relationship. They're beautiful together, perfectly matched and at ease with each other, and to be honest there's more chemistry between them in two platonic scenes than in a whole season of Jimmy/Chloe episodes. It's already obvious what a tragedy it would have been if Clark had let Chloe use the Legion Ring to go back and save Jimmy like this. Both of them are starting to lose control of their lives: Chloe questioning her career and relationships and Oliver beginning on his downward spiral with revenge against Lex and far too many drinks. But things aren't as dark as they'll become and there's treats like the fantastic "Toxic" which shows Oliver's past with the origins of Green Arrow and his first meeting with Tess or "Turbulence" where Clark reveals his identity leading to fan clubs, screaming teenagers, and being arrested before he undoes the day with the Legion Ring. Speaking of "Legion" I really liked Cosmic Boy, a superhero I have no familiarity with. One of my favorite things about the series is how many superheroes they manage to include, many of whom I've never heard of. As much as I like Clark with his parents, season eight for me is where Smallville became amazing, removing the people I disliked and bringing together everyone I love as well as the beloved backdrop of the Daily Planet. The season finale "Doomsday" was one of the most heartwrenching episodes I've seen of anything beginning with the poignant scene of Chloe and Davis stargazing and ending with Davis's tragic turn into madness, his and Jimmy's deaths, and Clark turning his back on everyone. I wanted so much for them to be able to save Davis and my heart broke when he said there was nothing left of him to save. I sobbed when Oliver stood apart from the others with a tear rolling down his face and when Chloe gave little Jimmy his brother's camera and told him to carry on in his footsteps. Season seven was good but there was far too much Lana and barely any Oliver. I'm finished with six now and it was perfect, even if it's sad to see the last glimpses of innocent and dorky farmboy!Clark until "Fortune". Apart from his absurd jealousy of every guy who looks at Chloe, I've finally gotten used to Jimmy, and Lois, too, even if I may still shake my head at her from time to time. I think if the writers hadn't tried to ship Jimmy/Chloe or made Clark into a mess every time he falls in love with a girl I could have accepted the two much earlier. Still, whether or not the writers planned it that way the canon ships are already obvious, with Clark/Lois and Oliver/Chloe feeling so right. Also Jimmy/Lois have strangely good chemistry which is a pairing I've never thought of before, and I'm slightly disturbed to find myself shipping Lex/Lana. Partway into the season Oliver, smart-alecky, frequently shirtless, and brilliantly golden-haired, shows up and the series is never the same again, jumping from fairly good to superb and stealing my heart in one scene of him dressed as Robin Hood, and his first meeting with Chloe where she refers to him as "wow" is adorable. Chloe shines this season in "Freak", an offbeat story of a blind teenager whose ability to identify the meteor-infected exposes Chloe's own infection, and the heartbreaking "Progeny" in which Chloe's mother, committed when Chloe was a child, escapes from 33.1 and reveals her ability to control those around her. "Labyrinth", a complex and twisting episode, has Clark awakening in a hospital to be told that his life is the product of his mental illness and Chloe as the only one who believes in him, and "Justice" featuring Oliver starting up the Justice League is fantastic. "Reunion", an unusual and excellent glimpse into the past, is about Oliver and Lex's school years where Lex was already a disturbed and lonely child and Oliver was a popular troublemaker who bullied him, the two of them bound by the tragedy surrounding a classmate. I guessed at the twist but it was still an incredible episode, and I loved the contrast between the two: Lex growing more evil and Oliver changing for the good and even apologizing to Lex in the end. I wasn't sold on the boy who played young Oliver at first but his amazing way at capturing adult Oliver's expressions and way of speaking blew me away, as did the look on his face during the accident. This series's casting never fails to impress me. My favorite episode of the season was "Noir", an outrageously fun adventure of Jimmy and Chloe investigating Lana's shooting that results in Jimmy getting hit over the head and dreaming he's in 1940. There Lionel and Lex run a speakeasy, Lois is a singer in love with Lex, Lana is a femme fatale who hires Jimmy and is plotting Lex's murder, Clark leads a double life as a geeky reporter and a cop complete with a superman logo-shaped badge, and Jimmy is a freelance detective. The old parts were beautiful in black and white with sliding frame changes, and I loved the whole feel of the episode. Both the dream sequence and the current mystery parts made me wish for a grownup Nancy Drew series with Allison Mack; she's reminded me of Nancy since the beginning and would be perfect in the role.

I'm finishing up season four of The Streets Of San Francisco, and Steve and Mike's friendship keeps getting more adorable. There's this moment in "Solitaire" that had me giggling when Steve is in the hospital joking around about Mike's temporary partner and Mike leans over and taps him on the nose before he leaves. Karl Malden and Michael Douglas's friendship comes through their characters so much and it's perfect. In the same vein of mystery/cop/detective series, I've been watching Peter Gunn on MeTV's Saturday Night Noir and it's a quirky show, almost a radio drama with images, with an amazing theme and unintentionally hilarious fight scenes. Peter has nothing of a past, and after a handful of episodes I still know nothing about him, but I enjoy his banter with the wonderful Lt. Jacoby and the way his mind works. MeTV has also picked up Mr. Lucky and I'm loving getting to see it again, both for the atmosphere of humor and breezy noir as well as Andamo, played with great relish by Ross Martin who's not only in his element as the South American-accented revolutionary who throws himself into trouble, but looks like he's having the time of his life. As much as I adore Artemus, Andamo is special and never fails to make me smile. I'm also working my way through Naked City each week, up to "Torment Him Much And Hold Him Long" and I'm beginning to think Robert Duvall should have been a regular in the show. He's incredible and a guest star so much that they could have just picked one and had him be there always. Personally, I would have chosen Johnny from "Five Cranks For Winter, Ten Cranks For Spring" because he's a sweet but fully imagined character, and I love him dearly, as well as that being my favorite episode. I love Adam, too; he's fascinating and the most human cop I've seen in any series. He's far from perfect, relies too much on his heart above his head, fails often, and isn't too proud to get his hands dirty when he has to. The last episode had him even practically begging for his life when someone is holding his own gun on him, and Paul Burke did a superb job with the scene, putting just the faintest quiver into his voice when he mentions the hair trigger on his gun, and looking vulnerable in every movement while still attempting to maintain control.

I watched the Doctor Who movie again and it was surprisingly good, even with snake!Master, making me wistful for the lack of more episodes of that era. Eight is a wonderful Doctor, my second favorite, delightfully quirky and childlike one moment while heartbreakingly alone and lost the next, half human and lovable, and I adore the steampunk style of his clothes and TARDIS. I like how intuitive he is to the future of everyone he meets, and how even after all the Master has done to him and the people he cares about he still tries to save the Master in the end. Grace was a fun companion, a good match for him, and a cute romantic pairing. There were so many moments that made me smile, from the Doctor reading The Time Machine to his "perfectly fitting" shoes to him pounding on the TARDIS, all complete with a '90s vibe and a perfect mix of British and American culture with touches from his past selves to tie it all together, and reminds me of the fun elements I miss so much in newer seasons.

I discovered Robin Of Sherwood this week and am loving it so far. I've loved the book Robin Hood as long as I can remember and became obsessed with the legends after reading King Raven, but have never found a film/tv version that felt right until now. Robin has this unearthly, changeling-like quality to him that's perfect for a man of myth, Much is sweetly adorable, Friar Tuck and Little John are suited for their roles, and Will Scarlet, despite not quite matching what I picture, simmers with the fury of his tragic past as he should. Marian is finally a good image of how I picture her, sweet, lovely, yet able to stand by Robin's side during the worst of times. Sherwood is gorgeous, beautifully green and lush, and the villages and castle are exactly as they should be, definitely the most realistic concept of the world of the book. I was looking forward to the archery contest and wasn't disappointed: Robin was disguised as an old man unlike most versions and, which delighted me to no end, he actually split the arrow instead of just hitting the target in the center. There's this quiet magical feel to the series, too, with the hunter in the forest, the mists across the water, the arrow stolen at Stonehenge, and the sorcerer who can wound Robin without touching him, and a poignant feel of destiny with Robin's common line "Nothing's forgotten".  

I saw the pilot of Lucan, an unusual '70s series about a feral child discovered in the woods running with a pack of wolves who's brought back and slowly educated, only to find himself drifting in the hope of discovering the truth about his past when his compassionate teacher suddenly dies. Lucan is a curious but sweet mix of naive human and wary animal, with his wolf characteristics appearing in startling bursts before vanishing under perfectly human mannerisms, and, while he seems a little too ordinary at times, he's an interesting and unique lead. I love the style of the series and pretty theme, too.

MeTV's showcase was The Lone Ranger which was a treat since I hadn't seen it in years. I love Reid and Tonto's friendship, and it's sweet to think it carried over to real life to some extent. I've always adored Clayton Moore and how he took the role to heart, and it was odd to see John Hart's version in one of the episodes: a somewhat colder and harder-edged loner compared to Clayton Moore's soft, almost gentle style that endeared me instantly. The last episode was a happy surprise in color, letting me see his lovely blue costume. The station has also picked up Bewitched which I haven't seen since I was a child and I'm loving it again. I want a crossover between Bewitched and Tucker's Witch that makes Samantha and Amanda related...cousins, maybe. Both series have so much in common and it would awesome to have the people from both team up. 

I've been watching the super addictive Andy Williams Show this week and it's wonderful. I've loved Andy Williams since longer than I can remember and collected every song of his I could so it's a real treat to finally see his tv series. As I expected I love his singing; there's something magical about watching "Moon River" that goes beyond the nostalgic yearnings I get when I hear it, and I look forward to each song to see which he'll sing. The comedy sketches are hilarious, especially when Andy gets thrown through a wall by a lovesick, loudly singing girl and the later sketch with her as an opera singer who causes everything in earshot to fall over; and the guests, with the Kingston Trio among many familiar faces, always make me give these loud shrieks of happiness when they're announced.

I seem to have found the bad apple in my quest to see all things Camelot: the 1981 film Excalibur which veers between the surprisingly superb and the shockingly dreadful enough to give me whiplash. On the good side it's the first version I've found that finally includes Sir Ector and Kay taking Arthur to the tournament and Arthur, failing to find Kay's stolen sword, impulsively pulls the sword from the stone. I've always found Arthur's adoptive father and brother and his relationship with them to be fascinating and sadly overlooked so it was a treat to see a little of it here. The epic quest to save the dying and barren Camelot and it's king was superbly done, with a horror-tinged feel as knight after knight is horribly sacrificed along the way and the people, dressed in rags against a dark background, reach out to the knight in bright silver armor as he rides by without stopping. Lancelot, always my focus in any Arthurian adaptation, had the looks to measure up but a somewhat disappointing take, portraying him as a slightly egotistical man who duels other knights for the fun of it and who, in an unusual and intriguing twist, ends up getting run through by Arthur's sword which, unable to be used for personal gain, breaks. Horrified, Arthur throws it into the water and the Lady of the Lake throws it back to him, whole, as well as bringing Lancelot back to life. On the downside I felt the casting was one of the major problems of the film, as well as the fact that it felt as if the writers were trying too hard to capture the magic of the story while forgetting it's heart. While Perceval is refreshingly well chosen and gives an excellent performance as an almost feral boy Lancelot discovers in the forest who proves to be among the most noble of the knights, and little Morgana does an amazing job with her tiny role, most of the rest either overact - the constantly yelling every line Uther is especially dreadful - or are miscast - Morgana and Guinevere would have been better suited to the other's role and the dark, brooding Arthur would have made a better Gwain than the golden-haired king of legend. On the other note even Lancelot's wistful glances at the queen during and after the wedding can't create any believability to Lancelot and Guinevere's love story, and Gwain's complex story from Lancelot's closest friend to bitterest enemy is reduced to a brief enchantment that leads to Lancelot killing him in a duel. Following that was Sword Of Lancelot, a fascinating take on the legends which is notable for being the only version I've seen to have Lancelot be French, lovely accent and all. Cornel Wilde makes an excellent Lancelot, my second favorite so far, capturing both his dangerous yet noble side as well as the charming and playful edge that makes it impossible to not fall for him as Guinevere does, and their interactions from a funny comment about "magical" soap to a Latin lesson in the sand with his sword are perfectly done, as well as Lancelot's dramatic rescue of her from the burning pyre. It's nice to finally have a fair, golden-haired Guinevere, Merlin as the adviser at the Round Table, Arthur being the right mix of just kindness and hard justice, sending Guinevere to her death and then weeping over his laws, and Lancelot and Gawain's friendship to Lancelot killing Gawain's brother in his escape, turning Gawain against him before they make amends, just as everything should be. The film has the unusual twist of having Arthur die while Mordred survives to take over Camelot, forcing Lancelot out of exile in France to return to battle Mordred and save it, and ends with the heartbreaking scene I've always hoped to see in a version: Lancelot's return to Guinevere in which she chooses to remain at the convent. Then I saw Guinevere, the most unique version of the legends I've come across, and I adored it's idea of Guinevere and Lancelot having grown up together, as well as Guinevere meeting Arthur and not knowing his name when he's a young man who comes to her father's aid during a battle. Lancelot was perfect and I loved that he left Guinevere a rose at the end, Guinevere unusually fully imagined and strong, even willing to trade her life for Arthur's and personally kill her enemies, but Arthur was strangely weak-willed and there was no true love between Arthur and Guinevere. Unfortunately the film has an abrupt ending that leaves countless threads hanging, never resolving what happened to Lancelot after his heartbreaking disappearance, or whether Guinevere ever told Arthur about their daughter or found the child back. Last was Merlin's Apprentice and I liked Jack, the hilarious and awkwardly magical thief and student of Merlin who's the key to finding the lost Grail that can save Camelot. It was a beautiful miniseries with the right blend of humor and tragedy with an unexpected twist, and I especially loved the moments of Merlin with little Arthur, the haunting scene at the end of part one as the people flee the crumbling bridge away from Camelot where the past flashes in front of Merlin's and Jack's eyes with slow motion photography followed by the screen going dark, and the adorable ending.

In other new movies I saw Spartacus which was stunning. Kirk Douglas was excellent in the title role and the direction was breathtaking. Next was a re-watch of the always amazing Spellbound followed by Journey To the Center of the Earth and its sequel which were incredibly fun and random. Next was the gorgeous southern gothic Night of the Hunter, one of the most stunning films I've seen with its beautiful and strange photography and plot. Along the same lines was the beautifully haunting The Innocents with its ghost story and poignant feel. Next was Key Largo, the loveliest role I've ever seen Humphrey Bogart in, and he and Lauren Bacall lit up the screen. Next was the fun and very Hitchcock but better than him adventure Charade which kept me entertained. Next was the creepy but fascinating original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Next was the odd but excellent Sunset Boulevard.
 
 
calliope tune: "Suspicion"-Terry Stafford
feeling: amused
 
 
Kathleen
11 May 2012 @ 04:37 pm
Title: First Steps
Fandom: Hardy Boys
Summary: During a summer day, Frank finds a way to move past a tragic loss.
Genre: drama
Characters: Frank
Pairings: none
Warnings: post series, character death

Is that clear? Crystal. )
 
 
calliope tune: "Genesis"-Don McLean
feeling: cynical