Kathleen
24 August 2015 @ 12:38 am
There's been some pilots for upcoming shows that have come out early, so I've gotten to try a few I was interested in. The first was Minority Report which I was a little skeptical of because I loved the movie, but fortunately it's a sequel rather than a remake. It also focuses on one of the characters I felt the movie failed to do much with: the precog Dash, ten years older than the end of the film. Here he's on his own, trying to help the people he sees in his visions, and he's a likeable mix of innocent and cute - I loved his little asides and warnings to people as he walks around. It wasn't the strongest pilot but it showed promise, both in its relationships and its set up storyline of Dash's search to find his missing twin. The other pilot was Lucifer which in all honestly I expected nothing from and watched out of boredom, but ended up loving best of all. It's fabulous to see Tom Ellis in something again, and he brings a dark charm to the role. I love how the show never seems to take itself seriously, and thus far strikes a perfect balance between sinister moments and humor. I also love the banter between Chloe and Lucifer, and how she's the only one he's unable to influence. Trixie is precious and I hope to see more of her, too.

Season two of The Flash has begun, with a cast shakeup and a somewhat different feel, while still being enjoyable so far. With his father thankfully freed but moved on, Barry is less driven and sadly more cynical than last season, with a lot of his innocence and faith gone after Wells's betrayal and the loss of two of his friends. I miss Eddie terribly, since he brought a lot of life to the show, and I loved his friendships with Joe and Barry. Iris seems to have moved on completely, more so than Barry, which is odd, but I do love that her friendship - and maybe more - is back with Barry, and Joe and Barry's relationship is as heart-warming as ever. Ronnie's death seemed needless and odd, but I'm glad Martin Stein has been getting more scenes as his friendship with Cisco, as well as having a supportive older adult around Star Labs, is a treat. New this season is Earth 2's Flash, Jay, and he seems nice enough so far, even if his retro helmet is more exciting than his personality. I'm not pleased by Caitlin practically drooling over him, though, considering Ronnie's only been dead a short time. Also new is Patty, who seems sweet but is so overtly a love interest and annoyingly over-eager and peppy I can't seem to warm to her character, and Jax who I actually loved and look forward to seeing more of.

Also current is season two of Z Nation which is enjoyable, although lacking some of the carefree fun of last season. While even more creative, unique, and often hilarious in it's plots, zombie kills, and settings - my personal favorite being the giant cheese wheel so far - there's more tragedy as well, highlighted by the loss of several characters, notably Serena, who was delightfully fierce and sadly under-used, Cassandra, who I expected but still held out hope that after a season and more being used by one person after another, she might finally get a break and become an interesting character, and worst of all Mack, who was not only my favorite in the whole show, but also the sweetest, most flawless character. To fill the gap there's Vasquez, and his sad backstory, dubious loyalties, and chemistry with Warren have endeared me to him quickly.

I discovered the short-lived series John Doe and fell in love with it and it's intriguing and sweet protagonist. It's the kind of show that's right up my alley - quirky, addictive, and offbeat, and I love John's extensive knowledge, mysterious past, and the oddity that he sees a few random things in color and everything else in black and white.

I've working my way through the brilliant but short-lived Miracles and it's amazing, a perfect mix of poignant character sketches and compelling, even chilling fantasy. Most of the episodes are moving, and some, like the scene where a husband discovers his disabled wife has been trying to tell him how much she loves him, or when Paul finally lays a little girl ghost to rest, leave me in tears. Paul, the protagonist, played by the extremely talented actor Skeet Ulrich, is a different sort of character than is usually found in these sort of shows - instead of the quirky nerd modern sci-fi seems so fond of, he's a gentle and kind person who cares deeply about helping the people he meets. The guest actors are always superb, beginning with the nuanced performance of the little boy who plays Tommy, the child healer who sacrifices his life to save a dying Paul's, and reoccurs as a troubled ghost from time to time.

I stumbled across the intriguing time travel series Seven Days, and while it took a bit, I ended up loving Parker, as well as the concept and style of the show.

I re-watched the pilot for the failed remake of The Time Tunnel since I hadn't seen it since I bought my DVDs of the original show years ago. The last time I watched it I was too distracted by paperwork to do more than fume a bit over Tony being a woman and everything being modern, but this time I gave it an honest try and was pleasantly surprised. It's a little rough, as many pilots are, but despite all the changes I was impressed by how well they actually captured the characters. Despite making Tony a woman, a lot of her character traits were familiar: her quickly formed bond with Doug, determination to save and help everyone even if it means bending the rules like letting the boy stay with the woman who cared about him, and her loss of a family she loved, all things essentially a part of the original Tony's character. Likewise the controllers at the Time Tunnel are the original blend of would be savior with slight hints of mad scientist over-reaching where they shouldn't and maybe even willing to sacrifice the travelers if necessary. Happily Doug was the best part. Ironically, although Tony is my favorite, I adore Doug, usually taking his POV in my fanfic, and relate to him in many ways, so one of the lines struck me; when Doug is told by his dying friend who he no longer remembers that he was "the loneliest guy" he knew. That was so perfectly original Doug. Underneath the knowledge and determination there's just this incredibly deep loneliness that always made me think that if he didn't have or lost Tony he'd have no one at all, since odds are he'll never get back to Ann. I would have loved to see a glimpse of the other new Doug, the one who didn't have the family, to see if he was the way I imagine, but it definitely gave me so many plotbunnies of an AU version. But still I adored his little family - his wife and cute kids - and was thrilled when they remained at the end, even when time was set back, even though I was sad that that meant Tony didn't regain her lost family, too. I loved David Conrad as Doug, too, since he was very believable as a modern day version of the original character.

I've been working my way through The Legend of William Tell this week, which I'd been meaning to see more of for ages, and once I got past the first two or three shaky episodes it settled into a comfortable, entertaining show. I love William. He's a unique sort of hero, young, impetuous, occasionally bratty, and not above making the wrong choice. He can be annoying at times, extremely easy to relate to at others, and I adore his constant impatience with Kalen. His team is likewise imperfectly yet easy to love: bossy yet good-hearted Vara who's friendship with William is one of my favorite things in the series, cute and wolfish child Drogo whose desire to grow up often causes the band trouble, hot-tempered, cat-like Aruna who commonly disobeys orders and is both a equal match for and romantic interest of William's. Only Leon, good and kind to a fault, seems a typical hero. The world building is quite fantastic, with an assortment of peoples all backed by the ever gorgeous scenery of New Zealand, and the one shot characters are easy to become invested in. Although it only ran a season the story tied up beautifully in the end in a satisfying, and adorable finale. I couldn't help grinning as Vara takes the throne with Leon and Drogo by her side, and William gets his little farm (it always broke my heart that all he really wanted was his home, not wealth or fame). But best of all, he marries Aruna who gets adorably assigned as his protector by Vara, a role she's basically played since the beginning.

I gave a try to the movie Lost In Space and was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't nearly as bad as everyone claims, and even included some fascinating elements. For one, I loved that Dr. Smith was completely evil instead of goofy - something I always loathed in the show - and his transformation into monster and near control of Will was fascinating. I loved the simple but effective sci-fi tech, especially Don's awesome helmet, the unusual medical bay, and the creepy spiders. While Maureen still had little to do, I liked John being more responsible for his family, and I loved the more tight-knit family unit - Don included - that formed during their adventures. I loved all the nods to the original show like the cameos, and the faithfulness of the characters - Penny's love for animals, Robot's catch phrase, and more. I also liked the enhancement of some elements, such as glimpses of Penny's crush on Don with a cute scene between them - I always shipped them far more than Don/Judy - and Judy being a much more intelligent, likeable character than in the show. Don, too, is a delight, capturing the cute mannerisms of show!Don - the wink was so much like him - and the intense hatred for Smith - I cheered when he punched him - while getting more of an action hero role and relationship with the characters other than Judy. I also enjoyed the time travel aspect, and the emotion when adult Will sees his family together again.

I finally saw the movie version of Dark Shadows and despite my dread it was surprisingly fun. It's far from a perfect version, to be sure, but it's a quirky, funny, and often clever spoof of and tribute to the original series. The house was amazing, and the characters intriguing and offbeat, making up for weaknesses in the plot, and the special effects were nicely done without being over the top.

I finally got to see The Avengers: Age Of Ultron and despite my very low expectations I ended up genuinely enjoying it. It's not the best Marvel film by any stretch, but it's definitely not the worst, and ultimately I view it as a good film whose writers made a few very regrettable decisions. The first of these was Natasha's horribly OOC character. Gone is the "love is for children" and the carefully guarded heart of gold beneath a seemingly emotionless exterior, with the writers having given her a personality change in the form of practically throwing herself at Bruce even when it's obvious that he's not ready to jump into a relationship. While I love romances in movies and could even buy Natasha having grown more comfortable and warmed up to the idea of love, Bruce comes out of left field as her love interest. The two barely interacted last movie - the main scene together being him in Hulk form attempting to kill her - and seem awkward and unconvincing around each other. Honestly, even as much of a Clint/Natasha shipper as I am I would have been fine with - loved even! - a Steve/Natasha romance which would have made far more sense. Or even Sam/Natasha who at least had potential last movie together. Even worse than reducing Natasha to a flirting love interest is the way the writers base her feeling of self worth on her inability to have children, leaving me wincing and appalled at her comparing herself to a monster just because she was sterilized against her will. To me this completely degraded her character by having the writers portray her as nothing since she can't have kids, and tearing down the strong yet caring woman of the previous films who easily held her own as the only woman on the team. Also there's Bruce. I'm obviously biased as I dislike both the actor who portrays him and basically any version that isn't Bill Bixby, but there was a lot of inconsistency in his portrayal, with one scene where the Hulk is seemingly unable to understand anything and then his last scenes where he's calm enough to rescue Natasha and even understand how to pilot the craft while in Hulk form. As Bruce, he's tragic but gets zero character growth, even losing the little confidence he seemed to gain last movie and then runs out on everybody at the end. And other than Tony he seems to barely interact or even fit with the other Avengers, leaving him the weak link in the group. In other low spots Pepper and Jane's absences are clumsily explained, the plot has jarring jumps that make little sense - like Ultron's escape after his introduction or the doctor doing experiments who is conveniently killed off - new characters given little introduction - Helen Cho - or technology - Tony wanting to create artificial intelligence when he already has Jarvis or the machine that makes Ultron his body. Still the movie shines with it's new characters: the creepy, twisted Ultron who, despite the lack of a convincing reason for his actions, still manages to be one of the scariest and most fascinating of Marvel villains, the complex yet seemingly benevolent Vision, and the twins with their close bond and fun powers. I adored them all, and look forward to seeing more of Wanda and Vision, as well as hoping that Pietro might be brought back to life in a future film - they've done it before for Coulson, after all. I also loved Tony, as always my favorite of the Avengers, even though he makes my heart hurt through most of his scenes, making bad choices but meaning so well. Clint finally gets to speak more than a few words, even some snark, finds some new allies, and despite my dislike of his insta-family - I think I could accept it better if they'd bother to even mention them before or give any indication he even had a family or home since it makes no sense that he could spend time with them and nobody would know about it accept Natasha - I liked Laura and his adorable little kids, and teared up when they revealed the baby's name. I did love that his bond with Natasha, even if only portrayed as friendship, was just as strong as the first film. The brightest spots of the movie are it's most emotional and personal - Tony's vision of his friends dead and him surviving alone or Wanda sensing Pietro's death and later killing Ultron.

I saw the second film of The Maze Runner series and despite some good points it was a disappointment, trading in the creative freshness and emotional core for the action and explosions typical of the genre. The overall tone took a sharp turn from sci-fi into horror with the zombie-like Cranks and the first third to half of the film was so different from the first film it didn't even feel like the same series. The flood of new characters mostly muddled an already confusing plot, and most of them, especially Brenda, didn't appeal to me at all. Still there were some excellent moments, especially the last third of the film when the pace slowed and some of the character study came back. I liked the glimpse into Teresa's past, and could sympathize with her betrayal, even as sad and wrong as it was. Thomas is growing into his role as leader and I liked seeing the flashback of him as a child. Aris was sweet enough, and I loved Vince who added a bit of spice and adventure to balance out the mostly teenage characters. The ending was haunting, and drew me back to the story enough to look forward to the next film.

I gave a try to Pan and while I adore re-imaginings and origins stories, I found it a mix of clever and bad. Peter was cute and determined, but often came across as annoying and full of himself, further worsened by the teeth-gritting trope of him being a "chosen one". Tiger Lily was a surprise delight, as was her sparks of romance with Hook and friendship with Peter, but the character got little depth and no moments to shine. I love Hugh Jackman, but he seemed miscast and over the top as Blackbeard, and even when the character was supposed to be sinister I couldn't take him seriously. Hook, however, was fun, with Garrett Hedlund making the most of his screentime. His friendship with Peter, and Peter saving his life when he falls from the ship, was both the highlight of the film and poignantly foreshadowing what they're eventually become, leaving me longing for a Hook redemption story after a sequel would show him turning into the classic villain. I did love some of the plot points, especially Peter being the half mortal son of a fairy, thereby explaining his flying abilities. The special effects were also lovely, with the mermaids, the "memory" water, the flying ships, and Peter flying carrying Hook and Tiger Lily among the bright spots.

I gave a fair try to The Man From U.N.C.L.E. movie and much to my surprise ended up loving it. The sixties setting is fully meshed with the story, making it a delight to watch as well as filling in for the weaker spots of the plot. I loved the clothing, style, and most of the soundtrack. Gaby was a pleasant surprise, likeable as both the Innocent and a fellow spy, and her relationship with Illya was adorable, especially the height difference. Armie Hammer was wonderful as Illya, with the season oneish thick Russian accent and KGB background but with the added skills and tragic backstory that filled in the gaps in show!Illya's mysterious past. I loved the watch storyline, especially when Napoleon gave it back to him, and having him struggling with mental illness was an intriguing and well handled addition. Henry Cavill was my biggest challenge to overcome since I've always found him a tolerable actor but lacking in charm, especially for a character like Napoleon. But, while he doesn't have the charisma of Robert Vaughn he played extremely well off his co-stars and ended up being able to carry the role enough to make me love him. I loved the carried-over details like his suits and pinky ring, and adored the addition of him having been a thief, which actually fit in with the tv version's personality so well I could buy it without question. The origins of Napoleon and Illya's friendship was both hilarious and heart-warming, and I loved their files at the end. Mr. Waverly was too young but otherwise very much in character, and I couldn't stop grinning at the mention of UNCLE in the final scene.

In other films I discovered the unusual and hauntingly beautiful Swept From the Sea which had all the elements that have long been missing from modern period dramas: compelling characters, realistic emotions, and a believable love story, all of which today, sadly, seem to take a backseat to sweeping scenery and costumes, leaving the plot and characters weak and flat. Not so here, where Amy and Yanko are both poignant and instantly sympathetic, with their doomed, yet touching romance, and the secondary characters, from the doctor to his disabled patient, are all compelling, even with their hinted and half told backstories. The scenery is beautiful, but never in your face, merely enhancing the story like parts of the characters, drawing out Amy's wildness and Yanko's homesick strangeness. The movie also features one of the most beautiful scenes I've ever seen, the wordless and tear-jerking moment in which Amy tends Yanko in the barn, giving him bread, and watching silently as he kisses her hands. Next was the surprisingly excellent psychological study of morality in the midst of WWII with Hart's War. Colin Farrell, long a favorite of mine, was superb as the well-intentioned but over his head title character, and both the plot and score reduced me to tears several times. Next was the original Rambo: First Blood and despite my low expectations I was both impressed and completely enthralled. I love John, a good man who's been broken by the war, and I liked that the film didn't shy away from showing the affects of PTSD while still making John sympathetic instead of the typical villain, which was a breath of fresh air. The ending completely broke my heart, though. Next was the surprisingly fun Blood and Chocolate. I loved that it inverted the common tropes and took a more realistic view with the guy being the human and the girl the werewolf, him showing fear and questioning his safety with her, and how he used his intelligence rather than fighting skills to escape the hunt. I also enjoyed the setting and culture of the werewolves, and Hugh Dancy was so good at the role. Next was In Time, and I loved the world-building and plotbunny inspiring concept of the clocks and time being the currency. Will was a likeable protagonist, and I loved that he was able to save both himself and Sylvia in the end, as well as the stealing time concept. Next was the stunning and heart-rending Never Let Me Go which was without a doubt the saddest film I've ever seen, but also one of the most beautiful. With it's poignant, underrated performances from it's cast - I was especially impressed since I don't care for two of the actors - haunting storyline, and quiet questions of ethics and what makes someone human, it was a gorgeous film that more people should see. Next was Skammerens Datter. I loved how the fantasy aspect was only a small part, making the world seem more realistic and believable. Dina was endearing and refreshingly not pleased about or showy with her powers, and I loved her relationship with Nico who was a sweet and somewhat sad character. Rosa was also a surprise delight, and I enjoyed her friendship with Dina. I also loved the scenes with Dina's siblings and mother, showing how close they all were. Next was Byzantium, an unusual and beautiful vampire movie. I loved that the main relationship was a mother and daughter, and their backstory, while incredibly tragic, was fascinating. The unusual concept of how humans become vampires was intriguing, and the filming of the island scenes was stunning. Also interesting was Darvell's story, while secondary to the main storyline, and I loved that he followed them so many years and eventually ended up with Clara. The reappearance of the pearl was touching, tying the storylines together. Next was Das finstere Tal, one of the most gorgeously filmed and directed movies I've ever seen. The characters were a bit thin - although the cast definitely did the most with their characters, especially Sam Riley who conveyed emotions in his often silent character through subtle expressions and looks. The story was also straight-forward but never dull, with an offbeat premise and a '60s revenge western feel that came together flawlessly against stunning European scenery and buildings. Next was the earliest version of Snow White, a lovely silent adaptation. I adored seeing some of the inspiration for the Disney version, in the prince's clothes and the little birds, as well as brand new details, like the Huntsman's adorable little family, and the prince and Snow actually getting to know each other long before the usual version. The dwarves were also a delight, more distinctive from each other than in most versions, and the prince had far more personality than usual. Next was the short film 2081 which was superb and deeply moving. I found the strange world fascinating and the acting, direction, and music were all top notch, backing a simple but effective and poignant story. Next was Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans, which I'd been meaning to check out for ages, and it was absolutely breathtaking, a beautiful masterpiece of emotion and rich details. Next was Gaslight, a gorgeous and nail-biting noir with an excellent mood and ending. Next was a rewatch of Luther, the first film I ever saw in theatres, and it was lovely and fascinating. Next was the breath-taking Black Narcissus, without a doubt the most beautifully directed film I've ever seen in my life, and a haunting story as well with wonderful moody atmosphere. Next was the gorgeous and haunting End of the Spear which was incredibly moving. I've loved Nate Saint since I was a kid, and it was wonderful to see his story come to life. Next was Drums Along the Mohawk, a lovely Revolutionary War drama. I adored the love story, as well as the history, and the technicolor gave it a beautiful warmth. Next was The Story of Robin Hood and His Merrie Men, which was my very first Robin Hood movie, and still a favorite of mine, full of whimsy and sweetness. Next was a movie from my childhood, the darling '60s version of Doctor Dolittle. Next was the adorable and underrated Song of the South which I loved. Next was Squanto: A Warrior's Tale, a moving and lovely account of one of my favorite historical figures, followed by the delightfully steampunk and entertaining '50s Disney movie 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

In new Arthurian movies I saw Arthur & Merlin which was a surprise treat. Despite it's small budget it managed to create an intriguing, fresh version of the legends, with a delightfully minimal amount of special effects. I loved the old world feel more rooted in reality, with the druids as the main antagonist, and a hinting of Merlin's backstory as the child of an unknown, otherworldly father. Merlin was a complicated mix of reluctant hero and gifted, slightly feral stranger, and Arthur was flawlessly perfect, loyal to the king and determined to save the kingdom, and noble to a fault. I loved the idea of Arthur as a child saving Merlin's life and later finding both Excalibur and Merlin again, but especially how the film toned down the "chosen one" aspects and presented much more ordinary people who became heroes.

In new animated films I saw Hotel Transylvania 2 which was nearly as cute and offbeat as the original. I loved the new characters, especially Dennis and Winnie, and even though I secretly wanted Dennis to remain human the little curly-haired bat was adorable.
 
 
feeling: excited
calliope tune: "Faithfully"-Journey
 
 
Kathleen
I've been working my way through Tom Cruise's filmography, starting with Edge Of Tomorrow. I've always had a soft spot for time loops and the film was quite creative in making the repeated day different. Cage and Rita's relationship was poignant but touching, and I teared up during the scene where they share tea and he remembers exactly how much sugar she likes when she can't ever remember being there. I was definitely thankful for the happy ending. Next was Knight and Day, an adorable and hilarious spy romance. I adored Roy, and his growing relationship with June as they go from one adventure to the next was beautiful. The conclusion was flawless and heartwarming. Next was Minority Report which was amazing, both for a twisted, intricate plot, as well as fantastic world-building. The characters made me emotionally invested, though, especially Agatha and John, and I loved the concept of the story as well as the conclusion. In other new films I saw The Fault In Our Stars and despite my low expectations due to the popularity of it, I ended up bawling my eyes out. There were so many thought-provoking moments. It was beautiful and completely haunting, and I loved Augustus and Hazel's star crossed love story. The side characters, especially Isaac, were all interesting, and the final scene was poignant. After that was the 2005 version of King Kong. I remember watching the original years ago but not really being interested in it. This version, however, was fabulous, the perfect mix of tragedy, adventure, and romance. I loved that it retained the original 1930s setting and feel while enhancing the special effects. The island was breath-taking, both beautiful and dangerous with it's varied creatures and people and mysterious ruins. New York was also perfect, and I loved seeing both the old cars and the glimpses of early Hollywood. Jack was a lovely character, and I adored his and Ann's romance, and Jimmy was very sweet. I liked Hayes and was saddened when he was killed. Kong himself was excellent, both deadly and strangely sad and innocent, and I teared up at several scenes. After that was Lost In Austen which, despite starting out like a bad fanfic and being focused on my least favorite Austen tale, ended up being adorable and often hilarious. I adored Tom Mison as the very sweet Bingley, and Jane and his romance was perfect. Darcy was slightly more bearable than usual, and I loved the twist of Wickham being a good guy. The clever spins on the story were refreshing, and the ending was adorable. Next was Hocus Pocus, an adorable and often hilarious perfect Halloween movie. I loved Dani and Max's relationship, the dear Thackery, and the entertaining concept. The ending was beautifully poignant, too. Then was Dawn Of the Planet Of the Apes, the emotional sequel to the first film which I loved. While it took a bit to grow on me instead of the first which I loved instantly, it turned out to be amazing. Malcolm was every bit as much a hero and compelling character as Will, and Caesar, with his family, was wonderful and heartbreaking as before. I finally worked up my courage to finish the Batman trilogy, and, as expected, The Dark Knight was definitely not my favorite. The plot felt weak until the final moments, the hopelessness felt oppressive, and the Joker was a soulless, gruesome villain. However The Dark Knight Rises was a wonderful surprise. While I've always hated Catwoman and was less impressed than usual with this version, I adored the version of Robin - the twist of who he was made me gasp out loud - especially his taking over for Batman. Alfred, the best part of the trilogy, continually broke my heart, and Christian Bale was, as usual, superb as Bruce. The final twists, while bittersweet, were lovely and deeply satisfying, and I'm glad I gave it a chance. I stumbled across the short but powerful little film Cargo and completely fell in love with it. It's completely wordless, you know next to nothing about the characters, and yet it's incredibly powerful. The scene where he sees the balloon again completely broke my heart, and the ending left me wiping tears. Next was the imaginative and fun The Brothers Grimm followed by the adorable Tammy and the Bachelor.

In new fairytale adaptations I saw the lovely 2009 German version of Rapunzel, a gently old-fashioned sort of film with a largely endearing cast and simple but creative special effects. I loved the twist of Rapunzel's hair growing only when she brushes it, as well as her encountering the Prince as a child, and the metaphors of birds in cages was perfect. The side characters, especially the three princesses, were hilarious. After that was the 1992 version of Snow White, a sweet and highly unique adaptation. Snow was sweet, and finally young enough for the role, and I adored that the Prince had grown up beside her as the court jester, loved her from childhood, and searched faithfully for her. Their happy ending was wonderful, and the only time I've ever shipped the two characters. The dwarves were delightful, portrayed as clever and creators of all sorts of steampunk gadgets, and the evil Queen wasn't nearly as hammy as most versions. The story was beautifully, simply done, and I loved it. After that was the incredibly fun Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters. I have a soft spot for dark fantasy if done right, and the concept of showing what they became after the story ended was creative and flawless. I loved their relationship so much.

I saw the miniseries The Dove Keepers and while flawed and overly romantic, it was ultimately a moving and poignant imagining of the lives of those on Masada, a rare topic for a a film. It was also visually beautiful and I enjoyed it.

I've been watching the new show Intruders and it's strange to say the least. I find the premise, of people from older times seeking immortality by taking over bodies in the future, fascinating, and the acting, especially the frighteningly good Madison, is incredible, but the plot can be unsettling and frustratingly without answers to every question. I do, oddly enough, enjoy the slower pace, more reminiscent of old British tv, with the lingering, often beautiful cinematography. While I distrust most of the characters, I'm interested in Jack's fate - and incredibly impressed with John Simm's American accent - and I find Richard Shepherd an intriguing character, even if I've yet to figure out his motives. The series becomes increasingly more amazing as the pieces start to fall into place, though, and I'm growing to love it completely.

I've never been much of a zombie fan, but I gave a try to the new show Z Nation and ended up loving it. It's pure cheesy, low-budget fun to be sure, but the characters are easy to relate to and the writing never takes itself seriously. There's also the occasional, surprisingly poignant moment, such as the discovery of a baby that later turns. Mack and Addy are adorable together and I'm rooting for them both to survive. I also love Doc and the fabulous 10K with his sharp-shooting skills and bottomless cache of weapons. Garnett's death broke my heart, though, since he was the first character I bonded with on the series before I learned any of the others' names.

Also new is Forever and to my happiness it's a perfect blend of detective work, poignant moments, and dry humor, all brought to life by the very charming and lovely Ioan Gruffudd. Abe is wonderful, and I'm looking forward to seeing where Henry and Jo's relationship goes, as well as finding out the mysterious caller's identity.

I also found a similar, although short-lived series, New Amsterdam and fell in love with it's haunting, often heartbreaking story and main character. It's a beautifully filmed series, with the ever-changing New York almost a character in itself, and I adore how honest John is about the events of his life, even though no one ever believes him.

In other new shows there's the promising Scorpion. The characters are quirky and loveable with just a bit of sadness to tug on my heartstrings, and the premise is fun.

Also brand new is The Flash and while it hasn't quite grabbed me yet it has quite a bit of promise. Barry is slightly unconvincing as a superhero, but endearingly awkward and good-hearted, and the final twist of the pilot was intriguing enough to make me keep watching. I do appreciate the old-fashioned, more imaginative superhero approach the series is taking so far, unlike Arrow's un-sci-fi and often too serious for it's own good approach, even though it makes the crossover cameo of Barry meeting Oliver seem oddly out of character for both series. I love Barry and Iris together, but I also enjoy Eddie, and I'm hoping for a good resolution to the triangle.

In returning series, Reign is back and as usual burning through storylines a bit too fast for it's own good; as much as I enjoy each one I wish they'd slow down a bit and let the arc have more than one or two episodes. The plague, for example, which I was very much looking forward to, only really lasted a single episode with follow up for the next. With the love triangle out of the way and Bash and he back to being brothers I'm enjoying Francis much more, and despite my dislike of the baby storyline (and my crushed hope that they might kill off Lola) I'm loving seeing him being a father. Bash, Kenna aside, is wonderful, and I'm shocked they killed off Pascal considering I was assuming there would be a potential storyline regarding his past and Bash having killed his father. Saddest of all is what's become of Leith and Greer, with Leith having lost his lands as well as Greer completely it seems, and Lord Castleroy, such a sweet character last season, seems changed and harder since the death of his daughter.

Arrow has begun season three and so far it's something of a let down. Roy is fabulous as finally sane, a member of the team, and in full costume, but I desperately miss his relationship with Thea. Diggle being a daddy is adorable, and I'm looking forward to his storylines this season. Moira's absence is widely felt, with a lot of the stability of the show lacking. Laurel, as usual, gets the short end of the stick by having Sara die right off the bat. Poor Laurel, the writers must truly hate her based on all they put her through and shove her to the background. Felicity, much to my chagrin, has another large storyline this season, and seemingly out of nowhere the writers are shoving Oliver/Felicity in our faces, before having Oliver do his customary two steps backwards, distancing angst. I had such hopes that Oliver, after the moving away from violence he had last season, despite Stephen Amell's dubious acting ability, might actually get a moment this season that didn't involve romancing a girl or feeling sorry for himself. I just can't make myself like Felicity, as the fandom worships her, and she annoys me to distraction. But I lov seeing Brandon Routh on a superhero show, and even if his character isn't exactly the good guy, I grin ear to ear thinking of Superman and Green Arrow together again.

Once Upon A Time is now on season four, and as much as I dreaded it, I'm quite enjoying it. Anna is somewhat more likeable, and Elsa slightly less annoying in live-action form, and Kristoff is sweet. Perhaps best, though, is, with more time spent on those characters, the regulars finally seem to get a more equal cut of the time left over. Snow is adorable with baby Neal, and I finally enjoy the Charming family again. I couldn't help laughing through her meltdown over trying to fix the electricity. Killian is as usual fabulous, and I love his friendship with Charming. I'm even not minding Emma nearly as much as usual this season, and even though I don't ship it, being with Killian seems to soften her in ways her other romances never have, which is a good thing. Much to my delight, the Knave is back as wonderfully sassy as ever. Robin's storyline is disappointing so far, because even though I don't ship him with Regina, I liked seeing Regina good for a change and it made sense with his wife dead, whereas now with here alive, and instantly frozen and cast aside, it just makes him seem less than honorable. Roland remains precious, though, and so much bigger than last season! Bo Peep was a wonderful twist, and even though I prefer they use only fairytale characters, I can't remember the last time I've enjoyed a one shot character on the show so much. "The Apprentice", despite being Emma-centric, was a surprise delight and excellent take on The Sorcerer's Apprentice, right down to the music, the mouse, the awesome hat, and, best of all, the walking broom. As sad as I am to see Rumplestiltskin lying to Belle, I understand why he wants to be free of the dagger after all he suffered, and I'm intrigued to see where his quest takes him as long as he remains with Belle. Killian with two hands was awesome, but definitely creepy, and I suppose I'm glad he's back to the hook, even being under Rumplestiltskin's thumb for now. Henry is the only disappointment of the episode; no matter how much I long for him to have a relationship with Rumplestiltskin, it saddens me how he finally works in the shop only to spy on him. Henry has grown up a lot and he's becoming every bit as conniving as Regina. Belle finally gets center stage in "Family Business", and it's a treat to see the events that led up to her agreeing to go with Rumplestiltskin, as well as a bit of her life before that episode. Her scenes with Rumplestiltskin were heartbreaking when she reveals her secret believing he had known of his own, and before when she tries to control him with the dagger. The following episode was a surprise delight, by having Gerda as the Queen's sister, as well as Anna and Elsa's mother. The twist that the Snow Queen accidentally killed her other sister was incredibly sad, as was Gerda's choices, but the story was one of the most impressive all season. I'm saddened by Snow White's out of character response to Emma's magic, though, and her doting on baby Neal to the exclusion of her daughter, but Killian remains faithful and wonderful as always, the only one who doesn't seem afraid of Emma's powers. I liked seeing Cinderella and her son again, however briefly, even if it seems the baby should be much older than he is, leading me to wonder if time moves slower in Storybrooke. "Smash the Mirror" puts the final pieces on the mysterious fate of Anna and Kristoff, as well as how Elsa came to be trapped. I'm worried for Killian, with his heart now in Rumplestiltskin's control, and Rumplestiltskin continues to sadden me as he grows more and more into the Dark One he used to be. "Fall" is superb, with the spell of Shattered Sight one of the most intriguing so far, and I love each character's reaction, even as my heart breaks for Killian. "Shattered Sight" was flawless, a perfect episode in every way. I loved the mix of humor and sadness, the woven backstory, and the revelation of what was in the bottle. Ingrid was one of the most tragic bad characters the show has had and her ending was fittingly beautiful, giving her a sort of redemption. "Heroes and Villains" was superb, neatly resolving the storylines. I loved Killian getting his heart back by Belle's help, and Rumplestiltskin and Belle's flashbacks scenes were beautiful. The part where she drives him over the top line shattered my heart, but I loved seeing him in New York and I'm looking forward to where the event will take him.

Sleepy Hollow is back with season two much to my delight, and every bit as good as ever. The alternative history, with Ben Franklin's kite-flying key transformed into the way to unlock purgatory, and the Hellfire Club being highlights,continues to be a treasure, as does Ichabod's always hilarious attempts at understanding the 21st century. Ichabod and Abbie continue to be fabulous together. Caroline was a lovely one-shot character, and I was saddened that her character was killed off so quickly. The Headless Horseman is proving to be oddly sympathetic this season, and I'm intrigued to see the direction his character takes. Jeremy, still retaining the Sin Eating aspects of Henry, continues to be a disturbing, dangerous character, now fully a servant of Moloch. Irving, very much an ally last season, seems different this one, and the twist of him accidentally selling his soul doesn't bode well for which side he'll end up on in the end. Katrina, in episode four, finally gets some much needed depth. I'm not sure if the writers can't decide what to do with her or just can't seem to bring it across in the writing, but the "powerful witch" aspect is little more than a few charms and letters passed by birds, and her love for Ichabod seems strangely swayed by her caring for the Horseman, despite her claims to stay only to be a spy. Added to that is the fact that the writers keep making her a damsel in distress, weakening her, and then giving her the dubious trope of having to give birth to a demon. Still the glimpses of her character darkening show some promise, as much as I keep hoping she'll turn evil and interesting. But sadly she continues to be largely useless, unable to even destroy the demon child. New this season is Nick Hawley, and while I haven't yet sorted out his motivations he seems good enough so far, as well as fulfilling an intriguing role as a collector of odd supernatural items. I enjoy his quips toward Ichabod, and the nicknames he gives him, and his personality is a fun contrast to the other characters. The first two episodes scramble a bit to find their footing but the plot picks up directly after that, with the characters of the Piper and the Weeping Lady among the most intriguing monsters of the week. "Mama" is a beautifully sad episode, showcasing Abbie and Jenny's childhood. With minimal Katrina, "Magnum Opus" is a delight, featuring a mythical sword and Ichabod and Abbie up against a Gorgon, along with a few glimpses of Ichabod and Abraham's early days.

Brand new this season is Constantine and it's fabulous, with enough supernatural snark to make me happy and enough of an underlying angst to break my heart. John is a mix of the two and I already adore him, as well as the concept of the series. Chas is wonderful and deserves far more screentime, and Corrigan is fascinating, leaving me hoping to see more of him. Zed is also excellent so far, and I enjoy her relationship with Constantine; the writers definitely made the correct choice in replacing the first character with her.

I've been working my way through the one season of Emily Owens M.D. and it's a treat, both hilarious and quite poignant. I relate so much to Emily's awkwardness and inner thoughts, and Justin Hartley is adorable as Will. I can't help shipping them. Cassandra is fabulously evil with some surprisingly human moments, but I loathe Micah and his crush on Emily makes me cringe. The patients are always fascinating, though, and I usually become emotionally invested in each one, even knowing they're only going to be in the one episode.

Somehow having missed the short-lived Intelligence earlier this year, I'm watching the complete series now and loving it, mostly for the amazing relationship between the two main characters. They were instantly shipable with wonderful banter, and I love seeing their friendship growing into the start of something more as the episodes progress. I also really love the concept of the series, and the constant reminders that despite having a chip is his brain, Gabriel is still very human, made even more beautiful by the fact that Riley believes that from the start.

I watched a bit of Hercules: the Legendary Journeys and while it lacks some of Young Hercules's charm, it was still fun to see older versions of the characters. My favorite parts, though, were the flashbacks to the younger versions with Iolaus and Jason as wonderful as always. Ian Bohen is awesome at the role, even as much as I adore Ryan Gosling's version, and I loved seeing more of him. I also saw the excellent episode "Prodigal Sister" and loved it. Ruun was a fascinating character, and I adored how his disability wasn't shown as much of a handicap, what with his fighting skills and other heightened senses. I loved the clever twist of making everyone think his sister was actually the girl who died instead of the main Amazon warrior, and the concept of the matching marks on their hands was lovely. The ending was logical and hopefully beautiful, too. Throughout the series, though, Iolaus is a complete treasure, both heartbreakingly sweet and sad at once, and I adore his friendship with Hercules.

I've been returning top my childhood and loving the old variety/music shows I watched growing up, including my forever favorite Lawrence Welk Show, and also Hollywood Palace, American Bandstand, Your Hit Parade, and What's My Line which is always entertaining.

I've been working way through the sweet western The Travels Of Jaimie McPheeters and enjoying it, especially Charles Bronson's character. I've also having great fun watching The Many Loves Of Dobie Gillis, Bachelor Father, Mork and Mindy, Gilligan's Island, and Father Knows Best. And I've picked up All Creatures Great and Small and it's lovely, the creative Sliders, the exciting Baa Baa Black Sheep, the superb The Prisoner, Adam Adamant Lives! and its fabulous theme, the quirky Due South, and the fun MacGyver and CHiPs. I've also returned to a childhood obsession, the short-lived but fantastic The Highwayman. Then I've actually found a soap opera I enjoy in Dallas. I've also had a burst of nostalgia for my baby obsessions Mister Roger's Neighborhood and Reading Rainbow.

I've started watching Game of Thrones and while its not entirely to my taste I do enjoy the world-building and the Stark family, especially the wonderful Jon Snow.

Partway into the new series of Doctor Who and I've finally gotten a good enough grasp of its feel to write about it. Despite my distrust of Moffat and the fact that I'm not a huge fan of Peter Capaldi, I had high hopes going into the new series, with the positives being an older Doctor portrayed by an actor who was a fan of the original series. Unfortunately, a few episodes in and I'm ready to give up. The writing, largely dominated by Moffat, remains shaky at best, riddled with plot holes, retconning, and copious amounts of technobabble. The human element and warmth that gave the original episodes so much appeal is almost sucked dry, replaced by an ever-present and entirely non amusing stream of tactless jokes. The characterization is even worse, as Clara is constantly insulted, treated like a child, mocked for her appearance, ordered about, and even outright kidnapped by the Doctor who she incomprehensibly still wants to save, and her messing with the Doctor's timeline continues to be increasingly annoying. Clara herself makes thoughtless comments regarding Danny's PTSD, and Danny radiates a unsettling hostility. Two episodes in and Danny still has zero personality outside of having been a soldier, and Clara has virtually no life outside of the Doctor despite a few random glimpses of her being a teacher. Danny and Clara's relationship feels forced and unrealistic, but still dashing my hopes for a romance-free season. The only time she has any real character development is in "Kill the Moon" when she finally stands up to the Doctor and his bumbling, but the flare of hope is quickly put out when Danny's horrible advice sends her running back to the Doctor's arms like a victim with Stockholm Syndrome. Worst of all is Twelve: inexplicably dark yet created as a Doctor who had saved his home planet, the source of Nine's darkness and Ten's angst, not to mention impossibly rude, childish, and worst of all frightening. I've seen all the Doctors, and even at their darkest, not a single Doctor has ever made me unnerved or uncomfortable until now. There's nothing to trust or want to help in Twelve, and he seems more mad serial killer than beneficial savior of humanity. As if slapping past Doctors in the face, he comments that earth isn't "his world" and humans aren't "his people", making me yearn for the Doctors like Ten who loved humanity a little too much. He no longer seems to care about anyone, and simply stands by while people are hurt or killed. Moffat seems to have forgotten that at the Doctor's core there's supposed to be a goodness, something to bond with beyond the non human body, and that his two hearts are supposed to indicate he cares more not less. In other words, the Doctor has never seemed more alien. Perhaps worst of all, as Moffat said in an interview, Clara has inexplicably become the main character of the show, with chunks of plot wasted on her romance and daily life, while the Doctor is reduced to a childish, senile old man whose bumbling attempts to comprehend "boring" people and save the world seem laughable and pointless as Clara and Danny direct his every move. The flawed "Robot Of Sherwood"'s plot and sword fighting feels like a flashback to Classic Who, complete with a cheesy but loveable Robin, and an adorable reunion between Robin and Marion. Still the bickering and rivalry between the Doctor and Robin spoils the mood, and the Doctor's strange disbelief at Robin being real as well as the line about "history being a burden" only proves how out of character and worn the character and show is becoming. However the season has a silver lining in the frustratingly almost perfect "Flatline" whose intriguing, fresh storyline, unique aliens, and endearingly cheesy special effects serve to remind me of when the show was consistently this good. Twelve is finally something like the Doctor should be, caring about people, defending the earth and declaring himself the protector of it, and being proud of Clara, even if he somewhat ruins it by a cryptic, annoying comment at the end and refusing to admit what he said to her face. Clara, despite being a bit overbearing at times, seems more clever than usual, and her act of restoring the TARDIS through a fake picture was nothing short of brilliant. I liked the guest character with her as well. The season's two part finale is perhaps the most problematic yet, with Clara willing to hold the TARDIS hostage and destroy the keys, essentially stranding the Doctor, in order to save Danny who, much like his story arc, has been pointlessly killed off. Everything is wrong with this, as, even the most callous Doctors have risked everything to help their companions, and Clara, besides betraying whatever friendship she held with Eleven, is being a selfish, thoughtless child, knowing that past and hopefully future Doctors have saved so many lives and worlds that she'd now let that all stop just to save one person. Nothing about Danny and Clara's lie-filled, manipulative love story has seemed genuine, and even the revelation of the source of Danny's anger and guilt issues can make me feel anything for him. Twelve, as usual, is out of character for the Doctor, unable to recognize tears or grief, and seemingly unaware of male/female relationships, but it's the humor where the episode fails the most. Missy forcing a kiss on Twelve is neither amusing or comfortable to watch, bordering on assault. Missy herself is a complete affront to the series, as if a female Master wasn't bad enough, her deranged, obsessive love for Twelve is disturbing, Worst of all is the callous, insensitivity, even dark humor, toward cremation, forms of burial, death, beliefs in the afterlife, and more, crossing a line that nothing should.

On a happier note I've discovered Torchwood and it's everything I've missed from Doctor Who and every bit as good as it used to be. I'm enjoying the new characters as well as loving Jack as usual, and the feel of the show gives me so much nostalgia.
 
 
calliope tune: "Lightnin' Strikes"-Lou Christie
feeling: impressed