Kathleen
Supernatural, the one show that never fails me, is back with season eleven, and its wonderful so far with a welcome return to its roots. The Darkness, a truly creepy villain in the vein of Lilith or Eve, is intriguing, even if I'm half disturbed and half interested in the strange relationship between her and Dean. I especially enjoyed the spooky zombie humans in the first episode, and loved seeing Dean with a baby, even if she was evil. It's also hilarious to see Crowley dealing with a kid or teenager. Sam, bless him, is finally back to the Sam I loved, the sweetheart who wanted to save people and still prays and has faith after all they've been through. I also love that, despite a few secrets, Sam and Dean are being a bit more honest to each other, and their relationship feels like what it used to again. Their relationship with Castiel is also a delight, with both of them making helping him a priority, risking a lot to help him, Dean and he accepting how they've hurt each other and learning to live with it, and finally letting him stay at the Bunker with them. I also squealed a bit over Castiel with his blanket, and him watching tv and learning about Netflix. "Baby", one of my favorites of the season, highlights the best of the show - the beloved car, the brothers's relationship, and the old music, jokes, and name calling that's been missing too long. "Just My Imagination" is also a delight and very much a season one styled storyline. I adored the entire concept of imaginary friends being a real, mythical race who aids children, and Sully was precious, making me wish he could be a regular. I loved how he related to the Winchesters, and was so proud of them. "The Devil In the Details" is somewhat overstuffed but filled with excellent moments, including Team Free Will and brotherly bonding - I loved Sam's salute to Castiel and seeing the flashbacks of season five's finale - but was broken by Castiel saying yes to Lucifer, even if it was unnerving yet fun to see his expressions on Castiel's face. It was also Rowena's final episode, and even as much as she's annoyed me her final scene with Crowley put a lump in my throat. I only wish we'd gotten more scenes like that, as their feelings toward each other were the most fascinating part of her story arc. "Into the Mystic" is a superb episode, with the tone of the earlier seasons, Sam and Dean talking about their regrets and moving past them, and a touching scene showing Sam's box of treasures. It also strikes a perfect balance between emotion and humor, and featured absolutely fabulous guest characters. I adored Mildred and Eileen, and was delighted at seeing an elderly character and a deaf hunter, neither of whom were fringed or killed off, and both of whom ended up defeating the monster and saving Dean. I only wish other shows would have more characters like them. "The Vessel" is quite good, revealing Castiel's possession to the brothers - I'm absolutely delighted by Dean's determination to save him - and featuring time travel to the unique and fascinating world of a WWII submarine. "Red Meat" is a superb monster of the week ep, with Dean and Sam's relationship forefront. Dean's desperation to bring back Sam was heartbreaking, and I loved Sam managing, even bleeding out and nearly dead, to save Dean. "Hell's Angel" resurrects Rowena, something I wasn't expecting at all, as well as having the twist of Lucifer and the Hand of God being unable to stop Amara. I loved seeing Dean trying to reach Castiel, as well as getting to see some of the other angels and Heaven again. Everything I think the show has run out of new monsters, they surprise me, as evidenced by the delightfully creepy and offbeat human cicadas of "The Chitters", which also gave what I've always wanted, hunters who finally get out of the life alive. "Don't Call Me Shurley" was a surprise delight, and despite how I disbelieved and disliked the "Chuck is God" theory, I actually enjoyed it. I was also surprised by how much I adored Metatron in it, a character I've always despised. The scene where he was crying and trying to convince Chuck humanity was worth saving put a lump in my throat, as did Dean refusing to leave Sam, and trying futilely to breathe in the fog so he could be infected, too. On the brighter side, Sam was so precious with the little baby girl, and the ending, with everyone saved, was gorgeous. "All in the Family" gives closure for Kevin, finally, and introduces a new prophet, Donatello. I loved his confusion, and its wonderful to his a much older character in such a role. "We Happy Few" gives me what I've always wanted: a team up between the angels, demons, and the Winchesters, with the witches and Chuck in the mix. And while their plans backfire horribly, I adored seeing them all working together for once. "Alpha and Omega" was a delight, with the villain redeemed instead of killed for a change. I loved Castiel being back, and cried when Dean finally told him they thought of him like a brother and as the best friend they'd ever had. I also adored Sam understanding and letting Dean go, showing how much character growth both brothers have undergone this season. Season eleven was my very favorite so far for so many reasons and I'm so incredibly excited for twelve.

Once Upon A Time has finished part one of season five and it was a mixed bag, disappointing in some ways while delightfully creative in others. Despite my original thoughts, I ended up loving the Dark Swan story arc. Of all the characters, Emma has taken the longest to win me over, originally my least favorites and now one of my top five, and this arc gave her a chance to shine as well as showcase more depth than she's had in all seasons combined. I loved seeing a more vulnerable side to her strength, as her love for Killian helps her overcome challenges - like not destroying Merlin - and a happy, optimistic Emma who can finally see a future and happy ending for herself. She also had so much more emotion, showing how far she's come and how much her walls have come down, and her tenderness with Killian was the most gentle I've ever seen her. I've wanted Dark One!Killian or at least magic!Killian since the beginning so it was a gift to get to see it on screen, even if he did occasionally make me sad or angry. But I've missed that edge since he went completely good and it was fun to see it again for a few episodes. I loved seeing baby!Killian - so adorable! - and finally his father and that story. My heart broke at his death - honestly I was expecting Emma to be the one they would bring back from the Underworld - and I hated that Emma was the one to kill him, but I'm thrilled that it will now be Emma's turn to go the "ends of the earth or time" for him. I actually enjoyed Robin and Regina's romance this arc, and I loved seeing Regina get to be the savior. I'm relieved the Zelena baby plot is finally over, and seeing Robin with the baby was adorable, even if I'm bitter that they separated Zelena from her child instead of a redemption arc or some sort of joint custody like they'd originally planned. Rumplestiltskin and Belle's storyline this season was both frustrating and delightful by turns. I loved seeing him fully human and finally a hero, but was annoyed when he regained his magic. I also loved Belle and he come back together, but hated the pointless drama of their breakup and makeup. Merida was a surprise delight, fiesty and fun, and her backstory episode was one of the best of the season. The Arthurian aspects of the story were less of a focus than I'd hoped but I enjoyed what there was. Merlin was fabulous, with a tragic but intriguing past love and story of how he got his magic, and I'm still sad they killed him off. Guinevere was lovely, and her romance with Lancelot was beautiful and far too brief. I'm still undecided about Arthur - while I liked the twist of him being the bad guy, he didn't have a good enough motive and came across as a little bland. I loved Camelot, though, especially the idea that it was all a magic illusion on top of a crumbling kingdom, as well as Excalibur and the dagger being the same blade that had been broken.

IZombie is back for it's second season and it's as delightful as ever, with highlights of Liv's personalities including a magician and a fraternity boy. Blaine gets a bit of depth and some great lines, Peyton and Liv's friendship is finally back, and Ravi continues to be a complete sweetheart. I love that Clive seems to be edging towards learning the truth, as well as finally getting a life outside the office. The biggest change this season is Major's story arc. Originally not a favorite of mine, he won me over last season with his good heart and kindness toward the kids he was trying to help. Now, newly returned to human, and adrift without his old job, he's a much sadder, more tragic character, especially in the ironic and poignant scene where he, now addicted, ends up buying drugs from a teen he once tried to keep off them. Worse yet, with Liv's life in danger, he's turned into a zombie bounty hunter for Max Wager, whose secret experiments have my interest. While I'm not sure the show will ever do a full-blown zombie outbreak, I can definitely see this as a potential start for it. But, I do love that Major and Liv are finally back together, and Major's dog - adorably named Minor - is super cute.

Reign is on season three, and after the dreadful mess that was season two I had guarded hopes that it might improve. In some ways it has, while in others not so much, and it still fails to recapture the fun and escapism of season one. Finally back to her senses and free of the dreadful story arc of last year, Mary is more toned down and likeable, and while they only have a few happy moments together, it's a joy to see her and Francis back together. I've been expecting and dreading Francis's death all season, and while I'm very sad to lose him from the show I appreciate that the writers let him be happy at the end and have a good and honorable death. He was the character who surprised me the most, starting out uninteresting and annoying to me and ultimately becoming one of my favorites and the show isn't the same without him, since he brought a lot of light to it. Charles now has a larger role and a new actor, and I'm not sure what to make of either, even if some flashes of a good heart pop up beneath the spoiled, childish exterior and he seems to care deeply about his siblings. The show's weaknesses have always been burning up both plot and romances far too fast for its own good, and unfortunately it's worse than ever this season, even with Kenna thankfully gone. Lola and Narcisse, two characters I despise, are married, and it's even more of a mess than her last one and far more annoying. Thankfully it isn't for long, and Lola makes the one sensible decision of the show and leaves for England. Narcisse, unfortunately, remains, undermining everyone and setting my teeth on edge. My favorite pairing, Leith/Greer, is long gone, but they still remain interesting characters, and their new romances, while not my favorites, still provide interesting or even cute moments such as Leith dancing with Claude. Bash's story arcs have always been my favorite, and while I'm still puzzled as to why he's excluded from court scenes and the main plot and characters for the most part, I'm still intrigued by Delphine's powers and bond to him, even if it could be better. With part of the show set in England now there's new characters, including Dudley, handsome but weak and useless, and Elizabeth, even more insufferable and infuriating than most portrayals of my least favorite queen in history and saddled with an absurd pregnancy storyline. Between her over the top pouting and her scheming to steal Dudley from his wife I end up gritting my teeth through most of her scenes. But with the superb "In A Clearing", the season moves closer to what it used to be, equal parts mystery, supernatural, romance, and tragedy, all with beautiful moments including flashbacks. But best of all it allows Bash and Catherine, Catherine and Mary, and Bash and Mary, some of the most fascinating relationships in the past, to finally share scenes together after so long. "The Hound and the Hare" is another delight, and further hope that the show is returning to its roots with more screentime for Catherine and Bash, and Bash even getting to share a scene with Greer, something I've wanted since the beginning. Leith and Greer's scene together was touching, and the surprise twist of Greer's pregnancy has me hooked. I also loved finally getting to meet one of her sisters in a later episode. As iffy as I am about Delphine I do find her powers intriguing, and the Jack the Ripperish murders are the storyline I'm most interested in right now, if for nothing else than it invokes the pagan and supernatural storylines I loved and miss desperately. The final scenes with Carlos, Mary, and Catherine were an absolute gift that left me in stitches - the show is always at its best when its not taking itself seriously and is just over the top, outrageous fun and antics - and I love that Mary and Catherine are working together again. "No Way Out" introduces the Red Knights storyline which brings back some of the pagan/mysterious elements I've missed so long. I don't mind Mary and Gideon too much, and I do enjoy Mary's scenes with his daughter. "To the Death" is a surprisingly excellent ep. As sad as I'll always be over Leith/Greer, I always loved Castleroy and having Greer end up happy with him and getting to keep her baby was a delightfully happy ending for her. I adored seeing Lola reunited with little John, and some true character growth in Elizabeth, particularly that she showed mercy and resolved not to be like her father. Bash and Mary's scenes (even a hug!) were a treat after so long, rekindling my love for the ship long after I'd thought they'd never share another scene together. Even Narcisse was more likeable than usual, and the storylines fit together perfectly. "Spiders in a Jar" was a dizzying packed episode, filled with wonderful and heartbreaking moments alike. Moving to Scotland has done wonders for Mary's character, and her epic speeches and posing against gorgeous scenery, with the added benefit of tartan cloaks and Highland dances, is a delight to behold. I also enjoy seeing Mary's brother and a bit of her relationship with him. Lola's death was a tragic shock - despite my initial dislike for her, she had grown on me so much since her arrival in England, and it's doubly poignant to think little John is now an orphan. While I'm sad Bash is leaving the show I loved that he made it out alive, and is revealed to be a seer. I've been hoping for magical!Bash since the beginning, and I love that the writers took that route, as well as letting him spend a few lovely shippy moments with Mary in the last few episodes. I'm devastated about Leith, though, even if I'm trying to hold onto hope for his survival.

Galavant is back with season two and even better than the first. I love Richard being a good guy, and his friendship with Galavant is a delight. I also love Roberta and ship Richard and she. Madalena gets some depth in a surprisingly emotional flashback to her childhood, followed by a love interest in Gareth, a pairing that shouldn't work but is surprisingly adorable. I'm a bit sad that Galavant and Isabella spend nearly the whole season apart, but they do get some cute dream duets. Galavant and the zombies coming back to life for love was perfect, and I never knew how much I wanted zombies on this show before. I love Isabella's friendship with the Jester, too, and her parents are hilarious. The guest characters remain a constant treat, including the hilarious healer Neo of Sporin, and the music is always catchy and flawless, especially Sid's fabulous spoof of "Can You Hear the People Sing". The season finale was beyond perfection, with Galavant and Isabella's wedding, Richard and Roberta reunited, and the adorable Tad Cooper a real dragon.

When Calls the Heart aired its New Years special and it was a delight, giving me hope for season three after the disappointment of last season. Judging from the special it seems the show has returned to its roots, returning to focus on Hope Valley instead of the random bouncing back and forth as before, and Elizabeth's diary narration is back, one thing I very much missed. Also back, happily, is the focus on the school and children, my favorite thing in season one and very missed last season. Unfortunately the costuming still leaves much to be desired, but its a small quibble compared to all they've fixed. The characters are also greatly improved, with Jack and Elizabeth back together and Elizabeth making attempts to improve their relationship - I loved the scene where Jack opens up about his past and Elizabeth supports him, and Charles and the rest thankfully gone. Rip, always a scene-stealer, got a whole storyline in the episode and it was adorable. Abigail is wonderful as always, and I loved her with the new children and hope she keeps them.The pastor is growing on me somewhat, and Bill is surprisingly far more tolerable and interesting when he's sharing a scene with Jack. Lee and Rosemary remain hilarious and adorable together.

In new shows I've fallen in love with The Frankenstein Chronicles, a flawless and fascinating re-imagining of the classic. The historical setting, against the Anatomy Act, is intriguing, and I adore all the period details and authentic feel of the times. Marlott is a sad, but decent character, and the complex mysteries and turns of the plot continue to catch me off guard. I also love the sad but touching relationships Flora has with both Marlott and Nightingale, and how the show portrays Mary Shelley. The final twist as Marlott took the role of the Monster was shocking but fascinating.

Also new is Chicago Med, and it's a delight to have two medical shows at once. I'm enjoying learning the new characters, and love Connor so far, and the stories are always interesting.

I've also been working my way through Miami Medical. I have a weakness for doctor shows and its an enjoyable one with layered characters whose pasts slowly are revealed throughout the episodes, shippy and friendship goodness, and emotional as well as light-hearted moments.

I've been working my way through Spartacus and loving it. The writing might not be flawless but the characters more than make up for it. I love Spartacus, such a kind and decent leader, Gannicus, the delightfully rock star gladiator with the fabulous hair, the haunting and lovely Naevia, and my very favorites, Agron and Nasir whose relationship is a complete delight. The show makes me emotional more often that not, yet remains inspiring despite all the tragedy.

I'm working through the short-lived Eleventh Hour and its enjoyable, a nice, solid science series with just the right touch of poignancy and emotion. I love Hood, a sweet yet quirky character, and with my weakness for bodyguard stories his relationship with Rachel - a gentle friendship with hints of more - is a delight and the highlight of the show.

I discovered the short-lived 2000s remake of my beloved Kolchak the Night Stalker, Night Stalker, and started watching. It's surprisingly good, and this version of Carl, while much younger, has the good heart of the later character, with more sweetness and less fear. I enjoy his relationship with Perri, too, and the storyline and intriguing backstory for Carl has my interest.

I discovered the series Empress Ki with subtitles and have been binge-watching it this week. I've never seen a Korean show before and know nothing about its history, but its excellent and ridiculously addictive. I like the characters a lot, too, and the music is gorgeous.

I discovered Return To Mayberry, the Andy Griffith Show reunion movie I never knew existed, and it was a treat. Despite being so long after the show, it managed to bring back a large part of the cast, even some of my recurring favorites like the Darlings. I adored the lives of the characters now, especially Otis sober and working as an ice cream man and Opie with a family, but my delight was seeing Barney and Thelma Lou finally reunite and marry. I teared up during the wedding, since I'd always been so sad that they never married on the show, and Thelma Lou's final episode on the series had always broken my heart.

I enjoyed The Mortal Instruments movie very much, so I've been looking forward to the Shadowhunters tv show. Unfortunately, while I liked the expansion of the world and seeing all the other creatures, especially the Seelie, it was extremely disappointing, containing virtually everything I hate in YA fiction magnified by a hundred. Unlike the slightly more realistic and definitely more likable characters of the film, the characters here are largely flat and wooden, with especially the male characters seemingly incapable of any emotion except glowering or sulking. Isabelle, whose occasional flashes of cleverness and an endearing relationship with her brother are hints of how much better she could be written, is reduced to little more than a distraction to gain information with no personality beyond flirting. Alec, too, has potential, especially with his bond with Jace and his cute moments with Isabelle, that is frustratingly lost behind jealousy and scowling. Most disappointing is Jace. Lacking Jamie Campbell Bower's acting ability and stripped of the tragic, nearly self-loathing personality behind the snarky mask, this Jace comes across as boring and self-centered, falling for Clary seconds after meeting her for no reason whatsoever. Clary, the very worst character, is a Mary Sue, perfect at everything, wanted by all the guys, and accepting of the supernatural and her powers instantly, and flirting with Jace while Simon is in danger in a cringe-worthy scene. Making it even worse is the actress' complete inability to act, and incredibly forced chemistry with Jace. Valentine is an over the top classic villain, lacking the scary edge of the movie version. The one bright spot in the cast is Alberto Rosende, who manages to make Simon endearing and believable, even carrying his scenes with Clary enough to make me feel emotion for him. The dialogue is appallingly bad, even by teen show standards, the weapons and props are cheesy - the swords have a weird nightlight glow and the characters move a stone crypt lid effortlessly - and adults are few and far between, let alone someone elderly. Also, with the plot dragged out across episodes, the weak spots and plot holes have nowhere to hide, making the experience even more painful.

I saw The Hunger Games: Mockingjay part 2 in theatres and it was superb, a flawless adaptation. In many ways it was my favorite book of the series and the film is definitely my favorite of the four. Despite the heavy action, the plot struck an excellent balance between more fast-paced and slower, emotional moments. Peeta completely broke my heart, with Josh Hutcherson's performance managing to pull off both the dangerous and vulnerable sides of the character perfectly. While I often find Katniss's character prickly and somewhat unlikeable, I finally understood her in this film, and I cried during the scene with Buttercup and her even more than I did during the book. I would have liked more scenes with Prim, but the few included were poignant, and I liked seeing her interact with Peeta, even if the scene was heartwrenching. I was glad that Katniss's mother leaving was skimmed over, though. Finnick and Annie's wedding was lovely, and I loved him looking after Peeta. I was grateful his death was less traumatic than in the book, but sad that Katniss seeing through his eyes wasn't included, even if that would have made the scene even more painful. I loved that Annie and his son was mentioned, and Annie was wonderful in her few scenes, making me wish she'd had a larger role. Haymitch and Effie, both surprise delights of the series, finally got a kiss which had me grinning ear to ear. I loved hearing all of my favorite lines (even the final "always"!) exactly like the book, the music was lovely, and the scenes after Coin's death were gorgeous, exactly as I'd hoped, since that was my favorite part of the series. The ending, with Peeta and Katniss and their children, was beautiful, and the kids were absolutely adorable.

In new animated films I finally saw The Peanuts Movie and while the odd animation style took a bit to grow on me, I adored the delightful whimsy of the plot and how it felt like the comics with a series of daily adventures bound together by the background story of Charlie's pining for the Little Red Haired Girl. I loved that the movie didn't update the story, keeping the vintage feel as well as the comic style such as hearts above the characters. Snoopy in particular was a delight, and I loved his Red Baron adventures. The voices were all great and some sweet moments, like Snoopy and Charlie's hug, Sally and Charlie, and the ending, made me emotional.

In new fairytale films I saw Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot, a lovely adaptation of the story. I loved the relationships, especially the sisters, and also their romances with their loves, even the brief but hilarious bit at the end where Rosenrot finds true love and adventure all at once. The magical roses and dance scenes were adorable, too. Next was Der Teufel Mit Den Drei Goldenen Haaren, a strange but very enjoyable story. I loved the characters and the ending was delightful. Next was Das Mädchen mit den Schwefelhölzern, a beautiful and poignant adaptation. I loved how it managed to strike a balance between the tragedy of the original story and the more gentle, upbeat feel of the movie series, while still remaining faithful. The characters were lovely - I especially adored the Stranger - and the ending perfectly bittersweet.

In other new films I watched My Name is Nobody, a quirky and delightful spoof with characters I grew to love and some hilarious moments. I loved Jack and Nobody's friendship, and the resolution was adorable and perfect. Next was The Nine Lives of Christmas. I watched it solely for Brandon Routh and ended up adoring it with its delightfully sweet and quirky story and adorable cats. The romance was super cute, too. Next was Avenging Angelo, which was nothing like what I'd expected, but was a complete delight, a perfect blend of high-paced action and adorable romance with some zany and comedic moments thrown in. I have a weakness for bodyguard stories and Frankie and Jennifer's romance was too cute for words. It was also a joy to have Frankie go against typical stereotypes by being so gentle and a good cook, and I laughed through the entire scene of him teaching her how to walk right. The ending was perfect, too. Next was City of Angels, a gorgeously filmed and heartbreaking story. I loved the mythology the film created regarding angels, and the soundtrack was lovely. Next was Catch Me If You Can, a surprisingly fun and fast-paced true story. Frank's cons were entertaining, and I loved the poignancy of Frank's estrangement from his family and his friendship with Carl. Next was Just Like Heaven, a flawless mix of hilarious comedy and poignant drama, all wrapped up in a delightful fantasy romance. I adored the characters, including the minor ones, and David and Elizabeth's love story was sweet and believable. The ending made me super happy and teary, too.

I discovered the miniseries remake of Spartacus and completely fell in love with it. As much as I love the original, I loved this version better, for its expansion and deeper emotions. The cast was excellent, and all the characters richly drawn and fascinating, especially David. I loved the hope of the ending, too.
 
 
calliope tune: "Hurt So Bad"-Lettermen
feeling: grumpy
 
 
Kathleen
The episode "Millennium" of The X-Files has always been one of my favorites so I was thrilled to discover it was a crossover with another show of the same title and by the creator of The X-Files. Millennium is a fascinating, much forgotten series in a different vein but with many of the same characteristics that make The X-Files so good. Frank Black, a former police detective who has the uncanny ability to see through the eyes of killers, is a sympathetic and incredibly human protagonist, and his relationship with his little daughter Jordan is adorably precious. The themesong and intro are beautiful, and the episodes, including the stunning "Kingdom Come", are poignant and haunting character studies exploring the motives behind crime. Other excellent episodes include "The Well-Worn Lock", a deeply moving look at a difficult issue, and the haunting "The Wild and The Innocent". I worked my way through season one and am completely captivated by the series. I'm on season two now and lamenting the format changes. The Millennium Group has transformed from good to edging into evil, growing more and more shady with each episode, Peter and Frank are beginning to drift apart, Frank snapped and actually killed a man, and Katherine has separated from Frank, taking Jordan with her, which means the cute father-daughter moments are few and far between and making even the Christmas episode leave a bittersweet taste. Also the lingering end times mythos of season one is more oppressive and far reaching, accounting for better than half of the episodes. Much of the spellbinding plots have been toned down, settling for often confusing and open-ended stories. Not to say there aren't some gems among the rest, though, like the poignant, thought-provoking "Luminary", one of the scant episodes to have a hopeful conclusion as well as an intriguing guest character, and the chilling "Monster" in which a troubled child accuses a daycare worker and Frank of abuse against the town's children and herself. The season's best is the stunning two-part "Owls"/"Roosters", a fascinating mix of religious treasure hunt and Nazi war history which brings some hope in Frank, Katherine, and Peter's separations. The finale was one of the most shocking and bold episodes I've seen on any show, leaving Peter's fate hanging in the balance, Katherine dead, and Frank left alone in a cabin, holding Jordan as everything falls apart. It was good in an intense and chilling way, and I'm more worried about Peter's fate than the loss of Katherine, even as surprised as I am that the writers chose to kill her off. I'm grateful Jordan was spared, though, as I don't think I could have handled that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I watched the fascinating and haunting documentary Our Spirits Don't Speak English about the Indian boarding schools and was both deeply moved and horrified at all I learned about a very bleak time in America's history. The personal testimonies were especially poignant.
 
 
calliope tune: "An Old-Fashioned Love Song"-Three Dog Night
feeling: silly