Kathleen
The Musketeers is on now and it's absolutely wonderful, capturing not only the time period but the characters's personalities perfectly. D'Artagnan is wonderfully sassy, Aramis is stunning, and my heart bleeds for Athos already. I love the characters' friendship, and Milady is already an intriguing villain. I love how the series retains the flavor of the books, not shying away from ships between married characters. Constance is wonderful, the first version of the character I've liked, and she and D'Artagnan are perfect together. Thankfully, I absolutely detest her husband which makes the shipping easy. "Sleight of Hand" was even better than the pilot with an intriguing spy plot and plenty of explosions. Aramis and Anne were surprisingly adorable, and even if I know it's doomed I can't help shipping it. I loved that she gave him the necklace, and that he kissed it after the bomb failed to explode. Still it saddened me to think Aramis believes Adele abandoned him when her last thoughts were of how much she loved him. I assumed the Cardinal would be plotting against Aramis by now but it hasn't come up yet. D'Artagnan was fabulous as a spy, getting whumped and yet still saving the day. "Commodities" was excellent, deftly handling the Athos/Milady backstory and allowing Athos to discover she survived. I love how dangerous Milady is compared to some versions, and Athos continues to be more and more tragic. Aramis was hilarious, especially with how proud he was of his stitching, and he even got to speak some Spanish. The scene of him reverting to the role of priest was touching. Porthos got a chance to shine, lending a haunting touch to the scene where he derides a slave trader. I love the way the show uses social issues. "The Good Soldier" gave a glimpse of Aramis's past, focusing on a tragic massacre that only he and his friend, now an assassin and wanted man, survived. While the episode was somewhat weaker than the others it was wonderful to see Aramis featured as well as the attention to past details such as him wearing the cross Anne gave him. "The Homecoming" gave Porthos a chance to shine, as well as give a glimpse of his past. I found the Court Of Miracles fascinating, as well as the insight into his character. "The Exiles" was the best episode so far, perhaps because I went into it only expecting baby!fluff and was pleasantly surprised to find so much more. The plot was perfect, featuring political intrigue with the royals - a hidden twin, a plot to usurp the king, a scheming Queen, and a baby being used as a pawn - alongside the Musketeers and Constance trying to protect the infant and his mother. Constance was back to being fabulous again, helping rescue the child and even sword-fighting to protect Aramis and he. Aramis was wonderful - I think I fell in love with him even more than before - with a poignant lost love revealed, as well as his protection of Agnes and her son. He was adorable with the baby and even got to sing to him, something I never knew how badly I wanted. "A Rebellious Woman" played into my fascination with the 1600s' witch trials while presenting more reasons for me to adore Aramis. I loved all his lines, and the comment about him "cherishing women". Athos's explosion at seeing his wife was stunning, with Tom Burke pulling every emotion possible out of that scene and even scaring me a little in the process. Also the scene of Aramis fighting with books was epic. "The Confession" was a weak plot but made up for a lot of it by enough shiny sword fighting to make even me content. I loved seeing the tournament, especially Athos training D'Artagnan, who showed so much growth in this episode, by finally rejecting MiLady and seemingly growing up. The moment where he finally becomes a musketeer was beautiful, and I loved his hugs with Aramis and Porthos. D'Artagnan and Constance's romance was adorable followed by heartbreaking and while I can see her husband's point of view, I can't help but loathe him for hurting her and threatening to kill D'Artagnan. Aramis was strangely out of character, and the writing seemed shaky, but I enjoyed the continuation of the characters's story arcs and the new twists. "Knight Takes Queen" finally explores the tale of Aramis's lost love and brings him closure, even if I was quite disappointed with who she turned out to be. Aramis/Anne are finally canon, but I feel worried to be shipping it, since it can't go smoothly. Still they're lovely and sweet together, and I liked the parallel of Aramis's lost child to Anne's. King Louis got to show the two different sides of his often childish personality, and the Cardinal continues to grow more evil. The nuns were fabulous, especially Mother Superior, and I loved them defending the convent. "Musketeers Don't Die Easily" was a wonderful finale, neatly tying things up while leaving me looking forward to next season. The romantic relationships were the best: Athos finally got closure over Milady, Constance and D'Artagnan have found each other again but in a bittersweet move, Constance chooses to remain with her husband, and most poignantly, it's heavily implied that Anne's expected child is Aramis's. I loved their final scene together when Aramis pledges to protect the child for the rest of his life, a beautifully acted and touching moment as his eyes show barely constrained happiness mixed with sadness. D'Artagnan was wonderful, pulling off the scheme brilliantly, and I adored the group hug and the "one for all and all for one" finally being spoken.

In brand new shows there's Star Crossed which is lovely so far, a sci-fi reimagining of Romeo and Juliet which will hopefully have a less tragic future. Roman is a wonderful character with a perfect blend of sweetness and snark, and I really like Julia so far. I love the first meeting between Roman and Emery and how most of the aliens seem more human than the humans. The ending of the pilot with Roman saving Julia and his father dying was deeply poignant.

I'm on season two of Once Upon A Time now. The way the characters are all related and the constant recasting of the same character in many roles - crocodile!Rumplestiltskin being the worst - continues to make my head spin, and sadly there's even more focus on the female characters to the expense of the much better written male characters, but there are bright spots in the mess. New this season is Killian, and I love him even better after getting to see his introduction, while Emma's betrayal of him only serves to make me hate her more. Her constant whining and complaining about being an orphan when she's found her family and her son gets old quickly and her personality flips between annoyingly aggressive and so bland she sets my teeth on edge. New also is Phillip, and he's lovely, a perfect mix of sweetness and bravery that makes me only wish the writers would use him more often, and preferably without Aurora, definitely the most useless princess in the series so far, and Mulan who keeps looking like she'll betray everyone and never does - a pity since it might actually make her interesting. I adore the backstory of Phillip being cursed and Belle saving him, and I hope the writers explore that curse more in the future. I was looking forward to Lancelot and was sadly disappointed as this version lacks much of the nobility and depth of the character and seems like more than a means to an end for the writers to correct a short-lived twist for Snow White that might have been more interesting if they'd only explored it further. Regina's lost love Daniel returns in one of the saddest episodes of the series as her relationship with him is the few times I feel pity for Regina. I teared up when she was forced to kill him. Jefferson is back for a few episodes and I couldn't stop smiling when he finally is reunited with his daughter; their relationship is my favorite on the series and it made me so happy that he finally found her again. Dr. Whale finally gets backstory, and despite my original skepticism at how the show would handle a non-fairytale and difficult, iconic character, I was thrilled to see they did a beautiful job. The idea of the Land Without Color, and Rumplestiltskin appearing in color in it is brilliant, and Frankenstein's monster being his brother adds a poignant layer, making me tear up when his brother seemingly begs for death after finally speaking Viktor's name. I loved the parallel of Dr. Whale saving the stranger and finding some atonement for his actions. I was far less pleased with the writers's handling of Jack and the Beanstalk, though, reducing Jack to a girl - who annoyed me every bit as much as I'd suspected she would - and making Charming's brother evil. I did like the giants being good and the humans evil but the story lacked heart. I loved seeing Rumplestiltskin leaving Storybrooke to find his son, along with his endearing confusion at the outside world. His injury and phone call to Belle were heartwrenching, and Belle losing her memory and breaking the little cup broke my heart completely. The origin of Rumplestiltskin's injury was revealed in a way I hadn't expected, as well as how he attained the ability to see the future. The seer was an interesting character that I'd love more background on, and I adored seeing Rumplestiltskin with baby Bae. Neal annoys me, and I find it nearly impossible to consider he and little Bae the same person. Cora is dreadful, unquestionably the most horrible character on the show yet, and the flashback romance with her and Rumplestiltskin makes me both cringe and gag. I've never been so grateful to see a character killed off, and for the first time Snow White gets some depth with the twist of her heart being blackened by killing Cora, even it makes little sense seeing as how evil Cora was and how killing her saved more than just Rumplestiltskin's life. "Welcome To Storybrooke" was fascinating, showing the endless timeloop of the 28 years along with bringing Graham back for the episode. I was so thrilled to see him again, if only in the flashbacks. August's story finally gets an ending after being dreadfully underused and all but forgotten by the writers. Eoin Bailey is one of the most talented actors in the series and I adore August, for his deeply human flaws and attempts to do right. He made my heart hurt in the scene where he lays in the alley, and the poignancy of him turning to wood and finally giving his life to try to save the others had me in tears. I was thankful the fairy brought him back to life but heartbroken that he became a child again, seemingly having forgotten being August and thereby erasing all those beautiful flaws that made his character so wonderfully complex. "Lacey" broke my heart as Rumplestiltskin falls back into evil and Belle ends up with cursed memories, but I adored Robin Hood and his magical bow, even if his role was all too brief. I enjoyed the storyline of the curse failsafe and the beans even if it felt rushed, and I loved seeing Belle finally get her memories back, and Killian showing his good side by returning to help the others and finally giving up his revenge. As evil as Greg is his grief over finally finding his father's fate was poignant. "Second Star to the Right" was lovely, and surprisingly, as much as I usually dislike Neal, I actually liked Bae in his interactions with Wendy, an adorable and wonderful version of the character. I loved the whole Darling family, them taking Bae in, and the twist on the shadow coming to the nursery, as well as Bae ending up with Killian. It saddened me to see them turn against each other in the end, though.

Once Upon A Time In Wonderland is also back from hiatus with 90% more Cyrus and "Nothing To Fear', a tale that finds the Knave rescued from his bottle by Lizard. As much as I ship Will/Anastasia, they're cute together, and Lizard's unrequited crush on him is all the more poignant when he transforms her into a beautiful woman whose dress is suspiciously like the last one he saw Anastasia in before she became the Red Queen. In any event, Lizard didn't deserve her fate, and my heart broke for the Knave, trapped, and unable to do anything but feel the pain of her last wish. Cyrus and Alice are as adorable as always, and the marriage proposal scene, complete was fireworks, had me grinning ear to ear. Alice seemed somewhat out of character, and a tad selfish, but understandable, and I loved that she came around in the end and realized Wonderland needed them. The Red Queen's story arc and Emma Rigby's acting continues to impress me, and I teared up when she realized no one would pay her ransom, then cheered when Cyrus and Alice came to her rescue. The Jabberwocky is creepy but nothing like what I'd imagined and I'm still not sure what to make of her, as much as I enjoy Jafar being intimidated for once by someone more powerful than himself. "Dirty Little Secrets" finally reveals Cyrus's origins, and I was both pleased and disappointed with the backstory. By the summary, I was braced for an evil version of Cyrus and was happily surprised to find him just as charming and good at heart, just more reckless and a bit of a card shark. I liked seeing his brothers, who oddly enough had no names but were every bit as handsome as Cyrus, and Peter Gadiot got a chance to shine - on a shallow note he cries very beautifully. However, I was a little disappointed that his crime was so minor. I suppose I was expecting something larger than simply stealing water to save his mother, even though the guardian of the well was delightfully mythological and creepy. I'm not quite sure what to think of Amara being Cyrus's mother. I'd guessed she was going to be someone we'd already seen in the series but I was sort of hoping for Jafar's mother, since I thought it would have been a poignant and fascinating twist to have Jafar and Cyrus be half brothers. Also considering Amara was involved with Jafar - a little squicky in itself considering she raised him - it's even a little icky. On the bright side I loved Cyrus and Alice finally having a heart to heart talk about their pasts and separation from each other, and I loved Cyrus's doubts - he's still so doubtful that anyone could accept and love him, poor baby - as well as Alice's beautiful reassurances and promises to "be his bottle" and keep him good. The torture scenes of Anastasia broke my heart, and I was glad that at least the Tweedle came to comfort her and help her, I never fully appreciated him before, and now I love him. "Heart Of The Matter" was flawless, finally exploring why the Knave has no heart in a poignant backstory. Cyrus was adorable and hilarious at the beginning, and I adored him in Storybrooke, fascinated by the light switches while Alice was hilariously intrigued by the ice maker. She finally said her "curiouser and curiouser" line, too! I loved the return of the Lost and Found, and Cyrus finally figuring out the fate of his mother, as well as Amara fighting back when Jafar tried to use the staff to kill Cyrus. Anastasia was wonderful, surprising me once again how talented Emma Rigby is - the contrast between the three versions from innocent sweet girl to Red Queen to broken and defeated woman was stunning - and my heart broke when she was so grateful to Cyrus and Alice for returning. The Tweedle was as fabulous as last week, and the White Rabbit was more endearing than usual. Michael Socha had the hardest role, from heartbroken young thief to his usual sarcastic self and everywhere in between, and he nailed it beautifully, making me ache for the Knave when he finally got his heart again. The scene where he finally sees Anastasia and says her name before kissing her brought tears to my eyes followed by complete heartbreak as she's murdered in front of him. "To Catch A Thief" finally reveals Alice and the Knave's first meeting, and it was wonderful and perfect. I adored the funny bits with Alice controlling his heart and him trying to politely murder her, and their friendship was lovely. The fact that she reminds him of his lost sister was touching, and I adored their last flashback scene, taking her right up to the moment she finds Cyrus's bottle. I loved how, even desperate to bring back Anastasia, he couldn't hurt Alice, even jumping into the water to save her. His short scene with Cyrus where he offers to let him get a free punch was amusing, making me wish again the two had more scenes together. I loved the Sultan standing up for the Knave and knowing instinctively who Alice was - I'm so happy they finally met - and since I have no sympathy whatsoever for Jafar I adore his character. The ending tore me up, though, with Cyrus killed and Alice feeling his pain as he died. "And They Lived" was a packed but gorgeous finale, giving me everything I'd hoped and more, all tied up into a beautiful, fitting package. The Knave and Anastasia's love story finally finds their happy ending, and I loved that they became the White King and Queen and ruled Wonderland. Anastasia never seemed to stop smiling once she found him again, and the Knave's love speech and true love's kiss as well as the "sleeping beauty" comment were adorable. He's even more loveable with a heart, and the smile he gives Alice after their last, bittersweet hug was the first genuine, non-pained one in the series, making me grin back in response. The White Rabbit, always a delight, was more fabulous than ever, making me laugh with his comments about Cyrus and Alice and what they'd done to his house, as well as making me tear up a bit at his parting with Alice and his spying on her years later in England. I never could warm to Amara, despite a nice scene where she properly meets and accepts Alice, and a nice cameo by the Flying Carpet, so I wasn't saddened by seeing her make the sacrifice for her sons. I loved that Cyrus's brothers were freed, and I wish there would have been a little more of them, or at least what became of them in the ending. Surprisingly, I was a little sad about the Jabberwocky's uncertain fate, since, despite my first thoughts, she'd become an intriguing character, and I was very sad about the Sultan. Maybe it's my hatred for Jafar, but I've loved the Sultan since the beginning and he was always so kind to Cyrus, so it broke my heart to see his ultimate and somewhat unexpected fate. Jafar showed a rare flash of humanity here and there, but not enough to make me stop cheering when, true to my theory, he became a genie himself, a perfect finish on his story. The dear Tweedle happily got a cameo, and I loved seeing his adorable interactions with little Millie, as well as his happiness at the wedding. Cyrus, thankfully, was brought back, and happily through healing magic rather than the spell, and his scenes with Alice, especially when he lifts her up at the well, were as adorable as usual. Alice and he finally get their much deserved and long-awaited happy ending, and their wedding was gorgeous. I adored everything about it, especially the Rabbit's words, and Alice's stunning dress. I loved that her father finally believed in her, and that she and Cyrus stayed in Victorian England. The ending with them having a tea party with their own daughter - an absolutely adorable little child - made me tear up from happiness, and the inclusion of the book was the perfect cherry on top of the wonderful treat that was this series.

I finally got to see more episodes of The Ponderosa and even more than before it saddens me how quickly the show fell apart. In many ways, as much as I love Bonanza, it had the potential to become better, especially with it's brilliant versions of Hop Sing and Adam who were given far more depth than in the original series. But the townspeople, who I grew to love, were quickly shoved aside, killed off, or sent out of the series, most horribly Carlos, but even dear Frenchy. The brothers's relationships remain the one truly beautiful thing about the series.

I'm up to the episode "Saturday" in Coronet Blue and it's a gorgeous and haunting story of a little boy forced to grow up too quickly. I loved the way he changed Michael's views, and how Michael helped him. More than ever I think it's such a shame how there was no proper conclusion for the series.

In other new/old shows I've been rewatching Emily of New Moon, a childhood favorite. I always shipped Perry/Emily, but I'm warming to Teddy.

I gave a try to the 2000s version of Battlestar Galactica and by considering it a different show instead of a remake I'm managing to enjoy it quite a lot. I love their names being call signals instead of just names, which lets me think the names are passed and these are different people instead of just a different version of the same character. Apollo, never my favorite in the original, is strangely more appealing here, helped along by Jamie Bamber's portrayal of him. As much as I hate Starbuck being a girl she has awesome chemistry with Lee; I adore how she saves him in the miniseries. Boomer, despite being a girl, is a likeable character so far, and Boxey is cute.

In other new shows I've started Teen Wolf, a surprisingly entertaining series. Scott is an appealing protagonist, and strangely enough I love Derek. I also really like Jackson, even if I already know he's the Whitney Fordman of this series, aka the character everyone hates who leaves the show early and I develop an attachment too and mourn him for the rest of the series. I also love the visuals of the werewolves, both their look and their powers, and I'm curious to see where the series goes.

In new movies I saw the 2005 version of War Of The Worlds. I'm usually not fond of remakes and was less than impressed with the original so I was shocked to discover how much I adored it. The filming, acting, and photography were stunning, moving me to tears countless times, and the character growth was amazing. It not only improved on the original film but also the book, making something fresh, believable, and heart-wrenching. I grew to love the characters despite my first impressions and the ending was beautiful and perfect. Next was Saving Mr. Banks, which, while it failed to live up to my hopes and I had many issues with the portrayal of Walt Disney - not the least of which that he looked and sounded nothing like him - I enjoyed. The story behind the making of Mary Poppins was both fascinating and poignant as was the recreation of Disneyland back in the day as well as the premiere of the film. My favorite part was when they finally get her dancing. Colin Farrell was excellent as the writer's loving but troubled father, and I cried at the scene where she drops the pears and goes in after his death. Next was the flawless The Sorcerer's Apprentice which managed to be both hilarious and deeply poignant with equal parts romance, magic, and friendship. I loved every moment, helped along by the fabulous cast, and adored the ending. Then was the intriguing and both fun and poignant Season Of The Witch, a fantasy-drenched look at the days of the Black Plague. Behmen was a tragic hero, and I loved Kay and how by saving him Behmen found his redemption, as sad as the ending was. After that was the haunting and heart-wrenching A.I. Artificial Intelligence. The acting was stunning, and I sobbed at the poignant ending. Jude Law was fabulous as Gigolo Joe, I loved his character and his friendship with David. The parallel between the fairytale and David's quest to be real was heartbreaking, too. Next was the 2009 live-action Mulan which I tried out of curiosity due to my love for the Disney film and was blown away by. It was hauntingly beautiful and achingly sad, and I cried over Wentai and Mulan's tragic romance. Next was the lovely and unusual Winter's Tale, a surprisingly poignant and beautiful story with more than a few unexpected twists. The settings were gorgeous, the acting flawless, and the plot was deeply moving in a bittersweet fairytale-like way. After that was the hauntingly sad true story Changeling which was often brutal but deeply moving, reducing me to tears multiple times. Next was Civil Love, a lovely Civil War era romance between a widow and the wounded soldier she finds in her barn. Daniel was wonderful, sweet and gentle, and I fell in love with him instantly. I liked that Rachel and his love came slowly instead of love at first sight, and how she ended up saving him. My running a little low on new films has led me to giving a try to remakes which I don't usually do, and which has been a combination of the surprising good and unfortunately annoying. I started with the 1999 version of Great Expectations, one of the few films I watch every version of, even though the 1940s one remains my favorite. Miss Havisham was sadly the weakest spot, lacking the madness or invoking the pity of other versions but giving a strangely flat performance. Estella, by contrast, was flawless, both as a haughty child and as a twisted woman incapable of love. The casting, too, was perfect; I had no difficulty whatsoever believing the child and adult were different versions of the same person. Little Pip was a more jaded, world-weary version of the character than I'm used to; fitting, perhaps, but surprising. The child was an excellent actor, though, and I loved how he starts to skip when Miss Havisham tells him to play instead of automatically wanting to play with Estella. Ioan Gruffudd was a very different Pip than I'm used to, but his performance was fascinating and layered, not always likeable but always intriguing. His final scene with Miss Havisham gave me chills as it was the closest I'd imagined to the book. The tune running through the film was poignantly lovely, and I liked the beautiful location shots as well as the bittersweet, more realistic ending. Next was 3:10 To Yuma, which, while failing to live up to the beauty and depth of the original benefited greatly from it's actors. Christian Bale was, in many ways, far more appealing than Van Heflin as Dan, with a tragic backstory and determination to be a hero for his son. The twist at the end by having him die shocked and saddened me. Russell Crowe did a fine job as Ben, but lacked the gentleness that made me fall in love with Glenn Ford, and although I loved the music it wasn't the hauntingly lovely tune from the original. Still the man alone theme found in so many westerns such as High Noon and Sitting Bull and always portrayed best here managed to shine through despite the years, and the characters were still as fascinating as in the original. Next was the intriguing The Invasion which surprisingly manages to be as good as the original with appealing characters, a new twist of certain people being immune, and more than a few creepy moments. Carol attempting to blend in with fascinating, and I loved her relationships with both Ben and Oliver and was grateful that they all got their happy ending. Then was The Lone Ranger, a peculiar mix of the surprisingly good and the terrible. The film seemed to be unable to decide if it was a comedy-parody, a western drama, or a steampunk action flick, and veered so quickly between the genres I got mental whiplash. Red was a quirky and appealing character who was poorly underused, Tonto was given a tragic and fascinating backstory ruined by the clownish and sometimes mean-spirited actions (the worst being hitting John in the head when he realizes he's not dead yet, only badly wounded) and always dreadful "acting" of Johnny Depp. Despite my dislike of Armie Hammer, he managed to do fairly well with what he was given, especially toward the end when he gets to actually be a hero. The story within a story format was well done, and I found a few of the nods amusing. Still the gruesomeness of Cavendish and the squirmingly obvious racism made it far less pleasant than the original series, despite the few flashes of brilliance. Next was Return to Treasure Island which was cute and a nicely done sequel. Dean O'Gorman made a perfect older Jim.

In new animated films I finally saw Wall-E which was very cute and actually somewhat inspiring. Wall-E and Eve's relationship was adorable, especially their dancing in space scene, and I also loved the two humans who found each other in the ship. Next was The Road To El Dorado, a greatly entertaining and random adventure with lovable characters. Next was Finding Nemo and I adored both the title character and the richly detailed world, as well as Nemo and his father's relationship. Next was Rio, a cute and colorful story with an adorably quirky romance between the human characters. Then was The Nightmare Before Christmas which was imaginative and far cuter than I'd imagined, with both towns a lot of fun. ext was the darling Oliver and Company with the cutest animated cat ever and some lovely moments and catchy tunes. Next was Kung Fu Panda which was random but enjoyable. Next was Big Hero 6 which was a little strange and sad but featured the most precious and unique robot ever. Next was the Ice Age series which I laughed my way through and completely fell in love with. Next was Quest For Camelot which was sweet but also featured the first disabled hero I've seen in an animated film which delighted me. Last was a childhood favorite, the beautiful and heartwarming The Snowman.
 
 
feeling: depressed
calliope tune: "I Started A Joke"-Bee Gees
 
 
Kathleen
The episode "Millennium" of The X-Files has always been one of my favorites so I was thrilled to discover it was a crossover with another show of the same title and by the creator of The X-Files. Millennium is a fascinating, much forgotten series in a different vein but with many of the same characteristics that make The X-Files so good. Frank Black, a former police detective who has the uncanny ability to see through the eyes of killers, is a sympathetic and incredibly human protagonist, and his relationship with his little daughter Jordan is adorably precious. The themesong and intro are beautiful, and the episodes, including the stunning "Kingdom Come", are poignant and haunting character studies exploring the motives behind crime. Other excellent episodes include "The Well-Worn Lock", a deeply moving look at a difficult issue, and the haunting "The Wild and The Innocent". I worked my way through season one and am completely captivated by the series. I'm on season two now and lamenting the format changes. The Millennium Group has transformed from good to edging into evil, growing more and more shady with each episode, Peter and Frank are beginning to drift apart, Frank snapped and actually killed a man, and Katherine has separated from Frank, taking Jordan with her, which means the cute father-daughter moments are few and far between and making even the Christmas episode leave a bittersweet taste. Also the lingering end times mythos of season one is more oppressive and far reaching, accounting for better than half of the episodes. Much of the spellbinding plots have been toned down, settling for often confusing and open-ended stories. Not to say there aren't some gems among the rest, though, like the poignant, thought-provoking "Luminary", one of the scant episodes to have a hopeful conclusion as well as an intriguing guest character, and the chilling "Monster" in which a troubled child accuses a daycare worker and Frank of abuse against the town's children and herself. The season's best is the stunning two-part "Owls"/"Roosters", a fascinating mix of religious treasure hunt and Nazi war history which brings some hope in Frank, Katherine, and Peter's separations. The finale was one of the most shocking and bold episodes I've seen on any show, leaving Peter's fate hanging in the balance, Katherine dead, and Frank left alone in a cabin, holding Jordan as everything falls apart. It was good in an intense and chilling way, and I'm more worried about Peter's fate than the loss of Katherine, even as surprised as I am that the writers chose to kill her off. I'm grateful Jordan was spared, though, as I don't think I could have handled that.

I'm on the ninth and last season of The X-Files, now, and the whole show just aches without Mulder. I love Doggett dearly, and he's wonderful, but everything makes me miss Mulder, especially the gloomy tone of the series as it winds down. Monica Reyes is now a regular, and while not one of my favorites by any means, I'm getting used to her. Sadly, the relationship, friendship or otherwise, between Scully and Doggett isn't explored further until halfway through the season, and most episodes team up Doggett and Reyes with Scully a third wheel. Still there's some unique ideas left, such as "4D" in which a murderer is able to shift between parallel worlds, shooting and paralyzing the parallel Doggett in this world and trapping the real Doggett in the parallel world. While Reyes's decision to let the parallel Doggett die to bring back the real one saddened me, I loved the concept of the episode, as well as the twists in the plot. Also there's the poignant "Trust No1" which expands on the supersoldiers story arc by showing they have a weakness, as well as building another chapter in the mystery of little William. The episode made me miss Mulder more than ever, and I wish he'd been in it, if only for a little bit. Doggett gets to shine as an amnesiac stranded in a Mexican town in "John Doe", and Robert Patrick does some incredible, heartbreaking acting throughout, especially during the scene where he relives his son's death. The disturbing "Hellbound" is also one of the season's most unusual and fascinating episodes about a murdered man reincarnated over and over to avenge his death. Doggett is brilliant again in the poignant and original "Audrey Pauley" which features a beautifully sad performance from the title character as well. "Jump The Shark" brings back some much needed humor to the show, and even returns The Lone Gunmen's Jimmy and Yves, but ends on a heartbreaking note when Byers, Langly, and Frohike are killed. I could have dealt with one of them dying, but all three was too much, and even though the writers spared Jimmy I sobbed over losing the others. I like to believe the comic book retcon and think the trio's deaths were faked and they survived. To make matters even worse, Scully gives little William up for adoption to protect him right after the child is cured of his powers. While the couple adopting him was sweet, I teared up through the episode, especially at the end, and it was just one blow too many. Still the episode brought Jeffrey Spender back, a character I grew to really like before his "death" a couple seasons ago, and even as badly hurt as he was, I was glad he survived. "Release" provides closure for Doggett over the loss of his son and Hayes is one of the most fascinating non-recurring characters in a long time. I'm conflicted on the finale "The Truth", though. On one hand there was a lot I loved: Monica's finest moment in all two seasons of her when she stands up to the court, Mulder and Scully together at the end in a bittersweet parallel of the pilot, Kerst helping Mulder finally, Spender and Mulder are confirmed to be half brothers, and all the cameos from past characters - the Lone Gunmen, X, Gibson Praise, Spender, Marita, and even Krycek which left me incredibly emotional and nostalgic. But there was so much more that was never tied up. Doggett and Reyes are left on the run, Mulder and Scully can't visit William, Gibson never can be safe, and the date of the invasion still looms over everyone.

I discovered the wonderful miniseries Alice, a brilliant updating of Alice In Wonderland. Andrew-Lee Potts was fabulous as the colorful Hatter, a completely different character except for an occasional flash where I saw Connor in him, and I loved his take on the role: a mix of quirkiness and sadness, but all completely adorable. I loved his relationship with Alice as she grows to trust and love him. Wonderland was incredibly reimagined and very clever, from the Looking Glass to the bottled and sold emotions, and I loved all the characters, especially the quite hilarious Charlie. After that I watched Tin Man, a clever reimagining of Oz. I loved Glitch dearly, and the brilliant way the tale was retold, with all the elements just dfferently put together. The ending was a little too sugary but I was glad DG and her friends and parents all survived, as well as Cain finding his son back. I also squeed a little over the fact that the parallels for Glinda and the Wizard - DG's mother and father - were married.

I finally got to see Man Of Steel and was left with mixed emotions. There were a lot of changes - I'd expected as much - and it was a very different look at Superman, so while I hated some things I was pleasantly surprised to find some of the changes were actually for the better. Most of the time on earth was reduced to smashing action scenes with little pause for emotion or human moments, with the scenes on Krypton feeling the most personal. While the flying creatures were a bit much, I liked the strange silver robots who projected images. Jimmy was absent without a mention which saddened me, but Perry White was awesome, actually getting to do more than barking at Lois and Clark from behind his desk. I loved how determined he was to save Jenny, and he gave the character depth I've not usually seen. Zod was all right. While he lacked the subtle creepiness and emotional depths of Callum Blue's take on the role, he was evil enough to make Zod seem formidable. Lana was reduced to little more than a cameo, which I didn't mind, and Pete strangely enough started out as a bully, but the biggest surprise was Jor-El who I usually hate, yet in this film I not only grew to care about him but actually rooted for him and was heartbroken when his consciousness died without knowing if Superman was able to stop Zod. My main problem was, strangely enough, with Lois. With all the hype about her character saving his emotionally, I was expecting a strong, 3-d character and a carefully crafted relationship between Clark and Lois. And while the concept of her knowing Clark was Superman right from the start improved things greatly - and I like the film taking Smallville's route of the two knowing each other well before Clark started at the Daily Planet, everything else was very disappointing. Unlike Erica Durance's strong woman with hidden depths, or Kate Bosworth's quiet yet delightfully realistic heroine, Amy Adams's character was flat, reduced to little more than a damsel in distress who gets saved multiple times and does nothing of worth in the film beside force Superman to rescue her. Their relationship felt forced and awkward, and the only scene in which they felt like the Lois and Clark I've always shipped was when Lois comes over and holds him after Zod's death. Henry Cavill was so-so as Clark/Superman. He definitely looked the part and was unquestionably handsome, but his performance felt largely wooden. Only twice, when Jonathan died and during Zod's death did he exhibit any realistic emotion, and the first scene was so out of character, Clark would never stand by and watch Jonathan die no matter what he wanted, that I felt uncomfortable more than sad. Unlike most people I didn't truly have a problem with the writers having Superman commit murder, though, because it felt like a complete expression of how much he cares about the people of earth, and he killed Zod with such sadness that it was one of the few moments he truly felt like Superman. I did love the scenes of Clark as a child playing with a cape, though, and the beginning parts of him drifting from place to place was an interesting and fresh perspective on the character. I watched Spiderman, a refreshingly old-fashioned and incredibly fun take on the superhero. Tobey Maquire did a lovely job as Peter, but my heart went out to James Franco's tragic and flawed Harry Osborn who reminds me so much of Lex in Smallville. I ached for him, and absolutely despised his father in the film; I've rarely been more happy to see a character meet their end. The CGI felt nicely restrained, the theme and photography was soaring, and I grew to love the characters as I never have before. I followed that with Spiderman 2 which was every bit as good as the first one, even if Mary Jane grated on my nerves. My favorite scene was when Peter stopped the train using his webs, and then passes out from exhaustion. It was beautiful and moving to watch the people catch and carry him inside, and promise not to reveal his secret. Then Spiderman 3 which broke my heart to see Harry turn into the goblin. Harry is so very sweet when he's not consumed with hatred for Spiderman, and completely adorable like in the scene where he dances the twist with Mary Jane. It bugs me that Peter never fully explains Harry's father's death which might have mended things before it was too late. Still his grief and determination to save Harry when his heart stops is beautifully done. Harry and Peter were incredible together in the last battle, and I couldn't help sobbing oat Harry's death..so poignant and haunting. Both the actors are superb - and goodness, can James Franco ever cry - and the scene was heartbreaking. Despite that, I loved the ending, very fitting and lovely for the trilogy. After that I gave a try to The Amazing Spiderman, and while Andrew Garfield's Peter is a rougher version than Tobey Maguire's sweet and endearing take on the role and he has no concept of humility, he still managed to grow on me enough to want to see the next film. My favorite scene was when he saved the little boy, and I loved his relationship with Gwen, too, far better than Peter and Mary Jane. On my superhero list I watched Thor, a fantastic film that was equal parts superhero movie and a refresher course in Norse mythology. I loved Thor's journey from headstrong and spoiled egotist to warmth, kindness, and greatness, contrasted with the tragedy of Loki who I pitied and still loathed by turns, as well as being fascinated by his origins. I adored Thor's relationship with Jane most of all, and can't wait for the sequel. In the meantime I watched The Avengers with it's delightfully new to me set of superheroes, and Thor, who I've grown to love, to introduce me to them all. I adored Clint who has a little bit of Oliver Queen about him, and his hinted-at romance with Natasha, and not knowing the character, I was grateful he didn't get killed off after Loki took him over. Steven/Captain America was wonderful, and Iron Man/Tony was hilarious and easy to love. I also really liked the film's Bruce Banner, a kind and soft-spoken person, even if I couldn't warm to the CGI Hulk..I'm too used to the The Incredible Hulk's gentler, more human Hulk, but I did giggle at his scene where he whacks Loki around. I loved how old-fashioned pieces of the film were, just like old superhero films, and the amazing closing credits. I loved when Tony saved the island by flying the bomb, and how Hulk saved him. The team was fantastic together, much like the Justice League, and I hope there's at least one sequel in the works eventually. Then I had to watch Captain America: The First Avenger, and I loved Steve and how courageous he was, both before and after his transformation, like the scene where he falls on the grenade, thinking it's live, to save everyone, and later when he takes off after his friend and saves all the prisoners in the factory. His costume is one of favorite superhero get-ups, and I love how he uses absolutely everything as a shield. Chris Evans is also classically handsome and very old-fashioned looking which, aided by fabulous makeup, clothing, and period detail, helps make things realistic to the time period, despite the sci-fi elements. Then I watched Iron Man and Iron Man 2 and I love Tony..he makes the entire show as I don't find the superhero side of him nearly as fascinating and fun as the human part. I ship Pepper and he so much..they're wonderful together and so sweet, and I adore his holograms and talking computer. Next was X-Men and the excellent sequel X2, my favorites out of the bunch so far, with an intriguing, multi-layered world and characters, especially the mysterious but good-hearted Wolverine. I loved his friendship with Rogue and how he was willing to sacrifice himself for her. The scene where he heals her was powerful and very poignant, and I can't help shipping them just a little. It also made me strangely happy that Hugh Jackman looks like a young Clint Eastwood, and even sounds like him a little! I also loved Scott and his unusual ability, even if he's forced to live behind odd sunglasses most of the film, and Xavier, one of the kindest and genuinely good characters I've seen in a long time. Nightcrawler is also a wonderful caring character, very much unexpectedly so. I love how the films are more about the interpersonal struggles and emotions than just special effects, a unique spin on the genre, with some heavy, powerful moments like the raid on the school and everyone trying to save the children, as well as the people's attitude toward the "mutants". Last was X-Men: The Last Stand, and while I hated and cried over how Scott and Xavier, both characters I loved, were written out, I loved the way it tied everything up. Bobby, someone I'd thought wouldn't make it through the first film alive, thankfully survived and got his happy ending with Rogue. I loved that I got to see more of Kitty, and her friendship with Bobby was adorable. I sobbed for Wolverine, having to kill Jean to save everyone, but I loved how the school carried on and continued, and people seemed more accepting of the mutants. Next was Fantastic Four and the sequel Rise Of The Silver Surfer. I wasn't familiar with the comics but I grew to love the characters, especially the good-hearted Reed and the hilariously endearing Johnny. I loved the unique development of their powers, as well as how they all worked together to defeat Doom. Ben's story arc was especially poignant and I was glad he found some happiness by the end of the first film. I loved how Johnny proved himself a hero in the second film, and I was fascinated by the mysterious Silver Surfer. After that was the fantastic and incredibly underrated Green Lantern. The special effects were dazzling, and I loved the concept of it all, along with the richly imagined aliens. Hal was a loveable, cocky protagonist, and I adored how his humanity made him the best of the lanterns as well as how he destroyed Parallax, and how the others finally came to his rescue. Next was Batman Begins which I surprisingly enjoyed a lot considering I've never cared for Batman. As I expected, Christian Bale was fantastic in the role, and it was a treat to see him playing a superhero. Bruce's relationship with Alfred was beautiful, and I loved the contrasts and comparisons between Bruce and Batman. After that was The Wolverine which, while the weakest X-Men film so far, was still a lot of fun, with Hugh Jackman effortlessly assuming the role of the tortured loner. While I disliked the focus on Jean, I loved seeing Wolverine coming back to life emotionally, paralleled by his death and coming back to life after removing the robot parasite from his heart. His relationship with Yukio was sweet, reminding me of Rogue and he, and I adored seeing Charles Xavier at the end. Next was the original Superman '70s film, and I loved Christopher Reeve nearly as much as Brandon Routh as the character. The concept of turning back time was fascinating, too.

I found another animated film, Rise Of The Guardians, a beautiful and touching fairytale with many whimsical touches. Jack, Bunnymund, North, Tooth, and Sandy were loveable protagonists, as was little Jamie, and the walking eggs and little elves were hilarious. It was equally heartwarming and poignant and I kept smiling and tearing up through the whole film. After that was the fun Megamind. I loved Megamind, such a perfect mix of over-the-top bad guy and superhero, and Metro Man, despite his short role, was hilarious. I also loved Minion and the delightfully happy ending with Megamind and Roxie. Next was the amusing The Incredibles, which, while far from a perfect film, was fun and featured a very cute family of superheroes. I loved each of their powers and how they all fought together. Then I saw Wreck-It Ralph which was quite clever and cute. I loved the candy world of Sugar Rush and the adorable characters, as well as the retro feel of the games. Next was Sinbad: Legend Of The Seven Seas, a gorgeously animated, swashbuckling adventure. I loved Sinbad, his colorful crew including a cute dog, and their mythology-tinged quest. After that was Epic, an imaginative and cute fantasy. I loved the world and concepts of the story, and Nod was adorable. I do wish MK had stayed small, though, as she and Nod were sweet together, but I was happy Ronin survived and he and Nod patched things up. Then I saw the Toy Story trilogy. While not my favorite animated films by any means, and surprisingly dark for kid's films, there were still quite a few cute moments. I loved the clever way the toys were each portrayed, like the etch-a-sketch, Barbie and Ken, or Woody's floppy legs, Woody's devotion to the other toys, and Woody and Buzz's friendship. Buzz's Spanish setting was absolutely hilarious, definitely the best part of the films, and I teared up at the bittersweet ending. After that was the adorable Gnomeo and Juliet. I enjoyed the clever, light-hearted, and even poignant take on the story, and the characters, especially Gnomeo, Shroom, and Featherstone were precious and loveable. Next was Home whose adorable cat and alien won me over, as did the sweet storyline.

I watched the latest version of Les Miserables. Although I was correct in my assumption that the story would feel strange as a musical, and I found the constant singing of lines better spoken to be annoying after a while, there were some very good things about it, too. Some of the music, especially "I Dreamed A Dream" and the barricade boys's songs, were beautiful, and the filming was stunning, showing the poverty yet beauty of old France. Hugh Jackman was brilliant as Jean ValJean, definitely the most layered and realistic portrayal I've seen in all the versions I've watched, and the ending, with him joining those lost, had me in tears. He also, surprisingly, had quite a lovely, expressive voice. While no Marius can ever steal my heart the way Hans Matheson did in the 1998 version, Eddie Redmayne, despite not looking anything like I picture Marius, did a good job with the role, especially with the heartbreaking "Empty Chairs At Empty Tables". His getting injured at the barricade and the sewer rescue were uniquely done, and I was impressed by how realistic and filthy everything looked, as well as the foreshadowed imagery of the coffins as part of the barricade. I loved the kinder, more fatherly image of Jean and Marius, especially the gorgeous "Bring Him Home", but I missed Marius's closeness to Gavroche as the two had little to no interaction unlike most versions. Little Cosette was precious and perfect with Jean, but sadly grown up Cosette's role was reduced to little more than a sweet voice and a few longing looks at Marius. As much as I loved actually seeing their wedding in a version, I was disappointed by how the film treated her character, as well as her seemingly whirlwind romance with Marius, pushing Eponine as the more sympathetic ship of the two with Marius, unpleasantly for me since I've always disliked her. Gavroche was perfect, a cocky mix of adorable imp and little spitfire rebel, and his death, as usual, was one of the toughest scenes to watch, as was the poignant death of the last two barricade boys. Javert, for the first time, had a sympathetic side, and I even felt for him when he pinned the medal on Gavroche's body.

In other new films I saw the hilarious Disney George Of The Jungle, a delightfully tongue-in-cheek comedy that kept me laughing through the whole thing. George was sweet, innocent, and incredibly funny, and I loved his relationship with Ursula. Ape was also amusing, and Shep was precious. It was one of the happiest, most feel good films I've seen in a long time, and the happy ending with little curly-haired baby George made me grin ear to ear. Next was Newsies, a fun and wonderful musical. The period details were impressive and I adored the characters, especially Jack and little Les and the friendship between the boys. After that was Inkheart, a beautiful, highly imaginative fantasy where book characters come to life. I loved Farid - and ship him with Meggie - and the family relationships between Mo, Meggie, and Resa. My favorite character, though, was the fabulous Dustfinger. My heart bled for him at the same time I rooted for him to get home and adored his fire skills. He was quite a complex, fascinating character, too, and I was so glad he got his happy ending. Then I saw Empire Of The Sun, an unusual and deeply poignant war film through the eyes of an English child in Japan during WWII. Christian Bale was amazing as little Jim, going through every emotion and growing so much throughout the film, and his performance had me alternating between smiles and tears. The last parts were especially haunting and the entire film was beautifully done. After that was Pacific Rim, a fascinating concept including my favorite sci-fi trope of mind-melding that didn't quite measure up but with some flashes of brilliance here and there, especially when the focus was less on smashing things and more on the human interest side. I loved Raleigh - I've missed Charlie Hunnam's pretty face - and the film was at it's best when focused on him, showing him from an idealistic young pilot whose brother is killed to a seemingly decades older man called back into action in a last ditch effort to save the world. I liked his relationship with Mako and would love the sequel to explore more of them. I loved Herc, too, and his relationship with Chuck and Chuck's ultimate sacrifice had me in tears, especially when he said goodbye to his dog. Newton and Hermann were amusing in their few scenes, and I was sad about the Russian duo and the triplets who had far too little screentime. I never could warm up to Stacker, though, and disliked him for how he treated Raleigh so I wasn't as affected by his death. The recurring theme of the clock up until the last part where it's finally stopped was poignant. Next was The Mortal Instruments which, despite my watching it entirely for Jamie Campbell Bower, I ended up enjoying. The premise was fun, especially the fascinating idea of runes, and I loved most of the side characters, especially the werewolves. Jace was my favorite, though, showing a lot of character growth and depth across the film. After that was the sweet Sooner Or Later, a film I've wanted to see for ages. Rex Smith was lovely as usual, playing a sensitive singer, and on a shallow note his hair was gorgeous. The story was touching and quite funny in parts, the music was perfect, and I loved the hopeful ending. Next was The Trial, an intriguing legal thriller and excellent adaptation of the book which I enjoyed. Next was A Child Is Waiting, a poignant and deeply moving study of a little filmed subject. It made me cry but I loved it, and thought it was Judy Garland's best film. Next was the heartwrenching '40s version of i>Waterloo Bridge, a beautiful and haunting tragedy. Next was a childhood obsession and my favorite Shirley Temple movie Bright Eyes which I still love just as much.

I'm finished with season five of Wagon Train, now, and the feel was slightly different, with more of the stories taking place in towns instead of on the journey. The cast is still the same, but it's Flint's last season and I'm already missing him, even though I love Coop. Excellent episodes include the fascinating "Kitty Allbright Story", the utterly heartbreaking "Charlie Shutup Story", and the adorable makeshift family saga of "The Clementine Jones Story". The season's best, though, is the wonderful "Dick Pederson Story" which casts James MacArthur as a sweet loner who befriends a fatherless family of little girls and nurses them through an epidemic. Best of all the episode features an adorable ending. Onto season six now and mourning Flint's unexplained absence - a word or two saying where he was would have been nice - but otherwise enjoying it. There's a touch of comedy in the fun "Charlie Wooster Outlaw" to balance out the tragedy of the poignant "Lily Legend Story" which explores Duke's past. Other excellent episodes include "Davy Baxter Story" in which Chris is forced to make an agonizing decision to amputate a young man's arm to save his life, a story in which Tommy Sands gets to shine as the title character, and "Caroline Casteel Story" about a woman rescued from the Indians who returns home to find no one accepts her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In new animated films I saw the quite adorable Turbo. I loved the title character and his friendships with both the people and other snails. The story was cute, and the race was perfect, as well as the wonderful ending. Next was The Swan Princess III: Mystery Of The Enchanted Treasure, a cute and lovely sequel to the fabulous The Swan Princess. I loved seeing life in the castle post their marriage - too bad they didn't add in a little child for them, though - and the story was both funny and touching, poignant in parts such as Derek's grief when he thinks he's lost Odette, and hilarious in the scenes like the tango dance. I followed that with The Swan Princess II: Escape From Castle Mountain, and I loved Derek's mother getting a larger role, as well as Jean-Bob finally getting to turn into a prince if only for one scene. I loved the song "The Magic Of Love", and Derek and Odette's romance, while a little shaky at first, quickly found it's footing as she saved him over and over and he rescued her. After that was Bartok the Magnificent, a spin-off to Anastasia which, while failing to live up to it's gorgeous original film, still managed to be quite entertaining, mostly due to it's darling hero. Next was the beautifully animated Joseph King Of Dreams, a touching story with lovely and clever moments - I especially loved the tree that grew in the dungeon, and his future wife bringing him food in prison - that I really enjoyed. Last was the touching fantasy The Nutcracker Prince. Pavlova was endearing, Hans and Clara's friendship was adorable, and I loved the happy ending.
 
 
calliope tune: "Total Eclipse Of The Heart"-Bonnie Tyler
feeling: calm
 
 
Kathleen
I went backwards to season four of Smallville and the last of Clark's high school years. While the season's storyline about Clark's, Lana's, the Luthors's, and the Teagues's hunt for the mysterious stones of power is my least favorite so far, the unrelated episodes more than make up for it. Lex continues his slow journey toward evil, unfortunately just as I've finally come to appreciate the sadness of Clark and his friendship and it's eventual fate, while Lois, new this season, won me over at last with the glimpses of her past and a quirky introduction to Clark that finally has me shipping them. Jonathan and Martha end up somewhat in the background, but shine whenever given the chance, and Martha gets a hilarious scene in which she's possessed by a teenager and dances to her iPod. Chloe finally learns Clark's secret, unbeknownst to him, and I love her attempts to hint to Clark that she knows without actually telling him. New this season is Clark's adorable dog Shelby who sadly doesn't get to keep any of the superpowers he displays in his introduction episode, including saving Clark's life when he gets trapped in a kryptonite-filled truck that's on fire. Also there's Jason Teague, and I'm not sure if the fact that he was supposed to be in more than one season caused the writers to rush his storyline or if I just keep getting distracted by looking for Sam Winchester everytime he appears on the screen. Either way he starts out as a decent, even sweet person, despite unfortunately being yet another love interest for Lana, and then partway through the season snaps and turns into this mother-devoted psycho trying to get his hands on the stones of power who ends up getting shot, thrown off a cliff, and dragging himself back to the Kents to take them hostage during the second meteor shower. He does do the deranged thing very well, though, especially in the season's finale, and I wish the writers had done a better job with his transformation like they did with Davis. My favorite episode of the season was the moving "Ageless" in which Clark and Lana discover an abandoned newborn who quickly grows into a child and then a teenager. It's both sweetly funny as Clark cares for an infant and then a little child who leaps into his arms and calls him "dad" - if Clark and Lois had a son I think he'd be exactly like Evan - and completely heartbreaking as it's revealed that Evan's genetic quirks will cause his death in a matter of hours. As sad as it was I liked that they didn't do a last minute rescue and instead had Clark just stay with him in the end, since Clark can't save everybody and it was more powerful that way. I also loved "Blank", a fascinating episode with a unique and sympathetic antagonist featuring Clark losing his memory and Chloe attempting to teach him about his powers. Then I finished season five which starts the shift from Smallville to Metropolis as the town picks up the pieces following the second meteor shower while Clark adjusts to a human life without his powers. Chloe and Clark have a wonderfully deep friendship this season, with Clark finally learning Chloe knows his secret, even if it makes me slightly sad to think how Clark will end up treating her before long. In one episode someone refers to them as "Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy" which put all sorts of happy ideas into my mind of an updated, grown up version of the books with both of them and reminded me of how I used to ship Clark/Chloe in the first season. It's also Jonathan's last season, and even though I was prepared for how sad it would be his death hurt to watch. I suppose it was the most powerful choice to have Jonathan be the one to die for Clark, but I wish he'd been in at least a season or more beyond this because Clark was so much more of a hero when he was around. "Exposed" was offbeat and fun with Lois and Clark's awkwardly hilarious relationship and Tom Wopat guest starring as an old friend of Jonathan's. There were all these nods to The Dukes Of Hazzard and I kept giggling when Jack slid in through the window. I loved "Aqua" and wish AC had been in more of the series instead of just a few episodes. He's a perfect contrast to Clark and so much like Mark Harris that I kept grinning through the whole episode. "Mercy", a spooky episode in which Lionel and Martha become trapped in a bitter man's twisted games, gave me a new appreciation for Lionel and cast him in an entirely different light than I've thought of him in before. I also liked "Fragile", a perfect blend of sweet and scary as the Kents take in Maddie, a little girl who can manipulate and explode glass and is unable to control her power when she becomes upset. Clark's interactions with her were adorable and made me wish Clark had a younger sibling on the series. "Lexmas" was my favorite, a heartwrenching Christmas episode in which a badly wounded Lex gets a chance to see the path his life could take depending on his choices where he finds himself having left his fortune, married to Lana, raising two children, and close friends with Chloe and the Kents. The ending was heartbreaking, and I wish the writers had gone with that storyline, even if only in the parallel world, since as much as I usually dislike Lana she's strangely good when paired with Lex, and Lex makes a surprisingly sweet father. Now I'm on season two which includes the fantastic and unique "Nocturne" about a teenager locked in a basement because exposure to sunlight turns him into a vicious killer, and the heartbreaking "Ryan" which shows just how kind and good Lex could be before he was completely corrupted. His interactions and comic book discussions with Ryan are beautiful, and poignant, especially when they talk about the issue in which the hero and his friend turn against each other. Also I love how Lex can have anything at his command from the restraining order that keeps Ryan with the Kents to the best doctors in the world, basically the same role Oliver will later fill. I never saw them as a parallel before but it makes sense: both Lex and Oliver have wealth, power, family issues, a shaky friendship with Clark, and a dark side, but while Lex's eventually destroys him and everyone around him, Oliver is able to overcome his and become better for it. The offbeat "Skinwalker" has Clark foretold by American Indian cave paintings and legends while weaving in skinwalkers and another hint to Clark and Lex's future. My favorite story of the season is "Lineage", a gorgeous and touching episode in which everyone searches for the truth about their past: Lana to find a mysterious man in a photograph of her mother, Clark to elude a woman who believes he's the son she gave up for adoption in infancy, Lex to discover whether Clark is Lionel's son by his mother's nurse, and even Chloe, coming to terms with her mother abandoning her. Sadly, it has the first rift between Clark and Chloe as he hurts her by saying things about her mother and then stumbles over an apology while Chloe, of course, forgives him. I wish she'd just once told him off, because it might have helped Clark stay who he was at the beginning before he became an alien angsty antihero. On the bright side, though, the child who played little!Clark was precious! He looked like a little angel with that smile; the scene where he touches little!Lex's cheek broke my heart, and there's something incredibly heartwrenching about Jonathan being the one to find and save little!Lex, launching the entire story. I wish there was a full episode with toddler!Clark using his powers and growing up with the Kents. The storyline of Lucas continues strangely with "Prodigal" in which Lex discovers him alive and brings him back. Lucas is somewhat annoying and abrasive, so different from Lex's later "brother" Grant, who had so much potential and was sadly never fully explored by the writers who wrote him out much too quickly. The episode does provide some interesting insight into the sort of person Lex would be if he'd grown up with the Kents when he's forced to stay with them for a few days. Whitney finally gets a conclusion in "Visage", and despite the fact that he dies a hero, trying to save another soldier's life, it left me saddened, probably because he was my second favorite, after Chloe, in season one. Whitney was never fairly treated by anyone in Smallville, and didn't deserve either his ultimate fate or having someone impersonate him and destroy his character. It's not easy being Jimmy. Across season eight he gets elaborately lied to by Clark, forced to play a psychopath's game, has a heart attack, gets attacked by a shadow creature, is ripped to shreds by Doomsday in the middle of his wedding, witnesses a murder, breaks Chloe's heart and his own, becomes a drug addict, is beaten up, and ultimately is killed leaving Chloe's and Oliver's lives shattered. So while Smallville's Jimmy isn't my favorite version by any stretch I can't help but feel a little sorry for him. But I love Davis because he's the most tragic person in the series, an EMT who saves countless lives and is lost from the start no matter how hard he tries to fight his other half, and Chloe tries so hard to save him and can't. The most heartbreaking part of the season is after he tries to kill himself when she keeps him in her basement and stays near him because her presence keeps him from transforming. His backstory with the Luthers in "Eternal" is emotionally devastating, and thought-provoking. I'd love to see a parallel world where the Kents found and raised Davis as well. Lana unfortunately showed back up but does manage to redeem herself by having a final episode that even I found somewhat sad as she turns into walking kryptonite and is forced to leave Clark. Not that I'm not a little glad, though, because I'm getting used to Lois and she's completely wonderful compared to Lana. On the bright side watching the seasons out of order means seeing everything in the light of what will happen including Oliver trying to keep Chloe safe in "Beast" and "Hex"'s early hints of what will eventually spark Oliver and Chloe's relationship. They're beautiful together, perfectly matched and at ease with each other, and to be honest there's more chemistry between them in two platonic scenes than in a whole season of Jimmy/Chloe episodes. It's already obvious what a tragedy it would have been if Clark had let Chloe use the Legion Ring to go back and save Jimmy like this. Both of them are starting to lose control of their lives: Chloe questioning her career and relationships and Oliver beginning on his downward spiral with revenge against Lex and far too many drinks. But things aren't as dark as they'll become and there's treats like the fantastic "Toxic" which shows Oliver's past with the origins of Green Arrow and his first meeting with Tess or "Turbulence" where Clark reveals his identity leading to fan clubs, screaming teenagers, and being arrested before he undoes the day with the Legion Ring. Speaking of "Legion" I really liked Cosmic Boy, a superhero I have no familiarity with. One of my favorite things about the series is how many superheroes they manage to include, many of whom I've never heard of. As much as I like Clark with his parents, season eight for me is where Smallville became amazing, removing the people I disliked and bringing together everyone I love as well as the beloved backdrop of the Daily Planet. The season finale "Doomsday" was one of the most heartwrenching episodes I've seen of anything beginning with the poignant scene of Chloe and Davis stargazing and ending with Davis's tragic turn into madness, his and Jimmy's deaths, and Clark turning his back on everyone. I wanted so much for them to be able to save Davis and my heart broke when he said there was nothing left of him to save. I sobbed when Oliver stood apart from the others with a tear rolling down his face and when Chloe gave little Jimmy his brother's camera and told him to carry on in his footsteps. Season seven was good but there was far too much Lana and barely any Oliver. I'm finished with six now and it was perfect, even if it's sad to see the last glimpses of innocent and dorky farmboy!Clark until "Fortune". Apart from his absurd jealousy of every guy who looks at Chloe, I've finally gotten used to Jimmy, and Lois, too, even if I may still shake my head at her from time to time. I think if the writers hadn't tried to ship Jimmy/Chloe or made Clark into a mess every time he falls in love with a girl I could have accepted the two much earlier. Still, whether or not the writers planned it that way the canon ships are already obvious, with Clark/Lois and Oliver/Chloe feeling so right. Also Jimmy/Lois have strangely good chemistry which is a pairing I've never thought of before, and I'm slightly disturbed to find myself shipping Lex/Lana. Partway into the season Oliver, smart-alecky, frequently shirtless, and brilliantly golden-haired, shows up and the series is never the same again, jumping from fairly good to superb and stealing my heart in one scene of him dressed as Robin Hood, and his first meeting with Chloe where she refers to him as "wow" is adorable. Chloe shines this season in "Freak", an offbeat story of a blind teenager whose ability to identify the meteor-infected exposes Chloe's own infection, and the heartbreaking "Progeny" in which Chloe's mother, committed when Chloe was a child, escapes from 33.1 and reveals her ability to control those around her. "Labyrinth", a complex and twisting episode, has Clark awakening in a hospital to be told that his life is the product of his mental illness and Chloe as the only one who believes in him, and "Justice" featuring Oliver starting up the Justice League is fantastic. "Reunion", an unusual and excellent glimpse into the past, is about Oliver and Lex's school years where Lex was already a disturbed and lonely child and Oliver was a popular troublemaker who bullied him, the two of them bound by the tragedy surrounding a classmate. I guessed at the twist but it was still an incredible episode, and I loved the contrast between the two: Lex growing more evil and Oliver changing for the good and even apologizing to Lex in the end. I wasn't sold on the boy who played young Oliver at first but his amazing way at capturing adult Oliver's expressions and way of speaking blew me away, as did the look on his face during the accident. This series's casting never fails to impress me. My favorite episode of the season was "Noir", an outrageously fun adventure of Jimmy and Chloe investigating Lana's shooting that results in Jimmy getting hit over the head and dreaming he's in 1940. There Lionel and Lex run a speakeasy, Lois is a singer in love with Lex, Lana is a femme fatale who hires Jimmy and is plotting Lex's murder, Clark leads a double life as a geeky reporter and a cop complete with a superman logo-shaped badge, and Jimmy is a freelance detective. The old parts were beautiful in black and white with sliding frame changes, and I loved the whole feel of the episode. Both the dream sequence and the current mystery parts made me wish for a grownup Nancy Drew series with Allison Mack; she's reminded me of Nancy since the beginning and would be perfect in the role.

I'm finishing up season four of The Streets Of San Francisco, and Steve and Mike's friendship keeps getting more adorable. There's this moment in "Solitaire" that had me giggling when Steve is in the hospital joking around about Mike's temporary partner and Mike leans over and taps him on the nose before he leaves. Karl Malden and Michael Douglas's friendship comes through their characters so much and it's perfect. In the same vein of mystery/cop/detective series, I've been watching Peter Gunn on MeTV's Saturday Night Noir and it's a quirky show, almost a radio drama with images, with an amazing theme and unintentionally hilarious fight scenes. Peter has nothing of a past, and after a handful of episodes I still know nothing about him, but I enjoy his banter with the wonderful Lt. Jacoby and the way his mind works. MeTV has also picked up Mr. Lucky and I'm loving getting to see it again, both for the atmosphere of humor and breezy noir as well as Andamo, played with great relish by Ross Martin who's not only in his element as the South American-accented revolutionary who throws himself into trouble, but looks like he's having the time of his life. As much as I adore Artemus, Andamo is special and never fails to make me smile. I'm also working my way through Naked City each week, up to "Torment Him Much And Hold Him Long" and I'm beginning to think Robert Duvall should have been a regular in the show. He's incredible and a guest star so much that they could have just picked one and had him be there always. Personally, I would have chosen Johnny from "Five Cranks For Winter, Ten Cranks For Spring" because he's a sweet but fully imagined character, and I love him dearly, as well as that being my favorite episode. I love Adam, too; he's fascinating and the most human cop I've seen in any series. He's far from perfect, relies too much on his heart above his head, fails often, and isn't too proud to get his hands dirty when he has to. The last episode had him even practically begging for his life when someone is holding his own gun on him, and Paul Burke did a superb job with the scene, putting just the faintest quiver into his voice when he mentions the hair trigger on his gun, and looking vulnerable in every movement while still attempting to maintain control.

I watched the Doctor Who movie again and it was surprisingly good, even with snake!Master, making me wistful for the lack of more episodes of that era. Eight is a wonderful Doctor, my second favorite, delightfully quirky and childlike one moment while heartbreakingly alone and lost the next, half human and lovable, and I adore the steampunk style of his clothes and TARDIS. I like how intuitive he is to the future of everyone he meets, and how even after all the Master has done to him and the people he cares about he still tries to save the Master in the end. Grace was a fun companion, a good match for him, and a cute romantic pairing. There were so many moments that made me smile, from the Doctor reading The Time Machine to his "perfectly fitting" shoes to him pounding on the TARDIS, all complete with a '90s vibe and a perfect mix of British and American culture with touches from his past selves to tie it all together, and reminds me of the fun elements I miss so much in newer seasons.

I discovered Robin Of Sherwood this week and am loving it so far. I've loved the book Robin Hood as long as I can remember and became obsessed with the legends after reading King Raven, but have never found a film/tv version that felt right until now. Robin has this unearthly, changeling-like quality to him that's perfect for a man of myth, Much is sweetly adorable, Friar Tuck and Little John are suited for their roles, and Will Scarlet, despite not quite matching what I picture, simmers with the fury of his tragic past as he should. Marian is finally a good image of how I picture her, sweet, lovely, yet able to stand by Robin's side during the worst of times. Sherwood is gorgeous, beautifully green and lush, and the villages and castle are exactly as they should be, definitely the most realistic concept of the world of the book. I was looking forward to the archery contest and wasn't disappointed: Robin was disguised as an old man unlike most versions and, which delighted me to no end, he actually split the arrow instead of just hitting the target in the center. There's this quiet magical feel to the series, too, with the hunter in the forest, the mists across the water, the arrow stolen at Stonehenge, and the sorcerer who can wound Robin without touching him, and a poignant feel of destiny with Robin's common line "Nothing's forgotten".  

I saw the pilot of Lucan, an unusual '70s series about a feral child discovered in the woods running with a pack of wolves who's brought back and slowly educated, only to find himself drifting in the hope of discovering the truth about his past when his compassionate teacher suddenly dies. Lucan is a curious but sweet mix of naive human and wary animal, with his wolf characteristics appearing in startling bursts before vanishing under perfectly human mannerisms, and, while he seems a little too ordinary at times, he's an interesting and unique lead. I love the style of the series and pretty theme, too.

MeTV's showcase was The Lone Ranger which was a treat since I hadn't seen it in years. I love Reid and Tonto's friendship, and it's sweet to think it carried over to real life to some extent. I've always adored Clayton Moore and how he took the role to heart, and it was odd to see John Hart's version in one of the episodes: a somewhat colder and harder-edged loner compared to Clayton Moore's soft, almost gentle style that endeared me instantly. The last episode was a happy surprise in color, letting me see his lovely blue costume. The station has also picked up Bewitched which I haven't seen since I was a child and I'm loving it again. I want a crossover between Bewitched and Tucker's Witch that makes Samantha and Amanda related...cousins, maybe. Both series have so much in common and it would awesome to have the people from both team up. 

I've been watching the super addictive Andy Williams Show this week and it's wonderful. I've loved Andy Williams since longer than I can remember and collected every song of his I could so it's a real treat to finally see his tv series. As I expected I love his singing; there's something magical about watching "Moon River" that goes beyond the nostalgic yearnings I get when I hear it, and I look forward to each song to see which he'll sing. The comedy sketches are hilarious, especially when Andy gets thrown through a wall by a lovesick, loudly singing girl and the later sketch with her as an opera singer who causes everything in earshot to fall over; and the guests, with the Kingston Trio among many familiar faces, always make me give these loud shrieks of happiness when they're announced.

I seem to have found the bad apple in my quest to see all things Camelot: the 1981 film Excalibur which veers between the surprisingly superb and the shockingly dreadful enough to give me whiplash. On the good side it's the first version I've found that finally includes Sir Ector and Kay taking Arthur to the tournament and Arthur, failing to find Kay's stolen sword, impulsively pulls the sword from the stone. I've always found Arthur's adoptive father and brother and his relationship with them to be fascinating and sadly overlooked so it was a treat to see a little of it here. The epic quest to save the dying and barren Camelot and it's king was superbly done, with a horror-tinged feel as knight after knight is horribly sacrificed along the way and the people, dressed in rags against a dark background, reach out to the knight in bright silver armor as he rides by without stopping. Lancelot, always my focus in any Arthurian adaptation, had the looks to measure up but a somewhat disappointing take, portraying him as a slightly egotistical man who duels other knights for the fun of it and who, in an unusual and intriguing twist, ends up getting run through by Arthur's sword which, unable to be used for personal gain, breaks. Horrified, Arthur throws it into the water and the Lady of the Lake throws it back to him, whole, as well as bringing Lancelot back to life. On the downside I felt the casting was one of the major problems of the film, as well as the fact that it felt as if the writers were trying too hard to capture the magic of the story while forgetting it's heart. While Perceval is refreshingly well chosen and gives an excellent performance as an almost feral boy Lancelot discovers in the forest who proves to be among the most noble of the knights, and little Morgana does an amazing job with her tiny role, most of the rest either overact - the constantly yelling every line Uther is especially dreadful - or are miscast - Morgana and Guinevere would have been better suited to the other's role and the dark, brooding Arthur would have made a better Gwain than the golden-haired king of legend. On the other note even Lancelot's wistful glances at the queen during and after the wedding can't create any believability to Lancelot and Guinevere's love story, and Gwain's complex story from Lancelot's closest friend to bitterest enemy is reduced to a brief enchantment that leads to Lancelot killing him in a duel. Following that was Sword Of Lancelot, a fascinating take on the legends which is notable for being the only version I've seen to have Lancelot be French, lovely accent and all. Cornel Wilde makes an excellent Lancelot, my second favorite so far, capturing both his dangerous yet noble side as well as the charming and playful edge that makes it impossible to not fall for him as Guinevere does, and their interactions from a funny comment about "magical" soap to a Latin lesson in the sand with his sword are perfectly done, as well as Lancelot's dramatic rescue of her from the burning pyre. It's nice to finally have a fair, golden-haired Guinevere, Merlin as the adviser at the Round Table, Arthur being the right mix of just kindness and hard justice, sending Guinevere to her death and then weeping over his laws, and Lancelot and Gawain's friendship to Lancelot killing Gawain's brother in his escape, turning Gawain against him before they make amends, just as everything should be. The film has the unusual twist of having Arthur die while Mordred survives to take over Camelot, forcing Lancelot out of exile in France to return to battle Mordred and save it, and ends with the heartbreaking scene I've always hoped to see in a version: Lancelot's return to Guinevere in which she chooses to remain at the convent. Then I saw Guinevere, the most unique version of the legends I've come across, and I adored it's idea of Guinevere and Lancelot having grown up together, as well as Guinevere meeting Arthur and not knowing his name when he's a young man who comes to her father's aid during a battle. Lancelot was perfect and I loved that he left Guinevere a rose at the end, Guinevere unusually fully imagined and strong, even willing to trade her life for Arthur's and personally kill her enemies, but Arthur was strangely weak-willed and there was no true love between Arthur and Guinevere. Unfortunately the film has an abrupt ending that leaves countless threads hanging, never resolving what happened to Lancelot after his heartbreaking disappearance, or whether Guinevere ever told Arthur about their daughter or found the child back. Last was Merlin's Apprentice and I liked Jack, the hilarious and awkwardly magical thief and student of Merlin who's the key to finding the lost Grail that can save Camelot. It was a beautiful miniseries with the right blend of humor and tragedy with an unexpected twist, and I especially loved the moments of Merlin with little Arthur, the haunting scene at the end of part one as the people flee the crumbling bridge away from Camelot where the past flashes in front of Merlin's and Jack's eyes with slow motion photography followed by the screen going dark, and the adorable ending.

In other new movies I saw Spartacus which was stunning. Kirk Douglas was excellent in the title role and the direction was breathtaking. Next was a re-watch of the always amazing Spellbound followed by Journey To the Center of the Earth and its sequel which were incredibly fun and random. Next was the gorgeous southern gothic Night of the Hunter, one of the most stunning films I've seen with its beautiful and strange photography and plot. Along the same lines was the beautifully haunting The Innocents with its ghost story and poignant feel. Next was Key Largo, the loveliest role I've ever seen Humphrey Bogart in, and he and Lauren Bacall lit up the screen. Next was the fun and very Hitchcock but better than him adventure Charade which kept me entertained. Next was the creepy but fascinating original Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Next was the odd but excellent Sunset Boulevard.
 
 
feeling: amused
calliope tune: "Suspicion"-Terry Stafford
 
 
Kathleen
I'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.
 
 
calliope tune: "Popsicles,Icicles"-Murmaids
feeling: bouncy
 
 
Kathleen
I finished season four of The X-Files, including the stunning "The Field Where I Died", a story structured around the storming of a cult's compound as Mulder finds himself inexplicably drawn to the field across from the compound. When one of the wives slips into the speech of a Civil War nurse, she reveals the events of the battle that took place in the field and her memories of Mulder, then a young Confederate soldier and her sweetheart, dying there. Mulder undergoes hypnosis, finding his own memories and discovering that he and Melissa are linked through time, star-crossed lovers in every life from the field to the Holocaust. The series had already explored reincarnation but "The Field Where I Died" has such a quiet, haunting sensitivity that it's impossible not to be drawn into the tragic story, already guessing what the outcome will be in their current lives. Combined with the poignancy of Mulder's voiceover and the torn 1860s photographs it's a breathtaking episode, and I can't help wishing they'd had a flashback tie-in episode to it. The season and series' best is the quietly powerful "Paper Hearts" in which Mulder begins to suspect that Samantha's abduction may have been at the hands of a serial killer whose final victim remains unidentified. The story and Mulder's grief is gently handled and the open ending and fabric heart is enough to make anyone cry like a baby. On other notes how brilliant is the casting of Roy Thinnes as Jeremiah Smith? Considering he was obsessed with hunting down every last alien in The Invaders, there's something ironic about him playing a good alien here. I want a crossover or an inside joke in an episode where they say all the alien-hunting, brainwashing, and being brought back to life by the outer space CPR machine has turned David into an alien, one with amnesia which excuses why he has a different name. Krycek is back and as usual Mulder jumps out of character and turns him into a punching bag. I wish the writers had realized how well Krycek worked with the others when they weren't beating him up, putting me in the position of having to choose between Mulder and Krycek, and how much happier I'd have been if he'd been in it more often. I'd have a hard time enjoying the conspiracy episodes if not for Krycek. I love him and I have no regrets about it; I want to bandage him up and protect him from Skinner. Pendrell is tragically shot and killed; he was so sweet and adorable that it hurts to watch him die like that. I also finished season five, with the breathtaking "Redux". Mulder and Scully's relationship isn't forced, it just happened, slowly growing from a partnership to a friendship to a "I'd die for you but can't live without you" romance. The scene where Mulder goes into the hospital, kneels beside Scully's bed, and cries against her hand broke my heart. "Usual Suspects" is a delightful flashback episode explaining the origin of the Lone Gunmen and Mulder's friendship. I've always felt they were underused so it's wonderful to see them shine. "The Red and the Black" plunges ahead, bringing in new ideas, such as the vaccine, the alien war, and Krycek revealing their agenda. The way he says "Good luck to you, my friend" in Russian right before he leaves broke my heart. I'm on season six now. With the bad guys in charge and the x files burned and dismissed, Mulder and Scully, secretly working on the files against orders, have their work cut out for them. Mulder gets another "I want to believe" poster, and the dark, shadowy style of the series hasn't changed even if they appear to have gotten slightly wider-beaming flashlights. About time, guys. Mind-reading wonder child Gibson slips in and out of the hands of the bad guys as it's revealed that humanity's DNA is part extraterrestrial mutated virus. "Arcadia" is a treat with it's perfect balance of humor and creepiness and Mulder and Scully's undercover names "Rob and Laurie Petrie". "Monday" is a fascinating and heartbreaking time loop story as a woman, the only person who realizes the day is repeating, attempts to prevent Mulder from entering the bank her boyfriend is robbing which will set of a chain of events ending with all the people being killed. The poignant and old-fashioned "The Unnatural" is a sweet love letter to baseball with two of my favorite guest characters this season and an adorable scene where Mulder teaches Scully to hit a ball. "Field Trip" has a beautiful scene where Mulder reaches over in the ambulance and Scully catches his hand without even opening her eyes as if they can sense each other. "Two Fathers/One Son" fully explains the Syndicate while building toward it's shocking ending, with the Cigarette Smoking Man killing Spender just as he'd become an ally of Mulder and Scully, and the Syndicate being massacred by the alien rebels. Krycek fortunately escapes and he's still working against the aliens which puts him on the good side this season. I'd never seen it and skipped over it while working through the early seasons so I went back and watched the whump-filled "Fight The Future". It was fantastic, everything the show does best on a larger scale, and so perfectly shippy I couldn't stop grinning. The almost kiss was just mean, though, but the film made up for it by having Mulder's beautiful speech about how Scully saves him complete with a forehead kiss, Mulder rescuing Scully including carrying her and doing CPR on her, and their hand holding at the end. My favorite scene was the gorgeous one where, after escaping and watching the spaceship above him, Mulder looks over at Scully, smiles faintly, and passes out in the snow from cold and exhaustion. Scully, even weak as she is, slowly reaches over, lifts him into her lap and holds him, laying her face against his hair. It's a beautiful moment and shows how much they mean to each other after all they've been through together. I was saddened to see the Well-Manicured Man get killed, since I thought he was an interesting character with a lot of potential, but he died well, saving Mulder's life from the syndicate and Scully from the virus, and I was glad Mulder trusted him enough in the end to use the coordinates and medicine.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How awesome is the extended musicvid for Backstreet Boys' "Larger Than Life" with the spaceships, spacesuits, cryogenic chambers, explosions and Brian in the matrix on a futuristic surfboard? It's like watching them all in a mini sci-fi film! I found the sweetest news clip from 2005 of Nick and Brian visiting a toddler who was born with half a heart. Her parents played Backstreet Boys music before and after she was born and the beat had strengthened her heart, they believe, saving her life. Brian was so adorable singing, holding, and dancing with the little girl; I love when he compliments her shoes and him hugging her is precious. And Backstreet Boys are getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame next year!
 
 
feeling: indifferent
calliope tune: "Toast and Marmalade For Tea"-TinTin
 
 
Kathleen
Since I first heard his voice on the old radio series to films and tv series glasses-wearing Clark Kent never fails to steal my heart away, lately in Smallville, a series I somehow missed and spent the past week catching up on, one that's very similar to another series I love The Powers Of Matthew Star, with a teenage alien survivor of a destroyed world coming into his powers while he's struggling with high school. I was skeptical at first because the cast is outrageously pretty, but if all aliens look this good I'd like to discover one in a cornfield, too. What I always love best is the early scenes with Martha and Jonathan (Daniel from Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman!) since I've always felt that they must have been wonderful parents to have brought up a son like Clark, and here I finally get what I've wanted, to see all the family moments, the homespun life, the "were you ever afraid of me?" moment, Clark's powers being unable to save his father, Clark throwing a wild party while his parents are away (he's so human at times), and Jonathan's adorable comment about Clark's temper tantrums punching holes in the wall. Clark is remarkably similar in appearance and mannerisms to the films' versions, and he convincingly pulls off the struggling teenager already shouldering the weight of the world in addition to every kid's problems of growing up and falling in love for the first time, and I really like Whitney who gets pushed to the background but deserves better. Lex gets depth, a backstory, a first meeting with Clark who saves his life, and a redeeming side which makes it even more of a tragedy to know what he'll become. The cape on the school's mascot, a painted red S on Clark's chest during an end-of-year hazing, a kryptonite necklace, and a vision of Lex's future set the stage for years to come. At it's heart, despite the thrills and lightning speed, Smallville is an uncomplicated look at the events and people that would shape the boy with powers into the superhero. I skipped ahead a bit to see Oliver Queen, and still haven't gotten off the floor. Where do they find these unearthly gorgeous people?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My library turns up some incredible stuff from it's basement, including A Fall Of Moondust, with the feel of old paper, and that wonderfully musty smell. It's a disaster epic, with a romance and lovely imagery, on the moon about a ship buried beneath moondust and the people hoping for a rescue as those outside attempt to locate them before the oxygen runs out.
 
 
calliope tune: "Gypsy Woman"-Brian Hyland
feeling: busy