Kathleen
15 August 2016 @ 04:42 pm
I've been hearing about The Child Thief by Gerald Brom, for ages, a often recommended to me novel that promised a dark and gritty re-telling of Peter Pan. And while it was pretty much what it claimed to be, it wasn't at all what I was expecting.



Summary on the back: Peter is quick, daring, and full of mischief — and like all boys, he loves to play, though his games often end in blood. His eyes are sparkling gold, and when he graces you with his smile you are his friend for life, but his promised land is not Neverland. Fourteen-year-old Nick would have been murdered by the drug dealers preying on his family had Peter not saved him. Now the irresistibly charismatic wild boy wants Nick to follow him to a secret place of great adventure, where magic is alive and you never grow old. Even though he is wary of Peter's crazy talk of faeries and monsters, Nick agrees. After all, New York City is no longer safe for him, and what more could he possibly lose? There is always more to lose. Accompanying Peter to a gray and ravished island that was once a lush, enchanted paradise, Nick finds himself unwittingly recruited for a war that has raged for centuries—one where he must learn to fight or die among the "Devils," Peter's savage tribe of lost and stolen children. There, Peter's dark past is revealed: left to wolves as an infant, despised and hunted, Peter moves restlessly between the worlds of faerie and man. The Child Thief is a leader of bloodthirsty children, a brave friend, and a creature driven to do whatever he must to stop the "Flesh-eaters" and save the last, wild magic in this dying land.

My thoughts: I love both Peter Pan and fairytales re-tellings - and I actually really love the dark origins J.M. Barrie had, of Peter as some sort of child demon who killed the Lost Boys when they became too old, so I was looking forward to this book. And there were things I liked about it - the bits of Arthurian legend and dollop of Celtic mythology sprinkled through-out, the spooky Mist that kills many of the children, and the unapologetically unredeemable villains. I also appreciated how it didn't shy away from difficult subjects - child abuse and abandonment, bullying, and religious fanaticism.

But my problem was largely with the way these elements were presented. The child abuse victims slowly turn into hopeless monsters themselves instead of being shown as victims or, better yet, managing to overcome their pasts. The religious fanaticism was so heavy-handed it felt like a slam against all religion, particularly in the case of the over-the-top horrors of the Reverend. And the gritty violence bordered on sensationalist sadism, with such a high level of descriptive gore, and such dwelling on the brutality without a scrap of goodness or a redeemable character to balance it out, that even I was wincing through most of the book.

The story doesn't just explore darker themes, it seems to wallow and delight in them to the point that it started to bother me in a way few books have. I appreciate that the writer was trying to present a study of how good people can turn evil, but the depressing result failed to touch me in a way it should have.

Overall, The Child Thief was an extremely disappointing and troubling book that I seem to be in the minority by disliking greatly.
Tags:
 
 
feeling: shocked
calliope tune: "New Kid In Town"-Eagles
 
 
 
Kathleen
27 January 2016 @ 03:10 am
The X-Files, my childhood love, is back for a tenth season after all these years, and I'm happily wallowing in nostalgia. It's a complete delight so far, with all the old faces, easter eggs, and parallels to the past episodes, along with the original intro and theme. "My Struggle" is an interesting, although flawed start. The actors take a bit to get into their roles again - Scully by the end of the first episode, Mulder by the second - although Skinner is as if he never left. I also loved the glimpse of the Cigarette Smoking Man at the end. It made me sad to see Mulder so skeptical and jaded, even though it makes sense after all these years, and I actually winced when he tore the I want to believe poster. But the scene where his face light up when he sees the spaceship was so Mulder I teared up. "Founder's Mutation" is a superb blend of the myth arc and monster of the week, with a sympathetic monster, and a heartbreaking subplot featuring Mulder and Scully's daydreams about if they'd kept William, all of which, especially the forehead kisses, had me sobbing. "Mulder and Scully Meet the Were-Monster" is pure comedy, and despite how much I hated the original 100% comedy episodes, it works, helped along by the offbeat and hilarious premise of a monster who is bitten by a human and becomes human when the moon comes out. The character was great fun - I also loved the puppy, I adored seeing Mulder slowly becoming a believer again, and the theme being his ringtone was flawless. "Home Again" is a gut-wrenching subplot against an intriguing concept. It's not carried off perfectly and the storylines don't fit perfectly together, but they both impact emotionally, especially in the flashbacks. "Babylon" seems to have been greatly disliked by most, but I rather enjoyed it. The guest characters, especially Miller, were enjoyable, the concept intriguing, and I never knew how much I needed Mulder dancing to country western music in a stetson. I was very sad how little screentime the Lone Gunmen got, though, and that they were only a hallucination. "My Struggle II", is excellent, making my wish the whole season could have been a miniseries of the plot, rather than just the first and final episodes. I've always preferred the mythology arc episodes to the stand alone, and it's fun to finally see the Syndicate's endgame after all these years. It was a delight to see Mulder and the Cigarette Smoking Man interact again. As much as I love to hate CSM, and as proud as I am of Mulder for not taking his deal, I've always found their dynamic fascinating, with that strange mix of father-son relationship against hatred and so much evil committed. It was wonderful to have Miller back - I adored his scenes with Mulder - and Einstein grew on me a lot compared to last episode, even if her skepticism is far more annoying than Scully's ever was. I've never been a big Reyes fan, but it was nice to see her again, even if she seemed desperately out of character. I just can't believe Reyes would ever ally herself with CSM, and especially not for the selfish reason of saving her own life, even if she did give Scully the information she needed to help everyone sick. I was incredibly sad that Doggett didn't even get a mention, though, as part of me had always hoped, even if I didn't ship it, that Reyes and he ended up together, since it might have made him happy. I loved the opening of alien!Scully, as well as Scully being the key to saving the world - Mulder's line about thanking the CSM for saving her and CSM commenting on her being Mulder's weakness made my shipper heart melt - but the cliffhanger ending left me screeching and desperate for more. Overall, weak spots aside, I enjoyed the season, and it was so wonderful and nostalgic to have my childhood babies back on my screen.

Once Upon A Time is back for the second half of season five with a mythology arc, and while nothing like what I'd expected I'm enjoying most of it so far. I love seeing this new version of Emma,still strong and brave, but no longer closed off and hurting, now determined to save Killian and fight for their future. I was never a big Neal fan, but I was glad she finally got closure with him. Killian, always being whumped, is already breaking my heart, even though I love seeing his faith in Emma and knowing she was coming for him. I liked seeing the origins of Liam and he entering the Navy and first seeing the Jolly Rodger. I was a little sad about Liam's deal with Hades, but did love him sticking by his brother and doing the right thing in the end, earning himself a happy afterlife and closure with Killian. Killian and Emma's goodbye broke me, but their reunion, and Killian finally coming back to life, was the most beautiful scene ever. The little kisses Emma gave him had me giggling and grinning. Emma has grown so much since she took her walls down, and I adored seeing them back together, as well as Emma finally admitting, without anything bad having to happen, that she loved him. I adored Charming hugging Killian, as well as trying to save him from Mr. Hyde. Snow White is delightful so far, finally getting to be the character I loved in season one again, and I love Charming and her moments together and with baby Neal. I adored her calling Killian by his first name and acting motherly toward him. Her friendship with Hercules was a surprise delight and I only wish we could see more of him. I liked Meg, too, who, while very different from the Disney version, was a sweet character. Hades, never one of my favorite Disney villains, is a mix of annoying and truly scary, even if the flaming hair makes me snicker. I also despised his romance with Zelena, and was delighted when she killed him. Surprisingly Zelena, once my least favorite character, has grown on me quite a bit, largely due to her love for her baby, and the fact that she's a lot nicer with her memories back. I also enjoy her new relationship with Regina. I teared up during Regina's goodbye to her father - and loved that Henry got to meet him - as well as her closure with Daniel. I liked her getting closure with her mother, but was annoyed Cora, after all the horrible things she did, got redeemed for doing so little to make amends. I'm broken over Robin Hood's death, as well as what it means to Regina, and leaving poor little Roland an orphan, but I loved that Regina didn't revert back to the Evil Queen, and even attempted to destroy her other half, showing how much she's grown. I adore that Rumplestiltskin and Belle are finally having a baby, and Rumple's instant willingness to do whatever he had to to protect the baby breaks my heart and gives me Rumple and Bae feels all over again - if seeing them in the flashback wasn't heart-tugging enough! I did like that he showed remorse at sending Milah into the river, too, even if I despise Milah and honestly didn't care that he did it. But I appreciate that Rumplestiltskin has seemingly come to terms with his darkness and found a balance between his love for Belle and his power, something I hope Belle will eventually come around to, as I want so much to see them and their baby as a family. I love Belle but she's frustrating me so far this season, pulling away from Rumplestiltskin when, in this case, he's actually doing the right thing, being honest with her and himself, and trying to save their baby. I'm also incredibly sad that True Love's Kiss didn't work to wake her, after Rumplestiltskin was willing to give up who he is to try it. The season finale introduces a new and intriguing world, the Land of Untold Stories, with a delightful cameo by the Three Musketeers, a tantalizing hint at Agrabah, and new characters in the introduction of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I love the steampunk feel of the world and characters, and the concept of characters being able to split off their evil sides is intriguing, leaving me excited for season six.

The Musketeers has completed its third and final season, and despite a few things that felt rushed or forced, I enjoyed every moment. The series finally hit its stride and settled into its characters even more than the previous seasons, all of whom have grown so much. I adored that everyone got a happy ending, especially Aramis, D'Artagnan and Constance (I was so afraid for all of them), and Aramis and Anne's little son was absolutely adorable. I also loved Porthos getting a love interest, and a little family all at once. I wasn't incredibly fond of Sylvie at first - I greatly enjoy Athos and Milady's relationship, felt Sylive and Athos's came out of left field, and aren't very fond of Athos in general, and less so this season - but she grew on me, and seemed to make Athos a better person. I was surprisingly pleased with the villains this season, compared to my hatred - and not in a love to hate way - of the last two season's, with each one unique, and some even strangely sympathetic, like the King's ill-fated brother. I was saddened to lose both the King and Treville, but did love seeing Milady again, even if only for a couple episodes. I also adored the baby Musketeer - I never did get his name - and was so happy he survived and ended up becoming a full-fledged Musketeer in the end.

I watched The Living and the Dead, and while it wasn't at all what I was expecting, I completely fell in love with it. The acting was superb, the music, scenery, and cinematography all breathtaking, and the plot had a gorgeous Gothic feel that delighted me, as well as shocking me with the twists. I liked the themes of growth and healing, as well as realizing one's own limitations, and Nathan and Charlotte's relationship was both adorable and heartbreaking yet realistic. I loved the poignancy of the episodes, and how the writers didn't shy away from tragedy and darkness, while still leaving a glimmer of hope. I also had no idea how much I needed to see Colin Morgan holding a baby until now.

Zoo is on season two, and it's a surprisingly emotional and jarring ride from season one's fluffy outrageous tone. I'm not happy with the changes in Jamie's character - I get that she suffered a lot but becoming a murderous psycho, and lashing out at Mitch who fought the hardest to save her, seems wildly out of character. Logan was an interesting, although completely under-used and largely pointless character. who didn't seem to quite deserve the horrible ending he got. I'm broken over Chloe's senseless death (and the destruction of my otp), and Dariela irks me endlessly - I despise her instant romance with Abe, as much as I want him to get a *nice* love interest. But, on the bright side there's snarky as usual Mitch and Abraham and Jackson's heart-warming friendship to fill the void. I also adore that we're finally getting backstory on Jackson, including flashbacks to his sad childhood, and, while I'm worried and so sad for him, I'm very interesting in his story arc this season as he slowly mutates. I love the new and creative animals this season, especially the adorable Moe the jellyfish, and the electric ants.

I've started watching Roswell again, a show I faintly remember from my childhood, and falling in love with it. Max and Liz's star-crossed, alien/human love story hits all my tropes, and it's easy to also root for Michael and Maria's romance. I love Max, who projects the perfect mixture of sad vulnerability and other-worldliness, and Michael continues to break my heart. I also surprisingly even love the female characters, with Liz and Maria perfectly tolerable, and Isabel very likeable. I adore the way the characters, particularly the alien trio, form a makeshift family. While Kyle is a somewhat useless character, I did love his interactions with Max in the episode where they were both drunk, and hope for more scenes with the two of them. The Sheriff is a fascinating character, from a sympathetic villain to on their team, and I love his relationship with the kids. I love the theme and setting, especially the Crashdown, too. I'm not especially fond of Tess, as much as I like Emilie de Ravin, who feels like a plot device solely to create angst for Max and Liz, but I do love the realization of who and what the aliens are.

I binge-watched the complete series of Roar, and it was such a treat to plunge back into a Kiwi show again. They have such a lovely feel and warmth, and are so nostalgic to me. I adored the Celtic soundtrack, and the characters, for the most part, were all likeable, especially Conor. Molly annoys me a bit, but I love everyone else. I'm only sad the show didn't continue, because it grew on me more and more, and seemed to be getting better by the episode. The setting was also quite unique and very enjoyable.

I'm finally getting to watch the seasons of Gunsmoke I hadn't seen, starting with eight. Chester is in the show much less this season, sadly, but there's a new character in the form of half-Comanche blacksmith Quint, and so far he's both a delight and quite easy on the eyes. There's also the episode "Us Haggens" which introduces Festus, long before he'd become a regular. His voice is quite different, and he doesn't have all his quirks yet, nor his beloved Ruth, but I can see the roots of the character I'd learn to love, even then. I also found it interesting how he's likeable, but not quite as sweet and slightly more intelligent than the later character. Among other excellent episodes is the delightful and heart-tugging "I Call Him Wonder", a flawless prequel to one of my favorite later season episodes. By season eleven, Doc and Festus, now a regular, have a wonderful banter and friendship going, and I adored episodes like "Wishbone" where Festus cares for Doc who's been bitten by a snake, and another episode where Festus has been badly beaten up and Doc worries over him. Quint is sadly gone, though, replaced by Thad, the only character in the show I've ever disliked. In truth, Thad is harmless, although far from charismatic and very dull compared to all other deputies Matt had, but I've always had such an irrational loathing of him.

I'm on season four of Maverick now and it's a delight. I've always been unusual in that I've never cared for Bret and found his episodes far less interesting for the most part. Filling his place is cousin Beau who is fine so far, and Bart has a bit more episodes than usual, all of which are excellent.

New this season is The Shannara Chronicles, an absolute treasure so far. It's pulling heavy inspiration from Tolkien, but I don't mind because its old fantasy, and therefore different from most current tv and films that draw from more recent novels. It's undoubtedly one of the most gorgeous shows I've ever seen, with the lush backdrop of New Zealand mingled with tactful cgi and well-done filming, costumes, and props, all a richly detailed and offbeat blend of Medieval high fantasy merged with post-dystopian futurism. I love the beautiful opening credits which quickly explain the background and mythos of the series. The whole show has a slightly modernized tinge over the feel of the Kiwi shows of the '90s I grew up on, making me both happy and somewhat nostalgic at the same time. I love the vast majority of the characters, and nearly all of the male ones, helped by a likable cast and the refreshing lack of common tropes in most of their personalities. Wil is a complete sweetheart, and its a joy to have a protagonist who is mostly inept at fighting, admits fear, sorrow, and horror, and would much rather be a healer than go on an epic quest. Allanon is fabulous, a perfect mix of dry wit and slightly spooky power; and I adore the writers for, once, not killing off the mentor character at first convenience. I love his relationship with Wil, and I'm always a sap for the magic comes at a cost trope. Ander is sweet, and I absolutely adore his relationship with Amberle, and have so many headcanons about how he poured all his love into her because of his father's rejection, brother's death, and his other brother's seeming indifference toward him. On a shallow note, his looks are absolutely stunning, too. Bandon is a precious baby, and I'm so worried for him, especially concerning his gift. I'm not fond of Eretria, but I appreciate the layers of her character, and the realism of a life of abuse having shaped her into what she is, while still showing flashes of a good, yet scarred heart beneath it all. Amberle seems sweet but I dislike her with Wil, and that seems to be half of her personality.

In other new shows there's Legends of Tomorrow, a delightfully zany and surprisingly emotional mash up of heroes that results in just about the most overtly comic book series I've ever seen. Snagged from other DC shows, I know most of the characters already, especially my baby, Ray, thankfully on a much better show and surrounded by a better cast, but still as precious and nerdy as ever. Heat Wave is growing on me a lot, and I already loved Captain Cold, Professor Stein, and Jax. The only brand new character is Rip Hunter and he's great so far, even if often exasperated and shady. AI Gideon is also fun.

Also new is Outsiders, an intriguing and highly unusual series. The characters are interesting and layered - I adore Asa, the setting - and contrast between the ways of life - is fascinating, and I enjoy the relationships, especially Hasil and Sally Ann.

Daredevil is back for season two, bringing with it all the unique things that set it apart from and make it more deeply thought-provoking than other superhero shows with its realism, haunting cinematography, long scenes of dialogue, and poignant character study as it fleshes out its characters and thankfully narrow setting. Added to the always fascinating supporting characters this season is Frank Castle, an intriguing and layered character. I loved his clashes and eventual alliance - including saving his life - with Matt, and despite his violent, morally grey actions, I enjoyed his more tender moments, such as his love for his family and dog. Also new is Elektra, a character I enjoyed in the movie, and is even better here, both in her own complex morality, and her poignant relationship with Matt. I loved seeing the priest, Claire, and Wilson Fisk again, and only wish they could have been in it more. While there were some things I found unnecessary or unwanted - Foggy and Matt's breakup rehash of season one, the less focused storyline, and especially the Matt/Karen forced and annoying romance angle - I loved so many moments, especially Matt getting his new sticks, and all the returning supporting characters. I was disappointed in Karen's character, which, while troubled and somewhat traumatized last season, was far more interesting and likable as opposed to how whiny and annoying she came across this season. Despite the forced chemistry at first, I grew to enjoy her scenes with Frank, and she seemed much more like her season one character with him.

I went to see X Men: Apocalypse in theatres, and it was fabulous, definitely my second or third favorite film of the series so far. Charles has finally stepped into the role of the kindly professor I loved, and his character growth is a delight to behold. I also enjoyed the unique explanation for how he ended up bald, even if I'm going to miss his fantastic hair. Erik breaks my heart, as usual, and the death of his family was devastatingly cruel - I so wanted to see more of his little daughter's animal mutation, and their scenes together were so touching and tender. I adored Charles and Erik's scenes together - their balance between friend and enemy is my favorite relationship in the series - and I inwardly shrieked when Erik swung to the X-Men's sides and dropped the huge metal X in front of Charles to protect him from Apocalypse. I also loved that the movie ended on a hopeful note for their relationship. Despite my reservations, I quickly grew to love the younger versions of the characters: Storm was fascinating, Scott was as precious as his adult version, and surprisingly, I liked Jean a lot more than the adult who I've never really cared for. I loved her saving Charles by unleashing her power, showing a flipped parallel to the darkness of her character in the original films. I'm horribly upset about Alex, though, and cling to the hope that he'll come back alive in some future film, since his body was never shown. Nightcrawler, a favorite of mine from the original films, was precious, and I adored every moment with him. Angel was a fascinating character, and I only wish there had been redemption for him, or at least more time, as his story seemed ripe for more exploration than it got. It was nice to see Mystique fully with the good guys by the end, and I love that she seems to be staying to train the new kids. Quicksilver was as much of a treasure as last movie, with a delightfully expanded role. I was a little disappointed he never told Erik he was his son, but his perfect mix of poignancy and quirky humor warmed my heart. His song sequence was endearing, and I was extremely worried when Apocalypse hurt him, but thankful when things ended happily for him. Apocalypse was an intriguing, although under-developed villain. I loved the concept of him - his gaining powers through body transference - and the few glimpses given of how he viewed the world, but he lacked full motivation for his actions. Wolverine's cameo was an unexpected and beautiful scene. I adored Jean giving him a memory, and the fact that he never spoke highlighted how good an actor Hugh Jackman is, with all the emotions he conveyed through his eyes.

I stumbled across Beyond the Prairie, and despite my reservations and few annoyances, mainly Laura being blonde - I'm far from a book purist on anything, but an absolute stickler than Laura must have brown hair - I enjoyed it quite a bit. It's pretty cute and a complete delight to see some of my favorite things from The Long Winter, my favorite book of the series, and the one thing I was always so sad the tv show didn't include. I've had a massive crush on Cap Garland since I was little, and despite him not being what I imagine I still shrieked like a schoolgirl at finally having him on my screen, even if only for a few short scenes. I also loved the inclusion of the blizzard, and Almanzo and Cap's journey for the wheat, especially Almanzo and Laura's adorable reunion scene. In other favorites, he voice over was lovely, Mary was sweet and I would have loved to see more of her, and baby Rose was so precious.

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 watched The Huntsman: Winter's War and was left with mixed feelings. While I adored seeing the Huntsman again, and finally getting his backstory, I hated how much was retconned, particularly Ravenna's death and the Huntsman's wife. Female warriors are one of my least favorite type of characters, and I could see nothing in Sara's character that resembled Snow White as the first film implied. Freya was an unnecessary addition to the story, and greatly boring with the exception of the final few minutes that made me feel a bit of sympathy for her. Many of the other characters, like the other Huntsman, who I would have liked to see more of, were underused, and the dwarves were wasted in comic relief. The plor seemed overstuffed and muddled, and while pretty, failed to measure up to the beautifully dark and imaginative first movie. Saddest of all, to me, Snow White married the Prince, eliminating all the implications of the first movie that the Huntsman had taken that role, having been the one to kiss her awake.

I discovered and have been watching the adorable and imaginative Tinkerbell animated film series, which fills out the backstory of the Peter Pan character. I love the world of Pixie Hollow, with all it's imaginative concepts - fairies painting ladybugs and stripes on bumblebees and the flower bulbs with legs - and I love the other fairy characters, especially Terrence and the sweet little Fawn.
 
 
calliope tune: "Green Fields"-Brothers Four
feeling: hungry
 
 
 
 
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.
 
 
feeling: sore
calliope tune: "Dream Weaver"-Gary Wright
 
 
Kathleen
I'm finished with season nine of Smallville and it was the best ever. I'm growing to like Lois, even if she isn't how I imagine her, and she's at least more observant and curious than Adventures Of Superman's Lois who couldn't figure out who Clark was even when the proof was right in front of her. On the flip side I adore Adventures Of Superman's Jimmy while Smallville's didn't catch my interest, even if he wasn't really the Jimmy. Clark isn't quite Superman but he's well on his way and I love the little hints the series keeps dropping, especially the boy with the cartoon of how he imagines the Blur's costume, not to mention in-jokes for other series including The X-Files when Lois calls an alien hunter "Mulder". Chloe as usual has a hard road but she has Oliver to fall back on and their relationship is gorgeous, two broken people who make each other whole. Oliver is as sweet and wonderful as always with more melancholy this season before Chloe snaps him out of his downward spiral. I love his musings on inward and outward scars in "Escape", a delightfully fun episode featuring a good old-fashioned ghost story involving a banshee, a bit of Oliver whump, and a hilarious scene where Clark and Oliver exchange small talk about saving the citizens of Metropolis. "Echo" was stunning, with some incredible acting from Justin Hartley, especially in the scene where Oliver is standing on the landmine, forced to read the words on the screen, and when he stepped off my heart broke for him. The scene where Oliver looks at his reflection and sees Lex was chilling and fascinating to think of what Oliver could become if he didn't have people who cared about him and his own good heart. Clark was blind to how much pain he was in, but I was glad he seemed to finally realize what he was going through in the end, even if he didn't seem to do much to help him. I love that it's Chloe who saves him "myth and man", she's perfect for him and he for her. Zod is fascinating, violence tempered by strangely caring moments that make him almost tragic, and an intricate backstory. Clark struggles with his promise to keep Zod alive while protecting the world from his plans, and eventually gives his own blood to bring Zod back to life after he's shot and killed, a selfless act that seems to change Zod for the better, only to be crushed when his blood gives Zod back his powers. The scene where he leaps off the roof and then up into flight partway to the ground took my breath away, and I can't help wishing that Clark could manage to redeem him; the two of them would make an incredible superhero team, and Clark doesn't seem to appreciate Oliver's backing him up nearly as much as he should. "Pandora" is a poignant episode where in another future everything changes: Zod and his people have all the power, Clark is mortal, Lois has vanished for a year, and Chloe and Oliver lead a ragtag rebellion that ends with both their deaths. I couldn't help but feel sorry for Oliver when he cries over Tess, I don't feel pity for her but Oliver keeps being hurt by her and all she does, and cold-blooded Chloe is creepy. I found human Clark intriguing, and would love to have seen several episodes in this world. "Absolute Justice" was breathtaking, and I got chills when I saw the painting of the Justice Society. I love when superheroes team up to defeat a villain, and I liked Hawkman, a sad and very different sort of hero. He and Oliver worked well together when they weren't fighting, and his living over and over and losing his wife each time is deeply haunting. I wish the Star-Spangled Kid hadn't died, since I liked what little I saw of him. Last was season ten and it was incredible. I sobbed through most of "Lazarus", such a haunting, breathtaking episode, picking up the day after last season's finale with Clark's death at the hands of Zod and Oliver in the clutches of an unknown madman. Lois discovers Clark's secret after she pulls the krytonite dagger out of him, bringing him back to life, but leaves to protect him, heading on assignment to Africa. Warned of a coming threat, Clark allows his pride to get in the way of his fate, is told he may become earth's most dangerous enemy, and still isn't worthy of changing his colors to red and blue, even as the costume lies folded up in a box in his barn. He does get an amazing scene where he flies for a few seconds, carrying the globe of the Daily Planet back into place after it falls, though. Jonathan Kent appeared in a dream/vision at the very end and made my eyes all misty; I love him so much and he's such a wonderful father to Clark, gently encouraging and supporting him instead of Jor-El who only seems to use him for his own purposes. Clark was a much better hero when Jonathan was alive, and I hope his getting to talk to him and hug him again will help him return to who he once was. I miss that sweet farmboy who cared deeply about his friends and saved the world on a small scale. While everything is going on, Chloe, desperate to not lose Oliver, puts on Fate's Helmet which reveals the future to her, as well as where Oliver, being tortured by the newly formed Suicide Squad, is. And then the ending: Chloe trades herself for Oliver, saving his life and leaving him a beautiful, heartwrenching note about him being her "knight in shining leather", which combined with "One More Day" broke my heart into tiny pieces. I don't think I've ever loved a pairing so much as Oliver/Chloe, there's something deeply gorgeous about their relationship, how they save each other in body and spirit. Oliver instantly starts falling apart in the next episode and I'm not sure I can stand watching it; last time made me want to jump through the tv screen, protect him from himself, and hug him until he was better. After going to church and speaking to the photograph of his parents, Oliver decides that his secret caused him to lose Chloe and reveals his identity to the press, but it doesn't help his pain, and his advice about love to Clark brought tears to my eyes. "Homecoming" was a heart-tugging episode as Clark's High School reunion turns into a trip into past, present, and future as he's forced to come to terms with his guilt over Jonathan's death, losing his childhood friends, and his fear of telling Lois his secret. Finding himself in the future Clark discovers Lois knows all about him and is helping him, with hilarious scenes where she punches out a guy who nearly sees him without his costume, and Clark wonders how he got so "nerdy" when he sees his glasses-wearing, mild-mannered disguise, echoed in a thought-provoking later scene where Clark talks about having to give up his true self to become Superman, the way I've always seen it; he's truly Clark not Superman instead of the other way around. In the present Clark sees Oliver, sitting alone and hoping for a call from him after he's revealed his identity. Clark is so blind to Oliver's suffering and it drives me crazy how he thinks of no one but Lois. He could care about all his friends, and now that Chloe isn't there Oliver needs someone. Still Oliver's interview and comments about being a hero is beautiful and inspiring, I adore him. Tess is given charge of Watchtower, which doesn't seem right, and Oliver is forced to deal with someone else in Chloe's role, patching him up and keeping an eye on him. Tess is becoming more tragic this season, and the root of her problems, the lack of love given her, comes to light as she finds a chance for redemption when she cares for little Alexander, the only surviving clone of Lex. But her hopes that she can save the child from becoming like Lex are dashed when he grows far too fast and soon takes on Lex's memories and hatred of Clark. Tess's decision to destroy the medicine that could save him is heartbreaking, followed by the shocking twist when the needle to kill him breaks against his skin. In "Icarus" the darkness and the VRA become more powerful causing the people to turn against the heroes and beat Oliver. Hawkman is killed saving Lois in a haunting scene where he covers her with his wings and falls burning from the top of the building. I like the idea that he'll be with the woman he loves again in his next life but I wish he hadn't had to die in the series because he was my second favorite of the heroes next to Oliver. "Collateral" was amazing as the heroes find themselves waking after Hawkman's funeral with memories of being tortured by Chloe. While most of them think she's a traitor, Oliver, believing it's in his mind, is locked in a straightjacket in a hospital where he sees Chloe walk through the wall and set him free. She tells him all the heroes are in a virtual world, bodies plugged into a mainframe, and the only way out is through a portal only reached by jumping off the top of the Daily Planet building. Oliver is the only one who trusts Chloe - his "with my life" comment brought back all the happiness I've missed this season - and jumps, finding himself back in the real world and awakening to a kiss from Chloe. I'm thrilled Chloe is back, and I got tears in my eyes at the ending when Oliver tells Chloe how much he's missed her, searching for her face, listening to her voice on his answering machine, and then quietly asks her if she's going to stay before she kisses him again. I've missed Green Team so badly! Finally things are looking brighter again as a small group of people begin to stand up for the heroes, everyone is working together again, and there's cute moments like Clark going to England and back to the Daily Planet in a split second. "Masquerade" was perfect with Clark stepping into his mild-mannered disguise and glasses which I've always loved, as well as a cute scene where Oliver calls Chloe and he "adorable blondes", and brushes her hair off her forehead, but it hurt when the Omega symbol appears on Oliver's forehead. "Fortune" was the most hilarious and fun episode I've seen, and I couldn't stop laughing through Lois chasing her engagement ring, Oliver dressed as a showgirl, Clark stealing an armored car, Oliver's green suit, and Chloe thinking she married Clark. I loved that Emil had a larger role than usual and even got to be an Elvis impersonator in Las Vegas! But best of all Oliver and Chloe are married and living in Star City; I wanted to hug them both in their last scene, they're so wonderful together. "Booster" was a surprisingly excellent episode; I loved Booster Gold and wish he'd been in the series again. "Dominion" was fantastic; Justin Hartley did a gorgeous directing job on it. I loved Oliver jumping in after Clark into the Phantom Zone, and how creepy everything was in there. Zod wasn't nearly the multi-faceted villain of last season, but his conversation with Oliver was still enough to send chills up my spine. I liked how Lois waited three weeks for Clark and wouldn't let the Zone be destroyed, but I wish Chloe had been shown the same way waiting for Oliver. Oliver keeps breaking my heart this season, and I couldn't help aching for him when he looks up at the angel statue after discovering he has the Omega on his forehead. "Prophecy" has treasure-hunting!Oliver after the bow of Orion in an attempt to save himself from the darkness, and I only wish there was more of that than the other storyline, even as quirky as it is to see Lois with Clark's powers. The finale was amazing, I was left with so many emotions. Clark finally completes his journey into Superman as he flies, ending with him pulling his shirt open to reveal the costume beneath, and there's a cute scene showing the Superman comics. Lois and Clark never seem to manage to find the time to marry, but she's sticking with him. I teared up through all the moments with Jonathan and Martha, and Tess's tragic death as she finally found her redemption. Oliver and Chloe had the happiest ending of all, with the Omega removed from Oliver's forehead, Clark finally believing in him enough to give him the strength to overcome the darkness, and best of all, Oliver and Chloe's adorable son! Awesome casting for the child, he looks so much like both of them, and I loved when he looks at his little bow and arrows set. Then at the ending Jimmy was at the Daily Planet!

A MeTV Showcase was The Millionaire which I'd never seen before so I watched it all and promptly fell in love with it. It's a compelling 50s series about a wealthy man who gives a million dollars to complete strangers without them knowing who he is and with their promise that they never reveal how they got the money or how much they have, with each episode following one of the people who received his gift and how they use it. They were all excellent but I especially loved "Jerry Bell", a beautiful romance about a man who falls in love with a blind girl. When he is given the money he uses it for an operation to restore her sight but hides from her, afraid that if she sees him she'll no longer love him. Charles Bronson was wonderful at the role; I always love him and he was so very sweet here.

I finished The X-Files season seven and I liked how Scully has become more of a believer and also how close Mulder and Scully's relationship has become, starting with the season opener's romantic ending speech and all the kisses. "The Goldberg Variation" and "Hungry" were both unique and surprisingly good episodes; "Millenium" was nostalgic, and I teared up when I saw Dick Clark and the wonderful ball that year, combined with Mulder and Scully's kiss. "Sein Und Ziet"/"Closure" were deeply poignant, with Mulder finally discovering Samantha's fate and coming to terms with it. I loved the beautifully haunting scene where he sees all the children and she comes running to him and they stand hugging each other. "Requiem" left me with mixed feelings and a lot of sadness with Mulder taken by the aliens and Scully all alone just as they were finally truly together, even as relieved as I am to see Cigarette Smoking Man get his just deserts at Krycek's hand. But I loved Krycek's completely gratuitous shower scene, and the wonderful moment when the Lone Gunmen, Mulder, Scully, Krycek, and the others were all working together on the same side toward their goal.

I'm watching 12 O'Clock High season two now and I love how the guys are introduced and slowly grow over the episodes, Gallagher coming down a little too hard on the men as he struggles to fill Savage's shoes and Komansky being self-absorbed, back-talking and carrying a chip on his shoulder. The two bump heads through the first episode before Gallagher's bravery earns Komansky's grudging respect, and by the third episode Gallagher is comfortable calling him Sandy, even if the two don't have the close friendship they'll have in season three yet. Gallagher settles into the command enough to even defy General Britt's orders for the good of his men, while developing a leadership that's every bit as solid while being more compassionate and understanding than Savage's. Komansky comes along the farthest as Gallagher brings him out of himself and makes him start to care about others, beginning with a young, frightened gunner. There's a interesting bit of backstory on him, too, where he mentions lying about his age to join because he was running from school and the police, and Gallagher's talk of his family and old friend gives a glimpse of his past and what drives him. "Show Me A Hero, I'll Show You A Bum" was amazing, and I love how Gallagher is the only one who sees Komansky as he is and could be if he'd only allow himself to realize he cares. "Between The Lines" in which Komansky moves from respecting Gallagher to understanding him was a fascinating study as each person is confronted with their worst fear such as hunger or battle. Komansky's terror of rats because he grew up around them and Gallagher's fear of failing the mission, hinting that he's still striving to prove himself worthy of his father and brothers' honors, say a lot about what shapes both of them, and I liked how underplayed the scene where Gallagher thinks Komansky was killed is. Gallagher never really says anything, not even that he's happy to see him, but it's all on his face, from when he turns back to salute the plane to the ending when he pats Komansky, wounded and resting, on the shoulder. In "The Survivor" Komansky gets to be tougher than usual when trying to get to the truth of an accident; I love when he comments about his long name and threatens to put it one letter at a time on the crewmembers who are giving a pilot a hard time. "Day Of Reckoning" is a beautifully haunting study of faith as a chaplin - the ever wonderful Charles Aidman - struggles to maintain a belief in God after the woman he loves dies in bombings and he kills an unarmed German soldier. Three of the German prisoners escape and shoot Komansky, badly wounding him. The chaplain manages to cling to his faith and prays for days over Komansky. Despite his wound being the same as the one that killed the German, a poignant parallel, Komansky survives. The chaplain's final comments about the Nazis not believing in God was deeply thought-provoking and Gallagher's statement that Komansky is a "tough Yankee" was adorable.

I'm on season five of Rawhide and it's wonderful with such treats as the lovely "Incident Of The Black Ace" where Wishbone believes a gypsy fortune and believes he's doomed to die soon. He writes out a will which is read by the men and they all realize how much he cares about them, and later save him when he's taken hostage, making him realize how much they care about him, too. Finale "Abilene" is less wild than previous seasons but makes up for it by having fed-up Rowdy punch Gil. I've been waiting for that for years! "Incident Of The Clown" is a suprisingly poignant tale of a man finding his calling in life, and has a interesting conversation between Rowdy and he where Rowdy comments that he always wanted to be a path-finder blazing new trails through the wilderness, which makes me want a spin-off series or episode where he becomes that. The haunting "Incident Of The Hostages" gives Hey Soos a chance to shine and be a sweetheart when the drovers pick up three white Indian-raised siblings and attempt to take them to a town. Rowdy gets an adorable scene where he sings and plays guitar for the younger children, and Gil has an unusually kind streak when it comes to the smallest child, even if he's stubborn when it comes to making them white. I loved that the story didn't follow the usual path and instead had the three choose to return to their Indian family. "Incident Of Judgment Day", the season's best episode, is a stunning character study in hate and humanity as a group of former Confederate soldiers ride into camp and take Rowdy to stand a mock trial in a ghost town. The men and Rowdy were in the prison camp during the war where Rowdy became seriously ill while they were planning an escape. The captain believes Rowdy told the commander of the camp about their plans which resulted in their recapture, one man being paralyzed, and two others being killed. Rowdy's only hope lies with a former judge, now a defeated alcoholic who blames himself for an error in judgement that cost a person their life and at first is unwilling to defend him. "Incident Of The Pale Rider" is a chilling ghost story where Rowdy shoots a man in self-defense and then is stalked by a ranch hand who looks the same as the dead man. Hey Soos scared me by being badly injured but thankfully he recovered, and I loved Rowdy in the episode.

I'm watching The Virginian season six and it appears the series has found it's footing after the shaky fifth with the touching "Seth" in which Trampas discovers a sick and half-starved teenager, Michael Burns who's superb as usual, in the mountains. The boy refuses to give any answers to Trampas's questions and only gives his first name, but Trampas sees promise in him and has him signed on at Shiloh. However, his uncle turns up to claim him prompting Trampas's suspicions and the discovery of Seth's past. I loved Seth and he worked well with Trampas and would have been good as a regular. Since he stayed on at Shiloh in the end I like to think he's there just not seen in other episodes.

I finished the Adam-12 finale "Something Worth Dying For" and it was perfect! Reed went back to being Pete's partner and it ended with him receiving the medal of honor for saving Pete's life. It was wonderful to watch their journey end, from a cop who wanted to quit partnered with a rookie to both of them seven years later, good friends and honored. I've also fallen in love with another cop show The Streets Of San Francisco. Mike and Steve have a beautiful father-son like friendship, and I love the contrast between them and how well they work together. In "Flags Of Terror" Steve was taken hostage and it was moving to see the fear on Mike's face as he can't help him, as well as Steve's attempts to keep their spirits up.

I've been working my way through The Master, an offbeat little series. Max Keller is a trouble-prone kid who's constantly being thrown out of bar windows, when he isn't turning the tables on the bad guys, that is. He lives out of his truck, has one friend, his hamster Henry, and a pronounced, endearing Brooklyn accent. His life takes a sudden detour when he gets into another fight and meets John McAllister, a WWII vet who stayed in Japan, became the only white ninja master, and returned to the states in search of the daughter he's never met. Trailing McAllister is Okasa, his former pupil who views him as a traitor and plans to kill him. As McAllister and Max set out, McAllister finds in him an eager student, and takes him under his wing to teach him how to survive. I have a weakness for ninjas so this series is right up my alley. To make it even better, Max is both hilarious and adorable, hot-headed yet good-hearted, and I love him.

I've started rewatching Lost, one of my teenage shows. I love the tone and characters, especially Charlie, Claire, and Jack.

MeTV's showcase played Voyage To The Bottom Of The Sea so I got to see a new Irwin Allen film. I liked it much better than the series which I only watch once in a while, especially the cast and more toned-down fantasy feel. Robert Sterling makes a great Lee Crane and I wish he'd been him in the series. Frankie Avalon is underused but he did get a moment of bravery while facing down a man with a bomb, and a cute music scene, as well as singing the pretty themesong. Admiral Nelson, a maverick but brilliant Navy scientist has launched the Seaview, a Jules Verne style submarine commanded by a crew under Captain Lee Crane, a young man for his command who's brought on board his fiancée, Cathy. Seaview's ocean trials come to an abrupt halt when the Van Allen radiation belt catches a meteor shower that floods the earth with extreme heat, leaving the world weeks away from destruction. Lee's father-son relationship with the Admiral becomes strained when Nelson's harsh orders and refusal to search for survivors clash with Lee's care for the men and the pressure they're under, even as Nelson attempts to maintain control over the crew, all while launching a risky scheme to save the world before time runs out. Somewhat less shiny and colorful than Irwin Allen's other work, it's still a fun film with underwater attacks by another sub and sealife, as well as personal interest stories, and a real treat. In other new films I saw Peter Pan and the lovely sequel Return To Neverland, which I loved even more than the original. Peter had a fiery-tempered but softer edge to him in the sequel, and there was an adorable scene where he flew with Jane on his back. Tinkerbell was precious, and the Lost Boys as well as the clapping octopus kept me laughing, despite the more serious tone and occasionally dark WWII setting. As much as I like Wendy I actually preferred Peter with Jane, since her more take charge personality suited Peter and Neverland better, and Hook seemed more comical instead of threatening. Next was the fun and imaginative Enchanted. Next was the whimsical and poignant fairytale Edward Scissorhands which I loved. After that was the moving and lovely Miss Potter which broke my heart but also warmed it by the ending. Next was the flawed but pretty One Night With the King with its beautiful sequence of Hadassah coming before the king. I'd loved the book so it was even more exciting to see it on the screen. Next was the hilarious, far fetched, and completely fantastic Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. I have a huge weakness for historical fantasy and the concept was a delight. Next was a rewatch of Casablanca which I always enjoy, especially the French song scene which always reduces me to tears. Next was the surprisingly well done The Nativity Story which I loved, especially for its kind and decent portrayal of Joseph, one of my absolute favorite and somewhat overlooked Biblical figures. Next was the adorable Eragon. I loved the world building and character relationships. Next was the intriguing Dial M For Murder. Hitchcock is very much hit or miss with me but sometime I love the concept and filming style as I did with this one. Next was the beautiful but sad Finding Neverland, and after that the poignant yet adorable Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium. Next was The Golden Compass. I adored the world building, especially the creatures, and the characters were enjoyable. Next was the lovely and moving Blossoms In the Dust whose true story made it even more poignant. Next was the fun time travel adventure Timeline. Next was the enjoyable Beautiful Creatures whose southern gothic feel and historical flashbacks delighted me. Next was the Twilight movies and while they're far from high art I greatly enjoyed them for escapist fluff and random fun. Next was my first horror film House On Haunted Hill, an always delightful and ever so slightly scary caper. Last was Elvis movies, my favorites Flaming Star and King Creole.

I saw the heartbreaking and beautiful miniseries The Hanging Gale about the Irish Potato Famine as seen through the eyes of four brothers: Liam, a priest, Daniel, the schoolmaster, and farmers Sean, a married father of three, and Conor, headstrong and quietly in love with Sean's wife Maeve. I've always had an interest in the time period and Ireland as well so it was wonderful to finally find something set then, especially a film like this with such superb history accuracy, gentle yet painful photography, and excellent acting. The soft-spoken Liam shines the brightest, bringing tears to my eyes in the heartwrenching scene where he buries a young child while mumbling the Lord's Prayer over her in a numb, shocked tone. One of the best miniseries I've ever seen.

In Arthurian legend I watched Tristan + Isolde and it was the most beautiful film I've ever seen, with breathtaking, lush, and vivid scenery and lighting, especially in the scene where Isolde comes across the water. Middle Ages Cornwall is in constant battle with Ireland, and one massacre costs the would-be king Marke his wife and a hand when he saves the life of a young boy, Tristan. As the years pass Marke raises the boy as his son, and Tristan proves to be a nearly undefeatable warrior. However fate soon intervenes when Tristan is wounded by a poisoned sword, believed to be dead, and sent out on a funeral boat across the sea. The waters take him to Ireland's coast where the king's daughter, wistful dreamer Isolde, discovers Tristan barely alive on the strand. Hiding him from everyone, she nurses him back to health and the two fall in love only to be separated when the king discovers Tristan and Isolde smuggles him out of Ireland and back to England. Returning a hero, Tristan loses himself in a tournament, promising to win Marke a wife. But his life takes a cruel turn when he discovers that the promised bride is Isolde, and for the good of both their countries she must marry Marke, sending the star-crossed lovers onto their tragic path. The film has something of an old-fashioned feel, particularly in the acting, and I thought all the actors fit their roles, even if I imagine Tristan as lighter-haired. The tragedy of their circumstances is incredibly poignant, backed by lovely music, and the ending brought tears to my eyes, an amazing, gorgeous film. After that was the tv series Camelot, a fascinating and realistic spin on the stories whose gorgeous theme and thrilling version of Arthur pulling the sword from the stone on the top of a waterfall has captured my imagination. Finally this Arthur is a good and sympathetic representation who captures the future king's youth but also nobleness, a powerful speaker with kindness who I can believe as becoming the greatest king ever. Merlin is a quiet, nearly haunted version of the sorcerer, lacking most magic and yet surprisingly mystical and mysterious. Igraine has an unusually large role but best of all Arthur has a close brother/friend relationship with Kay, and his origins are exactly as they should be. I got chills during Arthur's incredible coronation, especially when he's pronounced "King Arthur" and when he speaks to the people.
 
 
feeling: bouncy
calliope tune: "Popsicles,Icicles"-Murmaids