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