Kathleen
26 March 2014 @ 12:10 pm
I just got back from seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier and it was brilliant, a perfect meshing of spy games and history which catered to every one of my favorite things. The technology was more amazing than ever with the holograms, the face change, the "living" computer, and the spooky ways of Hydra. Steve, happily, was his usual noble, good self, and my heart broke for him as he struggles to come to terms with the current world, his disillusionment with SHIELD, the betrayals all around him,and the loss of Bucky. I loved the subtle touches to his character: the 40s music on record in his apartment, the fact that he carries Peggy's picture, and more, and his gymnastics and shield-flinging were even more awesome than in earlier films. I sobbed when he visits the now elderly Peggy and she finally recognizes him. Natasha was wonderful, a flawless contrast and comparison to Steve and I loved their friendship and her constant match-making. I grew to love Sam almost instantly, both for his kind heart as well as his fantastic suit and wings, and I love that Steve now has a friend and ally. The curly-haired Shield agent was also wonderful; I wish he'd had a larger part because I loved how heroic and ordinary he was. Bucky destroyed me. I loved him in the first film and seeing what became of him, and how mutely accepting he was of the cruelty from the people who brainwashed him hurt horribly. Steve and his fight was brutal but showed the best of them - Steve going down, even badly wounded to unpin Bucky from the beam, and the poignant moment when Bucky dragged Steve out of the lake. I adored the final sequence of him seeing his old photo, giving me some glimmer of hope for his future.

I went to see X Men: Days Of Future Past in theatres and it was flawless, exceeding all of my hopes and expectations. Quicksilver was wonderful, hilarious and perfect in every way, and I loved the new characters, especially Warpath. Charles completely broke my heart, as did his lost friendship with Magneto. I loved seeing Magneto waver between hero and bad guy, and seeing Mystique get a second chance. The time travel was done surprisingly well, with the past and present aligned in a poignant, non-intrusive way. The ending made me tear up, especially seeing Scott alive again, and I was so happy that everything was fixed and made hopeful from the darkness of the prior films.

I also saw Maleficent in theatres and it was gorgeous, a lovely reimagining of the fairytale. I was surprised to find how much I could sympathize with and like Maleficent, both as a hero and as a bad character, and I adored her slow-growing love and caring as she watches over little Aurora. Calling her "beastie" was precious, too. Aurora was a darling, and Elle Fanning did a perfect job portraying her sweetness and innocence. Phillip, too, was quite adorable despite his small role, and I loved the hopeful ending for both of them. The Moor creatures were fabulous, all very imaginative and beautiful. I loved Diaval who infused both humor and sympathy into the role, and I ended up shipping him with Maleficent by the ending which was flawless as both of them flew off together.

I finally got to see The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug and, while still nothing compared to Lord Of The Rings it seems to have found it's footing after the last film, thankfully dropping the annoying comedy and weak characterizations in favor of solid drama and a broader focus. Kili remains the brightest spot, a sweet and brave little dwarf I can't help adoring, and his crush on Tauriel was precious and bittersweet. Despite my reservations at adding a new character, Tauriel proved to be quite fascinating, both for her care for Kili, as well as her backstory with Legolas. Legolas was fabulous, using his super-human fighting skills to full advantage. I loved the subtle moment where he's injured in battle - probably for the first time in his long life - and stares at the blood on his fingers. Bard and his family were lovely, showing the heroism and life of the humans in Middle Earth, and I enjoyed the brief bit of the skinwalker. The threads to LOTRs were better connected this time, too, with the ring's evil grip already starting to show, and the Necromancer being Sauron amassing his army of orcs. Sadly, Thorin, the heroic and admirable king of the first film, has changed completely, with poor explanation for the sudden change, and the respect he had for Bilbo in the first film is completely lost, as is most of his caring for his company.

I'm working my way through the '90s show Young Hercules and it's flawless, with hilarious moments, a wonderful friendship trio, and old effects against a mythological background. Hercules, despite looking nothing like how I imagine - more muscles would be nice - is growing on me, and Iolaus is adorable; I'm completely in love with his hair and sass.

I've started watching the fascinating new series Dominion, and I love the plot and world so far. The wings are impressive, Michael is an intriguing character, and I adore Alex and Bixby's relationship.

I'm onto the second half of season three of Once Upon A Time with "New York City Serenade", an episode that focuses entirely too much on Emma but manages to redeem itself by the seemingly unintentionally hilarious plotpoint of having her dating a flying monkey. But Killian is fabulous as usual; I giggled like mad at the "bologna" comment, and Belle and Robin's reunion scene and hug was so beautiful. I was a little sad that Storybrooke came back so quickly, though, since, although I knew eventually the writers would bring it back, I was hoping for more time than just flashbacks in the Enchanted Forest, since it and the Land Without Color are my favorite locations in the series. "Witch Hunt", despite my continuing annoyance by the writers making Regina so utterly dependent upon Henry for happiness, was an excellent episode, recapturing much of the first season feel that's been lacking. Dr. Whale is back and I'm thrilled to see both him and Storybrooke's hospital again. Robin Hood and his men have made it to modern Storybrooke, and, at least in the past, he and Regina have bonded, a pairing I find surprisingly appealing despite my early reservations. Little Roland is as adorable as ever, and Regina is quite cute with him. Henry, unsurprisingly, is even more of a pain without his memories and optimism to give him some appeal, but Snow White reading about baby care was hilariously adorable. I'm not the least bit shocked by the revelation that the Wicked Witch is Regina's half sister, even if I rolled my eyes at the writers's fondness for making everyone related or married to everyone else. Happiest of all, Rumplestiltskin is alive, although held prisoner by the Witch and acting like the crazy past version of himself which worries me. But still I couldn't stop smiling the instant I heard his voice. "The Tower" was frustrating and largely disappointing, seeming like a feeble excuse to cast Charming as the Cowardly Lion. Rapunzel was pretty and sweet but horribly underused, serving little purpose but to encourage Charming to face his fear, and not even getting a proper story or prince of her own. Likewise the creepy ghost witch was much of a letdown. On the bright side Rumplestiltskin continues to make my heart hurt, with Robert Carlyle bringing the much needed acting talented to the series even in such a limited role. "Quiet Minds", the best episode so far, was a fascinating step forward in the series as much is revealed and explained. Belle finally got center stage and a chance to shine in the flashbacks as she attempts to bring back Rumplestiltskin. I loved that, realizing the price and what the Witch wanted, she was willing to let things stand as they were and not bring him back. Lumiere was a treat; I'd love to see more of him and the tale of his past, and I enjoyed seeing Belle's library again, as well as the moment that Rumplestiltskin comes back to life and sees Belle. Finally Rumplestiltskin's madness is explained as it's revealed that he took Bae into his own mind and body to save his life. As much as I've always disliked Bae due to his selfishness and unwillingness to forgive Rumplestiltskin - after all the only reason he even wants to bring him back is to get to Emma, and not because he loves him unlike Belle - he was much better than usual in the episode. I enjoyed the closure to Killian and his story, and their hug was poignant. His death hurt, more so for Rumplestiltskin who has finally and truly lost his son, than for Bae himself, since it makes sense to write him out by now. Robert Carlyle broke my heart as usual as he's forced back to his cage by the Witch, looking worn and helpless and broken. On the brighter side, Regina finally learned Robin Hood's identity as her perfect match, and I loved seeing little Roland again, even briefly, as Robin played with him. "It's Not Easy Being Green" finally shows Oz, and I adored the way the wizard was shown, as well as the slippers being silver, even if I was a little disappointed by the fake look of the Emerald City. Rumplestiltskin broke my heart again as we see the extent of Zelena's hold over him, and his fear of hurting Belle. I was thrilled he and Belle shared at least one scene together, and when he reaches for her hand I couldn't help tearing up. Also his face as he felt Bae's funeral was poignant. Despite my dislike for Henry, I loved seeing Killian teaching him and spending time with him, mostly for the wistfulness on Killian's face as he remembers Bae. I've always adored Killian-centric episodes and "The Jolly Roger" is a treat, even if slightly marred by the appearance of poorly cast Ariel and Eric, the most underused and pointless inclusion of fairytale characters in the series. I loved seeing the series take on Blackbeard, especially with Killian getting to battle him, and Killian's guilt over his choice shows even more how much he's changed, even if him being cursed seems overly cruel. "Bleeding Through" is the misery of a Cora episode, and even an intriguing ghostly encounter and the final mending of Regina and Snow's relationship did little to make it bearable. Roland was precious as ever, though - I love his little hat. But the ever-twisting family tree has reached disturbing heights now as it's revealed Cora was originally engaged to Snow's father/Regina's husband. Still I was grateful Zelena wasn't Rumplestiltskin's daughter as I'd feared. "A Curious Thing" was a weaker episode, with far too many loose threads tied up much too quickly. I can't say I'm happy with Henry getting his memories back, since he was more out of the way and bearable without them, but I'm glad Killian came clean about the curse, even if it caused everyone to turn on him. The Charmings, once enjoyable, have become insufferable, and Snow willingly crushing Charming's heart just to get to Emma only sealed my disgust. The heart shared between them was annoyingly trite, and I'm tired of the baby drama. The one bright spot was Rumplestiltskin and Belle's brief interaction and the fabulous scene that revealed Killian was telling the truth as Bae splits himself from his father just long enough to send him the memory potion. "Kansas" felt a bit rushed and packed but was overall quite good and their Dorothy was thankfully quite cute and non-annoying, even if, as usual, the actress was too old for the part. It was quite epic to see everyone united around protecting the baby - who turned out to be adorable and I was so happy that my guess of it being a boy was correct - even if I couldn't stop laughing at Dr. Whale's dramatic faint. It was wonderful to see him again, though. Charming was precious with the baby. As much as I dislike Emma I was thrilled that she gave up her magic to save Killian; and his heartbroken smile and eyes completely destroyed me. I teared up when Rumplestiltskin, finally free, asked Belle to marry him, even if I'm a little sad that he lied to her about the dagger. Still I'm grateful to see Zelena gone after all she'd done. The season's finale "Snow Drifts"/"There's No Place Like Home" was happily quite good for a Emma-centric episode. I loved the playing with history and the way the book became rewritten. Rumplestiltskin was hilarious and very much his old self, and I loved his interactions with Belle and Killian. Except for Rumplestiltskin's reaction I didn't like that the Charmings named their baby Neal since it seemed strange and a little awkward. Rumplestiltskin and Belle's long-awaited wedding was beautiful, with their vows deeply moving; I couldn't hold back the tears to see them together at all. Little Roland and his ice cream was precious. I loved seeing Marion return and be reunited with Robin and Roland, but was disappointed by Elsa being next season's villain.

Onto season seven of Rawhide now and much to my delight Pete is back in the second half. While there's little to no meaning to his random reappearance I'm so happy to see that familiar checked shirt again and hear that beautiful accent, even if only for a few episodes. Rowdy has grown up so much, even from last season, and I miss the awkward, gentle cowhand, even if he's still twice the trail boss Gil is in the episodes where he takes over. Still flashes of his old personality shine through when he's teasing Wishbone or romancing a girl, and it's as lovely as always.

I gave a try to Girl Meets World, the second generation spin-off from Boy Meets World and it was a mix of the cringe-worthy modern and the warmly nostalgic. It was wonderful seeing Cory and Topanga again, grown up and parents themselves, and even Mr. Feeny if only for a moment. The sets reminded me so much of the orginal series. Auggie is quite cute so far, and Farkle is amusing. The kids channel their parents to the extent that I'm torn between being impressed at how well they're pulling off the mannerisms of the original actors to being frustrated that the writers didn't just create all new characters since not every child is a copycat of their parents.

I'm working my way through season one of Sugarfoot now that it's finally on DVD, and it's a treat. Tom is an endearing character, one of the sweetest in westerns, and I love the contrasts of his character - the gentle boy who seems to know nothing about the west and yet has such keen insight, as well as the man who doesn't believe in guns and yet is a superb shot. He's also one of the characters who make my heart hurt when he's forced to kill someone, since it seems such a horrible contrast to his sunny personality. One of my favorite things is all the WB westerns take place in the same universe so there's always crossover potential - Bronco and Sugarfoot teamed up was always my favorite - and in this case there was a hilarious and adorable cameo by Bret Maverick at the end of an episode.

There's also some new episodes of 77 Sunset Strip and Surfside 6 up and I'm falling in love with both series all over again. I adore Van Williams's accent, and just seeing Rex again puts a smile on my face.

I finally managed to view an episode of the Civil War era series The Americans and it was quite good, presenting a refreshingly unbiased view of the war with corrupt Northern soldiers and an honorable Confederate. Robert Culp, always at his best when playing the emotionally tortured, wounded character, was superb as a soldier panged by conscience.

I also got to see some of the sadly short-lived but wonderful The Phoenix. Bennu was a lovely and sweet character, completely stealing my heart in his interactions with children and animals, and the actor was incredibly convincing as the gentle alien.

I've been casually watching the new version of The Tomorrow People and while I haven't exactly bonded with it I do completely adore John who makes my heart ache with every sad look and the way he tries to get himself hurt to atone for the past.

I've started watching the new series Believe and it's beautiful and touching and nothing like any other show currently on which makes me adore it. Despite the prickly edges I like Tate, and Bo is intriguing, as is the mystery of her gifts and why people want to kill her. I loved the twists and turns in the plot, especially the Senga bit, as well as Bo's bringing hope to everyone she meets. The plot was a perfect blend of humor and sadness, and there's been very few pilots I've loved so much.

Resurrection is new and incredibly fascinating so far taking a nearly disturbing premise and managing to craft an often deeply touching series. I have so many questions and theories but for now I'm just enjoying the beauty of the show, it's music, and the potential.

There's also The 100 which seems promising so far. I adore Finn and his acrobatics and '80s hair, and he and Clarke seem potentially cute together. "Earth Skills" continues to world build, revealing only a glimpse of the Grounders. Jasper is, happily, alive and rescued, and Finn continues to be sweet and wonderful, protecting Clarke from having her bracelet removed, and ensuring she has food. Octavia is fascinating so far, and I loved the scene of her with the glowing butterflies. I adored that Clarke's mother figured out what was happening with the kids on earth, and has bought a little more time for everyone.

I've started watching Turn and it's amazing so far. I'd never even dreamed of getting a Revolutionary War series and I'm beyond happy with how it's set up, with the spy intrigue and appealing characters, beautiful scenery and a talented cast.

I'm also watching Salem which veers between the disturbingly strange and utterly fascinating fast enough to give me whiplash. John Alden is an intriguing character, and despite my reservations about using the Salem Witch Trials as the setting for a show abut real witches its all handled in a creepy, quite interesting manner.

I discovered the hilarious '90s short-lived series You Wish and completely fell in love with it. I have a soft spot for genies, and this one is sweet and completely random. I love the premise and characters and the events never fail to make me laugh.

I'm working my way through the adorable The Second Hundred Years and Monte Markham is a completely underrated gift, both hilarious and heartwarming as Luke. He even, to my delight, got to sing in a few episodes.

In new films I saw the intriguing I Am Number Four, and adored the premise as well as how it was portrayed. John/Four was a likeable protagonist, and I liked his romance with Sarah and friendship with Sam who was endearing. His gifts, especially the light-up hands were fabulous. I was saddened that Henri died, since I loved John and his relationship, but glad Bernie survived, even if the ending left so much open for a sequel. Next was the 1998 version of The Man In The Iron Mask, always my favorite of the Three Musketeers series, and it was the best adaptation I've seen yet, despite a slow start. Leonardo DiCaprio was wonderful at the dual role, and I adored and ached for Philippe. The scene where they put him back in the mask hurt, but I loved that he didn't let it destroy him and clung to the hope that the others would rescue him. Also, on a shallow note c.1998 Leonardo DiCaprio was absurdly beautiful. I loved the ending especially. After that was the beautiful and poignant Copperhead. I adored the focus on the Civil War homefront and little known elements of history, as well as the amazing detail to authenticity, and gorgeous, old-fashioned filming, acting, scenery, and music. Next was The Redemption Of Henry Myers, a surprisingly good and heart-warming western with easy to love characters and an unexpected happy ending. Then was the stunning World War Z which I adored, despite it making me jump multiple times. Brad Pitt was superb as Gerry, and I loved his devotion to his family, and friendship with Segen. After that was the lovely April Love, a gorgeously 1950s period drama. Pat Boone was wonderful, the storyline was sweet, and I adored the scenery, especially the country fair, and the music. Next was Prom. I watched it mainly for the cast but it won me over in moments with it's sweetness. Thomas McDonell was absolutely lovely as Jesse - I have even more appreciation for his hair now - and I loved how my first impressions of him were wrong. His scenes with his little brother were very cute, and I loved that Nova learned to see through the bad boy shell to his gentle heart. Next was the poignant but beautifully filmed Pompeii. I loved the characters and wished there had been more before the disaster, and the ending was haunting and deeply moving. Next was the strangely good Interview With the Vampire. The plot was unusually poignant, and I couldn't help but feel sympathy for the characters: tormented Louis, monster child Claudia, and even Lestat to see what he became, shrinking from Louis beneath the graveyard. The ending was a little strange, but I loved the feel of the film, the music, and the passage of time with the characters. After loving the classic radio drama for years I finally got to see the film version of The Night Has A Thousand Eyes and it was lovely and moody, a perfect and haunting story. I finally watched the 1997 Titanic and while it could never compare to my beloved 1996 miniseries, I enjoyed quite a bit of the film. The more modern feel was a little off-putting, but I adored Jack's free spirit and devotion to Rose, giving everything, and ultimately his life to ensure her survival and happiness. Leonardo DiCaprio was, as usual, painfully beautiful and perfectly cast. There was the unexpected treat of a very excellent, although minor, performance by Ioan Gruffudd, too, and the ship itself was gorgeous. Next was Push, a surprisingly good superhero film with a twisting plot. I loved the characters, especially Nick and Cassie, and the fabulous world-building. After that was the heartbreaking and touching Flowers In The Attic, the more modern version. Chris and Cathy's relationship was beautiful, as was their caring for the little twins, and Cory's death as well as the children's loss of innocence was wrenchingly painful. I loved that the husband let them go at the end, and the sense of hope that they'd make it on their own. Next was the hauntingly poignant Rabbit Proof Fence. I find the Stolen Generations a fascinating and tragic part of history, and the film told a true story in a moving, almost documentary style with stunning acting, especially from the children.

I finally found more Mary Pickford films I hadn't yet seen, and I started with some versions of books/films I love. The first was A Little Princess, a unique version, and while not my favorite by any means - that will forever be the brilliant 1986 version - I enjoyed some moments very much such as Sara's stories coming to life, and the vision of her parents at the end. Next was the gorgeous Pollyanna which ended up tying my beloved 1960 Disney as my favorite version. Mary Pickford was adorable as Pollyanna, and while the story was short it rarely felt rushed. Jimmy was wonderful, and I was happily surprised to find him closer to Pollyanna's age, a romantic interest for her, and the cute glimpse of their future and many children together. Aunt Polly was quite good, as was Nancy, despite having a smaller part, and I loved how faithful to the book it was. it's now tied with Amarilly Of Clothes-Line Alley as my favorite Mary Pickford film, and ahead of my second favorite My Best Girl.

In new animated films I watched the adorable and clever Monsters Inc. and Monsters University. I loved the characters, especially Sulley with little Boo, and the hilarious moments. In theatres I saw How To Train Your Dragon 2 and while it felt somewhat crammed and overwhelming it was a lovely step forward in the world-building with some very funny and extremely touching moments. I loved seeing the kids growing up but still retaining what made them loveable. Hiccup and Astrid were sweet together, and Snotlout and Fishlegs fighting over Ruffnut kept me giggling. I adored Ruffnut's crush on Eret who was a fabulous new addition, growing on me throughout the movie, especially when Stormfly saved him and he freed her in return. Hiccup and Toothless's relationship was beautiful, and I loved how Hiccup won him back and forgave him. Despite the oddity of her backstory I liked Hiccup's mother and only wish there'd been more sweet family scenes before Stoic's death. I hadn't expected that and even though he wasn't one of my favorite characters I was saddened to have him die, even more so that Toothless was the one who caused it, even without meaning to, and I wish the writers hadn't gone that route. The scenery and animation was as detailed and gorgeous as always, the dragons were all unique and amazing, and I loved the recap of the games at the ending and Hiccup becoming the new chief.
 
 
feeling: listless
calliope tune: "26 Miles"-Four Preps
 
 
Kathleen
I managed to watch the first episode of Atlantis the same day it premiered and while it scrambled mythology, I completely adored it. The settings, costumes, and soundtrack were gorgeous, the cast is quite attractive (I'm loving Jason's dimples!), and the story is very fun so far. Pythagoras is completely adorable, and I love the friendship starting between Jason and he. The humor struck a good balance with the more serious moments, and even if the pace was a little fast, I thought it was a great start for a pilot and very promising. Onto episode two which wasn't quite as good as the pilot (and no Jason and Pythagoras friendship, sadly), and had me cringing at the dreadful imagining of satyrs, but still gets points for including the maenads. I love Medusa and am mourning her fate already, since against my better judgement I'm slightly shipping her with Jason - she did save his life after all!. I only wish they'd cut back on some of the fate and simply let Jason and Pythagoras get into all sorts of fun, mythological adventures before they start in on future tragedies. "A Boy Of No Consequence" was fun, and thankfully toned down much of the humor of the first two episodes. Ariadne was somewhat less bland when she stood up to the queen, and I could tolerate Hercules a little better, but the witchcraft bits were unnecessary. The hurt/comfort parts were lovely, and I adored how Jason got everyone to work as a team, and his gymnastics, as well as Medusa saving the day. I'm a little sad to see the writers trying to pair her up with Hercules though, since I'd hoped for her to be matched up with Jason. "Twist Of Fate" was superb, mixing adorable moments with more serious. I adored the trio being so cute with the baby, and even Hercules grew on me this week. Jason was fabulous as always, using his gymnastic skills to full advantage, and the baby's mother was a fascinating character and superb actress. I hope to see more of the king and she in the future. I love the show's rare continuity of having Jason's arm bear a scar from the arrow wound in the pilot. "White Lies" had too much Ariadne but I loved Minos finally getting screentime. He's quite a tragic character, and I love his relationship with Ariadne. Jason was awkwardly adorable through the whole episode, and I couldn't stop giggling over Hercules and his pet beetle. "The Song of The Sirens" threw a new spin on things as Jason, desperate to save Medusa and Hercules, makes a rash pact with Circe the witch to kill Pasiphae. I loved Pythagoras and Jason's friendship in the episode, along with the character growth of the Oracle, who, while still mysterious, obviously cares deeply about Jason. The final scene between them when she takes his hand was especially touching. "Rules Of Engagement" was little more than fun, flawless fan service for 99% of the show as Jason does gymnastics and is soundly whumped all while forgetting his shirt at home (why am I not surprised by now?), but it still offered a cute moment where Hercules and Medusa patch things up, and the first glimpse of future darkness as recurring character and palace servant Korrina is needlessly murdered. Poor Korrina, I'd hoped for a bit more from her in the future, but I can't say I'm surprised as I already guessed she wouldn't last forever on the show. Still it only makes me hate Pasiphae more. "The Furies" was an uneven episode consisting of an intriguing premise poorly executed against some stunning acting by Robert Emms and beautiful moments of friendship between not only Jason and Pythagoras but also Hercules and the two; I especially loved the part where Hercules starts to crawl away to deter Pythagoras from giving himself to the furies. "Pandora's Box" brings back the show from hiatus, and I love seeing everyone again, even if it's the most heartbreaking episode yet. Medusa's transformation wasn't unexpected, but I'd hoped it wouldn't be so soon, and the final scene with Jason cursing the gods was stunning and foreboding for the rest of the series. "The Price Of Hope" was mostly a filler full of running but it gave some lovely h/c moments as Pythagoras cared for an injured Jason, a beautiful friendship moment between Hercules and Pythagoras, and a strange twist as Jason is able to look at Medusa. "Hunger Pangs" was hilarious, a wonderful breath of fresh air after weeks of sad episodes, and Jason was adorable as a werewolf who frequently ends up devoid of clothes in strange places. I'd love to see hints of it pop up in later episodes, even if the silver did cure him. "Touched By The Gods" was a "royal episode" as I call it, which means less fun for me than the trio-focused ones which are my favorites, but still the plot offered some resolution to earlier stories as well as a new depth to Jason. I was secretly wishing he'd kill Pasiphae, and I found it odd that he couldn't bring himself to kill her yet killed Circe, who seemed less evil to me of the two, without much of a thought. Still he did selflessly offer himself to her to be killed, showing how much he cares about his friends, and the trio had some wonderful moments that were both funny and heartwarming as they try to help Jason fulfill his vow and then join him battling the living skeletons - a nice nod to Jason and the Argonauts. Jason and the gang's rescue of Ariadne was fun, complete with the always enjoyable bonus of flaming arrows, but I was saddened by the servant's death. On the bright side Heptarian is thankfully gone now, in a strangely quick way, unless the writers are planning to bring him back. The leper colony intrigued me, as well as Jason's long-lost father being among them, and I loved seeing the brief father-son interaction even if Jason isn't aware of who he is. The twist of Pasiphae being his mother made me happy, since, unlike the rest of the fandom it seems, I'd considered it at the beginning but doubted the writers would go that way no matter how much I hoped, and the revelation finally opened up some explanations as to Jason's mysterious gifts. My other favorite parts were Hercules finally admitting he cares about Jason and Hercules nearly crushing Pythagoras by attempting to hide him from the soldiers.

In other brand new shows I've started watching Sleepy Hollow against my better judgement, and quite surprisingly ended up obsessed with it. The premise is creative and incredibly fascinating, and I love Ichabod. I've always been interested in the Revolutionary War and the overlap with history to fantasy is amazing. I'm also liking Ichabod's friendship with Abbie. The writing is brilliant so far and the bad guys, especially the creepy Sandman, are well done against some stunning filming. "John Doe" was superb and my favorite episode so far, with an awesome tale of Roanoke, Ichabod's modern day confusion and old-world gallantry when he takes Abbie's hand to cross the water, and some delicious hurt/comfort and heartwarming moments. Plus Ichabod speaking Middle English and interacting with the boy made my heart melt. "The Sin Eater", drawing from a fascinating Welsh tradition, was brimming with wonderful moments from the hilarious baseball game scene, to Ichabod's swoon-worthy bow, to the poignant and gorgeous exchange as Ichabod prepares to give up his life to defeat the Horseman. Despite my best efforts I've fallen off the wagon and started shipping Ichabod/Abbie hard so I teared up when he finally called her by her first name and later when they hugged. I also liked understanding Katrina's backstory better with the intriguing parts where Ichabod first learned of his gifts and part in the war. "Sanctuary" was a fun haunted house story with a shocking twist as it's revealed Ichabod has a son, born after his death. While on one hand I love it - daddy!Ichabod could be adorable, and even if his son is long dead there still could be a great+ grandchild somewhere, I have a bad feeling about the tragic directions this storyline could take. A darker side of Ichabod has surfaced, too, especially in the scene where he kills the tree creature. "The Golem" was haunting, exploring the fate of Ichabod's son Jeremy - I can only hope the writers will bring him back to life or at least include more flashbacks in the future - as well as Katrina's coven - an extremely creepy set of four women. I loved seeing the Sin Eater again, and Ichabod's Christmas confusion made me giggle as usual, especially the adorable scene where Abbie gives him a stocking, but the ending has me barely able to wait for the show's return.

Despite not planning on it I took a peek at Once Upon A Time In Wonderland and completely fell in love with it's version of the tale. Cyrus and Alice's romance is beautiful and I hope so badly that it has a happy end. Also the Knave of Hearts is wonderful, I just adore him. "The Serpent" was the most heartwrenching episode so far as Jafar's evil origins are revealed, and Alice is finally forced to make a wish to save the Knave's life, tying her life to his in the process, but sadly all for nothing as the Knave is turned to stone. The ending left me in tears, despite the hope of Cyrus beginning to escape, and the lovely wishbone legend, and I can only hope next episode will have more light at the end of the tunnel. "The Cell" was another step forward as well as a step back as Alice uses her second wish which broke my heart, but she and her father managed to mend their relationship even if the ending implies that her father won't remember anything, indicating another sacrifice Alice has made that goes unrealized. It finally occurred to me that every character is motivated by love in some way, and each love is contrasted from Knave and Anastasia's lost love to Jafar's pining for his father's love, to the true, beautiful love between Cyrus and Alice that motivates everything she does. Sophie Lowe was stunning in the episode as usual, bringing out all of Alice's emotions and pain, especially in the scene where she talks about her childhood to her "father", and the Knave and her friendship was as lovely as always. Cyrus, sadly, had the smallest part ever, speaking only one line and in two scenes, out cold except for a few seconds. The final pieces of Jafar's childhood was revealed, and while I understand him a lot better now, and even feel a little sorry for him, I still side with the other prisoner. He saved Cyrus, after all. "Home" was stunning, with Cyrus and Alice finally reunited, Cyrus getting far more screentime than usual, and a shocking twist ending The opening flashback of Cyrus and Alice beneath the stars was gorgeous, and I loved the creation of their little home, with Cyrus giving up his only treasure to protect Alice. Also I guessed right about genies once being human, so I'm looking forward to flashbacks of Cyrus's history. Emma Rigby impressed me the most, going from an unlikeable, overly done character to a compelling, tragic one, and I loved how she slowly reverted to her Anastasia accent and mannerisms, even as my heart broke when the Knave rejected her. The end twist was incredible - I'd forgotten about Alice promising the Knave a wish - and I'm both thrilled that Cyrus is free and Alice is well and also saddened by the Knave's fate, even if I know he'll be a hilariously fun genie.

I've also become very fond of Reign which more than makes up for it's lack of historical authenticity with beauty and endearing characters, especially the gorgeous Bash whose blue eyes take my breath away. I love his relationship with his half brother Francis - I've always been a sap for brothers - and Mary: I ship them against my better judgement, and little Charles is adorable. The castle is stunning, too, and I'm intrigued by the mysterious Clarissa. Plus the series is slowly introducing some more complicated twists and delightful whump so, for now at least, it makes me happy.

I've started watching Almost Human and completely fell in love with it. Both Dorian and John are realistic, far from perfect characters who are easy to relate to, and I love their odd friendship and hilarious banter. Plus, it's been ages since I've seen a sci-fi that could pull off such a far-fetched, seemingly emotionless premise with so much heart and feeling.

I've finished season two of Stargate Atlantis and there's something of a different feel so far as Atlantis is now commanded by military - complete with an alien - and Sheppard gets more reckless than ever in his heroics. I'm iffy on Teyla's ability to now communicate with the wraith as the result of her genes and preferred when it was simply her sensing their presence. but she's still one of the few female tv characters I consider awesome and she finally gets to share more scenes with Sheppard to my shipping delight. I'm getting more used to McKay now, mostly because of his humor and bravery in going after Sheppard in "Aurora", and I laughed through the hilarious "Duet" which forces him to share a body with a woman. Much to my sadness Ford has vanished from the series in one of the worst and most tragic write-outs ever as the result of wraith enzymes from surviving a feeding which makes him violent and unstable. He winds up fleeing through the stargate and, despite another appearance which got my hopes up to his return, then escaping again when Sheppard finally tracks him down. He turns up once again but the series leaves his fate hopeful but hanging as he's last seen aboard a wraith ship. Yet the episode was a bittersweet memory of the first season toward the end with Ford risking his life to let Sheppard escape, and Sheppard finally calling him by his first name. Filling the gap left by Ford, but thankfully not replacing him, is Ronon, a runner hunted for sport by the wraith, who they discover when searching for Ford. While a little hostile at first, he's so far a complex and fascinating character with good chemistry with Sheppard, a strong devotion to the team, and a staggering array of fighting skills which promises some fun in the future. The season's best episodes include the intriguing "Instinct" which provides a new, almost human side to the wraith in a tragic story of a man who rescues and raises a wraith child as his daughter, and "The Long Goodbye", which despite focusing so much on Elizabeth who I still don't like, had some fascinating moments. I liked Ronon going after Sheppard himself, but he worried me when he was so badly shot, even if watching Carson operate with the power out was awesome. Also Teyla's scene where she agonizes over whether to kill Sheppard and save the people was stunning. Onto season three now and it's fascinating so far, picking up where the finale left off by continuing the somewhat tragic storyline of Michael, a wraith turned into a human by Carson's retrovirus. That's followed by the stunning episode "Sateda", a team story that finds Ronon again at the mercy of the wraith. It was filled with beautiful moments that had me tearing up, especially Sheppard admitting how he cares about his friends and Ronon willing to cut his own throat to force the people to let Teyla and Sheppard go. My heart bled for Ronon during the backstory moments, and I completely fell in love with him when he hugged Carson in the adorable ending. Other excellent episodes include the intriguing "Phantoms" where the team begins to hallucinate from a wraith device. I found Teyla being unaffected and Sheppard's vision being attempting to save a soldier he lost to be interesting insights into their characters. More is revealed about the ancients in the episode "Progeny" which features one of the most haunting closing scenes so far, as well as the wraith in the fantastic "Common Ground" in which Sheppard finds himself working with a wraith to escape from prison, an agreement which results in the wraith restoring the life he drained from him. McKay's best of the season is the funny and heartwarming "McKay and Mrs. Miller" featuring a parallel Rodney (I would have loved to see his team!) and McKay's sister. Ronan's wonderful friendship with Sheppard continues to delight me, with highlights including a hilarious scene where Sheppard teaches him to play golf. Happily the pop culture references are even more frequent now, and the team friendship is even better than last season. The last episodes of the season take a startling and incredibly tragic turn with Carson's death which turned me into an emotional wreck. I loved Carson dearly, and even though his death was heroic and poignant, I still hated that he was written out of the series that way. I'm on season four, now, and there's several changes so far. The somewhat annoying replicators storyline has finally found a good plot point in allowing for the removal of Elizabeth from the series; in her place is Sam, and I'm already loving her as the leader, which I'd hoped and supposed I would after enjoying her guest appearances. Ronan gets to shine, and finally has his place in the team cemented, in the excellent "Reunion" which forces him to choose between Atlantis and a trio of survivors from his old home, complete with a poignant twist ending. "Doppelganger" is a fascinating study in nightmares in which Sheppard confronts his deepest fear - himself. Everyone had some wonderful moments, especially Sheppard - the fight scene between his double and he was a delicious guilty pleasure - and McKay, plunging back into the dream machine after nearly dying just to save Sheppard. I loved the beautiful team moment at the end, as well as the awkward but adorably sweet hug between Sheppard and Teyla. "Tabula Rasa", in which a mysterious virus wipes the memories of everyone but Teyla and Ronon in Atlantis, is a fascinating, stunning episode. I loved how Ronon was able to talk Sheppard into trusting him, as well as McKay saving the day. Ive finally learned to adore McKay and my heart hurt and then was so happy for him at the beautiful ending. I love his sweet romance with Katie and hope they have a happy ending. "Miller's Crossing" was an unusual episode which highlighted how much McKay has changed when he offers to sacrifice himself to a wraith to save his dying sister, as well as showing a strangely dark side to Sheppard in which he convinces another man to volunteer in McKay's place. I loved McKay and Jeannie's relationship, though. The downsides to the season are the ever dull replicator storylines, Teyla's odd personality change in "Missing", going from a deeply caring character to a harsh and cold person who's willing to abandon a wounded stranger to die, and Dr. Keller, a tolerable but sadly lacking so-called replacement for Carson who I miss terribly. "The Kindred" both warmed and completely broke my heart by bringing Carson back - as a clone but so Carson I was tearing up within seconds of hearing his Scottish accent. I loved how the team grew to accept him, tried to save him, and were finally forced to keep him asleep until a cure can be found in one of the most tear-jerking goodbyes ever. On top of that was the season finale, the utterly stunning "The Last Man" in which Sheppard, returning through the gate, finds himself in a desolate Atlantis and is forced to return to the past and prevent his friends' deaths. Ronon and Todd, who I grew to love through the season, dying together broke me, as well as McKay spending twenty-five years trying to change the past, and then dying alone like that, leaving a hologram to wait for Sheppard. I sobbed when he wanted to help him when Sheppard was half-dead from the storm and he couldn't even touch him because he wasn't real. The cliff-hanging finale left me biting my nails, and I know I'm going to be a wreck next season.

The Doctor Who 50th was better than I'd been expecting. I was bracing myself for a letdown, and while a lot disappointed me, on the whole I really enjoyed it. Ten seemed mostly in character, I was so happy to see him again, and I was able to cope with my dislike for Eleven for the most part. I really liked the girl with the scarf, especially in the adorable scene where she makes friends with the alien. My favorite thing was the nods to classic!who: the B&W opening, Four's scarf, Kate being the Brigadier's daughter, Jack being mentioned, the pictures including Martha, Kamelion, Tegan, Nyssa, and others, and the "round things". I laughed so hard at the comment at Americans, history, and movies, as well as the "midlife crisis" comment. I shrieked when they had all 13 Doctors turn up twice; if they weren't going to include the old actors it was the next best thing, and it made me so happy to catch a glimpse of Five in the 50th. I also loved Tom Baker's cameo. The story was odd; I loved seeing the Time War, Gallifrey, and all the Time Lord children, but it felt like cheating since destroying Gallifrey shaped Nine and Ten's characters so much - they're so different from the old Doctors because of what they've done, and it cheapened the impact of all they'd done to change it all. I enjoyed The Five(ish) Doctors even better, though. Peter Davison and the others were delightful and parts made me giggle while other scenes had me tearing up from nostalgia, especially the comment about the Tardis no longer "wobbling", and Peter Davison saying his typical "must dash", just like Five again. "The Time Of The Doctor" had more human, personal elements than is typical of Eleven's era, and while I'm not at all sad to see him go I did get a little emotional at the Doctor growing old defending the little town of Christmas, as well as his friendship with the child. I disliked the dig at Ten's so-called "vanity", the messed-up plot jammed with too many aliens to make sense, and I hate the constant reset button that follows every bad event; at least in the original show and Nine's and Ten's eras there were severe, deeply tragic consequences whereas now the Doctor can do pretty much whatever he wants and just rewrite it all. I also don't really care for Clara, although I think I could learn to tolerate her with a good Doctor. I'm willing to accept the new regeneration cycle, though, as random as it is, if only in the hope that future Doctors, and, oh please, runners of the show will get things right again, as well as the fact that I don't think I could bear to watch the Doctor truly die, for the sake of all he was. Twelve, though, in his few moments, was wonderful, both hilarious and instantly appealing, and I'm happily looking forward to adventures with him.

In absence of new OUATIW I've started watching season one of Once Upon A Time which both frustrates and gives me intense bursts of wistfulness for OUATIW while managing to make me come back for more. I love the fairytale world and the unusual, often clever twists on common fairytales, as well as all the characters from different stories existing in the same world. I like Prince Charming and all the flashbacks to his story, although I don't care for David or Storybrooke, oddly enough. I also liked Graham, and was shocked and saddened by what happened to him, since he was just getting depth and emotion. The best episode so far is the stunning "Skin Deep" which made me fall in love with Rumplestiltskin/Belle, as well as seeing Rumplestiltskin in a different light. I loved all the Disney parallels, and for the first time the Storybrooke part tied in perfectly with the fairytale ones, in a beautiful, haunting way. The ending was shocking, but I loved the poignancy of Rumplestiltskin keeping the chipped cup, as well as the twist that he remembers his identity, and thus Belle, too. August is one of my favorites so far, and I adore both his character and storyline. Jefferson is also wonderful and deeply tragic, as is his attempts to reunite with his little daughter Grace. The season finale was unexpected but I loved that the curse is broken and the characters are reunited. I teared up when Rumplestiltskin saw Belle alive for the first time, and again when she remembered him.

In new superhero films I finally saw Thor: The Dark World and it was wonderful, quite different than what I'd expected but very good. I adored the concept of the gaps between the worlds with the characters falling in and out of them, as well as the intriguing backstory of the dark elves. Thor has grown up so much since the first film, and I love his character even more now. For the first time I felt sympathy for Loki, as well as liking him just a little, and it was wonderful to see Thor and he fighting side by side again instead of fighting each other, as well as getting to see so much of Loki's magic. I was saddened by Frigga's death, but I loved that she believed in Loki right until the end, and died heroically. Loki's reaction to her death, and the scene they shared before that were heartbreaking, adding depth to Loki's tragic nature. Thor and Loki's banter during the escape was hilarious, as was Loki's response to everyone threatening his life, and I laughed at Loki turning into Captain America. Thor and Jane's relationship was less appealing to me than last time for some reason, but I did love her risking her life to try to save him toward the end of the battle. Darcy and Ian kept me giggling and I ended up shipping them. The end twist was jaw-dropping, leaving me both happy Loki survived his "death" as well as concerned for the future with him up to his old tricks.

In other new films I saw the beautiful and touching Remember Sunday. I loved the characters and the actors who played them; they were perfect, and Gus and Molly's relationship was believable while still being sweet. I giggled at some parts - like Gus's constant shock over his friend's divorce - and teared up at others, and the comet bits were so lovely. I liked the hopeful, if somewhat bittersweet ending, too. Next was the surprisingly excellent Snow White and the Huntsman, the best version I've seen of the fairytale yet which brought emotion and true personality to the characters where previous versions have failed. Chris Hemsworth was superb as the troubled, yet good-hearted Huntsman, a character I've long adored, and I loved his accent, as well as the hints of romance between Snow White and he, as well as the fact that his kiss and not William's saved her. William was a somewhat fun character, even if his role felt limited in places, and I enjoyed the flashbacks to his childhood with Snow White. Kirsten Stewart was shockingly good at the role, making me change my mind about her acting, and the visuals were gorgeous. I liked the dwarves actually doing something instead of simply comic relief, and the Queen was even more evil than usual, meeting a more fitting end than most versions. Next was Love's Christmas Journey, a sweet, and thankfully more improved installment in the Love Comes Softly series. I liked the characters, as well as seeing little Aaron all grown up and being a wonderful father, and the end was lovely. After that was The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler, an inspiring true story of a woman who risked her life to save Jewish children during the Holocaust. I loved actually seeing the real lady at the end, and that her story managed to have a happy ending after all she endured, and I loved that she and Stefan found each other in the end. The subplot of the man and his son was poignant and deeply sad, too, and the entire story and filming reminded me a lot of my beloved Hidden In Silence or Miracle At Midnight. After that was The Magic Of Ordinary Days, a lovely, old-fashioned film with a slow-moving plot and slow-growing love story that captivated my heart. The characters felt real and the ending was beautiful. Next was the fun western adventure American Outlaws which, while playing fast and loose with history, was action-packed and a treat to watch, especially with Jesse's shooting tricks, the heroic rescues, and multiple explosions. Then was the heartbreaking and beautiful romance The Lost Valentine. I cried more than I have during any film but I loved it, especially Neil and Caroline's love story. Next was the lovely Heaven Knows Mr. Allison, a moving and poignant mix of love story and war drama with a very human aspect.
 
 
calliope tune: "Some Memories Just Won't Die"-Marty Robbins
feeling: drunk
 
 
Kathleen
After a long wait, the third and final season of Hardy Boys is finally out on DVD, and it's glorious fun as Frank's eyes and sneakers get more blue and Joe's shirts get tighter by the episode. The boys, more grown up now, work for the Justice Department and globe-trot instead of remaining in Bayport. Traveling seems to have an interesting effect upon their hair which keeps getting bigger, but the brotherly caring is firmly in place, even more so than before. I love how Frank punches the guy in "The Last Kiss Of Summer" "for Joe", and Joe saving Frank from getting shot in "Life On The Line". Then there's also a wonderful hurt/comfort scene in "Search For Atlantis" where Joe gets buried in a collapsed hole and Frank goes tearing over and digs and lifts him out with his bare hands. Joe is fantastic this season, as usual; as much as I love Frank, Joe is my boy, and the episodes only prove why: he's so very kind and sweet, gently holding the disturbed girl who just tried to kill his brother, or defending a girl he's never met which leads the bad guy to remark that "chivalry isn't dead", even if he doesn't get a chance to sing this season. The guest stars are wonderful, including Robert Loggia in a fun episode where Frank mimics T.H.E. Cat complete with black clothes and a grappling hook, Jack Kelly as their boss, and the fabulous David Gates and Bread who play all of my favorite songs and get involved in a mystery the boys are working on.

I finally got to see the webisodes of Primeval and loved the intro to the characters. I giggled insanely over Matt commenting on his "unexpressive" face - I adore Matt but he could crack a smile every now and then - as well as his comment on Becker "really liking guns". I completely fell in love with him more than I already had when he talked about Connor, Abby, and Danny, and how he wasn't giving up on them. One of my favorite things about Matt and why I grew to adore him, when I thought I'd always hate any replacement for Cutter, was his caring and devotion to his team, determined to save them all no matter how much the risk. His early antagonism with Becker was an interesting touch, and I loved the respect on Becker's face by the end, and knowing they'll be good friends soon. I wanted to hug poor Becker, though, when he looks so heartbroken over losing Connor, Abby, and Danny, and then Sarah's death, too. In a way, I was glad if they had to write Sarah out, at least I didn't have to see her death since I liked her and there was enough sadness over Cutter's and Stephen's.

I watched the GWTW ep of the Carol Burnett Show and it was a hilarious and flawless spoof, especially the curtains dress.

I saw The Host, which I'd been looking forward to, and was thrilled to discover it was every bit as good as the book which I loved. Saoirse Ronan was brilliant as Wanderer and Melanie, keeping the two characters very distinct and equally fascinating. Jared, a character I didn't care for in the book, was surprisingly good, and I adored Ian, my favorite in the book, who was exactly as I'd imagined. Little Jamie was adorable and quite a talented actor and I loved how closely the film followed the book, even including the end with the other good alien, one of my favorite scenes. Everything was beautifully filmed, too, and very lovely and hopeful. Other new films this week included the unusual The Prestige, an incredibly odd but interesting film tinged with a bit of steampunk and sci-fi against a richly detailed Victorian era town. I found it somewhat hard to follow at times and I'll have to see it again to truly understand it, but I loved the concept and the magic acts, as well as the jaw-dropping final twist. Next was Australia, an absolutely gorgeous film. I knew nothing about the history or setting so I actually learned a lot as well as being entertained, and I loved the characters, especially Drover and how he changed through the film, and adorable little Nullah. The scenery and music were beautiful, too, and the film had lovely direction and acting. I'm starting to really love Hugh Jackman's films; he's incredibly talented and so good at every role I've seen him in so far. After that was Red Riding Hood, a well done spin on the fairytale. Valerie was a likeable heroine, and I loved both Peter and Henry. I was saddened by Peter being turned at the end but glad Valerie stuck by him. The mood and filming was lovely, too, and made me love the story more than before. Next was 10,000 BC, a fun adventure. D'Leh was a likeable character, the story was entertaining, and I adored the prehistoric world and settings as well as the amazing special effects and the happy ending. My favorite scene was D'Leh and the tiger, a very beautiful and touching moment. Then was the touching The Ghosts Of Dickens' Past, a beautiful imagining of what might have inspired A Christmas Carol. It presented a very different, but easy to love Charles Dickens than I imagine, and Victorian London was vividly alive. Next was the amusing Who Gets The House?, a fun family adventure with some adorable moments. I discovered Return To The Secret Garden, a sequel of sorts to The Secret Garden that imagines modern day children - the great grandchildren of Mary and their friend - discovering the garden. It was a bittersweet film since as much as I loved Timothy, Margaret, and Katherine, I was saddened to find out what became of the original children, and as a Dickon/Mary shipper it made me sad to have Mary marry Colin and then having him be killed in the war, and Mary dying in the garden. I loved the garden coming back to life, though, and Dickon, so much older, coming back to lay flowers on Mary's grave. I watched George Of The Jungle 2, not expecting much, and ended up laughing just as much as at the first. Christopher Showerman doesn't quite fill Brendan Fraser's shoes - and sometimes he's a bit too over the top - but he's animated and George's inherent sweetness shines through. He's adorable with Junior, and hilarious with the animals. The new Ursula is more ditzy than the original but with the zany plot it seemed to fit. The narrator was even funnier than in the first film and I loved all the jokes about Brendan Fraser vs. Christopher Showerman. In my goal to see every version, I watched 2010's Robin Hood, and while it took a little while to grow on me with it's vastly different take on the legends, I grew to really enjoy it. Russell Crowe was a surprisingly good Robin once I got used to him, more soldier/freedom fighter than outlaw, and the thievery element along with his almost supernaturally accurate aim has been removed, giving him a more human, down to earth feel than any other Robin I've seen. Likewise Marian is more realistic, a strong woman who's equally at ease fighting alongside Robin as she is tending her home. There was far too little of the Merry Men - in fact, I was never quite sure who was who even by the end - but Alan-A-Dale was included which always makes me happy, and going along with the more accurate feel King John is a tyrant. The soundtrack was lovely, and the closing credits with their living painting like feel were mesmerizing and stunning. Next was The Christmas Card, a sweet, although not perfect holiday film. The plot was lovely, though, and I giggled at the ending.

I've always disliked the Sherlock Holmes stories and adaptations, but I like Robert Downey Jr. so I gave a try to the 2009 Sherlock Holmes film. I was amazed to find how much I loved it. Unlike the stuffy, annoying character of usual, this Holmes was funny, quirky, and oh so easy to love with both a brilliant mind and fast fists. Watson, usually reduced to an older, homebound partner, got to something of an action hero, and his brotherly friendship with Holmes was touching and adorable. I teared up during the explosion and hospital scenes, and giggled at their banter. I loved the Victorian, slightly steampunk-tinged world, and the fast-moving adventure of the plot. I followed that with the sequel Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows and loved it just as much as the first. Holmes was brilliant in his "chess-like" game against Moriarty, and his friendship with Watson was more wonderful than in the last film. I teared up when Watson tries to save Holmes after his heart stops, and again when Holmes closes his eyes before falling into the water. All the slow-motion work was lovely, and I adored the whimsy and humor of the ending.

I gave a try to The Mummy trilogy, and despite the fact that it took a bit to grow on me I soon fell in love with Rick, Evy, and their fabulous adventures. The films got better and better as they went along, and I loved the old setting as well as the passage of years from their first meeting until an adventure with their adult son. I adored the humor, action, and whump of the series. I loved the other characters, especially the fabulous Ardeth who I desperately missed in the third film but I was so happy when he survived the first two. The ending of the trilogy was hilarious and just perfect. I also saw the two The Scorpion King films and enjoyed them both, along with all their characters, especially Ari, and their adventure to the Underworld.

I watched the incredibly fun Spy Kids and fell in love with it. Carmen, Juni, and their parents were easy to love, and I adored how they worked together as a team. Everything was wild and imaginative and I giggled through most of the film while being impressed by all the gadgets. The ending was cute and just perfect. After that was Spy Kids 2, a fun and imaginative team effort with Juni and Carmen closer than last film but still teasing each other like real siblings. I loved the miniature zoos and the twist ending about the animals. Next was Spy Kids 3D Game over, and it was still a fun film, despite being the weakest of the series and almost entirely focused on Juni. I loved the clever concept of the virtual reality game crossing over into the real world and the huge group of people who came together at the end with all the wonderful cameos from characters in the first two films. I was quite sad about Demetra, though, as she was one of the few characters I truly cared about in the film and it seemed harsh to make her nothing more than a bad program in the end. Then was Spy Kids 4: All The Time In The World and while I was a little sad to have Carmen and Juni grown up, I was glad they grew close again and stayed on to head the program. All the new characters were quite fun, though, with Rebecca and Cecil nicely stepping into Carmen and Juni's shoes to head the next generation of young spies and the bonus of Cecil being hearing impaired which beautifully uses a special needs character as a superhero. Argonaut was hilarious and I wish he'd been in all the films.

In new superhero films I watched The Hulk, and while Bill Bixby will always be my favorite, Eric Bana was an excellent, sensitive Bruce Banner, capturing all sides of the character. I didn't like how violent the Hulk was, but I loved the transitions, especially when Betty appears in the street and he changes back into Bruce. The ending was perfect, giving a nod to the tv show while putting a new spin on Bruce's future. I found the very different backstory quite interesting, too, even as much as I disliked Bruce's father. After that I tried the more recent The Incredible Hulk film, and as pleased as I was with all the nods to the tv show from the "don't make me 'hungry'" line that made me giggle to the clip of Bill Bixby on the tv, I was still disappointed with the lack of heart and over the top CGI. While the idea of a second, evil Hulk was intriguing, both actors were too flat to carry the roles, and the plot dragged, only looking up during the action scenes which were let down by the unrealistic, huge Hulk and the fact that he seems to have nearly no weaknesses. I was given little time to warm to Bruce, and as he barely speaks through the first part of the film, I felt I never got to really know him, unlike all the other Hulks. Still, Tony Stark's cameo made me absurdly happy at the end. I finally got to see Iron Man 3 and adored it; a perfect end to the trilogy. Harley was a fabulous character and I loved his friendship with Tony and the adorable scene where he sees all the gifts Tony left him. I was a little sad that Tony and Pepper didn't share as much time together as in the other films but the scenes they did have more than made up for it - they were shippier than ever and finally canon. I teared up so many times, especially when Tony thinks he's lost Pepper, and especially at the beautiful ending with Pepper wearing the shrapnel in a necklace, and Tony throwing the arc reactor into the ocean. I loved that he and Pepper had their happy ending, though, and I wish there was more to see whether Tony stays a superhero of a different kind or gives it up. I was content with Tony blowing up the suits and having the surgery, even as bittersweet as it was to have him become a different sort of Iron Man. Because of my love for the films I tried Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. but was disappointed by it. Despite a few interesting moments the characters failed to grab me the way the others do, partly because, unlike the fandom, I dislike Phil. Also the question of how he survived slightly creeps me out. The plot was alright, so I suppose with a different cast I would have enjoyed it. I did love the mention of Natasha, though.

In new animated films I saw the lovely Up, a bittersweet adventure. I loved the uniqueness of the story, characters, and their relationship, and it made me both smile and tear up. Next was the charming Despicable Me. I loved the adorable children and how they won Gru over, and the hilarious Minions. The story was very creative and so cute. Despicable Me 2 was just as hilarious, and I loved that Gru got his happy ending. Next was Meet The Robinsons, a sweet and touching story. I loved the colorful characters and the lovely quote from Walt Disney, along with the happy ending. Then I saw A Bug's Life, a completely adorable story with cute characters who I instantly loved. Everything was clever and their world was precious. After that was the charming Bee Movie. I loved Barry, one of my very favorite animated characters ever, and the funny, quirky plot. The bees' world was richly imagined and I kept grinning through the whole film. Then I watched Hoodwinked and Hoodwinked Too: Hood Vs. Evil which, while not my favorite animated films by any means, were amusing twists on classic fairytales. Wolf, ever sarcastic, was my favorite character, and the singing goat was hilarious. After that was the delightfully creative Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs and I adored Flint, such a sweet and wonderfully geeky character. His friendship/romance with Sam was too cute, and I giggled so much over the jello house and everything in it, as well as loving the jellybean rainbow. Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 was quite adorable, although I liked the original better, and I loved the food animals, especially dear little Berry and the cute marshmellows. Then I saw the heartwarming The Croods which was surprisingly fun. I loved Eep and Guy's relationship, and the humor kept me giggling with my favorite being the "rock photographs". I also loved the setting and creative ideas. Belt was completely adorable, too, and the ending was too precious, especially with the big cat and all the other animals being rescued and becoming part of their family in their new paradise. Next was the amusing spoof of 1950s sci-fi Planet 51. I loved how everything was in reverse, as well as the alien world, and there were countless adorable moments with Lem, Chuck, and especially dear little Rover. I finished Dragons: Riders Of Berk and while it took a bit to grow on me I'm loving it now, as Hiccup, Toothless, and the others have all sorts of fun adventures. Now I'm onto Dragons: Defenders Of Berk, and I'm loving the character growth, as well as the other characters. Next to Hiccup and Toothless, Fishlegs and Meatlug are my favorites; they have an adorable relationship, and Fishlegs is very sweet. Tuffnut and Ruffnut are hilarious, too, and even Snotlout isn't as bad as I thought. The dragons get more and more creative, too, as does the backstories for Berk, and I love how they're growing the story in preparation for the next film.

I finished the third and final season of Millennium and despite my sadness at it being the last, I was pleased that it ended on such a high note as the best season of the series. Frank has left the group and rejoined the FBI, introducing a new character as his partner, Emma Hollis. Her story arc both entranced and saddened me as she grows from a kind, caring friend and antagonist of the group to a full-fledged member who betrays Frank. I hope if the series had continued her character would have come back around to the good side again. Meanwhile, Jordan comes to terms with both her mother's death and her own inherited gift, making for some interesting storylines. Peter, sadly, became more of the antagonist this season, only to find redemption in the finale by saving Frank and Jordan. His implied death was heartbreaking and a tragic end to a once wonderful character. "Closure", an unsettling episode, provides insight into Emma's past and ends with thought-provoking questions. "Skull and Bones" gives closure to Cheryl but started turning me against Peter, painting a sad anti-parallel to Emma's later change of heart. The unusual "The Sound of Snow" gives closure to Frank over Catherine's death as well as showcasing an intriguing concept of the tapes. Other excellent episodes include the superb tackling of a difficult subject with "Through A Glass Darkly", the touching Christmas fantasy "Omertà", and the haunting "Darwin's Eye". The season's best are the poignant tearjerker "Matryoshka" which is both stunning and incredibly thought-provoking, and the utterly gorgeous "Borrowed Time" which brought tears to my eyes and left me with so many questions. The finale leaves much hanging, making me wish even more for further episodes and leaving me wondering as to the direction the series would have taken. Over all, though, it was one of the most brilliant series I've seen in ages, heartwrenching and beautiful on so many levels.

I'm on season two of Laramie now, the last of the four seasons that I hadn't yet seen. Jonesy, who I'd learned to like, has left with only a passing mention, and Andy, who I never cared for, has thankfully been sent off to school and only appears in a few episodes. The actors have settled comfortably into their roles, and Jess and Slim's relationship teeters between employer-employee and friends, so while their caring for each other hasn't reached the brotherly feel of the last two years, it's quite close to a good, solid friendship. The new intro, coming in halfway through the season, only adds to that feel, and I like it so much better than the strange intro and theme used for the first half. The only downside to the season is the number of episodes which heavily feature either Jess or Slim while barely showing the other. Some work, like the Jess-lead mystery tale "Rimrock", the whumped Jess adventure "Bitter Glory", or the man on the run story "Run Of The Hunted" with Charles Bronson who's wonderful as always, but many feel awkward and leave me missing whoever is absent. "Trigger Point" is a well-paced survival yarn as Jess and a handful of passengers attempt to cross the desert after their horses and water are stolen. The many facets of Jess's personality come out, from his tenderness toward the women to the nearly chilling way he stalks and guns down the man responsible. The season's best is "Men In Shadows" in which a gunfighter who once spared Jess's life earns his help in escaping from the law, only to turn more and more violent as the episode progresses. It's also a rare glimpse into Jess's past this season which was more focused on his future and includes a wonderful scene between Slim and Jess where Slim attempts to keep Jess from returning to his past life.

I've started watching Stargate Atlantis and am loving it so far. I'm only partway into season one and it's already a whump fest, especially for the quite attractive John Sheppard who's quickly becoming my favorite character. I love the humor and adventure of the series, as well as their fun, danger-filled world. Carson is wonderful, and my close second favorite character, even if the writers treat him badly - I'm still tearing up over the "Poisoning The Well" episode with it's doomed romance and pain, and I adored Lt. Ford and the brotp between Sheppard and he. McKay was annoying at first but I'm getting used to him now, and he's certainly growing braver and more loyal as the season advances. Elizabeth Weir is the only character I haven't warmed to yet, but Teyla is awesome and I slightly ship her with Sheppard. The episodes are wonderful, with my favorites including the whumpish "Thirty-Eight Minutes", the intriguing "Childhood's End", and the deeply poignant "Letters From Pegasus".

In theatres this week I saw The Christmas Candle which was as good as I'd hoped for and better, a flawless, Dickens-inspired, touching story. Hans Matheson was amazing as usual as David, a pastor haunted by a tragedy and determined to do good in his new post, and the entire supporting cast was fabulous. I fell in love with the beautiful setting and characters, cried during the poignant moments, and grinned ear to ear at the gorgeous ending. It was perfect in every detail and Hans Matheson even got to sing in it! I also saw Frozen opening night, and while not perfect and very different than what I'd expected I enjoyed it. The animation, especially the snow and ice magic effects, was stunningly gorgeous, the music was catchy, and Anna was such a loveable heroine. Olaf was adorable and I was so happy that he didn't have to melt in the end, Sven was hilarious, and, unlike most people it seems, I was thrilled that Anna ended up with Kristoff instead of Hans. I loved him in the trailer and I was hoping it would turn out that way. I also liked that Elsa wasn't truly the evil character of the story, and even if I wish they'd followed the fairytale more closely - really, what I wanted more than anything was an animated version of the 2000's live-action The Snow Queen - I was pleased that the core elements, while heavily altered, were included in some way.

I watched The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey and am still divided on what I thought of it. On one hand there were so many feelings of nostalgia: seeing the Shire, Bag End, and Frodo, and the tie-ins to the party, Bilbo's sword, the eagles, the familiar music, and the fued between the elves and dwarves; but I never felt as close to the characters as the beloved fellowship, despite liking Thorin, Fili, and Kili, and I was saddened to see Radagast, a kind and caring wizard, played mostly for a fool. Also the humor felt overwhelming and annoying at times, not the quick breathers Pippin and Merry always provided, the hints of Gandalf/Galadriel made me squirm, and the tone was often too dark for what's mostly a much lighter tale than Lord Of The Rings, attempting to connect the threads between The Hobbit and the trilogy on too many levels. While he managed the humor well, I found Martin Freeman's acting desperately lacking emotion and feeling in the dramatic scenes, not up to the level of his costars who carried off their roles, however small, effortlessly, making me wish again that the director had chosen an unknown actor for the role of the same talent as the trilogy's stars. On good points the prologue was incredibly well done and powerful, the theme was gorgeous, and the way the Necromancer was portrayed was chilling and perfectly imagined. My favorite scene was near the end when Thorin finally accepts Bilbo and hugs him, a beautiful and touching moment. But the film often suffered from an overabundence of CGI and not enough heart beneath the action as well as trying too hard to impress. I broke down and finally watched BBC's production of The Silver Chair, a remarkably faithful adaptation with lovely opening credits and quite a bit to offer Chronicles Of Narnia fans. The film adds in the clever touch of having the enchanted Rillian hidden beneath heavy clothes, a beard, and a helmet that covers his hair and much of the top half of his face, disguising him from viewers who wouldn't be familiar with the story, and even the actor's mannerisms are superbly done, very different from his earlier and later scenes and whiplashing between host and tyrant in the span of seconds. While he's more threatening and overbearing than I imagined enchanted Rillian to be, and I wasn't entirely sold on his performance in the chair at first, by the end I was impressed. His final pleas, asking by the sky and by Aslan to be released, were beautifully done, dragging emotion into his eyes and voice so I could feel Rillian's helplessness. The children are good choices as well, especially Eustace, and the special effects crew makes careful and well done achievements in pre-CGI days, especially with the giants who actually appear to be carrying Puddleglum and the children around, and the sparks that fly out of the silver chair as Rillian smashes it. Regarding Puddleglum, I've never been a fan of Tom Baker's Fourth Doctor so it was a pleasant surprise to discover him perfectly cast as the gloomy marshwiggle, even capturing his good heart and friendship with the children in a wonderful scene where he offers to die for Eustace when the enchanted prince threatens him. Glimfeather's voice is brilliant for his role, and many of the costumes are quite convincing, made so by the excellent movements and skills of the actors. On another note, for me, it's wonderful to get back to the old British series with the feel of classic!who, complete with the endearing mistakes - I especially love the part where Rillian breaks his obviously plastic helmet and can't manage to shake parts of it off his hand. I only wish the BBC had continued with the rest of the series as I imagine it would have gotten even better.
 
 
feeling: drained
calliope tune: "Tracy"-Cufflinks