Kathleen
22 May 2016 @ 11:08 am
All my fanfics.

Days turned into weeks, weeks turned into months. And then, one not so very special day, I went to my typewriter, I sat down, and I wrote our story. A story about a time, a story about a place, a story about the people. But above all things, a story about love. )
 
 
feeling: working
calliope tune: "The Gallant Shearers"-Tannahill Weavers
 
 
 
 
 
Kathleen
Continuing with my superhero obsession I watched Daredevil, a visually gorgeous and superb adaptation of one my favorite and first beloved superheroes, rich in colors with a recurring theme of red. Rex Smith's sensitive and ninja take on the role will always be my favorite but Ben Affleck did a brilliant job as Matt, capturing the subtle nuances and inner struggles of the character. The story was more tragic and thought-provoking than most of the genre, and I loved the beauty of it, like how Matt can "see" with the rain, how he watches people's hearts, and the contrasting imagery of the church vs. his devil costume and darker side of his personality. I was surprised but a little glad that the film didn't take an easy way out and bring Electra back to life, even as sad as it made the ending. After that I saw X-Men Origins: Wolverine and it was stunning, an awesome and quite in character exploration of Logan's tragic past. I loved his early backstory with the idea of him going from one war to the next along with the ill-fated relationship with his half brother, even if I'm not quite sure how his brother fits with the same character in the first film. The idea of Wolverine having claws before the experiment was fascinating and unexpected to me, but I loved the idea as well as how he used his steel claws to free all the mutants on the island. I teared up at the brief inclusion of Xavier, as well as little!Scott and his first set of sunglasses. After that was X-Men First Class, and I loved seeing the beginning of everything. James McAvoy made a perfect Xavier, capturing the deep caring of the later version while including a uniquely youthful spirit, and for the first time I felt for Mystique - or Raven here - as well as the tragedy of what will become of her, even as shocked as I was that she choose Magneto over Charles in the end. Her early friendship with Charles was sweet, though, and surprising since I wasn't expecting it. Charles becoming paralyzed was incredibly haunting, as was his friendship with Erik and how he tries so hard to prevent Erik from turning evil. I loved the other characters, too, especially Sean/Banshee and his fascinating and fun gift.

I finally got to see The Man From the 25th Century, an Irwin Allen pilot that sadly never got picked up for a series but had a fascinating premise and awesome cast. James Darren stars as a man taken as an infant and raised in a technically advanced but emotionally bankrupt alien world with the sole purpose of turning him into a destroyer of earth. His target is a top secret base - The Time Tunnel! which made me desperately want a crossover - but he gets a change of heart - evidenced at the beginning when he protests the killing of an alien - and winds up helping protect the base which sends the aliens toward earth to kill him before his information can be revealed to earth. Unfortunately his most intriguing skill - telekenesis - was only briefly explored, and we never get to see what sort of character he'd become in his further adventures of helping earth and fighting aliens. Still it was a fun show and rich ground for crossovers and ideas.

I finally watched I Dream Of Jeannie: Fifteen Years Later and it was a mix of the surprisingly good and very disappointing. Roger and Dr. Bellows, both played by the original actors, were flawless, effortlessly slipping back into character and providing the vast majority of the few laughs in an otherwise strangely serious reunion. Barbara Eden took a while to fall back into the role, and never quite captured the bubbly personality or even some parts of Jeannie II's scheming personality, but it was wonderful to see her in the role again, and her being older gave me ideas of whether Jeannie would have traded her immortality for a normal, more human existence with Tony. Despite ignoring the twin children implied in one of the episodes, T.J. was quite good and believable as a mixture of Tony and Jeannie. I loved him slowly discovering his genie powers across the show while still retaining the realistic behavior of an '80s teen. The weakest part of the show was Tony, a different actor who lacks both the talent to pull off the part as well as the chemistry Larry Hagman and Barbara Eden had. Still the plot had some fun moments - my favorite was the hilarious scene in which Jeannie accidentally blinks everyone's clothes off in a restaurant and Dr. Bellows, upon arriving, assumes it's the thing to do and starts taking off his suit, and the final plot was surprisingly poignant, despite my confusion over why she simply didn't blink Tony home or in a different direction. Still her trading Tony's memories of their life together in return for his life was haunting, and I loved the hopeful, adorable finale when she bumps into him again, magically fixes his tie, and walks away with him following her.

I'm watching season five of Merlin now, and wondering what happened to my beloved, silly little show. Merlin has, in his own words, "grown up", and it's heartbreaking to see how jaded and even callous he's become. Merlin was once my favorite, until Lancelot took his place, Arthur grew on me, and I adored Gaius, but up until this season I still had a fondness for him, even in fourth place. Now I find myself annoyed and angry at him most of the time, and saddened at what the writers did to him, turning him into a twisted, dangerous person who won't even give Mordred a chance and has no one to blame but himself when everything falls apart. Almost everything he does is only for Arthur, with no thought to anyone else, and he's more than willing to kill for him, all of which gives the series a desperate yet hopeless feeling as Merlin struggles against the prophecy of Arthur's encroaching death, Gwen worries, and Arthur runs headlong into one danger after another. There's a new and older Mordred this season, and despite my reservations Alexander Vlahos completely won me over. He still seems too old to convincingly play opposite Arthur and Merlin, but he's a superb match for little Asa Butterfield, complete with the same vividly blue eyes and a disconcerting smile that flashes on and off so quickly I almost miss it. Yet he's softer and more endearing than little!Mordred who always send chills up my spine, and despite the fact that I thought I'd never love any Mordred except Hans Matheson in The Mists Of Avalon, I love his take on the character. The writers did a somewhat better job shifting him from good to evil, but his complete acceptance - with only one brief scene of hesitation - of the girl's evil seemed out of character. Despite that the scene where he yelled and his magic threw down the door sent chills up my spine. Alexander Vlahos was incredible in the episode. Merlin's betrayal of Mordred shocked me, and showed how very much he's changed from the days when he saved Freya, an almost parallel to "The Drawing Of The Dark". Bradley James is still excellent as Arthur, proving himself a just and honorable king who cares deeply for all his people, and even goes as far as to spare the life of a woman sentenced to die for sorcery. As the creepy "Death Song Of Uther Pendragon" shows, Arthur is about as far as his father as it's possible to be, and all for the best. Strangely enough I found myself disliking Gwen this season, both for the completely evil and murderous enchanted Gwen in the mid-season story arc, as well as the almost harsh way she rules. Also the writers, despite some promising hints in past seasons, have completely failed to convince me of Arthur and Gwen's romance which seems more tepid by the episode. Arthur says he loves her, but they behave more like two people sharing a kingdom instead of friends or family, and hardly husband and wife. The knights are a little underused, but still the best part of the season, and even Gwaine who I dismissed as a replacement Lancelot has finally won me over. However Elyan's senseless death gives me one more reason to hate how the writers use, or rather misuse, the knights. Elyan never got much of a role or chance to shine, but I liked him, and it seems pointless and cruel to kill him off just so the writers can try to infuse some life into their Arthur/Gwen ship. The Round Table is gorgeous, though, exactly as I imagine it should be. My favorite episode of the season is the superb opener "Arthur's Bane" which manages to craft a perfect blend of gently funny moments with tragedy and strong character building, reintroducing Mordred and even giving a dash of humanity to Morgana's twisted and usually over the top personality. There's a gloomy feel cast across the whole season, marked with disturbing, almost gruesome concepts such as the tragic crippling of the little dragon Aithusa, and the relentless torture and cruelty inflicted on the characters, making five an anti-climatic and sad end to what began as a fun and clever twist on the legends, and I can't help thinking the writers lost their way or rushed to the end without giving enough time for the important part. It's supposed to be the Golden Age of Camelot but it only crumbles more and grows darker by the episode, and I can only shake my head at all the wasted potential if the writers had given more time to plotting and pacing the series instead of falling back on the tiring and nearly sickening trope of Morgana vs. Camelot with some enchanted object and much throwing of people up against walls and trees. The problem, I think, was rushing everything instead of giving the series time to grow and fill the shoes of the legends. The first two years were perfect, three still had promise, and even four had some excellent moments and even whole episodes. Five sadly doesn't measure up, and only the season's opener and finale held my interest. "The Diamond Of The Day" was very good...not perfect, but close, breathing a little life and nostalgia into the series. Merlin seemed more his old self, the inclusion of him trapped in the cave was cleverly done, and Arthur's last "for Camelot" put tears in my eyes. I've grown to love Arthur over five seasons, warming to him as he grew from a hated bully to a prince with a good heart and finally the once and future king, but I was prepared for the heartbreak. The battle was epic, far more than the usual scene which focuses entirely on Arthur and Mordred, exactly as Camlann should be. Mordred stabbing Arthur and killing him was quietly underplayed, and I couldn't help tearing up for both of them, especially when Mordred gives that last smile before he falls. Gwen putting the pieces together and realizing Merlin has magic was beautifully done, subtle yet perfectly acted, and Gwen finally seems to be the sweet and kind character she used to be. Surprisingly I found myself shipping Leon/Gwen, mostly because of the talk about their childhood and the way he looks at her. It's adorable and I like to think after Gwen had mourned for Arthur that she eventually grew to love Leon, too. Avalon was beautiful, and I got a thrill when it first appeared, one thing I'd been looking forward to in the finale. I loved the magic reveal, somewhat anti-climatic - I'd hoped for a full season of Arthur coming to terms with it and magic returning to Camelot - but it was moving, and superbly acted by both Colin Morgan and Bradley James. I loved how Arthur gradually gains respect for Merlin and all he's done, eventually accepting him and not wanting him to change. Percival had a slightly larger part than usual, which I enjoyed, but I hated that Gwaine had to die. If he had to die I wish it had at least been a noble death like Lancelot, instead of the senseless and horribly cruel death he got. I must say I've never been more grateful to the writers for killing a character as I was when Morgana died. Five seasons late, but still good. Arthur's death was heartbreaking, perfectly filmed and acted, and if I wasn't crying before that I would have broken down and sobbed when Freya's hand came out of the lake for Excalibur, not to mention Merlin - the real Merlin and not the cruel one that's been here most of the season - crying; I can never have dry eyes when Colin Morgan cries. I liked the open ending somewhat - leaving room for imagination and fanfiction - but was saddened by all that wasn't shown - Merlin returning to Gaius, Gwen's acceptance, Gwen's reign, Leon/Gwen, and so on. But immortal!Merlin was tragically beautiful...if only the series had shown Arthur's return in the future. To cheer myself up I watched a different Arthurian film, The Last Legion, a unique and fascinating spin on the legends. Thomas Brodie Sangster was superb as young Caesar Romulus Augustulus, a child caught between killers and a small but loyal band willing to die for him. I found Aurelius the most fascinating of all..at first glimpse he seems a cruel, hardened warrior, but his friendship and loyalty to the child quickly won me over, as did the tinge of sadness around him. Mira was quite interesting, too, both warrior and woman with a caring for Aurelius. And Ambrosinus(Merlin) being Uther's teacher as well as Arthur's was unusual and an intriguing thought. The film was beautifully done, too.

I've discovered another silent film actor to love: the wonderful, handsome, and talented Charles Farrell. I gave a try to the film Lucky Star and fell in love with it - and him - at the same time. He played such a sweet character that I couldn't help loving him, and Janet Gaynor was adorable as the girl he falls in love with, both making it a lovely film with a perfect ending. My favorite so far is the gorgeous 7th Heaven, a beautiful and poignant romance that made me smile and sob and love them both dearly. Chico and Diane's relationship was realistic and so lovely, and their "wedding" brought tears to my eyes, as did the incredible and moving ending. I'm also learning to love his films with other actresses, starting with City Girl, a movie with some beautiful scenery, lovely photography, and an adorable scene where he and his co-star run through the wheat field, pausing for him to pick her up and kiss her. He played a very sweet character, too, who was impossible not to love. After that I saw The River, a sadly fragmented film with part of it only able to be told through still photos and inter-titles, but still highly unusual and lovely. It's quote "The river, like love, cleanses all things" sums up the film in which the river stands as a character, much in the same way of Our Mutual Friend, washing away the past of one of the character and redeeming them through another, as well as a character nearly dying and surviving through love. While I wasn't as impressed by the actress, Charles Farrell did an excellent job with the role, a mix of awkward country boy and determined man who wins her over and breaks her out of her hard shell when he nearly freezes to death and she's nearly unable to save him. It had a happy ending, too, that part, like the beginning and two other scenes, lost and told only in a photograph. I wish they'd find a complete copy, but still the part that exists was well worth seeing, since I love his films. Last was Liliom, a delightfully non-musical version of the lovely musical Carousel, with Charles Farrell in the title role. It turned out to be a talkie, so for the first time I got to hear his voice. He didn't sound like I expected, but his voice grew on me and I loved his accent. He was great in the role, too, and I grinned ear to ear at the carnival scenes. Charles Farrell has a lovely, nearly frail vulnerability, and cute shyness about his acting, combined with a tendency to get whumped that is exactly what I love in acting and characters. And on a completely shallow note, he's very easy on the eyes, too. Catching up on my love of Shakespeare, I saw the 1968 version of Romeo and Juliet and it was utterly gorgeous. Beautiful sets, lovely actors - Romeo especially - pretty dancing, and of course the glorious theme. I loved that it retained the original lines and setting, just a flawless film overall. After that I saw Flyboys, a gorgeous and sweepingly old-fashioned film about the men who fought in the skies of World War One. James Franco was wonderfully sweet as Blaine, and I adored his interactions with Lucienne and the children. Among other new films this week I saw the adorable Penelope and fell completely in love with it. James McAvoy was wonderful as Johnny, and stunning with those beautiful blue eyes. He had a perfect mix of sad sweetness and gentle humor, and my favorite scenes were the lovely ending in the park and the hilarious scene where he sings "You Are My Sunshine" out of key while attempting to play an assortment of instruments. Penelope was easy to like, too, and I loved that Penelope and Johnny got their happy ending. Then I saw the gorgeous and bittersweet fantasy The Odd Life Of Timothy Green which completely broke my heart and put it back together again. Timothy was adorable, and I loved how he touched each person and made them better. Next I watched Wrath of the Titans, the sequel to Clash Of The Titans, and surprisingly liked it even more than the first. Perseus, now a widower, has a young son, and finally Perseus/Andromeda became canon, much to my delight, even if I prefer the first actress who played her over this one. Hades finally got redemption in the end, and Zeus came across as a kinder and more loving god toward his son and grandson. Pegasus was back, too, just as beautiful as ever, and I found the plot easier to follow than the first. Next was The Crucible, a stunning, heartbreaking, and disturbing look at the motives of the Salem Witch Trials. Despite being somewhat fictionalized it was still a fascinating image of the events, both extremely well acted and directed, and incredibly powerful. By the end of it I loathed Abigail even more than I always have, since the film painted her as a scheming girl drunk on power and revenge, but the actress did a good job with a very difficult role. Little Betty, much more able to be pitied and sympathized with, was also quite good, and Daniel Day-Lewis did a superb job as John Proctor, one of the victims I've always had the most interest in. His scene of being accused as well as his moving final speech were stunning, tear-jerking, and should have won him an oscar. Joan Allen was also excellent as his caring wife, Elizabeth, and I sobbed at her final line. I happened to run across Daniel Day-Lewis again in my search for a good version of The Last Of The Mohicans, the 1992 version, and he had big shoes to fill as Hawkeye, since I love both the book and the tv series Hawkeye which remains my favorite version of the story. But he was excellent at the role, and as much as I adore Lee Horsley's more lighthearted and friendly approach to the role, Daniel Day-Lewis actually fit my image a little better - lighter and swifter on his feet, more woodman-ish, and a stronger, slightly rougher character while style having a kind and gentle tenderness beneath it all. Cora was also a great character, a strong match for Hawkeye, and I loved their relationship. The film seemed a little too short, but maybe that's just because I enjoyed it too much so it felt like it sped by, and Uncas wasn't shown as much as I would have liked but it was a beautifully filmed and acted adaptation, with the gorgeous backdrop of North Carolina against impressively accurate sets and costumes. Duncan's redemption was haunting, turning a character I disliked into one I admired in the ending. Alice was frail and lovely and I wish her hinted at romance with Uncas had been shown more, but still their tragic and earlier foreshadowed deaths broke my heart, as did the words of Chingachgook in the last scene. The theme was pretty, too, and familiar to me for some reason. On a shallow note, I also loved Hawkeye's hair...the tv version's got nothing on him there! I finally watched the film version of Highlander, and as I'd suspected from the pilot of the tv show, I quite enjoyed Christopher Lambert as Connor, a different, more world-weary, but still fascinating and easy to sympathize with hero. He's a unique, more unusual sort of handsome, too, with a little bit of Robert Lansing's eyes and forehead with an awful lot of Misha Collin's lower face and build thrown in. In fact, between his looks, expressions, and trenchcoat, I kept having flashes of some sort of awesome Supernatural crossover. But his looks make him appear more old-fashioned and non-1980s which helps make it more believeable. The flashback scene of him finding little Rachel and later, with her much older, were precious and made me wish for more scenes or fanfiction of him raising her. Likewise, the love story of Connor and Heather was heartbreakingly beautiful, against the song "Who Wants To Live Forever" that I've always had a weakness for, even though it makes me tear up. But the resolved, happy ending was perfect, exactly what I'd hoped for. In other new films this week I watched An Old-Fashioned Christmas, and despite the fact that it didn't measure up to the original, the very sweet An old-Fashioned Thanksgiving, it was still enjoyable, even if I kept wanting to shake some sense into both Tilly and her grandmother. Gad was still the same loveable character of the first film, and despite everything I felt a little sorry for Cameron. I wish he'd had some redemption in the end beyond his new-found ability to stand up to his mother, even as much as I appreciated that. His accent, despite attempting to be Irish, sounded a lot more English to me, no matter how hard he tried, which made me giggle everytime he spoke. I loved Tilly's grandfather, though, such a feisty and colorful character, and her relationship with him. I saw the cute fairytale Ever After, a perfect and beautiful version of Cinderella, and fell in love with it. The Prince had far more personality than he ever has, and I loved how headstrong and bold Danielle was, even saving him from the gypsies in a clever and hilarious way. Then I saw the underrated and fun The Last Airbender. The concept of bending the elements and fighting with them was original and fascinating, and I loved the characters, especially the believing and good-hearted Katara. Aang's tragedy of being alone in accepting his role as the avatar, and Yue's death were especially moving, and I felt for all the characters. Following that was The Indian In The Cupboard, a gentle and lovely adaptation of the book I loved as a kid. Little Bear and Boone were perfect, exactly as I imagined, and I loved the ending. Next was the fabulous Night At The Museum, a fest for a history and that sort of fantasy geek that I am and I loved every second of it and all the characters; followed by the even zanier and more hilarious Night At The Museum: Battle Of The Smithsonian. I giggled through all the oldies songs, and loved the cupids, the octopus, and, of course, Jedediah and Octavius, even better than in the last film. After that was the remake of The Day The Earth Stood Still and was happily surprised to discover as much as I enjoy the original, I actually loved this version more. Keanu Reeves was more believable as Klaatu, alien yet learning to be human, and I loved how he changed slowly and with the most subtle moments over the course of the film. Helen also had more personality, even if the sparks of a romance were stripped away, and little Jacob was adorable and an incredibly good actor. Also the plot was more coherent than in the original, with a better conclusion, and I loved the idea of the "arks". Next was the wrenching and poignant The Flowers Of War, a deeply moving character study of a diverse group of people in China during the midst of the Second-Sino Japanese War. The historical setting drew me to the film but I fell in love with the violent beauty of it, and the incredible acting from everyone, especially the always amazing Christian Bale. The ending, along with many other moments, made me cry, and I loved how vividly realistic everything seemed, from the small moments such as John hugging Shu to the Chinese soldier's sacrifice. After that was The Confession, the sequel to The Shunning, and in some ways, although I really enjoyed the first film, I liked this one even better. Surprisingly the cast changes all seemed to be equal or for the better, and the story was intriguing and touching. I loved seeing more of Daniel than simply flashbacks, and the last scene gave me hope for his and Katie's relationship. I don't mind Justin, though. I loved that Katie finally got to meet her mother in the end, if only for a little while, and the ending left me waiting patiently for the final film, hopefully coming soon. Next was the haunting and offbeat Desire Me with the surprisingly delightful pairing of two of my favorites, Greer Garson, who I've adored since seeing Mrs. Miniver as a small child, and Robert Mitchum. Next was the excellent Bend of the River with an excellent cast and final twist. Next was two childhood favorites Miracle On 34th Street and Meet Me In St. Louis, both of which I loved. Then was the poignant Goodbye Mr. Chips Which I loved as a child and hadn't seen in years. Next was the fabulous and hilarious Christmas in Connecticut which I adored. Last was the beautifully sad Love Is A Many Splendored Thing, the theme of which I've loved for years.

I watched the fascinating Peter Pan prequel Neverland which offers an intriguing and poignant backstory for Peter, Hook, Tinkerbell, and the Lost Boys. The boy who played Peter was quite good, impressing me despite not looking exactly how I imagined, the orb was an unusual and interesting addition, and I liked the explanation for the Indians and pirates being in Neverland. Tiger Lily was wonderful, given much more personality than in most versions, and I ended up surprisingly shipping Peter and her. The origins of Hook and Peter's hatred for each other was also a fascinating twist, and I liked the ending with the tied-in elements to Peter Pan including the watch being swallowed and Peter leaving his shadow behind in England.

I've been on a roll of animated films lately, starting with the flawless The Emperor's New Groove this week, definitely the most zany and hilarious animated film I've seen yet. I couldn't stop laughing, and I loved the colorful characters, especially the endearing Kronk. The animation was perfectly done, especially the llama, and I loved the slightly steampunk design of Yzma's lab and the lever that drops into an alligator pit. Following that was the sequel, Kronk's New Groove, nearly as hilarious and just as adorable as the first. I loved all the clever nods to older Disneys, as well as the "Gollum moment", and the cute Disco sequence. The ending was wonderful, and I loved how Kuzco inserted himself into the story, I only wish he'd been in the film more. Next I saw Atlantis: Milo's Return, the fun sequel to the wonderful and underrated Atlantis: The Lost Empire. While I missed the original Milo's voice, everyone else was the same, and the story, a series of three adventures, was a lot of fun. I loved the fairytale-like ending, too. Following that was the precious The Adventures of Tom Thumb and Thumbelina, a completely adorable version of the stories with a different twist here and there. I loved Tom and Thumbelina's relationship, as well as the side characters like Albertine and the mice, and the lovely ending. Then I watched the beautifully animated The Rescuers, a gorgeous and adorable film with loveable characters, especially the darling little mouse heroes of the title. Last was the delightfully French and utterly precious Ratatouille which made me giggle and restored my faith in modern animated films with it's big heart and loveable characters, especially the too cute for words Remy. After that was The Hunchback Of Notre Dame II, and despite the fact that it didn't rival the original, I still enjoyed it. It was sweet, and lovely, and Quasimodo finally found someone to love and be loved by. I also liked that Phoebus and Esmeralda had a son, cute little Zephyr, and his friendship with Quasi was precious. Then I saw Atlantis The Lost Empire, a fun, steampunk-filled adventure that has to be one of the most underrated Disney films ever. It was beautifully done, though, a perfect blend of humor and action with a loveable and geeky hero in Milo.

I've been binge-watching Gomer Pyle USMC, a childhood favorite, and loving it. The Sgt. and Bunny are always a treat, and the guest stars are delightful.
 
 
calliope tune: "Dream Weaver"-Gary Wright
feeling: sore
 
 
Kathleen
I'm working my way through season three of Smallville, the only season I hadn't seen yet. Highlights include the fascinating "Extinction" in which an embittered teenager is executing meteor-infected people one by one and ends up shooting Clark with a kryptonite bullet which leads to Jonathan and Martha having to perform home surgery to save his life, and "Whisper" in which Clark is blinded by a piece of meteor rock and discovers his super hearing, with the cute foreshadowing of Clark having to wear glasses as his eyes heal. "Relic" was an unusual mystery in which Clark discovers his father traveled to Earth in 1961 and fell in love with a woman he's accused of having murdered. The story gives a human side to Jor-El who I usually despise and made me see him in a more sympathetic light, as well as giving a fantastic excuse to have Clark with retro clothing and hair. I loved the scene where Jor-El reveals where he's from and then picks up Louise and floats in the stars with her, and their romance was a lovely and tragic fairytale. I loved how everyone's lives were woven together in the past, especially Hiram Kent saving Jor-El from the police, and Lex's grandfather being a murderer, showing the roots of the Luthor family's evil. "Hereafter", a moving and unique episode, features a teenager who can see the way someone will die by touching them, a meteor power that leaves him deeply troubled and afraid of human contact, a situation that poses an intriguing and unsolved question when the boy touches Clark and sees only a cape and light, leading him to wonder whether Clark is immortal. He sees a flash of the school coach committing suicide, but Clark saves the man, changing the future and setting into motion a dangerous chain of events that threaten several lives, the teen's included. The ending with Clark finding Jonathan collapsed in the barn was a superbly filmed and acted finale to a deftly woven story. Running through the episode is another storyline involving Adam, the teen Lana met while recovering from her injury. He has a lot of potential, not the least of which is being the first person in the series to give Lana a swift emotional kick to try to force her to grow up and get over herself, despite being yet another guy to fall for her. His story arc takes a chilling and startling turn when toward the end of the episode the boy, having bumped into him by accident, seems to suggest that Adam had already died, giving a sinister edge to the unknown medicine he's been taking. My favorite episode of the season is the heartbreaking and gorgeous "Memoria" in which Lex, attempting to regain his lost memories, unearths pieces of his tragic childhood, including the death of his infant brother, Julian. The conclusion shocked me and made me cry, and it was one of the most moving episodes I've seen of anything. Lex has finally won me over, and it makes me sad to realize what he'll end up like in only a few seasons.

Season 7 of The Virginian is out on DVD and little has changed this year with the exception of Stacey mysteriously vanishing and new ranchhand David Sutton, a kind and unassuming drifter who settles at Shiloh, stepping into his place. Trampas and he have an easy and wonderful friendship, bringing back something lost when Steve left the show. Clay and Holly Grainger are firmly established as the owners of Shiloh but their relationship with the hands remains strained or forced, and I couldn't help my jaw dropping when Clay threatens to fire Trampas after he gets into a fight. The season has a comfortable but mostly worn feel, as if the writers were short on new ideas and instead reused ones from earlier seasons. However there's still some gems among the rest, including the unusual and intriguing "The Wind Of Outrage" in which the Virginian and Trampas find themselves held prisoner by a group of Frenchmen on the Canadian border and Trampas is as wonderful as usual, the excellent and well crafted "The Stranger", "Nora", a intriguingly twisted tale of a woman attempting to promote her army husband through any means necessary including murder, the delightfully quirky "Big Tiny" and the hilarious "Crime Wave In Buffalo Springs" both of which brought some much needed humor back to the show, and the complex and fascinating "Stopover".

I finally got season four of Merlin and I'm already in love with the knights: Leon, of course, because he's wonderful, and Lancelot as always, but Percival, too, especially after the adorable scene where he finds and rescues the three children, and Elyan for coming to their defense and his speech to Arthur in the season's opener. Arthur has finally transformed into the kind and just king of legend, and for the first time in the series I find myself truly caring about him and warming up to him, especially when he's so gentle with the girl whose family was killed in "The Darkest Hour", and the heartbreaking conversation he has with Merlin at the end of the first part of that episode. I also love that he finally calls Merlin his friend, and seems to care about him, even if he's still awkward at saying it. Bradley James has turned into an incredible actor this season, really impressing me with subtle touches to the character, like the way his voice shakes when he calls for help after Uther is stabbed. There's something strangely off about Merlin, as if he's changed into Emrys and left most of the endearing awkwardness and goofy boyish charm behind, and even his banter with Arthur sometimes lacks the quirky fun it once had. This Merlin is somehow far older than last season's, and the boy who once sobbed over the father he barely knew doesn't shed a single tear for Lancelot, one of his oldest friends and one of the few people with whom he could be himself and not have to hide his magic. And Lancelot...I've forgiven the writers for many things when it came to Merlin's jaw-dropping disregard for the core concepts of Arthurian Legend because I loved and appreciated the clever reimagining and easy to become attached to characters of the series but that's where I draw the line. Santiago Cabrera's Lancelot is my very favorite version of my favorite character in Arthurian Legend, so obviously I wasn't looking forward to seeing his death, but I expected something more noble and heartwrenching. I expected to feel more than numb resignation when he walked through the veil, and for the focus to linger on his sacrifice and the grief left by it instead of instantly shifting off into Arthur and Gwen's romance and Merlin trying to hide his secret. Lancelot deserved far better than to be written off and forgotten when he'd worn out his usefulness to the writers who only have eyes for Arthur/Gwen, and to head straight into the next episode and have Arthur's birthday party and everyone laughing and happy felt horribly cruel. If that wasn't enough there's the dreadful "Lancelot Du Lac" which manages to make Lancelot's beautiful last name into something twisted while corrupting and almost destroying the strength of his character and decency. I was disappointed with the season's finale "The Sword In The Stone". Despite playing fast and loose with the legends Merlin usually has an impressive way of introducing my favorite things such as the Round Table, Arthur's coronation, and Lancelot, but Arthur pulling the sword, one of the most awe-inspiring moments in the legends, was sadly ruined by having it be caused by Merlin's magic instead of Arthur's destiny, casting all the glory on Merlin. Tristan and Isolde's love shone through, and both the actors were very well cast, but it took me a while to adjust to them being smugglers. Arthur was hilarious when Merlin took his will but I couldn't help feeling uncomfortable with the idea, even played for laughs. Between that and killing Agravaine, Merlin seems to have crossed a dark line this season that makes me sad to watch. Also, as much as I enjoy the idea of the people of Camelot as fugitives, the story felt like a rehash of last season's finale. But there's still bright spots in the season with the adorable baby dragon and the superb episode "His Father's Son" in which Arthur truly stepped into the king's shoes and proves himself a far better man than Uther. Things finally get back to normal in "A Servant Of Two Masters", a hilarious tale where enchanted Merlin comes up with way after way to kill Arthur that always fails in the end. The hug was wonderful, as well as Arthur's determination to find Merlin, even if the episode gives me even more reason to hate Morgana, the worst and most evil version of the character yet. "The Secret Sharer" is also incredible, a beautiful glimpse at Arthur and Merlin's future destiny, as well as tender Merlin and Gaius moments and a surprisingly sweet scene with Arthur and Gaius. Arthur and Merlin's banter at the beginning is finally the way it should be, and I couldn't stop giggling through the whole scene. My favorite episode of the season was the deeply moving "Herald Of A New Age", for it's focus on Elyan and the incredible acting from Bradley James during the scene in which Arthur confronts and makes his peace with the spirit. I sobbed when the "child" hugged and forgave him, and the episode was perfect in every way. Next on my list of Arthurian adaptations to watch was the '60s musical Camelot, and once I got past the strangeness of everyone randomly bursting into song I completely fell in love with it. It's a gorgeous, flawless film that manages to capture everything I adore about the love triangle of the legends while not focusing so much on the magic and sorcery. I teared up through most of it, and sobbed at the ending. Arthur came across as somewhat silly at first but he surprised me by turning in a moving performance starting with his heartbreaking monologue when he discovers Lancelot and Guinevere are in love, and by the end of the film I loved his portrayal, capturing Arthur's heart and also his caring for both his wife and knight in the scene where Lancelot saves Guinevere from execution. Guinevere wasn't how I picture her but she did a superb job at the role, and her slowly growing love for Lancelot was beautiful and convincing, as well as perfectly pulling off her tragic last scene. Lancelot was fantastic, one of the very best takes on the role I've seen, managing to carefully balance the flaws and virtues of the knight while making it easy to see why Guinevere would fall in love with him. He had gorgeous blue eyes and a French accent, too, and the scene where he brings the dead knight back to life was so powerful it sent chills up my spine. Following that was King Arthur, the most unusual and fascinating version so far. Despite setting and style being completely shifted, and Arthur as a Roman soldier who leads a ragtag but skilled group of knights, everyone was easily recognizable, with Arthur's strength of character and caring heart shining through. I loved the clever way the film took key moments such as the sword in the stone and made them believable in a historical and non-magical context, and the amount of research and training that went into making the film was impressive, especially how well the actors swordfought. Lancelot, as usual, gets the best scenes and lines, as well as two swords, and his fate, however foreshadowed, deeply saddened me, as did Tristan's tragic and horrific death. I did prefer the alternate ending to the one they used which felt too happy and weak for an otherwise powerful and grim film, but the beautiful scene of the horses running put tears in my eyes. I also loved the costumes and the stunning music, especially the haunting theme. Last, I saw Knights Of The Round Table, an extremely faithful version that finally included Elaine, my favorite female character from Arthurian Legend. She was wonderful, sweet, lovely, and perfectly cast, and my heart ached for her tragic love for Lancelot. The film also finally had Galahad as Elaine's and Lancelot's son, played by the most adorable baby ever, and there was a heart-tugging scene where Guinevere, tears running down her cheeks, picks him up and cuddles him. Percival was also as I imagine him, and I enjoyed his friendship with and trust in Lancelot. My favorite scene was Lancelot throwing Excalibur into the ocean, gorgeous and haunting. 

I finally watched Robin Of Sherwood's season two finale "The Greatest Enemy" which I'd been dreading. I already knew what was going to happen but, as I expected, it didn't make it any easier. It was gut-wrenching to watch, knowing that this time Robin wouldn't get out alive, but his actual death scene was unique and beautifully handled, not letting the viewers actually see Robin die, only the arrows released before cutting to a new scene. I'm still not sure why he didn't kill the sheriff with his last arrow but the way he smiles and shoots it off into the sky was incredibly poignant, as was his goodbye to Marion and the scene between Marion and Much when they realize he's dead. I liked the mirror of the beginning, where the men shoot the arrows and remember Robin each in their own way, showing how he touched each of them. Then I started season three, and despite the fact that I'd already made up my mind to dislike the new guy, I just couldn't. Two episodes and I was already head over heels for him, even if he'll never take Robin of Loxley's place in my heart. But Robert is adorable and so very sweet, and he won me over with how humble he was and determined to never replace Robin as well as how he managed to win each of the men over. I've accepted him as the leader, but he's still Robert and not Robin to me, because Robin of Loxley was Robin Hood, the only one who's ever fit how I imagined and won me over at the first moment. But I love Robert, too, and his episodes are amazing like "The Inheritance" which made me all fangirly over the fantastic combination of Robin Hood and Arthurian Legend when the band defends the castle of Camelot and Robert is asked to protect the round table. He's also adorable with children, and his dimples never fail to make me grin. By the last episode he'd won me over so much he's become my favorite character, and the finale "Time Of The Wolf" broke my heart as much as "The Greatest Enemy" did, only in a different way. It was an unusual but fitting end, somehow, closing Marion's story while still leaving the possibility of a happy ending, and even if I wanted to shake her it was an uncanny parallel to the pilot where she's planning to enter the convent. I heard that if the series had continued Marion would eventually have come to her senses, returned to Robert and married him, and I think to picture that as the ending. There was so much to love in the finale, just the same, with the final flashbacks, the last "nothing's forgotten, nothing is ever forgotten", and especially the adorable scene where Little John, so happy to see Robert alive and well, grabs him from behind in a huge hug that nearly crushes and knocks Robert over, even if he grins back. Robin Of Sherwood left me with a tiny crush on Jason Connery, though, so I've been watching some of his other roles, and it blew my mind to realize he was Dominic in Smallville. I even tolerated the Sixth Doctor to see his episode of Doctor Who "Vengeance On Varos". Six, while still being egotistical and occasionally unfeeling, was surprisingly good to Peri, and I especially liked his approach to rescuing her when he shoots out the controls and then imprints her own identity back on her. The story was refreshingly unique and good, too, about a grim planet where the people's "entertainment" consists of televised torture and executions. Jason Connery's character, Jondar, is a rebel who's been tortured and is moments away from execution when the Doctor and Peri rescue him and his wife who's being held prisoner. The four of them wind up in the midst of a series of deadly traps but manage to escape them all. I couldn't help giggling and shaking my head at the Doctor hauling Peri around like a sack of grain, just like Five carried her but at least he had the excuse of being sick, while Jondar ever so gently carries and sets down his wife. After that was the adorable Puss In Boots, a perfect adaptation of the fairytale and I couldn't stop smiling through the entire film. Jason Connery as Corin looked impossibly young in it, younger than Robert despite it being filmed later, and he was so precious all the way through, cuddling little Puss, singing, dancing, and winning the heart of the princess. Human!Puss was hilarious, too, and I loved how the princess wasn't a damsel in distress and accepted Corin instantly. Then was Casablanca Express, an action WWII adventure that put him as Cooper, a soldier defending a train from Nazis. He was beaten up and wounded and still managed to save the day and I loved his determination as well as felt his anger at how the military leaders used him and the others, including his friend who died, as pawns in a spy game. Best of all, he used a crossbow as his weapon, the first war film I've seen with bows and arrows, and I kept seeing flashes of Robert in him. His girlfriend was awesome, too, tough and able to distract Germans, send radio signals, and still run to him and support him out at the end. I also found the people on the train fascinating, from the talkative little girl to the tragic and touching study of the Arab and the priest.   

I'm working my way through season eight of The X-Files and it's so wrong without Mulder being there with Scully, and her heart breaking is painful to watch. I sobbed when she goes into Mulder's apartment, hugs his shirt, and curls up in his bed. The feel of the series has changed, too, giving it a dark, almost dangerous edge that Mulder and Scully's relationship always lightened, and even the Lone Gunmen and the return of Gibson Praise can't seem to make me feel better. But there's John Doggett, possibly the character with the worst introduction in the history of the show which makes me want to do exactly what Scully does and toss a cup of water in his face, and yet curiously grows on me with each episode. He can't compare to Mulder, of course, but there's a good heart beneath the tough exterior, and he cares about Scully. The more I see of him the more I grow to love him. Scully and he work well together, and even though I'm all the way behind Mulder/Scully, I get why others ship them. The episodes are as good as ever, including the stunning "Invocation" which provides insight into Doggett's past against a haunting storyline. The music alone was enough to make me tear up, and the last part was deeply poignant. Other superb episodes include the deeply moving and unusual "The Gift" which gives Doggett a chance to shine as well as making the "monster" far more human than the humans misusing him. I found the concept of the soul eater fascinating, and Doggett's death freeing the creature was incredibly poignant, as well as Mulder's refusal to add to it's suffering. The season's storyline of Supersoldiers and Mulder's abduction and return is fascinating and very well done, even if it saddens me to see good, caring Billy Myles turned into an alien. Krycek's death was horrible and painful to watch, and as much as I loved him I can't help hating Skinner a little for killing him, since regardless of anything else, Krycek was trying to fight the aliens and save earth.

I discovered films of the Eloise books that I loved as a kid and gave a try to Eloise At Christmastime. It was perfect, as hilarious and adorable as the stories, and the little actress who played Eloise was amazing. I don't think I've ever seen a more talented, believable child actor/actress in anything. I loved her cute relationship with Bill, who was very sweet, and her determination to see him get the girl he loved. Nanny was very funny, too, and so good with Eloise. The plaza was exactly as I'd imagined and everything, all shown from Eloise's point of view, had a wonderful sense of childhood magic. After that was Eloise At The Plaza which was hilarious and nearly as cute as the other. The ending with the water pouring through the mail drop onto Miss Stickler was perfectly done, and I loved the romance subplot against Eloise and Leon's adorable friendship which made me want a grown-up Eloise story where she marries him. I've always had a bit of a weakness for The Three Musketeers and finally got around to seeing a film version from 1993. While not faithful by any means it was fun and perfectly cast and I grinned through almost all of it. Aramis was always my favorite and I loved him here, a perfect mix of priest and warrior. D'Artagnan was a little young but cute and quite the fighter. I loved his backflips during the swordfight, and how he finally manages to get the guy who killed his father and win the girl at the same time. The ending was hilarious and perfect. I also watched the 2011 version, and while I vastly prefer the '93 one, especially it's more indepth picture of the musketeers, I loved the steampunk and pirate feel of the film, especially the amazing airships. In other new films I saw The Other Boleyn Girl which, while playing fast and loose with history, was a gorgeous, deeply poignant tale. I've always been interested in Mary so it was a treat to see a portrayal of her, and I loved and mourned for George. Anne was nothing like I'd imagined, but it was easy to see how she'd capture the king's eye, and I grew to both like and pity her by the end. Henry the Eighth was much as I'd pictured: enigmatic, handsome, and obsessed with the hope of a male heir. I adored William Stafford and loved that he and Mary found happiness in the end. The costumes and settings were gorgeous, and the ending poignant. After that was 2009's Star Trek, a surprisingly good reboot. I liked Jim a lot, and Chekov was precious, both wonderful characters. Everyone seemed more realistic and human as well, and the special effects were stunning, everything in space coming to life. Star Trek Into Darkness was even better, a dazzling, special effects-laden tale with a heart. I loved the parallels between Jim saving Spock at the beginning to Jim's sacrifice, and Spock, who I thought was all right in the first film completely won me over, as well as shattering my heart in the scene where he cries, and then puts his hand up in the salute against Jim's through the glass. Chekov was a darling, worrying me terribly when he wore a red shirt through much of the film, so I was happy to see him switch back in the end, but I loved him coming to the rescue. Scotty was hilarious, Bones was wonderful, figuring out how to save Jim - I loved that the tribble lived, too! - and Khan was a terrifying villain. Next was the adorable and touching Heart and Souls which had me laughing hysterically one minute and tearing up the next. The conclusion was beautiful, the singing fun, and Robert Downey Jr. was both hilarious and completely adorable, as well as showing an incredible range of talent. After that was the sweet and touching The Decoy Bride which made me tear up and laugh by turns as James and Katie's adorable relationship grew. Next was the gorgeous Warm Bodies which was nothing like I'd expected. It was a little scary, for sure, but I didn't expect such a beautiful love story, or a moving, hopeful ending. I adored R and how he slowly became alive, as well as his relationship with Julie, and the outcome was poignant and deeply touching as the humans all brought the zombies to life. Then was the unusual and haunting Memoirs Of A Geisha which was a tragic but hopeful story. The characters fascinated me and the voice-over and scenery was beautiful. Next was the surprisingly spooky The Happening, the last of M. Night Shyamalan's films I hadn't seen. Creepy moments aside, though, it had the hallmarks of his films: everyday people thrown in extraordinary circumstances who come together. I loved watching the characters grow and change, and despite the jolting, bittersweet ending, I enjoyed the plot. Next was Jack The Giant Slayer, a quite faithful and entertaining version of the fairytale. Nicholas Hoult was excellent at the role, making me love Jack for the first time ever, and I liked the added romance plot as well as the background of the giants's war and the magical crown, and I loved both Isabelle and Elmont, as well as the cute, intriguing ending. Next was the 2000s remake of The Time Machine which impressed and disappointed me on various levels, both as a fan of the book and of the 1960 version. Unlike Rod Taylor's instantly appealing time traveler, Guy Pearce took a while to grow on me, but his transition from somewhat geeky and awkward professor to hero of the story, and I liked that Mara, unlike the more innocent, child-like Weena, was able to hold her own, protect her brother, and even try to rescue Alexander. The world was more richly detailed, with the new elements of the fragmented moon, and the unique nest-like houses that the future people lived in I loved the happy ending, overlapping the two time periods and providing closure for Alexander's housekeeper, and the added background story of Alexander losing his first love was an interesting touch. I also adored the nods to the original film such as the design of the machine, the clocks, Alan Young's cameo, and the fact that the film was directed by HG Wells' own great-grandson which made for some fascinating ideas. After that was the moving and unusually haunting Jakob The Liar which found surprisingly beautiful. Robin Williams was startingly good as Jakob, a perfect mix of gentleness and quite resistance against the Nazis, all while keeping everyone's spirits up. I loved the simplicity of the story, Jakob's friendship with Lina, and the fairytale-like ending that left their fate up to your mind..I'd like to go with what I saw because it made me happy to think Mischa and his fiancee survived and would go on to care for and raise Lina.

In new animated films I saw the quite adorable Turbo. I loved the title character and his friendships with both the people and other snails. The story was cute, and the race was perfect, as well as the wonderful ending. Next was The Swan Princess III: Mystery Of The Enchanted Treasure, a cute and lovely sequel to the fabulous The Swan Princess. I loved seeing life in the castle post their marriage - too bad they didn't add in a little child for them, though - and the story was both funny and touching, poignant in parts such as Derek's grief when he thinks he's lost Odette, and hilarious in the scenes like the tango dance. I followed that with The Swan Princess II: Escape From Castle Mountain, and I loved Derek's mother getting a larger role, as well as Jean-Bob finally getting to turn into a prince if only for one scene. I loved the song "The Magic Of Love", and Derek and Odette's romance, while a little shaky at first, quickly found it's footing as she saved him over and over and he rescued her. After that was Bartok the Magnificent, a spin-off to Anastasia which, while failing to live up to it's gorgeous original film, still managed to be quite entertaining, mostly due to it's darling hero. Next was the beautifully animated Joseph King Of Dreams, a touching story with lovely and clever moments - I especially loved the tree that grew in the dungeon, and his future wife bringing him food in prison - that I really enjoyed. Last was the touching fantasy The Nutcracker Prince. Pavlova was endearing, Hans and Clara's friendship was adorable, and I loved the happy ending.
 
 
calliope tune: "Total Eclipse Of The Heart"-Bonnie Tyler
feeling: calm
 
 
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.
 
 
feeling: amused
calliope tune: "Suspicion"-Terry Stafford
 
 
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!
 
 
calliope tune: "Toast and Marmalade For Tea"-TinTin
feeling: indifferent
 
 
Kathleen
Since I first heard his voice on the old radio series to films and tv series glasses-wearing Clark Kent never fails to steal my heart away, lately in Smallville, a series I somehow missed and spent the past week catching up on, one that's very similar to another series I love The Powers Of Matthew Star, with a teenage alien survivor of a destroyed world coming into his powers while he's struggling with high school. I was skeptical at first because the cast is outrageously pretty, but if all aliens look this good I'd like to discover one in a cornfield, too. What I always love best is the early scenes with Martha and Jonathan (Daniel from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman!) since I've always felt that they must have been wonderful parents to have brought up a son like Clark, and here I finally get what I've wanted, to see all the family moments, the homespun life, the "were you ever afraid of me?" moment, Clark's powers being unable to save his father, Clark throwing a wild party while his parents are away (he's so human at times), and Jonathan's adorable comment about Clark's temper tantrums punching holes in the wall. Clark is remarkably similar in appearance and mannerisms to the films' versions, and he convincingly pulls off the struggling teenager already shouldering the weight of the world in addition to every kid's problems of growing up and falling in love for the first time, and I really like Whitney who gets pushed to the background but deserves better. Lex gets depth, a backstory, a first meeting with Clark who saves his life, and a redeeming side which makes it even more of a tragedy to know what he'll become. The cape on the school's mascot, a painted red S on Clark's chest during an end-of-year hazing, a kryptonite necklace, and a vision of Lex's future set the stage for years to come. At it's heart, despite the thrills and lightning speed, Smallville is an uncomplicated look at the events and people that would shape the boy with powers into the superhero. I skipped ahead a bit to see Oliver Queen, and still haven't gotten off the floor. Where do they find these unearthly gorgeous people?

I'm in the final season of Daniel Boone where the show turns into a musical. Daniel sings. Josh sings. Mason sings. Guest characters sing. And the theme's singers conclude that they're the Lovin' Spoonful and transform it into a western rock n roll song. To think Mingo was in four seasons and sang, what, three times at most, and the instant he's gone they decide to become musical? I miss Mingo, he's been my favorite since the first episode, such a compelling character and I wish they'd at least given a reason for his disappearance. Jimmy Dean is now renamed Josh, Gideon and his son Little Dan'l from last season and young sailor Mason, reintroduced the second time as if he hasn't been there before show up now and then. It's a good but darker season so far, especially the opening episode "Flag Of Truce" and the delightful east-meets-west tale "The Dandy".

I spent most of the week skimming through The Virginian season 5 and was left confused, due to the fact I think the writers forgot which season they last did over the summer. For one the sheriff is not only mysteriously alive again but Ryker is his deputy instead of being sheriff as he was last season after the sheriff died. Ryker is gone from the first half of the season which makes it even stranger. The writers also forgot both Morgan Starr and Jennifer, beginning the season as if Betsy and the Judge have just left (and they've left everything they owned too), and giving no reason for Randy being gone without a mention, almost as if season four never existed. On the bright side that's a happy thought, if four was only a dream season than perhaps Betsy married Randy instead and the two of then are living happily back east. Liz is sweet but overtly an attempt to replace Betsy with the same hairstyle, same clothes, a bond with Trampas that doesn't feel as natural as Betsy's, and Stacy, who seemed the most promising at first, was reduced to spending half his episodes in jail by the season's end. I don't like John Grainger, he's too harsh to warm to like the Judge and lacks the dark complexity that makes Morgan Starr intriguing. Several episodes are near copies of the first seasons and only a couple have the series' trademarks: emotion, light moments, and guest characters you care about. Trampas gets the couple good episodes, the gorgeous "Sue Ann" and the incredible "An Echo Of Thunder", both of which recapture the feel of the original seasons, but he's only in about a third of the season if that, and even the Virginian is gone more than he's around. It doesn't even feel like The Virginian anymore and I desperately miss Randy's accent and little songs to cheer me up. I'll hope for better things from season six, I suppose. The final season came out before six so I gave a try to nine, another year of changes, surprisingly all for the better. Now called The Men From Shiloh, appropriate since it works more on the rotating stars format, there's a whistling, spaghetti-western melody and title sequence filled with 1800s-looking photographs. I've never been a fan of the ride-in and haven't liked the intro since three but this one grabs me instantly. There may not have been a lot of westerns in the 1970s but what there were are stunning. Stewart Granger is Alan MacKenzie, Englishman and final owner of Shiloh, and at last there's a lead who measures up to the Judge, a firm but kind man, and easy to warm to. Trampas, complete with an unflattering mustache that's one of the very few regrets this season, and a somewhat tougher antihero version of The Virginian are the only familiar faces, but unlike five I never find myself longing for others. New is a ranch hand in the form of Lee Majors, bringing with him all the charisma of Heath and pulling off his own mustache with somewhat more finesse than Trampas, as Tate, a mysterious drifter with a troubled past who Alan saves from a lynch mob and gradually learns to trust. If his name wasn't enough to endear me to him, Tate is a mix of quiet sensitivity with a dark side, a strange man prone to answer every question with a question of his own. After a couple seasons of bland, carbon copy characters, Tate is a welcome jolt, unique and impossible not to love. Nine comes as a breath of fresh air, going back to it's long-forgotten roots and drawing all the things that made the series' early years so great: a jaw-dropping list of guest stars (including the wonderful and underrated Monte Markham as a good-hearted gun for hire), fascinating characters, intricate plots, movie quality filming, and an authentic western feel. I'm at a loss to understand why this was the final season but I'm grateful that the series went out on such a high note.

I finally got Maverick season one! I had a crossover moment with "Rope Of Cards" when Bret made "five pat hands" and since Maverick came before Alias Smith and Jones I'd like to think Heyes learned the trick from him. I saw a trivia note that every deck of cards in the US sold out the day after the episode aired, so other people must have wanted to try it out, too. My favorite episode was the incredible and complex murder mystery "The Naked Gallows" in which Bart gets to shine as well as show off his skill of observation, and I like the backstory of the debt with wounded Bart saved by Clete. Bart, serious and more unique, has always been my favorite and I love him even more now that I'm seeing his episodes instead of only the ones with both brothers. There's a tv version of King's Row with Jack Kelly as Paris and Robert Horton as Drake that I'd love to get my hands on, but it seems to have vanished into the 50s. Still the idea of the casting makes me very happy.

I'm watching the two pilots of The Six Million Dollar Man and there's quite a difference between them. Steve Austin is an astronaut test pilot who lost an arm, both legs, and an eye in a crash, along with his will to live. But his second chance at life comes from two very different people: a compassionate nurse who stops him from pulling out his oxygen and is determined to help him regain his hope, and the head of the OSI who sees Steve as an expendable project he can always replace. Between them, Steve becomes the first cyborg, part human, part machine, far stronger and faster than he was before, and owned body and soul by the OSI who've sunk six million dollars into rebuilding him, and demand he pay back that debt by doing assignments for the government, work in which no ordinary human could survive. The first pilot delves into Steve's reaction to being little more than a machine, showing how people fear him when they find out, and how he's unwilling to begin any relationships. There's also a chilling bit at the end where the man comments that it would be interesting if they could keep Steve asleep all the time and only wake him up for each assignment. He says it like a joke but it comes across very dark. The second pilot takes an entirely different route and has Steve quickly accepting, even delighting, in his newfound abilities as he jokes about them, flirts with several women, and tricks a guard by crushing his gun. Oscar, played by a different actor, is now less mercenary and even has a line he won't cross, and the story morphs into a superhuman spy saga instead of the character study it could have been. Of course, there's so little of Steve before he's injured that it's hard to know what his personality is but I felt there should have been more transition scenes where he gets used to everything as opposed to the sudden acceptance. It's fun, but I can't help wishing they'd stuck to the original idea.

I went on a marathon of all things Camelot, starting with the miniseries Merlin, an odd spin on the tale but one that deserves praise for it's poignant look at Merlin's memories and the events that shaped him. The opening and ending were especially sad and beautiful, and the sword in the stone scene was exactly as I'd pictured. Next was First Knight, a unique and lovely take on the legends. While Arthur isn't how I picture him looks wise he's the exact personality I've always imagined, a deeply kind and just king his men would follow anywhere, a good man who gives everything and doesn't mind lowering himself to the simple act of giving Lancelot his shirt after it dried. Lancelot, too, isn't exactly the noble knight of usual, but he has a good heart and a tragic past that drives him to care nothing about his life. There's a beautiful and haunting scene where Lancelot is forced to face his demons when he comes across a burning church like the one in which his family died, and he's able to save the people inside. The knights are mostly background but very believable, I loved the unusual armor, the sword fighting is stunning, there's a breathtaking jump off a waterfall, some pretty scenery, and the church is perfect to what I imagine. Following that was Merlin. I've always had quite a different picture of Merlin, a strong, older warrior teaching and guiding Arthur, yet this version greatly surprised me, with a fragile vulnerability in looks and mannerisms but somehow inner strength shining through, contrasting with a frail appearance and adding a lot of quiet depth to him, and he has high cheekbones and ears, oh, yes. Season one so far and officially took over my life, reading my mind and giving me everything I want and then some, all with a '90s vibe that leaves me in a nostalgic, grinning stupor. There's whump, thatched-roof cottages, quests, accents, neckerchiefs, magical glowy eyes, plenty of swordfights, and the hilarious Children In Need special featuring Merlin's microwave dinner, Arthur's teddy bear, and Uther on a cell phone. I'm not sure if Arthur is improving or if I'm just getting used to him but he's steadily growing on me; scrape the surface off and there's a golden heart underneath. I get the feeling that he never had friends so he simply doesn't know how to form relationships with anyone, but he's learning, slowly but surely. Somewhere between where he lets the thief leave with the food and when he drinks both goblets to save Merlin in "The Labyrinth of Gedref" I realized he was awesome. Who can resist that infectious laugh, even if somebody should put that boy in the sunshine, he's pale as a ghost. Merlin is getting sweeter with every episode, so self-sacrificing, dorky, and gentle that it's impossible not to love him instantly and melt at his smile. His little speech about being happy to be Arthur's servant until the day he dies tears me up. He needs to get more credit for what he does. Merlin and Hunith's relationship is one of the most beautiful relationships ever; she needs to be in more episodes. I finished season two now and I'm even more in love with it than before as I spend half the time laughing and the other half in tears. Arthur has become my third favorite, kind heart underneath the attitude more evident now, and he's got quite a flair for the comedy moments; even his expressions can put me in stitches. Merlin and he have a quirky sort of friendship, for all the way Arthur bosses him around, and I love how Merlin can sneak his magic around him from stealing food right off his plate to overheating his bath, and get away with teasing him. I ship Lancelot/Gwen, but I like the direction Arthur and her romance is taking. I was skeptical of Mordred because of the storyline changing from Arthur and Morgana's son to a Druid boy, but he's coming along, with enough eerie powers and disconcerting glances to make me shiver. Merlin and Gaius's friendship is beautiful, and I love how they're willing to do anything to save each other. My favorite episode of the season was the heartbreaking "Lady Of The Lake". The first romance episode of a series always remains my favorite, because I never expect it as much as the later ones, but this one was the best one I've ever seen. Freya was so perfect for Merlin and I imagined that when Merlin fell in love he'd use his magic to make beautiful things for the girl, and I was right, with the flames and adorable rose. "The Last Dragonlord" made me bawl my eyes out for Merlin. He never fails to break my heart everytime he tears up - man, can that actor cry - and I just want to hug him when he looks so sad and frail. Last was The Mists Of Avalon, the haunting and heartbreakingly beautiful look at the women behind Arthur's destiny. Lancelot was wonderful, and the music is exactly as it should be. From Arthur's crowning to the poignant final scene there's so much depth in this version that I'm still reeling, and finally a perfect Mordred, both villian and pawn, used and tormented by fate and the people around him. The scene where he reveals his identity is incredible and when he kills Arthur with his cheekbones of doom I couldn't help crying.

I finished season two of The X-Files and Mulder keeps breaking my heart. He comes across as the strong one at first with his dark, quick humor and answers for everything but he's so wounded that I keep wanting to hug him. Scully and he spent the first part of the season apart, followed by a handful of episodes where she was taken and returned dying. Even her family was giving up on her and Mulder still stuck it out, fighting to keep her alive. Their relationship keeps slowly growing, and it's to the point where they exchange all these gentle hugs or a pat on the head.

I saw "Muted Rifles, Muffled Drums " in A Man Called Shenandoah and now the writers are just being mean. If it wasn't bad enough he can't remember who he is, was almost lynched, shot twice, and left to die in the cold wilderness, now he's being court-martialed. In the end if he wasn't the officer than why wouldn't he have paid attention to his uniform in the photograph? At least he finally has a list of names to work from. I'm doubtful there's a conclusion but I keep hoping and sticking by my theory that Shenandoah is actually Flint McCullough and that's what became of him after he left Wagon Train. I'm on "Aces and Kings" now where another piece of Shenandoah snaps into place as it's revealed he was once a gambler or cardsharp from the way he handles a deck, more to his own surprise than anyone else's. At the end he's off to visit a man named Frank McCulloughm. I heard it fast as "McCullough" and I like to think the m was only a slip. He's got to be Flint, there's so many ways in which they overlap. Branded "Call To Glory" was amazing! It would have been an excellent final episode since it tied everything up and gave Jason some absolution, even if it didn't clear him. I loved how he managed to convince the commander of his mission.

I started the second season of Laredo which picks up the misadventures of Reese, Chad, and Joe, and tosses a new ranger into the mix, silky accented, devilishly charming Erik Hunter whose talents are only equaled by his atrocious sense of fashion. He's delightfully proud of his style of dress, though, and nothing outrages him more than a torn sleeve on his new shirt. In all fairness - hot pink smoking jacket, lavender shirt, and blue paisley vest and hat aside - his peculiar wardrobe is oddly endearing. Any other man would look downright ridiculous. Erik somehow manages, despite appearing like he borrows from a circus clown, to pull off the look, and fits like a piece I didn't know was missing into the group. As much as I love westerns their perpetuity for introducing fantastic characters in the final season and then cancelling the series before I really get to know them frustrates me to pieces, but they're a treat for the time they're there.

I've been rewatching Lawman and noticing all the parallels with Johnny Ringo: a young deputy taken under the wing of an older lawman, Cully's father being dead and Johnny burying the marshal being the introduction between lawman and deputy, the first episode starting with the two at odds before growing into a friendship, a little brother-big sister relationship between deputy and each lawman's girlfriend, and a close friend of the lawman being killed partway into each series. It makes me wish there'd been a crossover where Johnny and Dan were injured or unable to leave and Cully and Johnny had to join forces to bring someone in.

I finished seeing each era of Doctor Who with the last three. Four's was "Logopolis", picked out of wanting to see Tegan's introduction as well as Five's, who doesn't speak at all but smiles beautifully. Four doesn't appeal to me, as much as I like his fashion sense, and he's a bit too detached for what I like. I can't fathom Five ever snapping at his companions when they offer advice, he depends on their ideas and help far too much, and they seem to fit much better with Five which proves my theory that each companion is tailor-made for only one doctor (Rose for Nine). I can't wrap my mind around Four and Turlough being in the same TARDIS together, Four would never have given him the patient trust Five gave. Five is my Doctor and I love him to tiny bits. But the plot was quite interesting even if all old Masters annoy me. For some reason Ten-era Master is so brilliantly diabolical and tragic that I love him. Four has something of a let-down as far as regenerations go, since Five died for Peri, Nine died for Rose, Ten died for Wilfred, and Four dies because his scarf gets tangled up. Well, not quite, but still it's all a bit anticlimactic. But I did a little cheer when Five's face started to appear in those early, swirly-fade-in regenerations. Then came Seven, with the serial "Battlefield", and, whoa, trippy retro intro, I love it! Seven's clothes are awesome, especially the question mark sweater. Seven is an odd mix of goofiness and near-violent outbursts, but by the end of it I liked him. He's got a quirky style - the part where he walks through the middle of the swordfight and tips his hat cracked me up - and he's sweet as can be to Ace, not one of my favorite companions but he works well with her for the most part, and the Brigadier was in it which more than makes up for anything else. Ancelyn and Bambera were hilarious together; they should have been recurring characters. The premise of the Doctor dealing with Camelot and mysterious hints to his future raises as many questions as it does answers as it happily plays with time in the scenes where the Doctor finds instructions in a rune and a written note from a future regeneration of himself. I wish they'd film that as an episode to tie it all together. Then there's the moment where Ancelyn mistakes the Doctor for Merlin and as the episode goes on I start thinking that it's not a mistake after all. There's hints that in some future regeneration the Doctor becomes him since the voiceprints programmed to respond to Merlin's voice answer to the Doctor, Morgaine's mind commands to Merlin are heard and answered by him, and even the Doctor supposes at the possibility. "Are you Merlin?" "No. But I could be. In the future. That is, my personal future. Which could be the past." Three was my last "new" Doctor. I grew fond of him while watching "The Five Doctors" so I was looking forward to actually seeing a serial, "The Time Warrior", a Middle Ages invasion where the Doctor and Sarah Jane meet. While I have a pairing for each Doctor, Sarah Jane is the only companion who I ship with nearly every Doctor, and if ever there was a companion that was a soul mate for him it's her. I would happily have seen her travel with every regeneration. Three is a superb Doctor and fourth in my favorites, behind Five, Ten, and Nine. He's got a lovely warm and in-charge personality, and I adore how he isn't afraid to throw himself into a fight, knock guards out, and even shoot a crossbow. I liked the offbeat intro, too, goes with him, and his era has a steampunk feel, with his ideas, gadgets, and style of dress. Plus he's got one of the best companions ever so he has everything going for him. I'll have to watch more of his episodes. I adore oldWho. Anyone who didn't grow up on it is missing something special as nothing can compare to the warm fuzzies from the old painted props, slow-moving plots, old-fashioned special effects, and, of course, the colorful and cheerful way the TARDIS used to look, like a candyland labyrinth. It's like nostalgia with a cherry on top. I saw The Sarah Jane Adventures "The Death Of The Doctor" and was surprised by how good it was, a great plot and the right mix of drama and humor. I could like Eleven if the series was still under the same production as Nine's and Ten's excellent eras; I didn't like SM's view of Ten in the episodes he wrote, too much cold glitz and not enough emotional heart, which comes out even more in Eleven's era. And a change of companions would make a world of difference. Sarah Jane, Jo, and the kids smooth all the rough edges off the egotism and rudeness and there's far more emotion and tenderness in his speeches here than in any episodes of his I've seen, as well as vision of his character. I loved the beautiful moment when he says he went back and saw all of his old companions and was proud of them; that seemed like the doctors I love and not a stranger using the name. I haven't seen much of Jo before but she's hilarious here, and she and Sarah Jane make an awesome team, convinced the Doctor was alive even when everything seemed to prove he wasn't. The best part was when Sarah Jane talked about some of the early companions, especially Tegan because if only she had gotten to see Ten or any of the new Doctors again I would never want another thing from Doctor Who.

I saw the adorable film Her Highness And The Bellboy which plays like a 1940s fairytale. Jimmy is a sweet, rather naive bellboy at a hotel who spends his meager tips on making Leslie, the fragile and invalid young woman who lives a floor above his room, laugh, the only medicine that seems to help her. And when he's not doing that he has his hands full keeping his pal, Albert, out of trouble with the law, as well as holding down his job. Jimmy's life takes a sudden detour, however, when he mistakes the visiting Princess Veronica for a maid and takes her on an impromptu tour of the city, delighting her so much she hires him as her personal bellhop for the length of her stay. Jimmy instantly gets stars in his eyes, failing to see that she's secretly pining for a reporter, and mistaking her kindness for love he begins neglecting his friends, blind to the fact that Leslie is in love with him. When Veronica finds herself queen and Jimmy mistakes her invitation for him to be her servant as a marriage proposal, both of them must decide who they truly love and whether duty or the heart should lead their decisions. It's a delightful and sweet film, highlighted by the heartwarming talents of June Allyson and Robert Walker, always wonderful and playing off each other beautifully, and Jimmy's hilarious way of clearing a room, complete with that mysterious old lingo kids used to speak. I saw Tangled! I adored Eugene, such a hilarious and colorful hero. I was a bit surprised to discover they'd changed the prince into a thief but after about five seconds I couldn't imagine it any other way. Rapunzel was adorably overactive, and despite my misgivings about the animation style I warmed up to it quickly due to the beauty of the dancing and lantern scenes as well as the heartbreaking moment with Rapunzel's tear. The end was magic. I also saw Tangled Ever After, the adorable short film sequel, and it was even more wonderful and hilarious than the original, if that's possible. I loved how absurd everything was, how everything possible went wrong, and yet Eugene and Rapunzel were almost completely unaware of anything. Also the wedding was perfect, leaving me wanting a sequel where they have children.

My library turns up some incredible stuff from it's basement, including A Fall Of Moondust, with the feel of old paper, and that wonderfully musty smell. It's a disaster epic, with a romance and lovely imagery, on the moon about a ship buried beneath moondust and the people hoping for a rescue as those outside attempt to locate them before the oxygen runs out.
 
 
feeling: busy
calliope tune: "Gypsy Woman"-Brian Hyland
 
 
Kathleen
11 May 2012 @ 10:46 pm
Title: And Eden Fell; The Hand That Rocks The Cradle; For Each Man Kills The Thing He Loves; What Was Washed Away Before
Fandom: Merlin
Summary: Glimpses of the women behind the destinies. Camelot didn't fall in a day. Instead it crumbled slowly, and none of them could do anything to save it.
Genre: tragedy, angst, romance
Characters: Gwen, Merlin, Arthur, Hunith, Vivienne, Uther, Gorlois, Morgause, Morgana, Gaius, Ygraine, Freya, mentions of Lancelot and Balinor
Pairings: Arthur/Morgana, Arthur/Gwen, Lancelot/Gwen, Merlin/Gwen, Merlin/Freya, Balinor/Hunith
Warnings: pre and post-series, character and child death, violence, a mix of tv and legends

None of us can choose our destiny, Merlin. And none of us can escape it. )
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feeling: intimidated
calliope tune: "Pilot Of The Airwaves"-Charlie Dore