Kathleen
Catching Fire was stunning, everything I'd hoped for and more, transforming my least favorite book of the trilogy into a film I loved even more than the first. It was extremely faithful, too, retaining all the scenes I liked while still being a gorgeous film, even if the action felt more visceral than the last film. The costumes were beautiful, especially Katniss's mockingjay dress, the arena was impressive, and everything seemed more vivid and realistic than before. The rebellion scenes were done extremely well, disturbing enough to be affective, and I couldn't help crying during the part when Katniss talks to Thresh's and Rue's families. Jennifer Lawrence was amazing. I was very unhappy with the casting choice, did my best to tolerate her for most of the first film, but she's finally won me over, turning in a performance that gave me chills, most so in the final scene as well as the part where she shoots the arrow into the sky's force field. Peeta was wonderful, still my forever favorite, quietly loving Katniss from a distance and trying to save her at any cost. I teared up during the scene where he holds the morphling girl as she dies and distracts her by getting her to look at the sunrise. Despite the amount of Gale/Katniss moments, there were so many moments of Peeta/Katniss. I loved Katniss and Peeta's scene on the beach, the pearl scene, and the part on the train where they talk about their favorite colors. Peeta's locket hit me the hardest, though, because as much as he loves Katniss he included Gale. Everyone, especially Effie got more depth in this film, and I choked up when she actually cried about Peeta and Katniss going back in the arena, as well as the scene where she was trying to unite the team. I've grown to love movie Haymitch in a way I never bonded with the book character, and I loved his anger at the capitol when they announce the Quarter Quell as well as him standing up to the Peacekeepers. Cinna's death was as horrific as I'd imagined. He was always one of my favorites and it hurt to see it happen, even though I was prepared for it. Mags was lovely, as tragic as little Rue, but so courageous, and both Wiress and Beetee were fascinating. My only disappointment was the lack of Gloss and Cashmere. They're my favorite one book characters, and I ship them to pieces, but they sadly had no character development, hardly any screen time, and a single line between the two of them. President Snow's granddaughter was surprisingly delightful, quite unlike her grandfather and such a little Peeta/Katniss shipper! Joanna surprised me the most. She was my least favorite character in the series, and while she's still loud-mouthed and even annoying the flashes of humanity, especially the scene where she urges Katniss to "make them pay" made me see her in a different, much better light. Finnick, too, who I always found annoying and unnecessary, was much better than I'd expected, and while he still isn't my favorite I appreciate him a lot more now. The actor wouldn't have been my choice but he impressed me, especially during Mag's death and his face as he watches Katniss after he saved Peeta. I was so glad the force field/CPR scene was left in after they cut out most of the whump from the last film - I can't help it, I need my guilty pleasure. While I have a lot of issues with Gale I thought the actor did a good job with the role, actually getting to do something this film, and I liked, in a way, that Gale's whipping was the result of trying to save someone instead of just stealing. Prim was wonderful, so much more grown up and yet still so innocent, and she made my heart ache as much as in the last film. The ending was as painful as I'd dreaded - I barely survived the wait between the Catching Fire and Mockingjay books - but I adored how the pin turned into the mockingjay at the end.

I've been working my way through Christian Bale's films, starting with the stunning Reign Of Fire. Christian Bale was incredible as Quinn, reducing me to tears during the scene where his friend gets killed, and making me smile during his adorable moments play-acting for the children. I loved his relationships with Alex and Jared, and that the three got their happy ending, although I was saddened by Creedy's death; I loved him and his beautiful Scottish accent. The scenery of dystopian England was amazing, and there were so many moments I loved. Next was the true story Rescue Dawn. Christian Bale, as expected, was stunning and everything about the film was stunningly authentic to the point of being painful and difficult to watch while also being an inspiring story of survival. Next was Terminator Salvation and despite not knowing the prior films I became fascinated by the dark and strange world of it. Marcus was a haunting character, deeply tragic and ultimately human, and the significance of him giving his heart - his most human part - in sacrifice to save John's life was poignant. I teared up when little Star took his hand. Kyle, too, was a fascinating character. Next was Captain Corelli's Mandolin, an intriguing and beautiful love story against some unfamiliar history which caught my interest. The twists and turns in the plot were excellent, the ending lovely but sad, and I liked Antonio, but I still wish Pelagia had chosen Mandras. Christian Bale was wonderful as Mandras, a gentle and ultimately deeply selfless character. After that was the stunning Equilibrium which was both thought-provoking and fascinating, with a richly detailed futuristic world. I loved Christian Bale's role - and whoa, what an acting job - as Preston slowly learns to feel. The scene where he listens to the music was incredibly touching, and I teared up when he breaks down after failing to save Mary. The ending was perfect, the right balance of hope and loss.

In other new films I saw the stunning The Island, a fast-paced dystopian story with Ewan McGregor doing a superb job as the somewhat innocent and yet heroic Lincoln. I loved the concept and plot, as well as the surprisingly happy ending. Next was Moulin Rouge, a gorgeous and heartbreaking musical. Ewan McGregor was fabulous as the idealistic, tragic Christian; I'm truly learning to appreciate his roles, and I adored the love story as well as the riches colors and sets of the film. The songs were lovely, too, as was the dancing, and the ending reduced me to tears. After that was the live-action '90s adaptation of The Jungle Book, a lovely and wonderful version. I loved Mowgli, especially his friendships with the animals and him learning human ways, and the happy ending as well as the filming was beautiful. Next was Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, the next film in the series and as much a treat as the first one. I adored Tyson, such a sweet character, and was so glad to see him survive and be accepted by the others. Percy's skills with water were as impressive as ever, and the friendship between the half-bloods and Grover was lovely. As in the last film the re-imagining of myths was cleverly done - I especially loved the chariot and Hermes running a Fed-Ex store - with plenty of heroics and amusing moments. Then was the bizarre Inception with it's richly detailed world and complex plot which fascinated me. Leonard DiCaprio was excellent as Dom and I loved the recurring theme of the spinning top as well as the open, yet happy final scene. Next was the whimsical Big Fish. Ewan McGregor was charming in as Edward, the settings and characters were lovely, and the bittersweet ending was perfect. After that was the amusing and often hilarious spoof Austenland. I giggled at the in-jokes and loved most of the over-the-top characters. Next was 2000's Arabian Nights, a fascinating and beautifully done adaptation with magical characters and a richly detailed world. I especially loved the "Three Brothers" story, as well as the story within a story within a story format but it was all amazing. Next was the visually gorgeous The Illusionist, an unusual and fascinating peek into the magical world of a stage magician during the turn of the century. The historical accuracy was impressive, the ending was jaw-dropping, and I loved how beautiful everything was. After that was the haunting The Book Thief, a gorgeous and slow-moving WWII drama. I fell in love with the characters, especially Max and Liesel and was so glad to see them both survive and reunite..I found myself shipping them as the story went on. Having Death as the narrator added a poignant feel to the story, and the ending was beautiful. Next was the gorgeously filmed and unusual Oblivion. Jack - all of them - fascinated me, as did his poignant retained and shared memories and ultimate sacrifice. The ending was beautiful and hopeful. Then was the surprisingly good Real Steel. I was expecting little and instead fell in love with the story and characters, even choking up at the end when Charlie hugged Max. Their relationship, as well as Charlie and Bailey's were beautiful, and I loved Atom. Charlie was a wonderful mixture of gruff and gentle, and it ended up being one of my very favorite of Hugh Jackman's roles. Next was Ender's Game, a haunting and visually stunning film with a stunning, poignant ending. I sobbed when the alien wiped away Ender's tears, and during the bittersweet ending, and I loved Ender's closeness with his sister and team. After that was the adorable Kate & Leopold. Hugh Jackman was adorable and quite dreamy as the time traveler, and I loved the romance, as well as the other characters. Next was The Alamo, a moving account of the history. Juan Seguin was a fascinating character, and I loved the poignancy of the events as well as the beautiful filming. I tried the 2013 version of Romeo and Juliet which was a mixture of lovely and disappointing. The score and filming was gorgeous, and the added moments such as a glimpse of what a happy ending would have been like or the final scene when their hands are placed together were hauntingly poignant. Benvolio was precious and Tybalt and Mercutio were the best versions I've seen. Douglas Booth was surprisingly good as Romeo, despite a weak start, fusing emotion and passion into the role and excelling best in his scenes away from Juliet such as the part where he learns of her death. The beginning of the film felt rushed, with not enough time given to learn the characters or be invested in them, and Romeo and Juliet's relationship was far too fast. Hailee Steinfeld, sadly, was the worst part of the film, rushing and barely forming her lines, and emotionally flat in nearly every scene, and I couldn't care about her character in the least. After that was the haunting The Help, a poignant and deeply moving look at a tough issue, with stunning acting and beautiful period detail. Next I saw Nanny McPhee and it's sequel Nanny McPhee Returns which I ended up loving more than the first. The first was very cute, though, and I loved the happy ending and the lovely wedding, especially the snowy wedding dress. The sequel was perfect, though, with it's wonderful WWII setting, gentle humor, loveable characters, and an unexpected and poignant final tie-in to the first film. The children were quite talented, and despite him having only a tiny role I adored Ewan McGregor as their father. The final scene made me tear up, as did the part where Norman and Cyril visit Cyril's father. Then was The Impossible, a gorgeous and beautifully filmed true story which made me sob and fall in love with the family and their closeness as they went through their ordeal. I'm starting to adore Ewan McGregor and he, like the rest of the cast, did a stunning job. Next was Cowboys & Aliens a fun smash-up of two genres that managed to pack in some poignant moments and a touch of steampunk. Jake was a unique mix of violent anti-hero and gentleness, and I loved following his journey. Then was Valkyrie, an excellent and poignant true story.The period details were impressive, even if I wished the cast had German accents, and Tom Cruise even resembled the real man quite a bit. The final scene telling the history was very moving. Next was the lovely Under the Greenwood Tree with a lovely cast and sweet romance and setting. Then was The Secret of Roan Inish, one of the first movies I ever saw and my introduction to selkies. I appreciate it so much more as an adult, and its so beautiful and unique. Next was the strange but gorgeous film The Piano. I adored the theme and imagery and the ending was beautiful. Next was the tragic but gripping Agora which fascinated and moved me. Then was the lovely and strange Ondine. Colin Farrell was excellent as always and I loved the fairytale feel.

I've been working my way through the Hornblower films and they're amazing, everything I didn't know I wanted with sailors and ships and gorgeous period detail. The characters are all fascinating, the world richly filled, and everything is so beautiful it's a treat. I love Horatio; he's fabulous, both hot-tempered and kind at heart. Archie is also lovely, such a sweet, tragic character, and I love his friendship with Horatio. As I expected "Retribution" destroyed me emotionally. I adored Archie, and his death was heartbreaking, more so in that he died giving up his good name, the only thing he had left, to save Horatio, and no one can ever know. The way his death was shown with him vanishing was poignantly beautiful and haunting. I was glad Bush survived his injuries, though. Sadly, though, Horatio becomes a much harder character without Archie's sweet spirit to temper him, and I miss the optimistic young sailor I loved so much in the early films. Maria is a sweet character, though, and I wish they'd continued the films to show Horatio as a father and hopefully learning to love Maria.

I'm working my way through Band Of Brothers and the authenticity is impressive to the point of being painful to watch, especially with it's raw mix of horror and beauty. My favorite character is Eugene Roe, a sad and easy to love medic, and I adore his soft Cajun accent. I also really like Winters and his friendship with Nixon.

I saw the short film Heartless, a backstory for the Tin Man of Oz and was impressed by it's faithfulness and poignancy. I loved the more steampunk look of the Tin Man, leaving the human eyes, and the ending where he's humming the song while rusted in place was heartbreaking.

I'm watching the fifth and final season of Stargate Atlantis, a show I'm going to miss terribly, and despite some changes it's as excellent as always. The replicators storyline as well as Elizabeth's character mercifully finally end with an episode that almost manages to make me feel sorry for her. I think the new actress helps considerably. Instead the focus transfers and continues with Teyla and her son against Michael's ever-horrific experiments. I'm still not sold on the baby storyline, which felt forced, rushed, and out of character, something that could have been greatly improved if the baby's father had been introduced before the storyline, since I don't really mind him although I don't know anything about him, or better yet, making the father one of the regular characters. I gave a little shriek when Elizabeth questioned whether Sheppard could be the father, and with Teyla giving him the middle name of John I'd love to see someone do an AU of it. But, anyway, everyone, especially Sheppard and McKay are adorable with the baby, and I loved that Sheppard was able to somewhat make his peace over the people he's lost by managing to save Teyla and the baby, even so badly injured. Like Sheppard, McKay gets even more depth, and it stuns me to look back and see how much I disliked the egotistical character I first met in episode one compared to how much I love him now, giggling when he talks or complains, and tearing up when he gets hurt. "The Shrine" was an amazing acting job for David Hewlett, too, filled with h/c and some deeply poignant moments between the whole team. Samantha has sadly been removed from command, appearing only in the pilot, to be replaced with Woolsey, and while far from my favorite, he's not as bad as I'd feared and even occasionally shows a human, even amusing side. To my delight, Carson is cured and awake, appearing in several episodes, and clone or not, it warms my heart to hear that lovely Scottish accent again and watch him saving lives, even making it more bearable to tolerate Jennifer. I'm definitely not enjoying the McKay/Jennifer shipping of the season, though, even if it's nice to see McKay happy. I'm glad, after all that happened to the first Carson, that this one got a hopeful, even happy ending. "The Daedalus Variations" is an intriguing concept with a hilarious moment when Sheppard highly praises his alternate reality self. Other excellent episodes include the painful but incredible "Broken Ties" in which Ronon is captured and tortured by the wraith into an addiction to the enzyme. Watching him go through withdrawal put a lump in my throat, but I loved how the team stuck by him and got him through. "Tracker" forms an intriguing bookend to Ronon's story as another runner, this one traveling with a little girl, kidnaps Jennifer to treat the sick child. I liked the concept that runner's trackers had become more advanced since Ronon, as well as the poignant open ending - I like to think he got away from the wraith. Carson turned back up in "Outsiders", a nice closure to the Hoffa drug storyline, and I loved him going all action hero. It was nice to see McKay and he finally get that day off together, too, and it made me so happy to see him again, being all adorable with the village children. "The Prodigal" finalizes Michael's storyline, ending with his death at Teyla's hand, a dark but somehow fitting close for a tragic but evil character. "Remnants" is another strange episode but one that gives an interesting look at Sheppard's fears. The season's best is the stunning "Vegas", an unusually filmed story set in a parallel world. Parallel!Sheppard is fascinating, and so many moments, from the wraith passing as human to McKay discussing the little details that changed this Sheppard's life from the Atlantis one's gave me chills. The ending was haunting and poignant, with the song indicating Sheppard's character as he dies. "Enemy At The Gate" was a fitting finale, tying up the remaining threads to close out the stories of each person. Carson was back, although in a minor role, as was Sam. I didn't care for the handling of Todd's character, usually so sympathetic, as well as Sheppard's treatment of him, and the plot was somewhat rushed and filled, lacking in many more human moments, but the ending made it all worth while as Atlantis returns to earth, bringing the team home and leaving them looking at the Golden Gate Bridge. Ronon's death was shocking and horrible, but thankfully he's brought back to life - a shame the implications weren't explored more later - and I love everything about the scene from Teyla's and McKay's grief to Sheppard going back for him to find him alive; I found it a fascinating insight into Sheppard's character how, even being told Ronon is dead, he still goes back for him as if he won't believe it until he sees it or he's just that determined to not leave someone behind. Also Jason Momoa's acting was beyond incredible.

I've discovered and started watching the adorable '90s series Little Men which is happily set as something of a sequel rather than a remake of the film which I love, and while the Professor's death saddens me I love Nick and the color he brings to the show with his sea-faring past. The kids are all quite talented and appealing, especially Dan, Nan, and Nat, and little Rob is precious. Laurie, Meg, and Amy all make appearances and seem very much in character and believable as older versions. I also like this Jo, a perfect mix of motherly love and spirit who has a bit of June Allyson's Jo about her, and the old Canadian feel of the episodes is heartwarming. I also ship Nick and Jo and love the direction their relationship is slowly going.

I'm on the eighth and final season of Wagon Train and it's back to the comfortable black & white, hour long format of the early years while still retaining all the cast except for Duke. Bill is oddly out of character and even cruel at times but Coop is as wonderful as always, and Wooster happily gets more storylines. Barnaby is almost all grown up now, serving as co-scout, wearing a gun, and courting girls, and while I miss the adorable little boy of before I love seeing him as an adult. Excellent episodes include the hauntingly sad "John Gillman Story" with Bobby Darin in a touching role, the multi-storyline "Those Who Stay Behind", the somewhat dark "Echo Pass Story" in which Coop talks a woman into murdering a man - an evil guy but still a little creepy. I loved Coop's friendship with Wooster and the relief on his face at the end when he discovers he's alive, and the lovely "Miss Mary Lee McIntosh Story". Much of the season has an unusual supernatural obsession featuring ghosts, vampire bats, and a girl who can see the future in the quite good "Wanda Snow Story". "Betsy Blee Smith Story" is an amusing and often hilarious misadventure as Coop finds himself posing as a girl's husband, as well as being adorable with a baby. There's also the lovely "Katy Piper Story" with one of the sweetest one-shot characters in Katy, as well as an intriguing bit of character growth for Barnaby. The season's best is the haunting "The Indian Girl Story" which poses moral questions and few answers within it's tragic tale, as well as providing another chance for Barnaby to shine.

Onto season three of Once Upon A Time and I'm already sick of Neverland while it's Peter Pan mythos makes me want to bang my head against a wall. Pan is creepy and annoying, Tinkerbell gives me a pain most of the time even if she does manage to redeem herself in some slightly shippy scenes with Killian, and the constant gripping makes me want to kill off half the characters en masse. Thankfully there is a few saving graces as Rumplestiltskin's tragic story continues to unfold, and Robin Hood is back, the second actor but still good. I loved Roland and how adorable daddy!Robin Hood was, even if the man with the lion mark storyline is odd. Bae annoys me most of the time, and I can't accept him as the same person as the adorable little child of season one. On the bright side Killian Jones, minus the ghastly Emma romance subplot - she's my least favorite character and I absolutely detest her - is a fascinating character, a mix of tragedy and bad guy, especially with the haunting backstory of how he lost his brother and became a pirate, and his sort of friendship with Charming is amusing. Ariel and Eric's story which I'd been looking forward to was sadly poorly handled and rushed, with Eric coming across as rather bland, and their first meeting already having taken place. Ariel herself was fairly good, though, if more than a little naive. "Going Home" was gut-wrenching, even if part of me refuses to accept Rumplestilskin's death. I'm grateful Peter Pan is gone, and was deeply moved by Rumplestiltskin's sacrifice and final words to Belle and Bae. Regina's character growth was poignant to watch, as was her relationship with Henry. As glad as I am to be done with Storybrooke I found the scene where it's erased heartbreaking, especially as everyone vanishes into the smoke.

Continuing in my quest to watch everything Arthurian I discovered and gave a try to new series starting with the 50s The Adventures Of Sir Lancelot which was adorable and included a catchy theme. William Russell has a lovely, soft voice and the fight scenes are always fun since he seems to give everything to the part. Next was Arthur Of The Britons an unusual and quiet series portraying Arthur as a Celtic warrior rather than a king and focusing heavily, much to my delight, on his sort-of friendship with Kay.

Out of boredom I gave a try to BBC's Sherlock and found it a weird mix of the horrible and strangely entertaining. SM's influence is obvious with the annoying humor, hitting of the reset button, "everybody lives", plot holes, and teeth-gritting fan pandering - if I hear him use the T-shirt gimmick one more time I'm going to scream. However there are a few flashes of brilliance such as the scene where a wounded Sherlock comes back to life with beautiful use of light as the surgery scene overlaps with him in his dream struggling up stairs, as well as the tragic moment where Mycroft sees Sherlock as a little boy after he shoots the bad guy. While I can't stand Martin Freeman and can say nothing good about his lifeless John Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch is surprisingly good as Sherlock, capturing many of the stranger aspects while still making him likeable and often amusing. Molly is a delightful character, as is Sherlock's landlady.

I got to see the pilot for Swingin' Together which was never picked up for a series and it was quite cute, with the always delightful Bobby Rydell as a traveling singer fronting a band. It's a shame it didn't continue, because it was fun and I loved the hints of family-like friendship between the guys, especially their Mr. Cunningham and them.

I've started watching When Calls The Heart, a tv series based upon a series of books I enjoyed as a kid and it's quite cute so far, bringing back that frontier period drama feel that's been seriously lacking since the 90s. The characters, especially the children, grow on me, and Jack is appealing, even if I wish they hadn't changed his name from the book. I also saw the film, and while I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as the tv show there were some lovely moments, especially with Edward, a character I wish the series included. I can't figure out exactly where and how it fits with the show, though, since the characters are vastly different in personality and circumstances of their relationships and meetings.

I've started watching Arrow and while it hasn't completely won me over I find it's unusual version quite interesting. While I miss Oliver's humor and warmth, this scarred, troubled, and often violent Oliver is realistic seeing all he went through, and the family intrigue is a fun twist. I adore Barry Allen, such a cutie and a sweetheart, and I love finally seeing the origins of the Flash. I'm looking forward to the spin-off, too. My favorite character so far is the complex and tragic Roy Harper, and I'm fascinated by his journey from thief to superhero. There's a good heart underneath all the anger, and I loved seeing Oliver save him. "Three Ghosts", my favorite episode so far, was stunning, and delightfully whump-filled, continuing with the intriguing storyline of the Japanese miracle drug. I was saddened by Slade's turn into evil, though, since I liked both Shado and he.
 
 
feeling: ecstatic
calliope tune: "Harden My Heart"-Quarterflash
 
 
Kathleen
I finished season four of The X-Files, including the stunning "The Field Where I Died", a story structured around the storming of a cult's compound as Mulder finds himself inexplicably drawn to the field across from the compound. When one of the wives slips into the speech of a Civil War nurse, she reveals the events of the battle that took place in the field and her memories of Mulder, then a young Confederate soldier and her sweetheart, dying there. Mulder undergoes hypnosis, finding his own memories and discovering that he and Melissa are linked through time, star-crossed lovers in every life from the field to the Holocaust. The series had already explored reincarnation but "The Field Where I Died" has such a quiet, haunting sensitivity that it's impossible not to be drawn into the tragic story, already guessing what the outcome will be in their current lives. Combined with the poignancy of Mulder's voiceover and the torn 1860s photographs it's a breathtaking episode, and I can't help wishing they'd had a flashback tie-in episode to it. The season and series' best is the quietly powerful "Paper Hearts" in which Mulder begins to suspect that Samantha's abduction may have been at the hands of a serial killer whose final victim remains unidentified. The story and Mulder's grief is gently handled and the open ending and fabric heart is enough to make anyone cry like a baby. On other notes how brilliant is the casting of Roy Thinnes as Jeremiah Smith? Considering he was obsessed with hunting down every last alien in The Invaders, there's something ironic about him playing a good alien here. I want a crossover or an inside joke in an episode where they say all the alien-hunting, brainwashing, and being brought back to life by the outer space CPR machine has turned David into an alien, one with amnesia which excuses why he has a different name. Krycek is back and as usual Mulder jumps out of character and turns him into a punching bag. I wish the writers had realized how well Krycek worked with the others when they weren't beating him up, putting me in the position of having to choose between Mulder and Krycek, and how much happier I'd have been if he'd been in it more often. I'd have a hard time enjoying the conspiracy episodes if not for Krycek. I love him and I have no regrets about it; I want to bandage him up and protect him from Skinner. Pendrell is tragically shot and killed; he was so sweet and adorable that it hurts to watch him die like that. I also finished season five, with the breathtaking "Redux". Mulder and Scully's relationship isn't forced, it just happened, slowly growing from a partnership to a friendship to a "I'd die for you but can't live without you" romance. The scene where Mulder goes into the hospital, kneels beside Scully's bed, and cries against her hand broke my heart. "Usual Suspects" is a delightful flashback episode explaining the origin of the Lone Gunmen and Mulder's friendship. I've always felt they were underused so it's wonderful to see them shine. "The Red and the Black" plunges ahead, bringing in new ideas, such as the vaccine, the alien war, and Krycek revealing their agenda. The way he says "Good luck to you, my friend" in Russian right before he leaves broke my heart. I'm on season six now. With the bad guys in charge and the x files burned and dismissed, Mulder and Scully, secretly working on the files against orders, have their work cut out for them. Mulder gets another "I want to believe" poster, and the dark, shadowy style of the series hasn't changed even if they appear to have gotten slightly wider-beaming flashlights. About time, guys. Mind-reading wonder child Gibson slips in and out of the hands of the bad guys as it's revealed that humanity's DNA is part extraterrestrial mutated virus. "Arcadia" is a treat with it's perfect balance of humor and creepiness and Mulder and Scully's undercover names "Rob and Laurie Petrie". "Monday" is a fascinating and heartbreaking time loop story as a woman, the only person who realizes the day is repeating, attempts to prevent Mulder from entering the bank her boyfriend is robbing which will set of a chain of events ending with all the people being killed. The poignant and old-fashioned "The Unnatural" is a sweet love letter to baseball with two of my favorite guest characters this season and an adorable scene where Mulder teaches Scully to hit a ball. "Field Trip" has a beautiful scene where Mulder reaches over in the ambulance and Scully catches his hand without even opening her eyes as if they can sense each other. "Two Fathers/One Son" fully explains the Syndicate while building toward it's shocking ending, with the Cigarette Smoking Man killing Spender just as he'd become an ally of Mulder and Scully, and the Syndicate being massacred by the alien rebels. Krycek fortunately escapes and he's still working against the aliens which puts him on the good side this season. I'd never seen it and skipped over it while working through the early seasons so I went back and watched the whump-filled "Fight The Future". It was fantastic, everything the show does best on a larger scale, and so perfectly shippy I couldn't stop grinning. The almost kiss was just mean, though, but the film made up for it by having Mulder's beautiful speech about how Scully saves him complete with a forehead kiss, Mulder rescuing Scully including carrying her and doing CPR on her, and their hand holding at the end. My favorite scene was the gorgeous one where, after escaping and watching the spaceship above him, Mulder looks over at Scully, smiles faintly, and passes out in the snow from cold and exhaustion. Scully, even weak as she is, slowly reaches over, lifts him into her lap and holds him, laying her face against his hair. It's a beautiful moment and shows how much they mean to each other after all they've been through together. I was saddened to see the Well-Manicured Man get killed, since I thought he was an interesting character with a lot of potential, but he died well, saving Mulder's life from the syndicate and Scully from the virus, and I was glad Mulder trusted him enough in the end to use the coordinates and medicine.  

MeTV is showing Remington Steele so I'm getting to see it; it took about half of the first episode but it grew on me, and it's quite a cute and funny series so far, especially the growing relationship between Laura and Remington. I found him a little off-putting at first but his dry humor and fast thinking eventually won me over. The clever thing about the premise is you're never quite sure who and what "Remington" is, other than the fact that he's a fan of Humphrey Bogart detective films and he has a collection of passports, all with different names. George and Bent from North and South were both in the pilot, with James Read a regular as Murphy, an interesting, somewhat underappreciated, and often whumped guy, and Philip Casnoff in an ill-fated, small role, making me wish for some sort of quirky crossover where Bent's descendant is still managing to make trouble for George's descendant in the 1980s.  

I've been watching the complete series Logan's Run, tv version of the fantastic book and fun film, and it's a treat, even if book purists will be screaming five minutes into it. Instead of computers, the City is run by a group of budget-saving Elders, and palmflowers are nowhere to be seen, a shame since the film did them beautifully, while new additions include a shiny silver vehicle and having the Runners joined by android REM. Pure good instead of the book's antihero, Logan finds himself a Runner when he knocks out Francis to save Jessica who was helping another Runner escape, and the two quickly find their way out into the sunlight, wandering across the land in search of Sanctuary with a trio of Sandmen hot on their trail. Jessica and Logan eventually grow into a romantic relationship by the last episodes. Francis still doesn't get to be the secret rebel of the book and yet again is reduced to a stalking Sandman who attempts to look menacing but, happily, it's impossible to look truly evil with '70s feathered hair. Logan and Jessica adapt far too quickly to Outside, but it's forgiven because of the countless civilizations which they find themselves the teachers of, including the pacifist and enslaved remnants of humanity including an adorable little girl who they rescue, and a spooky group of robots whose desire to serve may not be as innocent as it sounds. The thought-provoking "Half Life" has the trio discovering a city where the people have split themselves into two parts: one "positive" living in the city, and the other cast out into the woods. However their "perfect" world is threatened when the leader of the castouts begins to care, and the positive's wife who lost her other half aids Logan in attempting to put the pairs together. "Carousel", a superb episode, finds an amnesiac Logan returning to the City, only to remember hours before his trial and intending to sacrifice himself to reveal the truth. "Man Out Of Time" is the best episode, with a hauntingly tragic story of a scientist in the past who travels to Logan's time to learn what caused the war in order to prevent it, despite knowing that by correcting the past he'll be erasing everyone in the present. As time passes he begins to care about the people he meets, and teaches them all he can before returning to his time. The poignant conclusion is one of the best I've seen in any old series and the entire episode is stunning. With the hair, clothes, and alien adventures there's never a dull moment and I haven't had so much fun watching a series in quite some time.

I'm finally getting to see the 12 O'Clock High episodes where Gallagher is in charge. Although I like Savage, I love Gallagher more, and I'm thrilled to see the hot-shot kid pilot transform into a responsible colonel who handles the crew with compassion. Gallagher has come a long way, not only in promotions, and even if I saw the potential in him from the start it's still fascinating to see just how much he's matured. New is Sandy Komansky, a well-meaning young soldier. Unlike Savage and Gallagher's abrasive uneasiness around each other, Komansky and Gallagher have a comfortable friendship, probably because of the contrast between the two leaders. Savage comes across as an unsympathetic and demanding general, mostly a hard shell with a caring interior that he hides, while all of Gallagher's feelings are on the surface, easily understood at face value, like Komansky. Gallagher leads with his heart above his head, risking his life multiple times to save his men or civilians, and he has an endearing warmth Savage lacks. The series has gone to color now, and as much as I like war series in black and white, the brilliant and colorful flight scenes are breathtaking. In "Gauntlet Of Fire" even with a wounded leg Komansky comes along in the plane when Gallagher sets out to fly the final mission alone, with a cute comment about being court-martialed. I love the way he always tacks on "sir" as an afterthought. In "Fortress Wiesbaden" Gallagher finally defies the commandos's orders and goes back for Komansky when he's wounded, getting him to safety. I love how he sticks with his men no matter what, and his lines about teamwork. "A Long Time Dead" scared me stiff when badly wounded Komansky is pushed out of the airplane by a demented officer, and most of the episode has Gallagher attempting to see justice done for his murder. I choked up when he sits and stares at Komansky's name plate. Thankfully Komansky is discovered alive at a field hospital at the very end and there's a cute final scene with him. He's far too sweet to die, especially like that, and it would have broken my heart if they hadn't fixed the ending. Happily both Komansky and Gallagher, despite serious injuries that sent him home, survive the final episode, and although it didn't wrap the war up it felt like a finale. I also discovered Naked City, an intriguing cop series starring Paul Burke as Adam, a compassionate, deep-thinking officer much like Gallagher. The episode, "On The Battlefront Every Minute Is Important", had David Janssen in it and it's always a treat to see him apart from Richard and as an entirely different person like the one he was here, the owner of a wealthy advertising business with only months to live. Seeing Adam, he offers to give him his business which prompts Adam reflecting on why he does his job in a beautifully worded moment. 

I finished season three of Wagon Train and they had fun with classics, including the cute "Christine Elliot Story" which borrows slightly from Little Men, especially violin-playing Nat, and "Tom Tuckett Story", a lovely adaptation of Great Expectations which has Ben Cooper looking similar to John Mills in my favorite film version. Charles Aidman was the title character of "Amos Gibbon Story", and I've never seen him in such a heartbreaking and moving role before, as a prisoner whose mind has snapped from the guards' abuse. My heart kept bleeding for him, and his acting was incredible. Onto season four which shakes everything up with fresh ideas. Season opener "Wagons Ho!" brings back the wonderfully trouble-prone greenhorn Sam Evans, his wife Melanie, and his Aunt Em in a hilarious and sweet sequel, and the lighthearted style continues into the delightful "Horace Best Story" with Ken Curtis as semi-Indian Pappy Lightfoot. On another familiar note, little, pre-Barnaby Michael Burns is in three episodes including "Allison Justis Story", a sad tale with Flint shooting a thief only to learn he may have killed an innocent man who's left behind a bitter young son who's determined to avenge his father. "Princess Of A Lost Tribe", the season's strangest idea and one of the most unusual episodes I've ever come across, plays like a hauntingly tragic fairytale as Flint stumbles upon his own Shangri-La, an isolated, mythical Aztec city, and falls in love with a girl about to die. "Saul Bevins Story" is a beautiful drama of a blind man determined to prove his worth who fails at first to notice the woman who loves him. Ron Harper was in "River Crossing" as a young soldier on his first mission who finds himself caught between an Indian massacre and the uprising that follows. He's taken by the chief and his officer will be killed but they promise to return him alive. I wish it had gone a little further to show how it affected him, and how he managed under a new officer, but on the bright side I like to imagine Garrison coming from a military family so the young soldier could be his grandfather. The best episode is the stunning and deeply moving "Will Santee Story" about a man and his family's attempts to escape the shadow of his brother who was hanged, a situation that only becomes more difficult when he falls in love. This season includes a treat for me: the introduction of my favorite, Chris Hale, the new wagonmaster whose tragic backstory, warm heart, and kindness won me over to the series. With his arrival, everything snaps into place, as the harsh spats are replaced by a "thrown together" family feel. This is Wagon Train as I love it.

There was an amazing The Guns Of Will Sonnett episode "Meeting In A Small Town" in which Jeff's dream led them to a border town where a bounty hunter has set a trap for Jim. Jeff creates a sting that ends up killing the bounty hunter and Will, who doesn't believe the dream had any merit, and Jeff leave the town. Right after that, Jim comes riding in. At the ending he meets a little boy with a toy gun who says when he grows up he plans to kill Jim Sonnett. Jim's last words to him and the music is done in an eerie way that made me wonder whether someday the child is going to be the one to kill him. The series' finale "Three Stand Together" was beautiful and brought tears to my eyes when Jim and Jeff finally meet face to face and the three become a real family.

The Lazarus Man had an episode that mentioned the Sultana! I was thrilled as I've never seen it on any series and it's always been one of my main interests related to the Civil War. The series is fascinating and unique, and I love how the focus is on the people Lazarus meets more than Lazarus himself.

I managed to get my hands on the unusual and offbeat western Dead Man's Gun, a series about a cursed revolver changing hands and causing tragedy to whoever comes into contact with it. Happily, the episode was about Jack the Ripper, a long interest of mine, but with the unique twist of imagining who Jack was and what became of him after the Whitechapel murders. The story had him continuing his crimes in an American tent city where a woman accidentally discovers his secret. She ended up shooting and killing him in the end, and she and another townsperson buried him and resolved to never admit the secret.


I'm working my way through Overland Trail, a usually light-hearted western with super young Doug McClure as Flip, a kid raised by the Cheyenne, and Kelly, the man who runs the Overland Stage and cares about Flip as if he was his son. The two have a wonderful, warm relationship even if they tease and play pranks on each other constantly, and I'm loving the series.

I've never been much of a fan of Jean-Luc in Step By Step, just never noticed him. But I watched "Just Say Maybe" and sort of fell in love. He's hilarious and very sweet, cute as can be with Lilly, and his offbeat humor is a perfect match for the series. I felt almost the same way about Cody: at first I didn't care for him, then I was used to him, and finally one episode I realized I missed him when he wasn't there. There's something about seeing things through nostalgic eyes that makes me appreciate things I never paid attention to the first time around.

I was watching The Big Valley "Rimfire", Jarrod's episode, and Van Williams turned up in it! It's just like old times, Rex and Ken working together again, and Van Williams still has that lovely accent and those stunning blue eyes. He played a kind sheriff with a young son so there were some cute moments between him and the little boy as well as some excellent scenes with Jarrod, including one where Jarrod saves him from a mine shaft. I was a little worried about him because it seemed like the episode was setting the scene for him to get killed but happily he was only wounded and survived. Now I want to find one of those reincarnation fanfics that has The Big Valley and Bourbon Street Beat somehow tied together.

I'm watching Donna Reed Show season one and I'm up to "April Fool" which had James Darren as a super sweet rock star who gets sick and has to stay with the Stones while he recovers. Mary has stars in her eyes (who wouldn't?) and in the end he takes her to her school dance, sings to her, and kisses her on the cheek. *squee!* So adorable and charming. I rediscovered my love for the adorable, quirky That Girl. I always loved Donald and Ann's relationship and it's lost none of it's charm; they're magic together.

I saw Aquaman, the pilot that wasn't picked up for a series, and it's a shame since it had promise. As much as I'm used to Smallville's AC, I loved Justin Hartley's take on the role, even if I kept expecting him to put on green and pick up a bow and arrow. Still the film was unusual and fun from the beginning, and it's a nice version of an oft-forgotten superhero.

I finished season three of Merlin and there's a beautiful library now for Merlin to visit in place of the dragon cave. Arthur and Merlin have settled into a blend of teasing, insults, and true caring, and Arthur said something nice to Merlin, even though he quickly covered it up, "wisdom and an idiot", so Arthur. Uther drowned children born with magic during the purge, and the scene with the mother pleading and the wet, ghostly children sent chills up my spine. How did unborn Merlin escape? If Uther could track down almost all the magical people and kill them he would have known Balinor and Hunith were going to have a baby, and that he'd be a dragon lord, too, not to mention magical. I need a flashback episode to answer this question, baby!Merlin would be adorable; I can just see the little ears! "Goblin's Gold" was hilarious, lightening the darker mood of the season and keeping me laughing. I loved Merlin teasing Arthur by making him stay donkey-ish for an extra day, and Gaius fixing Uther's bald head. I adore Arthur testing Gaius, with enough faith in Merlin to doubt Gaius' word, and knowing Gaius well enough to know the truth. Another favorite was "Love In The Time Of Dragons". I love Gaius and his relationship with Merlin so it was fascinating to see it put to the test, even if my heart hurt for Merlin. I always enjoy the glimpses of the past, especially the Purge, and it's nice to see Gaius featured. I loved "Queen Of Hearts", how Arthur would give up the throne to go with Gwen, and old!Merlin who messes with my mind. I had to get used to Merlin being too young and now with him changing like that I get the idea that old!Merlin was just him under a spell. Then "The Eye Of The Phoenix"; I've missed the quest episodes: magical jewelry and creatures, a tower, quicksand, and a bridge with a keeper. Finally, "The Coming Of Arthur", with the round table, knights, hand coming out of the lake with the sword, sword in the stone, Gaius using magic to save Merlin, Arthur and Gwen's tender moments, Lancelot returning, and Freya!

I saw Lois & Clark: The New Adventures Of Superman and it was a different take on Superman. I love this version of Clark; he's sweet, a little awkward, and yet not afraid to show his skills at writing or rescue someone when it's not too superhuman. Lois is a bit annoying but Jimmy more than makes up for her with his adorable enthusiasm, one of the best versions of Jimmy I've seen. I like when Clark rescues him from the exploding building; there needs to be far more Clark and Jimmy friendship stories out there since I've always loved their interactions. There was a hilarious scene where Martha Kent is sewing costumes for Clark before she decides on the Superman suit, and all of them are completely outrageous, especially the one with the Robin Hood hat.

I love Irwin Allen. No matter what, you can count on him for glowing buttons, flashing sets, imminent danger, friendship, whump, fights, squee, and a great deal of silver paint. And it's all wonderful, even if his best last only a season or a pilot film like City Beneath The Sea. Beneath the oceans of 2053 lies Pacifica, a glittering city filled with people that also houses all the world's gold and military weapons...and in a matter of days is going to be destroyed by a meteor. When the former commander, Mike Matthews, is called back to take charge of the situation, he finds himself faced with the people who still blame him for the tragic death of a crew member: Woody, the current commander, and the man's widow, Lia who spends her days searching for proof to charge Mike with murder. The problems don't end there, as unbeknownst to Mike, his brother Brett is planning to steal the weapons from the vault and control just about everything. On Mike's side is Aguila, a hybrid human who breathes water and believes in his innocence. But hours after Mike arrives another accident occurs, seriously injuring Woody and adding more guilt to Mike, even as he starts to wonder if two accidents aren't too much of a coincidence, and someone is behind it all. CBTS didn't get picked up as a series and it's a shame because it's completely, absurdly fun. Bits and pieces of Irwin Allen's prior series are everywhere, and there's enough flashing lights to outfit a discotheque. The bond between the five leads grows throughout the film and the final scenes are lovely; they would have made a great team to watch each week. Robert Colbert is Woody and James Darren is a scientist but unfortunately don't share a scene together; still the idea of Doug and Tony at the bottom of the sea is too good to resist. Most fascinating is Aguila, the physically altered human with no backstory who swims like a fish, breathes through gill-like lungs, and dresses so much like the Man From Atlantis that I couldn't stop grinning. In other new films this week I started with The Boy In The Striped Pajamas. Eight year old Bruno lives in world of innocence and dreams of knights in armor, a comfort since his father received a promotion and moved the family to a guarded house in the country. Lonely and looking for someone to play with, Bruno spies the "farm" in the distance and becomes curious, even when his questions are quickly brushed aside. But when he finally goes up to the fence around the farm he sees a boy his age on the other side, wearing "pajamas". The film is heartbreakingly beautiful, offering a fresh, sensory, and simplistic view of the Holocaust through the eyes of a child, even down to the low filming. Bruno is startlingly naive, contrasting with his Hitler-enamored sister and the hostile world changing around him, and Shmuel and his friendship and their clasped hands make a powerful statement. The imagery is poignant, using childhood toys: a ball, a swing, and a pile of dolls mimicking photographs of the camps to allude to the truth Bruno can't understand, and I was spellbound by how gently the Holocaust is handled up until the final minutes when it all comes crashing in. Second was Send Me No Flowers and I couldn't stop laughing. Hypochondriac George overhears his doctor's phone call and mistakenly believes he has only weeks left to live. With the help of his friend Arnold, George attempts to put his "final" days to good use: choosing a cemetery plot, having Arnold write his eulogy, and, most importantly, finding a new husband for his wife, Judy. Definitely one of the most hilarious films I've ever seen. Next I saw Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves, an unusual but fun and fascinating twist on the legends, and loved it. Robin has a good heart and is believeable as a leader, risking his life from the beginning to try to save others, and I loved the diverse and fully imagined Merry Men, especially Little John and his family, and all the treehouses and swinging ropes.

How awesome is the extended musicvid for Backstreet Boys' "Larger Than Life" with the spaceships, spacesuits, cryogenic chambers, explosions and Brian in the matrix on a futuristic surfboard? It's like watching them all in a mini sci-fi film! I found the sweetest news clip from 2005 of Nick and Brian visiting a toddler who was born with half a heart. Her parents played Backstreet Boys music before and after she was born and the beat had strengthened her heart, they believe, saving her life. Brian was so adorable singing, holding, and dancing with the little girl; I love when he compliments her shoes and him hugging her is precious. And Backstreet Boys are getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next year!
 
 
feeling: indifferent
calliope tune: "Toast and Marmalade For Tea"-TinTin