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 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.

In other new movies I watched Gods Of Egypt with low expectations, and ended up adoring it. It's very much a '90s style adventure story, with delightful fun, a lighter-hearted, more straight forward feel than most films today, and some wonderful friendship feels between Bek and Horus, whose relationship was my favorite thing in the movie. I enjoyed the somewhat fanciful but partially faithful depiction of mythological events, and how they wove into the story, like Horus's eyes. Horus was a lovely character, growing emotionally throughout the story until becoming a kind and good kind, and Bek was endearing. Next was the stunning and deeply moving Mr. Nobody. In addition to being one of the most beautifully filmed movies I've ever seen, it was incredibly thought-provoking, and a flawless mix of tragic poignancy and quiet inspiration. The cast was all superb - I'm absolutely in love with Jared Leto's eyes on a shallow note - and the plot was full of imagination. Next was the gorgeous On Drakon, a beautifully filmed and acted fairytale story with elements of Beauty and the Beast, but better. I've longed for human shape-shifted dragons in a fantasy for years and finally got one in Arman, a sweet and heartbreakingly sad character fighting his dragon side and the evil his race has committed. The mythology behind the dragons, especially their birth, was fascinating and dark, and I adored when the conclusion was him not becoming human but rather learning to control the dragon. The romance was sweet, and the ending so precious I couldn't stop smiling. Next was The Legend of Tarzan, the Tarzan movie I've been longing for for years. The tone was perfect, the cinematography and music gorgeous, and the relationship between Tarzan and Jane was the heart of it all, a beautiful, realistic, and powerful love story. I was a little saddened that there weren't more flashbacks, but I have an absolute weakness for married couples deeply in love, and the story hit so many of my beloved tropes. The ending was adorable, too. Next was the inspiring and lovely Hallmark movie Front of the Class. I loved that it was a true story, and James Wolk was so good at the role.

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
Recovering from the claustrophobia of being jammed into a theatre with too many people, I just got back from The Hunger Games! I had very high expectations for the film and it filled them all and still blew me away, especially the bread scene even if it missed the dandelion moment. Peeta was incredible. I expected as much from the other films I've seen with the actor but he pulled every emotion possible out of every scene and was even better than I'd imagined, and so vulnerable I kept wanting to hug him. Prim was sweet, Gale was surprisingly sympathetic, I actually felt for him, and Haymitch made me love him even though I didn't like the book character. The other Tributes were very much as I'd pictured, especially little Rue. The scene where she died hurt, and then when the district saluted Katniss I don't think there was a dry eye in the theatre. My favorite scenes were the chariots, Katniss finding Peeta by the river, and that final hug when they think the Games are over. I was slightly disappointed that Peeta healed up so quickly after the medicine arrived, since I wanted the scene where Katniss is pounding on the glass screaming, but the whole film was beyond perfection, especially this line: "I think about it all the time. How I tossed you that bread, I should have gone to you, I should have gone out in the rain. I remember when I first saw you. Your hair was in two braids instead of one, and in music assembly when they asked who knew the valley song and your hand shot straight up. After that I watched you walk home everyday...every day."

So apparently most Les Miserables fans hate Marius. I'm beginning to suspect somethings wrong with me when my favorite character is always the least popular with other fans, still this surprised me because I always assumed Marius would be a popular character. He's certainly a romantic and tragic revolutionary and, even though I adored him years before I ever saw the fantastic 1998 movie or any other version, he's pretty. I have a weakness for high cheekbones and he has the highest ever.

I'm working my way through the complete 1978 series Battlestar Galactica and I adore Starbuck with his hilarious womanizing, gambling, cigar-smoking, and gorgeous hair, even CORA, his computer, wants to flirt with him. On the flipside I feel sorry for poor Athena; she starts out as one of the leads and after a few episodes the writers seem to have no idea what to do with her, and she spends the rest of the series staring at a computer screen or eating dinner. I love how detailed the world is from the viper fights to the "space Las Vegas", and Apollo, Boomer, and Starbuck's friendship, as well as Apollo and Boxey's relationship, is heartwarming. Rick Springfield turned up in the pilot, which was a treat, even if he had a tiny and tragic role. Starbuck gets to show his caring side in the dream-like "War Of The Gods" when he offers his life to save dead Apollo, even in payment after Apollo has been brought back to life, and his crying shows how much he really does care about his friends. "Fire In Space" showcases Boomer as a hero, as well as showing the loyal heart of Starbuck when he jumps off the ship into outer space to grab onto Apollo who's lost his grip, and continues holding onto him, floating without ropes, until help arrives. Starbuck gets some nice whump in "Greetings From Earth" as well as "The Young Lords", both of which have cute scenes with him and kids. The beautiful and moving "Lost Warrior" features an incredible and fun western showdown between Apollo and a cylon, as well as a lovely backstory and star-gazing finale. While there's no real finale the last episode was superb, and I love the broadcast being the moon landing as well as the adorable "waggling the wings" part.

I'm up to "The Seige" in A Man Called Shenandoah and by now I see the writers enjoy tormenting him. Here he comes closer than ever with the hope of a family, a name, and a hometown only to have it all snatched away. On the bright side Charles Aidman was in it! I adore him, no matter what role he has he's excellent, and he got to have a cute little daughter in this one which is always a sweet bonus. I'm still not convinced on the ending, though. Since the doctor said in the pilot that some people with amnesia forget to read I think it's possible that his handwriting was forgotten and relearned (or at least I'd like to think so), not to mention the fact that little Nora sort of looked like him, enough to put a doubt in my mind. It would have made an excellent finale, too.

I'm infamous for ignoring special features on DVDs so it's taken me all this time to notice my The Time Tunnel set came with a bonus movie, Time Travelers, and watch it. Clint, a doctor desperate to find a cure for the outbreak of an extinct disease, and Jeff, a former astronaut, join forces to travel back to the 1800s and speak to the doctor who found a cure for the deadly virus but lost the records to the Chicago Fire. At the last moment something goes wrong and the men arrive a mere 29 hours before the fire, with Clint contracting the virus, leaving it up to Jeffrey to get them back in time to save both their lives. With Rod Serling's story of a doomed love and poignant endings and Irwin Allen's colorful touch to lend a bit of fun to it all, the two leads have a good and believeable friendship with strong similarities to Tony and Doug's friendship in The Time Tunnel. I would have loved to see Tony and Doug in the Great Chicago Fire but there's enough of both of them in Jeff's character to not feel too wistful. It's a shame they didn't make this into a series as it would have been interesting to see what other adventures Clint and Jeff could have had, and I really liked Jeff as well as the focus being on the travelers.

I saw "The Bounty Hunter", the Trackdown episode that spun-off into Wanted Dead Or Alive and it was interesting to see how much rougher Josh was compared to the series, quick to fight and shoot while later it shakes him up everytime he has to kill someone. He and Hoby worked well together and it would have been nice to see Hoby in Wanted Dead Or Alive. Along the same lines, I also saw a hilarious Boy Meets World episode with the Monkees, being different characters but with many in-jokes and an adorable ending, and the Make Room For Daddy that spun-off into Andy Griffith Show. Andy's character was more goofy, and Aunt Bee was an entirely different character, but it was cute and I can see the makings for the series, especially with Andy and Opie's relationship. While I was working on "Dust Off The Moon" I kept noticing the overlap between the real John Ringo and the tv version, especially the holes in John Ringo's life that could have been filled by someone like Cully. That eventually led to my considering the opposite: if Johnny would become like the real person if Cully was taken away. But I never thought about what would happen to Cully without Johnny. I saw The Rifleman episode "Mark's Rifle" where Mark Goddard played a character very much like Cully, a trick shot artist with a carny background and a likeable smile. But underneath all that is a world-weary, bitter thief, a dark mirror of Cully, or who Cully could have been if he'd shot Johnny or if Johnny had never met him. It would have been fascinating if Johnny Ringo had done an It's A Wonderful Life styled episode for each of them.

I saw an amazing Marcus Welby M.D. episode "A Matter Of Humanities" with Pete Duel as a man with aphasia. He only said one word over and over throughout the episode but it was an incredible acting job, one of the most impressive I've seen. I also discovered the excellent sci-fi series Journey To The Unknown and am working my way through it. I'm also binge-watching the fun sci-fi Gemini Man - I really want a watch like that - and it's clone, the '70s version of The Invisible Man, the catchy Fame, the jazzy detective series T.H.E. Cat, the quirky Jack of All Trades, and the excellent western Branded. I'm also enjoying the '90s sci-fi Roswell.

Heidi, the little Swiss dreamer, and Peter, the young goat-herder with issues have held my heart since I first saw the 1993 movie Heidi as a young child, and even then I knew they had to get married someday. They were so adorable together; Heidi needed someone to look after her, and Peter seemed to come out of his shell only with her help. The moment he saved her on the cliff I was in love with them forever. I recently heard of the not official but good enough for me sequels to the book: Heidi Grows Up and Heidi's Children, which find Heidi and Peter marrying and having twins.

I managed for almost the entire first season of The X-Files to not ship Mulder/Scully. It was "Beyond The Sea" that did me in, right at the scene where Mulder is on the ER table, dying, and Scully is standing there. She's not even crying but that look on her face, like her world is falling apart. And then when she lies for him in "Tooms", and the whole "only trusting him" and the way he panics when she's kidnapped and oh.

I'm watching S.W.A.T. season one. There's enough closeness among the team to make me happy and I love Luca; he's hilarious, adorable, and such a flirt. "Blind Man's Bluff" is my favorite episode so far, with a wound leaving Harrelson deskbound and a new, harsh officer in charge of the team, leading to sweet moments as Harrelson undergoes surgery to get back to his job, Hilda brings him a giant sandwich in the hospital, and Luca goes to his office to visit him.

I've been working through The Big Valley season two and I'd nearly forgotten my childhood love for this gloriously overdone western. It's a colorful soap opera packed with enough brothers h/c to make me squee like a teenager. And it has Richard Long. I don't know what it is about him but I adore him completely. All he has to do is make that amused, crooked smile of his and I'm instantly in love with whatever character he is. It must have started with Jarrod Barkley of the quirkily spelled name, noble character, and gorgeous blue eyes. Not that Jarrod's the only looker, as it has possibly the best looking cast a western ever flaunted. There's Heath, occasionally troubled by his past and constantly troubled by hair that can't decide what color it wants to be. It was bottle blond last season and now it's inching into the brown zone more by the episode. I'm assuming it will be black next season at the rate it's going. He has a crooked, meltable smile and that western accent that always endears me to a character as soon as he opens his mouth. Even Nick who unnerved me seems better now, even if he could use his big brother's ease at controlling his temper. He's such an incredibly different character from Black Saddle it's amazing, mark of a good actor, I guess. Poor Audra doesn't get to do much but be pampered by her brothers and lose the latest object of her affections but she cries nicely and has lots of bright clothing so I suppose she can't complain. In all seriousness, though, it's a fantastic show, surprisingly deep for such a pretty series, with lovely amnesia episodes. I've also been watching Green Acres and fallen in love with it's adorable way of breaking the fourth wall as well as it's homespun humor. I love how ditzy Lisa is, the fancy furniture and clothes against the rundown farm, and the telephone on top of their house. All of the townspeople are hilarious, too, such characters. I've also been rewatching a childhood favorite in Leave It To Beaver. I've been on a cop show spree too this week, watching all the series I used to and loving them all: the fantastic Baretta with Fred and Baretta's disguises, Patrick Swayze in The Renegades, Dan's ability to be anything in David Cassidy Man Undercover, Doyle's curls in The Professionals, David Janssen in Richard Diamond, Mark Goddard in The Detectives, and my favorite Kojak. I'm loving the spy/detective series Hawaiian Eye, and best of all, the jazz-flavored Johnny Staccato, too.

I'm working through Cheyenne and watched the excellent "The Long Winter". Cheyenne's comment about the "tame flowers" was adorable! It makes sense, too, if people call wildflowers "wild" why not call flowers tended in a flower bed "tame"? I saw Paul Brinegar playing a trail hand in another episode, "Lone Gun", about a cattle drive, and one of the other characters was named Rowdy, so he got to keep calling him by that name while I kept expecting to see Clint Eastwood answer. He didn't have his usual whiskers, though, so I recognized him by his voice alone. Then Sheb Wooley turns up two episodes later. This series is like Rawhide before it started. Speaking of which, I finished the new season of Rawhide including Pete's final episode "The Deserter's Patrol". I'm always a little worried when I know a character I like is leaving a series for fear they'll kill him or he'll disappear without a word, which is almost worse. Thankfully if he had to leave they gave him a good send-off; he takes a job as an Army scout and takes the son of his dead friend as his. I miss Pete terribly, though. Clay lacks the warmth and clarity of character, too many shades of grey. This season did give me an unexpected gift by having Pete in the episode "Reunion". It's wonderful to have him back, if only briefly. In the last episode "Devil and the Deep Blue". Teddy turned back up! I'd been wondering where he was this season. Poor Teddy, I rather like him and he never seems to get a main role in any episode. Also, be still, my childhood heart, I watched the adorable "Grandma's Money", and "The Pitchwagon", a feast of hilarious moments where the drivers stage an impromptu talent show, both of which made me remember yet again why I adore Rowdy from his drawstring hat to that sugar sweet and oh so gullible heart. Let's just say when he sings and the girls in the crowd shriek, I'm silently doing it, too. There must be something magical about tv cowboys...they can steal your heart again and again, no matter how old you think you've become.

I adore Barney Sloane, the down-trodden character in Young At Heart, so I was thrilled to discover the film was a remake of another movie, 1938's Four Daughters, and that Frank Sinatra's role (called Mickey) was originally John Garfield's. With four sisters instead of three, the plots are still very similiar, of the women marrying men who they don't completely love yet. Into this walks a piano-player with neither self-confidence or hope compounded by a firm belief that his fates are out to destroy him. Almost the same until you reach Mickey's first scene and everything changes. Expecting the instant pull Barney had on me, I found myself recoiling from John Garfield's portrayal. Barney is such a tragic and emotionally-fragile character you bleed for him; Mickey comes across as sarcastic and bitter, enjoying feeling sorry for himself. It's the most subtle things that seem to change everything: the way they look, the tone of voice, and Frank Sinatra's unique, soulful eyes and world-weary delivery of the lines give a depth to Barney that Mickey doesn't have, and I never truly bonded with the character. It's a shame because it would have been fascinating to see John Garfield tackle the role the same way, including the final scene. Four Daughters has Mickey die shortly after in hospital, and the next scene finds Anne smiling, seemingly having forgotten all about him, and returning to the original man she loved. Young At Heart takes a far more hopeful and beautiful turn as Laurie's desperate attempts to convince Barney that she loves him and needs him finally gives him the strength to pull through surgery. The last scene finds the couple, now with a baby, Barney having finished the song that haunted him through the film. Despite a last cute moment Four Daughters left me saddened and confused, Mickey seeming like an out of place part that was worked in at the last moment and removed without anyone noticing. Young At Heart is so romantic and hopeful that I grin ear to ear at the ending. John Garfield, in his first role, has that brooding sarcasm that he'd use so well in later roles, but his approach is so opposite from Frank Sinatra's that I felt I was watching a different character completely, and the ending only confirmed that idea. The change of the character surviving, I understand, was Frank Sinatra's request that Barney be given a second chance, and I not only agree with his choice but adore him for it. More than Mickey, Barney is the backbone of the film, and the original ending would have defeated the point of the story.

I love sword-and-sandals films and among my favorites is The Robe. Victor Mature was an excellent actor when given a chance at a good role, like Demetrius, requiring an emotional depth pouring out of his eyes. It's always saddened me how there's no real ending for him, so it was with great excitement that I discovered the sequel Demetrius and the Gladiators. Picking up a while later, Demetrius is living with a potter and his daughter Lucia, a young woman he loves from afar, never guessing she also loves him. His world comes shattering around him when Caligula launches an empire-wide search for the robe, believing it will grant him immortality. When they arrive his attempts to protect Lucia from the soldiers sentence him to the gladiator fights, and near death, the conniving Messalina saves him and sets her eye on him at any cost. Demetrius forced to watch as the gladiators attack and appear to kill Lucia. Demetrius lashes out, turning his back on his religion, friends, and even pacifism. Freed and given a position as Tribune, he sets out to recapture the Robe when he discovers Lucia is still living and in possession of it. It's is a well done what if?, interesting in that it isn't a single event that sets him off but more the last straw, implied that it began when Marcellus died for him. I wondered how Demetrius would feel when it sunk in. He's been through torture to the brink of death, rescued moments before dying, and healed, even as his friends knew that bringing Peter there would cast suspicion on themselves, and then Marcellus turns back and gives himself up to allow the others to have a chance to escape with Demetrius. Surely all this would haunt Demetrius, and I would have liked the sequel to touch on this more. His loss of faith, violent anger, and later change of heart, are sudden but believable but I found it somewhat out of character for him to instantly rush into a relationship with Messalina the moment he thinks Lucia is dead. Victor Mature gets center stage in the sequel and he's wonderful, equally convincing as his usual kind-hearted character and the embittered transformation mid-way through the movie. The film ends on a hopeful note but another sequel would have been perfect although the loose ends are tied up. In other new films I watched the 2010 Clash of The Titans which was surprisingly better than the original, even if I was broken-hearted that Ixas and Eusebius were killed. Hans Matheson was wonderful as Ixas - saving Perseus's life and going around with fantastic bows and arrows - and the actor who played Eusebius looked so much like Krycek I couldn't believe my eyes. Perseus was an easy to sympathize with hero, and I liked his relationship with Io even if I was hoping he'd end up with Andromeda in the end. But the special effects were all amazing, and it was quite fun. Next was The Andersonville Trial, a fascinating and moving film of Henry Wirz's trial. The cast was amazing and I was intrigued by the fact that the entire film takes place in the courtroom. William Shatner was superb as Chipman, the prosecuter whose moral convictions and deep sense of caring for those who died drives him to prove Wirz's guilt, and Michael Burns had a achingly tragic role as a nineteen year old survivor of Andersonville who remains lost in the war in his mind. The film dug deeply into the implications of following or disobeying orders and ended with a sobering, thought-provoking comment. I finally saw Because They're Young, and it was superb. I love old "teen rebel" films and couldn't resist the fantastic cast. Dick Clark is an idealistic teacher at a rough school who believes any student can be reached if he tries hard enough, at odds with the hardened principal who wants to go by the rules, teach the good students, and throw away the bad ones. Both are put to the test when he gets Michael Callan in his class, a rough kid with a chip on his shoulder who gets involved in a robbery and finds himself caught against a switchblade. Even as a bad boy he still has that impish grin that makes me smile back. Roberta Shore and cute, towheaded Doug McClure were adorable high school sweethearts in the movie and made me remember how I used to ship Trampas/Betsy before Randy showed up. Throw in some radio music by Bobby Rydell, Duane Eddy at the dance, and James Darren with his million-dollar-smile and very glittery hair and eyes and I was in love. Next I saw the lovely film The Winning Team, a biography of a star baseball pitcher and his devoted wife whose strength helps him overcome a brain injury and gives him the courage to make not only a comeback but win the world series for his team. Then I discovered the film Stolen Women Captured Hearts. Anna is a new bride, married to a man she barely knows when the Lakota capture her, her life spared by the mysterious warrior Tokalah. Forced to adjust in order to survive, Anna finds her heart strangely warmed by Tokalah's kindness as well as confused by the way he seems to have met her before, as she finds herself falling in love for the first time. But her newfound happiness is threatened when Custer takes an interest in returning her, a simple task that quickly turns tragic. It's one of those lovely romantic films that are just pretty to look at, along with the benefits of a clever backstory of Tokalah having seen Anna in a vision, the Indians actually played by Indians, and a unique final choice. Next was Splendor In The Grass, a haunting film that's been on my "must watch list" for ages. Set in the '20s and quite accurate to the time period, the story centers on Bud and Deanie, two star-crossed teenagers deeply in love who only want to get married in their small Kansas town. But Deanie's out-of-touch parents and Bud's ambitious, harsh father threaten their relationship, and finally drive them apart: Bud to alcohol and other women and Deanie to the brink of insanity. With poignant photography, incredible acting (especially Bud's tormented, wild sister) and an aching study in social standards and heartbreak, it's a superb film. Second was Magnificent Obsession, about Bob Merrick, a playboy millionaire with no direction in life who recklessly crashes his motorboat and almost drowns, saved thanks to a resuscitator borrowed from the local doctor, who at the same time suffers a heart attack and dies. Guilt-ridden, Bob attempts to make amends to the widow, Helen, but his efforts result in a tragic accident that leaves her blinded. He begins joining her on the beach where she sits, befriending and falling in love with her. Not knowing who he is, she returns his feelings but fate intervenes when she disappears, leaving behind only a note breaking off the relationship. Flash forward to years later and he's now a talented neurosurgeon when word comes that she's been found, dying in a hospital. In a strange twist of fate he becomes the only person who can save her life and give them another chance at happiness together. It was a rich and lovely soap opera in the grand style only that era could do. The casting is unusual but grew on me, the theme is stunning, and it's a glorious movie to look at. Bob grows over the film and the transformation is fascinating as his conceited, devil-may-care ways turn into a man who gives everything of himself and asks for nothing. Next was All That Heaven Allows, a gorgeous and moving film that's one of the best happy-ending romances I've seen in a very long time. Cary is a lonely widow caught in an endless routine of country clubs, artificial friends, social standards, and the cold glitz of a wealthy, privileged life. Ron is her garderner who's starting his own tree farm, a genuine, loving man who refuses to let little things matter and lives life to the fullest. When a shared breakfast draws the two together they find themselves falling in love, a romance which tests Cary's relationships with her friends and her nearly-grown children as well as shaking the core of her orderly lifestyle. Unable to deal with social convention, she breaks their relationship off, and it takes a season of loneliness and a tragic accident before Cary discovers that what she's wanted all along isn't money or people to think well of her, only the kind of love Ron can give. It was a beautiful movie, both heartwarming and poignant, rich and gripping. Last was the quirky but fun musical The Pirate with Gene Kelly in all his swashbuckling glory as an actor who pretends to be a pirate in order to win the woman who has a crush on the pirate. More Victor Mature's films, too, and the past two were the best so far. The Egyptian tells the tragic story of a man who rises and falls through the ranks from an abandoned infant on the Nile to a wealthy doctor to Pharoh. Victor Mature played a soldier and childhood friend to the doctor who rises with him and changes as he does. The film had gorgeous scenery and sets, a haunting theme, and an incredible, heartbreaking scene where the soldiers kill the worshippers on the outskirts of Egypt. The best scene, I think, is the Doctor's inspiring speech toward the end. Million Dollar Mermaid was a sweet, wonderful film with Victor Mature being fabulous as the carny drifter with his head in the clouds, such a colorful character. I've never seen him play that sort of role and he pulled it off beautifully. The swimming scenes and the technicolor were glorious, and the setting was richly detailed with the silent movie sets, flying machines, and carnival. I've also been on a nostalgic kick and watched all the Ma & Pa Kettle films. I had a couple as a kid and saw them over and over but I hadn't thought of them again until recently. They're every bit as hilarious and fun as I remember.
 
 
calliope tune: "Together Forever"-Rick Astley
feeling: stressed