Kathleen
Summer tv has started and I've been finding some new series to fill the gap left by all the cancelled ones. The first is The Whispers, which I figured I'd like since I love Ray Bradbury and Zero Hour was one of the first stories I read by him. It's not quite what I expected - less creepy for one - but I enjoy the '90s sci-fi feel, the premise, and the characters, especially Sean. I'm hoping the writers are borrowing a bit from Ray Bradbury's other stories, too, like Sean's tattoos. The children, especially Henry, are adorable, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the plot will go.

Also new is Humans and it's amazing although complicated so far. I love how many storylines it has going - Niska's and Leo's are my favorites, I adore the relationships - especially Leo and Max, and fascinating characters, as well as the incredible world building and realism.

Dominion has begun season two, which was an incredible surprise since it just barely got renewed. Because of that I'm viewing every episode as a bonus gift, just because I love this show so very much. It's amazing so far, even more impressive than last season. The shift in characters has streamlined the show nicely, and having Alex spending most of his screentime with Noma instead of Claire - I'm starting to ship them since I never did like Alex/Claire - is a welcome and refreshing change. There's also the interesting addition of Pete, an 8ball Alex turns back into a human. He gets some hilarious lines, and he seems like a sweetheart so far. Michael, much to my relief, hasn't changed completely, even if he seems lost and anchorless without Alex and Vega. I am a little worried about the weird cult he's been sucked into, though, and I don't trust Laurel at all. But once it moves past that, there's some amazing new characters, including the evil and demented Julian who makes Gabriel look safe by comparison, and Gates, who is so fabulous he makes the tedious second storyline in Vega interesting. I adore the flashbacks this season, including little Alex with Michael, and the twins, all of which make me emotional. Gabriel and Michael finally get some screentime together and it's beautiful. Best of all, Gabriel gets some layers and explanation for his hatred of humanity with a compelling and heart-breaking series of flashbacks showing him with little David - an absolutely adorable child with those wild curls!. Carl Beukes's acting has improved so much this season, and he's pulling off the mix of emotional, caring past Gabriel and hopeless, lost current day Gabriel beautifully. The writers continue to amaze me by making me learn to love characters I hated last season, mainly Gabriel who seems so broken I just want to protect him, as well as fleshing out characters I was lukewarm on before - Noma, William, and the General, and introducing new, instantly fascinating characters including Gates. Claire's trajectory toward evil might surprisingly turn out for the best as her character has been the weakest and most dismally dull since the beginning, and a dark side could give her the interesting edge she lacks. "House of Sacrifice" was a poignant episode all around with Noma still struggling over the loss of her wings - I'm grateful her relationship with Alex seems in tact at least - Michael playing cards for his life, Vega on the edge of collapse, Clementine killed again, and even David, spiraled into madness, rejected by his son, and awaiting execution, tugged on my emotions. Most heart-breaking was Gates's death. I loved him, and hoped he'd become one of the main characters, but I'm glad he got a hero's death and a final goodbye with Claire at least. Gabriel, taken over by the darkness, has me worried.

The fifth and final season of Hell On Wheels has first half and starts by breaking my heart with Cullen's daydream of his still missing wife and son. But after that it kicks up the pace by moving onto my favorite part of railroad history: the Chinese workers. The new characters are fascinating so far, especially Mei whose odd friendship with Cullen is already my favorite, and I love the change of scenery and focus on the Central Pacific. I was so happy to see Naomi and the baby again, even if only for a few seconds, at the end, and hope, if nothing else, that Cullen finally gets a happy ending with them.

Teen Wolf season five has started and despite how much I miss Derek, I'm loving the plot and how suspenseful and spooky it is, especially with the steampunk doctors and everything being told in flashbacks, even if it makes me very worried for most of the characters. Malia remains adorable; she and Stiles are quite cute together, Kira is awesome with her added powers this season, and Liam, not one of my favorites last season, has grown on me a lot. It also is giving me a new ship in Liam/Hayden, who are adorable and precious. I was a bit disappointed that I guessed wrong on what Parrish was, but excited by hellhound over phoenix which I'd doubted from the beginning.

I've started watching the new series Zoo and I'm enjoying it so far. It's quite different from the usual "end of the world as we know it" storylines most shows are doing, and the characters, especially Jackson, are likeable.

I've finished the fourth and final season of Nikita and it was a delight to see the show return to the feel of the first two seasons. I loved seeing all the sides of Nikita, from fugitive to dark assassin to happily married and freed. Michael and her scenes were beautiful as always, and I was so happy to see them grow close again. As much as I wanted to see their wedding, eloping seemed more their style, and I'm just glad they finally ended up alive and together at last. Birkhoff was as precious as usual, and it was nice to learn his backstory, as well as see a couple lovely moments with Nikita and he. Owen's story arc was beautiful, and I was so happy how he tried to become better again, even if I'll forever miss who he used to be. I was surprisingly okay with him being paired up with Alex in the end, because even if I don't ship it I just wanted him alive and happy which I got. Ryan wasn't one of my favorites but I teared up when Nikita called him family - I do so love their makeshift, thrown-together family - and the final scene of him, as a vision in Nikita's mind, was poignant.

Since I miss the show so much now that it's over I gave a try to the original show, La Femme Nikita, and while it took me a bit to transition to the differences in cast and characterizations, I was suprised how quickly I fell in love with it. Michael is delightfully French, Nikita has an Aussie accent, and Birkhoff is nothing like Birkhoff, and it's wonderful, mostly due to Michael and Nikita's relationship. I adored them from the start in Nikita but they're even better here, since I get to see them from their first meeting.

I discovered the short lived but fabulous show Moonlight and completely fell in love with it. I have a soft spot for "good" vampires and Mick is a sweetheart. My favorite part of the show is his relationship with Beth, though, and their backstory - with Mick saving Beth when she was a small child and then watching over her like a guardian angel as she grows up - instantly made me ship them. The mythology of the vampires is fairly unique, especially regarding how they can be harmed, which keeps it intriguing, and it has almost a retro, late'80s/early'90s feel which I love.

Since I loved Alex O'Loughlin in that show, I gave a try to his medical drama Three Rivers and quite enjoyed it, definitely enough to add it to my list for future watching. His doctor is sweet and appealing, I loved the guest characters, and it's an enjoyable show with a nice blend of touching and poignant.

I finally managed to find Odysseus with English subtitles and I've completely fallen in love with it. It's delightfully French in the best ways, and simply gorgeous and haunting. I love it's unique, poignant take on the characters, and especially how quickly and deeply it makes me grow to care about it's characters: Helen reduced to me to tears in only three short scenes, and Orion fascinates me. The character growth is excellent, too, especially Télémaque who comes so far in just a few episodes. On a shallow note, the scenery, especially the seascapes and beautiful palace, is stunning.

I've fallen in love with Ghost Whisperer. It's poignant hauntings and easy to love characters are right up my alley and all the different ghosts keep the plot fresh. The best thing about it is Jim and Melinda's relationship. I adore them both, and how they support each other, and I love that the show starts right out with them married, avoiding the tangled love triangles that usually doom a show.

I also started Twisted, an offbeat but intriguing mystery series, and while it has it's flaws - Danny is a bit too nice and well-adjusted for a boy who lost his childhood in prison - I can overlook it because it's so unique, and enjoyable. I'm both fond and slightly unnerved by Danny - I still think he's innocent despite the way it's being set up - and I like Jo and her relationship with Danny.

I gave a try to Baby Daddy and despite not being a big fan of comedy I loved it and laughed through most of it. Ben is precious with baby Emma, and I love the quirky other characters.

Also new to me is Haven. I'd been meaning to try it for ages and I loved it instantly. The theme and old style intro, as well as the intriguing "Troubles" grabbed me, and I adore how sweet Nathan is even if he makes my heart hurt and I want to give him a hug. I also ship Nathan/Audrey hard, and love how she's the only one he can feel.

Extant is back with season two, and a bittersweet mix of good and bad ideas. As much as I love seeing Ethan again, much of the character growth and slow-building suspense from season one has been replaced with action and convenient plot twists, as well as a disturbingly alerted cast, leaving the show not even feeling like the same series. First of all I may be one of the few people who actually shipped John/Molly. I liked the glimmer of hope at the season finale that the two were growing closer and working out their problems. And John was such a sweetheart, trying to keep his family together against all odds. For reasons unknown the writers decided to throw a not even hinted at affair into the works - with Julie, the one character the show would have greatly benefited from to kill off - and then turned Julie evil; as if she wasn't grating enough already. Then, in the show's greatest tragedy, after a fight, the loss of Ethan, and Molly refusing to answer his call to hear his final apology, John gets violently and horribly killed off, and not even the show runner's vague comments about whether or not he's truly dead can make me feel better. In other character changes, Sean, who I liked, is inexplicably dead for seemingly no reason, and half of the other characters are not even mentioned. And I'm probably against him from the start since I dislike the actor, but I don't like the new guy at all, even if he becomes more tolerable after episode one. However, there are a few good points left. Ethan remains as precious as always, and the details, such as the self-driving cars and police tape, are as delightful as last season, while the ethical dilemmas regarding the humanoids become more troubling. I'm most intrigued by Molly's strange new powers, though, and how she'll use them. The finale was stunning, bringing out the best in all the characters and folding everything up enough that whether or not it continues, I'm content. I grew to love JD across the season, and even enjoy him with Molly, quite a surprise considering how much I hated him at the start, and I was relieved that he survived his wound, and loved Molly saving him. Charlie who I enjoyed last season and came to adore this one, turned out to be quite the hero, and I loved that he and Julie survived and seem to have found each other. Ethan was precious as usual, and I was so happy John's firewall saved him. Lucy's change of heart was a poignant surprise, as was the kindness of JD's ex-wife. Most intriguing was the "TAALOR" figure at the end who, from the back at least, strongly resembles John.

I started watching and love The Wonder Years, a show I've meant to check out for a while. The nostalgic '60s setting and realistic characters sucked me in instantly, and I adore Kevin's often hilarious and relatable narration.

I also started Rookie Blue and it's fantastic so far, very much like the '70s police dramas I grew up with and love. The characters are very likeable, especially Dov, and I can relate quite a bit to Andy. I've also found an otp in Sam/Andy. I adore Sam, and the way they met, with her tackling him and arresting him while he's undercover, was right up my shipping alley. I teared up when he's shot and she's trying to keep him alive in the ambulance, especially with the forehead kiss - my ultimate shipping weakness. And I love Boo. It's definitely a show I want to watch from start to finish at some point.

I gave a try to Da Vinci's Demons and was quite impressed. It's a gorgeously filmed series with just enough fantasy to enhance the already interesting history, and the actors seem well cast, with intriguing characters and fantastic world building and details.

The new season of Dragons: Race To The Edge is on and happily it seems to be set before the second movie, so Stoick is still alive. As usual the kids antics are my favorites and I adore the twins (with their pet chicken now!), and Fishlegs's episodes best, while Toothless remains adorable. The new dragons are a lot of fun, and I like the new islands, especially the one the kids have claimed as their own.

I found a few more Sechs auf einen Streich with subtitles and I've been working my way though them. They're all lovely, even the slower ones, and one of my favorites so far is Sechse Kommen Durch Die Ganze Welt, a fairytale I'm not familiar with. It was adorable and very entertaining, though, and I've loved the characters, their relationships with each other, and how they managed to constantly fool the king and win in the end. My absolute favorite, though, is Die Kleine Meerjungfrau, which manages to make an unusually happy ending for everyone without changing much of the original story. I loved the Prince, and even Anneline was an uniquely sympathetic character for a change. I also loved Jorinde und Joringel, a sweet love story with likeable characters, and adored the final twist when Joringel gave up his youth for Jorinde, and then she, giving up her's, made them both young again. Next was the lovely Die Prinzessin auf der Erbse. I adored the clever take on the fairytale, and the characters, especially the Prince, were adorable. Next was Die Zertanzten Schuhe, a flawless adaptation of my very favorite fairytale. I adored the main character and his quiet attempts to make the Princess love him, and the magic world was depicted exactly as I'd imagined. I also loved that the other sisters got their princes and happiness in the end, too. Next was Vom Fischer Und Seiner Frau, based on one of my favorite fairytales, and I adored it, so much so it might be my new favorite of the series. I loved how kind Hein remained, and how through it all he only wanted his wife and old life back. The happier than the original tale ending was delightful, too. Next was Dornröschen. I loved Fynn - possibly the most adorable prince of any version - and was intrigued by the story making him the third in a line that had tried and failed to rescue the princess.

I've also gotten to see a couple more of the Märchenperlen series, including their version of Aschenputtel, and it was both lovely and very unique. As taken aback as I originally was by the fact that Marie's father not only doesn't die but participates in the way she's treated, it ultimately made the story more poignant, and added a new explanation as to why she fell for the prince so quickly, as he would have been the first person who'd showed her kindness since her mother died. I loved how much the film had them interacting before the ball, Leonhard's friendship with Peter and his cousins, and how he wasn't a wealthy, powerful prince like most versions. I also adored the scene where he saves Marie from the fire and carries her off on his horse, and having her family become servants was the most fitting ending I've seen yet. My favorite so far, though, is the gorgeous Die Schöne Und Das Biest, a beautiful and unusual version of the story. I love watching the Beast change - his song with Elsa is lovely - and Elsa is a likeable Beauty, escaping the more annoying aspects of the way the character is portrayed. The dialogue is stunning, including a poignant scene where the Beast and Elsa talk about her mother, and the scene where the Beast turns into the Prince. I loved the servants, too, and stripping away the more magical elements while changing the rose into a whole bush of roses enhanced the story greatly.

In other fairytale films, I saw the stunning miniseries La Bella e la Bestia, the oddest and most beautiful version of the story I've seen. Leon, despite being fully human, was the most Beast-like of any character I've seen, a tormented and deeply troubled man with a flicker of goodness still inside. The backstory of his wife, and the new character of his scheming cousin were fascinating additions, and I loved the side characters, especially the kindly Armand, and the servants. Next was Descendants and despite my early reservations about the somewhat silly premise, it was completely delightful and creative. I loved the main four - their personalities and costumes were spot on - as well as the "good" characters, and their parents were hilariously over the top and fabulous. I didn't even mind the singing and loved a couple of the songs, and the conclusion was adorable. I also saw the Asylum's Sleeping Beauty - as corny as their films are their unusual, strange takes on stories give me so many plotbunnies - and I loved so many of the ideas of it, from the zombies guarding the castle to the Phillip being a brave whipping boy instead of the prince, a cowardly prince siding with Maleficent, his kiss waking her after others fail because they weren't pure of heart, and Aurora kissing him back to life after Maleficent kills him.

I've been working my way through Charlie Chaplin's filmography so far, finding some treasures along the way such as the hilarious and creative One A. M.. I couldn't stop laughing through the bed scene, but there were so many funny moments packed into such a short show. It's also been interesting to watch his character of the Little Tramp slowly evolve from the start when he was a more violent, mean-spirited character to growing into a kinder, gentler, and usually heart-broken hobo. My favorite so far is the adorable The Vagabond, a unique story in which he plays violin, falls in love with a girl, and unusually actually gets her and a happy ending. I loved every minute, especially it's blend of comedy and sadness.

In other new films I watched The Scorpion King 4: Quest for Power and loved it. I adore this goofy set of movies so much, and this was my favorite so far, a perfect blend of humor and zany adventure like they used to make and I've missed so much. I enjoyed the new cast a lot, even the bad guys, and the steampunk and science instead of so much supernatural was delightful. I'm slowly trying to watch more '80s movies and tonight was The Terminator which I surprisingly loved. The premise was both fun and poignant, and the bittersweetness of Kyle and Sarah's relationship broke my heart, as much as loved the twist of Kyle being John's father. The special effects were quite impressive, and I loved Kyle, such a sad yet sweet character, and wished he'd gotten to live. Next was the beautiful Charlie St. Cloud which I cried through most of, but adored completely. Charlie was a loveable character, and his ability to see ghosts as well as his striving to find the reason for his survival was poignant. I loved the bittersweet conclusion. Next was Dragonheart 3: The Sorcerer's Curse, my favorite film of the series so far. I loved Gareth and Drago, especially his snark, and their scenes together were adorable, especially when Drago teaches him to jump in and out of shadows. I liked the happier ending of this film, with the dragon living, better, too. Next was the surprisingly excellent Outlander. I adored the reimagining of Beowolf using my ultimate weakness: a mingling of historical fiction and sci-fi with a sympathetic alien protagonist. I loved the characters, the Viking world, and the fascinating glimpses of the other worlds in space. The ending was beautiful and perfect. Next was The Jacket, a haunting, sometimes difficult to watch, and yet strangely beautiful movie. Jack and his relationship with Jackie broke my heart, and I loved the strange twists and turns of their meetings, as well as the somewhat cryptic ending (I like to think Jack survived in that time and stayed with her). That he was able to truly strange time was a fascinating, rare twist for a time travel film, and I loved the fitting theme at the end.

In new animated films I saw Minions and I loved every minute of it. The Minions are some of my favorite characters to emerge from recent animation, and the trio, especially dear little Bob and his teddy bear, were precious. Scarlet Overkill and her boyfriend were over the top and hilarious, and the opening sequence was flawless. I loved how the ending tied everything together with little Gru meeting the Minions.

I stumbled across the lovely miniseries The 10th Kingdom and fell in love with it's combination of zany twists on fairytales and cheesy, adorable romance. I miss that silliness and light-hearted touch shows had up until the past decade or so, and it's always a treat to revisit that era through something I've never seen. Wolf was flawless - the actor outdid himself - and I could relate a great deal to Virginia, even if I wanted to shake her a few times. But I loved their romance and how they ended up finding their own happily ever after. I also loved the non-traditional but beautiful portrayal of Snow White, and the fantastic world-building.

I also saw the miniseries Tut and while it didn't quite measure up to my expectations, I still loved it and I'm just so thrilled to finally have a drama about one of my favorite historical loves. Avan Jogia was perfect as Tut, slowly growing into the role and getting better by each part. His growth from sheltered boy to flawed king was fascinating to watch, and I grew very attached to him, so much so that even though I knew it was coming, I still teared up at the ending. The General and Ay were complex villains, Ka was deeply tragic - it was nice to see Peter Gadiot's pretty face again - and I was saddened by how the film destroyed the relationship between Tut and Ankhe in favor of more drama, but I loved their reconciliation at the ending. I seem to be in the minority on Suhad, though, who found her character overwhelmingly naive to the point of annoying, and couldn't see what Tut saw in her. But the filming was gorgeous, and several scenes deeply poignant, especially the haunting ending.
 
 
calliope tune: "Even The Nights Are Better"-Air Supply
feeling: devious
 
 
Kathleen
Catching Fire was stunning, everything I'd hoped for and more, transforming my least favorite book of the trilogy into a film I loved even more than the first. It was extremely faithful, too, retaining all the scenes I liked while still being a gorgeous film, even if the action felt more visceral than the last film. The costumes were beautiful, especially Katniss's mockingjay dress, the arena was impressive, and everything seemed more vivid and realistic than before. The rebellion scenes were done extremely well, disturbing enough to be affective, and I couldn't help crying during the part when Katniss talks to Thresh's and Rue's families. Jennifer Lawrence was amazing. I was very unhappy with the casting choice, did my best to tolerate her for most of the first film, but she's finally won me over, turning in a performance that gave me chills, most so in the final scene as well as the part where she shoots the arrow into the sky's force field. Peeta was wonderful, still my forever favorite, quietly loving Katniss from a distance and trying to save her at any cost. I teared up during the scene where he holds the morphling girl as she dies and distracts her by getting her to look at the sunrise. Despite the amount of Gale/Katniss moments, there were so many moments of Peeta/Katniss. I loved Katniss and Peeta's scene on the beach, the pearl scene, and the part on the train where they talk about their favorite colors. Peeta's locket hit me the hardest, though, because as much as he loves Katniss he included Gale. Everyone, especially Effie got more depth in this film, and I choked up when she actually cried about Peeta and Katniss going back in the arena, as well as the scene where she was trying to unite the team. I've grown to love movie Haymitch in a way I never bonded with the book character, and I loved his anger at the capitol when they announce the Quarter Quell as well as him standing up to the Peacekeepers. Cinna's death was as horrific as I'd imagined. He was always one of my favorites and it hurt to see it happen, even though I was prepared for it. Mags was lovely, as tragic as little Rue, but so courageous, and both Wiress and Beetee were fascinating. My only disappointment was the lack of Gloss and Cashmere. They're my favorite one book characters, and I ship them to pieces, but they sadly had no character development, hardly any screen time, and a single line between the two of them. President Snow's granddaughter was surprisingly delightful, quite unlike her grandfather and such a little Peeta/Katniss shipper! Joanna surprised me the most. She was my least favorite character in the series, and while she's still loud-mouthed and even annoying the flashes of humanity, especially the scene where she urges Katniss to "make them pay" made me see her in a different, much better light. Finnick, too, who I always found annoying and unnecessary, was much better than I'd expected, and while he still isn't my favorite I appreciate him a lot more now. The actor wouldn't have been my choice but he impressed me, especially during Mag's death and his face as he watches Katniss after he saved Peeta. I was so glad the force field/CPR scene was left in after they cut out most of the whump from the last film - I can't help it, I need my guilty pleasure. While I have a lot of issues with Gale I thought the actor did a good job with the role, actually getting to do something this film, and I liked, in a way, that Gale's whipping was the result of trying to save someone instead of just stealing. Prim was wonderful, so much more grown up and yet still so innocent, and she made my heart ache as much as in the last film. The ending was as painful as I'd dreaded - I barely survived the wait between the Catching Fire and Mockingjay books - but I adored how the pin turned into the mockingjay at the end.

I've been working my way through Christian Bale's films, starting with the stunning Reign Of Fire. Christian Bale was incredible as Quinn, reducing me to tears during the scene where his friend gets killed, and making me smile during his adorable moments play-acting for the children. I loved his relationships with Alex and Jared, and that the three got their happy ending, although I was saddened by Creedy's death; I loved him and his beautiful Scottish accent. The scenery of dystopian England was amazing, and there were so many moments I loved. Next was the true story Rescue Dawn. Christian Bale, as expected, was stunning and everything about the film was stunningly authentic to the point of being painful and difficult to watch while also being an inspiring story of survival. Next was Terminator Salvation and despite not knowing the prior films I became fascinated by the dark and strange world of it. Marcus was a haunting character, deeply tragic and ultimately human, and the significance of him giving his heart - his most human part - in sacrifice to save John's life was poignant. I teared up when little Star took his hand. Kyle, too, was a fascinating character. Next was Captain Corelli's Mandolin, an intriguing and beautiful love story against some unfamiliar history which caught my interest. The twists and turns in the plot were excellent, the ending lovely but sad, and I liked Antonio, but I still wish Pelagia had chosen Mandras. Christian Bale was wonderful as Mandras, a gentle and ultimately deeply selfless character. After that was the stunning Equilibrium which was both thought-provoking and fascinating, with a richly detailed futuristic world. I loved Christian Bale's role - and whoa, what an acting job - as Preston slowly learns to feel. The scene where he listens to the music was incredibly touching, and I teared up when he breaks down after failing to save Mary. The ending was perfect, the right balance of hope and loss.

In other new films I saw the stunning The Island, a fast-paced dystopian story with Ewan McGregor doing a superb job as the somewhat innocent and yet heroic Lincoln. I loved the concept and plot, as well as the surprisingly happy ending. Next was Moulin Rouge, a gorgeous and heartbreaking musical. Ewan McGregor was fabulous as the idealistic, tragic Christian; I'm truly learning to appreciate his roles, and I adored the love story as well as the riches colors and sets of the film. The songs were lovely, too, as was the dancing, and the ending reduced me to tears. After that was the live-action '90s adaptation of The Jungle Book, a lovely and wonderful version. I loved Mowgli, especially his friendships with the animals and him learning human ways, and the happy ending as well as the filming was beautiful. Next was Percy Jackson: Sea Of Monsters, the next film in the series and as much a treat as the first one. I adored Tyson, such a sweet character, and was so glad to see him survive and be accepted by the others. Percy's skills with water were as impressive as ever, and the friendship between the half-bloods and Grover was lovely. As in the last film the re-imagining of myths was cleverly done - I especially loved the chariot and Hermes running a Fed-Ex store - with plenty of heroics and amusing moments. Then was the bizarre Inception with it's richly detailed world and complex plot which fascinated me. Leonard DiCaprio was excellent as Dom and I loved the recurring theme of the spinning top as well as the open, yet happy final scene. Next was the whimsical Big Fish. Ewan McGregor was charming in as Edward, the settings and characters were lovely, and the bittersweet ending was perfect. After that was the amusing and often hilarious spoof Austenland. I giggled at the in-jokes and loved most of the over-the-top characters. Next was 2000's Arabian Nights, a fascinating and beautifully done adaptation with magical characters and a richly detailed world. I especially loved the "Three Brothers" story, as well as the story within a story within a story format but it was all amazing. Next was the visually gorgeous The Illusionist, an unusual and fascinating peek into the magical world of a stage magician during the turn of the century. The historical accuracy was impressive, the ending was jaw-dropping, and I loved how beautiful everything was. After that was the haunting The Book Thief, a gorgeous and slow-moving WWII drama. I fell in love with the characters, especially Max and Liesel and was so glad to see them both survive and reunite..I found myself shipping them as the story went on. Having Death as the narrator added a poignant feel to the story, and the ending was beautiful. Next was the gorgeously filmed and unusual Oblivion. Jack - all of them - fascinated me, as did his poignant retained and shared memories and ultimate sacrifice. The ending was beautiful and hopeful. Then was the surprisingly good Real Steel. I was expecting little and instead fell in love with the story and characters, even choking up at the end when Charlie hugged Max. Their relationship, as well as Charlie and Bailey's were beautiful, and I loved Atom. Charlie was a wonderful mixture of gruff and gentle, and it ended up being one of my very favorite of Hugh Jackman's roles. Next was Ender's Game, a haunting and visually stunning film with a stunning, poignant ending. I sobbed when the alien wiped away Ender's tears, and during the bittersweet ending, and I loved Ender's closeness with his sister and team. After that was the adorable Kate & Leopold. Hugh Jackman was adorable and quite dreamy as the time traveler, and I loved the romance, as well as the other characters. Next was The Alamo, a moving account of the history. Juan Seguin was a fascinating character, and I loved the poignancy of the events as well as the beautiful filming. I tried the 2013 version of Romeo and Juliet which was a mixture of lovely and disappointing. The score and filming was gorgeous, and the added moments such as a glimpse of what a happy ending would have been like or the final scene when their hands are placed together were hauntingly poignant. Benvolio was precious and Tybalt and Mercutio were the best versions I've seen. Douglas Booth was surprisingly good as Romeo, despite a weak start, fusing emotion and passion into the role and excelling best in his scenes away from Juliet such as the part where he learns of her death. The beginning of the film felt rushed, with not enough time given to learn the characters or be invested in them, and Romeo and Juliet's relationship was far too fast. Hailee Steinfeld, sadly, was the worst part of the film, rushing and barely forming her lines, and emotionally flat in nearly every scene, and I couldn't care about her character in the least. After that was the haunting The Help, a poignant and deeply moving look at a tough issue, with stunning acting and beautiful period detail. Next I saw Nanny McPhee and it's sequel Nanny McPhee Returns which I ended up loving more than the first. The first was very cute, though, and I loved the happy ending and the lovely wedding, especially the snowy wedding dress. The sequel was perfect, though, with it's wonderful WWII setting, gentle humor, loveable characters, and an unexpected and poignant final tie-in to the first film. The children were quite talented, and despite him having only a tiny role I adored Ewan McGregor as their father. The final scene made me tear up, as did the part where Norman and Cyril visit Cyril's father. Then was The Impossible, a gorgeous and beautifully filmed true story which made me sob and fall in love with the family and their closeness as they went through their ordeal. I'm starting to adore Ewan McGregor and he, like the rest of the cast, did a stunning job. Next was Cowboys & Aliens a fun smash-up of two genres that managed to pack in some poignant moments and a touch of steampunk. Jake was a unique mix of violent anti-hero and gentleness, and I loved following his journey. Then was Valkyrie, an excellent and poignant true story.The period details were impressive, even if I wished the cast had German accents, and Tom Cruise even resembled the real man quite a bit. The final scene telling the history was very moving. Next was the lovely Under the Greenwood Tree with a lovely cast and sweet romance and setting. Then was The Secret of Roan Inish, one of the first movies I ever saw and my introduction to selkies. I appreciate it so much more as an adult, and its so beautiful and unique. Next was the strange but gorgeous film The Piano. I adored the theme and imagery and the ending was beautiful. Next was the tragic but gripping Agora which fascinated and moved me. Then was the lovely and strange Ondine. Colin Farrell was excellent as always and I loved the fairytale feel.

I've been working my way through the Hornblower films and they're amazing, everything I didn't know I wanted with sailors and ships and gorgeous period detail. The characters are all fascinating, the world richly filled, and everything is so beautiful it's a treat. I love Horatio; he's fabulous, both hot-tempered and kind at heart. Archie is also lovely, such a sweet, tragic character, and I love his friendship with Horatio. As I expected "Retribution" destroyed me emotionally. I adored Archie, and his death was heartbreaking, more so in that he died giving up his good name, the only thing he had left, to save Horatio, and no one can ever know. The way his death was shown with him vanishing was poignantly beautiful and haunting. I was glad Bush survived his injuries, though. Sadly, though, Horatio becomes a much harder character without Archie's sweet spirit to temper him, and I miss the optimistic young sailor I loved so much in the early films. Maria is a sweet character, though, and I wish they'd continued the films to show Horatio as a father and hopefully learning to love Maria.

I'm working my way through Band Of Brothers and the authenticity is impressive to the point of being painful to watch, especially with it's raw mix of horror and beauty. My favorite character is Eugene Roe, a sad and easy to love medic, and I adore his soft Cajun accent. I also really like Winters and his friendship with Nixon.

I saw the short film Heartless, a backstory for the Tin Man of Oz and was impressed by it's faithfulness and poignancy. I loved the more steampunk look of the Tin Man, leaving the human eyes, and the ending where he's humming the song while rusted in place was heartbreaking.

I'm watching the fifth and final season of Stargate Atlantis, a show I'm going to miss terribly, and despite some changes it's as excellent as always. The replicators storyline as well as Elizabeth's character mercifully finally end with an episode that almost manages to make me feel sorry for her. I think the new actress helps considerably. Instead the focus transfers and continues with Teyla and her son against Michael's ever-horrific experiments. I'm still not sold on the baby storyline, which felt forced, rushed, and out of character, something that could have been greatly improved if the baby's father had been introduced before the storyline, since I don't really mind him although I don't know anything about him, or better yet, making the father one of the regular characters. I gave a little shriek when Elizabeth questioned whether Sheppard could be the father, and with Teyla giving him the middle name of John I'd love to see someone do an AU of it. But, anyway, everyone, especially Sheppard and McKay are adorable with the baby, and I loved that Sheppard was able to somewhat make his peace over the people he's lost by managing to save Teyla and the baby, even so badly injured. Like Sheppard, McKay gets even more depth, and it stuns me to look back and see how much I disliked the egotistical character I first met in episode one compared to how much I love him now, giggling when he talks or complains, and tearing up when he gets hurt. "The Shrine" was an amazing acting job for David Hewlett, too, filled with h/c and some deeply poignant moments between the whole team. Samantha has sadly been removed from command, appearing only in the pilot, to be replaced with Woolsey, and while far from my favorite, he's not as bad as I'd feared and even occasionally shows a human, even amusing side. To my delight, Carson is cured and awake, appearing in several episodes, and clone or not, it warms my heart to hear that lovely Scottish accent again and watch him saving lives, even making it more bearable to tolerate Jennifer. I'm definitely not enjoying the McKay/Jennifer shipping of the season, though, even if it's nice to see McKay happy. I'm glad, after all that happened to the first Carson, that this one got a hopeful, even happy ending. "The Daedalus Variations" is an intriguing concept with a hilarious moment when Sheppard highly praises his alternate reality self. Other excellent episodes include the painful but incredible "Broken Ties" in which Ronon is captured and tortured by the wraith into an addiction to the enzyme. Watching him go through withdrawal put a lump in my throat, but I loved how the team stuck by him and got him through. "Tracker" forms an intriguing bookend to Ronon's story as another runner, this one traveling with a little girl, kidnaps Jennifer to treat the sick child. I liked the concept that runner's trackers had become more advanced since Ronon, as well as the poignant open ending - I like to think he got away from the wraith. Carson turned back up in "Outsiders", a nice closure to the Hoffa drug storyline, and I loved him going all action hero. It was nice to see McKay and he finally get that day off together, too, and it made me so happy to see him again, being all adorable with the village children. "The Prodigal" finalizes Michael's storyline, ending with his death at Teyla's hand, a dark but somehow fitting close for a tragic but evil character. "Remnants" is another strange episode but one that gives an interesting look at Sheppard's fears. The season's best is the stunning "Vegas", an unusually filmed story set in a parallel world. Parallel!Sheppard is fascinating, and so many moments, from the wraith passing as human to McKay discussing the little details that changed this Sheppard's life from the Atlantis one's gave me chills. The ending was haunting and poignant, with the song indicating Sheppard's character as he dies. "Enemy At The Gate" was a fitting finale, tying up the remaining threads to close out the stories of each person. Carson was back, although in a minor role, as was Sam. I didn't care for the handling of Todd's character, usually so sympathetic, as well as Sheppard's treatment of him, and the plot was somewhat rushed and filled, lacking in many more human moments, but the ending made it all worth while as Atlantis returns to earth, bringing the team home and leaving them looking at the Golden Gate Bridge. Ronon's death was shocking and horrible, but thankfully he's brought back to life - a shame the implications weren't explored more later - and I love everything about the scene from Teyla's and McKay's grief to Sheppard going back for him to find him alive; I found it a fascinating insight into Sheppard's character how, even being told Ronon is dead, he still goes back for him as if he won't believe it until he sees it or he's just that determined to not leave someone behind. Also Jason Momoa's acting was beyond incredible.

I've discovered and started watching the adorable '90s series Little Men which is happily set as something of a sequel rather than a remake of the film which I love, and while the Professor's death saddens me I love Nick and the color he brings to the show with his sea-faring past. The kids are all quite talented and appealing, especially Dan, Nan, and Nat, and little Rob is precious. Laurie, Meg, and Amy all make appearances and seem very much in character and believable as older versions. I also like this Jo, a perfect mix of motherly love and spirit who has a bit of June Allyson's Jo about her, and the old Canadian feel of the episodes is heartwarming. I also ship Nick and Jo and love the direction their relationship is slowly going.

I'm on the eighth and final season of Wagon Train and it's back to the comfortable black & white, hour long format of the early years while still retaining all the cast except for Duke. Bill is oddly out of character and even cruel at times but Coop is as wonderful as always, and Wooster happily gets more storylines. Barnaby is almost all grown up now, serving as co-scout, wearing a gun, and courting girls, and while I miss the adorable little boy of before I love seeing him as an adult. Excellent episodes include the hauntingly sad "John Gillman Story" with Bobby Darin in a touching role, the multi-storyline "Those Who Stay Behind", the somewhat dark "Echo Pass Story" in which Coop talks a woman into murdering a man - an evil guy but still a little creepy. I loved Coop's friendship with Wooster and the relief on his face at the end when he discovers he's alive, and the lovely "Miss Mary Lee McIntosh Story". Much of the season has an unusual supernatural obsession featuring ghosts, vampire bats, and a girl who can see the future in the quite good "Wanda Snow Story". "Betsy Blee Smith Story" is an amusing and often hilarious misadventure as Coop finds himself posing as a girl's husband, as well as being adorable with a baby. There's also the lovely "Katy Piper Story" with one of the sweetest one-shot characters in Katy, as well as an intriguing bit of character growth for Barnaby. The season's best is the haunting "The Indian Girl Story" which poses moral questions and few answers within it's tragic tale, as well as providing another chance for Barnaby to shine.

Onto season three of Once Upon A Time and I'm already sick of Neverland while it's Peter Pan mythos makes me want to bang my head against a wall. Pan is creepy and annoying, Tinkerbell gives me a pain most of the time even if she does manage to redeem herself in some slightly shippy scenes with Killian, and the constant gripping makes me want to kill off half the characters en masse. Thankfully there is a few saving graces as Rumplestiltskin's tragic story continues to unfold, and Robin Hood is back, the second actor but still good. I loved Roland and how adorable daddy!Robin Hood was, even if the man with the lion mark storyline is odd. Bae annoys me most of the time, and I can't accept him as the same person as the adorable little child of season one. On the bright side Killian Jones, minus the ghastly Emma romance subplot - she's my least favorite character and I absolutely detest her - is a fascinating character, a mix of tragedy and bad guy, especially with the haunting backstory of how he lost his brother and became a pirate, and his sort of friendship with Charming is amusing. Ariel and Eric's story which I'd been looking forward to was sadly poorly handled and rushed, with Eric coming across as rather bland, and their first meeting already having taken place. Ariel herself was fairly good, though, if more than a little naive. "Going Home" was gut-wrenching, even if part of me refuses to accept Rumplestilskin's death. I'm grateful Peter Pan is gone, and was deeply moved by Rumplestiltskin's sacrifice and final words to Belle and Bae. Regina's character growth was poignant to watch, as was her relationship with Henry. As glad as I am to be done with Storybrooke I found the scene where it's erased heartbreaking, especially as everyone vanishes into the smoke.

Continuing in my quest to watch everything Arthurian I discovered and gave a try to new series starting with the 50s The Adventures Of Sir Lancelot which was adorable and included a catchy theme. William Russell has a lovely, soft voice and the fight scenes are always fun since he seems to give everything to the part. Next was Arthur Of The Britons an unusual and quiet series portraying Arthur as a Celtic warrior rather than a king and focusing heavily, much to my delight, on his sort-of friendship with Kay.

Out of boredom I gave a try to BBC's Sherlock and found it a weird mix of the horrible and strangely entertaining. SM's influence is obvious with the annoying humor, hitting of the reset button, "everybody lives", plot holes, and teeth-gritting fan pandering - if I hear him use the T-shirt gimmick one more time I'm going to scream. However there are a few flashes of brilliance such as the scene where a wounded Sherlock comes back to life with beautiful use of light as the surgery scene overlaps with him in his dream struggling up stairs, as well as the tragic moment where Mycroft sees Sherlock as a little boy after he shoots the bad guy. While I can't stand Martin Freeman and can say nothing good about his lifeless John Watson, Benedict Cumberbatch is surprisingly good as Sherlock, capturing many of the stranger aspects while still making him likeable and often amusing. Molly is a delightful character, as is Sherlock's landlady.

I got to see the pilot for Swingin' Together which was never picked up for a series and it was quite cute, with the always delightful Bobby Rydell as a traveling singer fronting a band. It's a shame it didn't continue, because it was fun and I loved the hints of family-like friendship between the guys, especially their Mr. Cunningham and them.

I've started watching When Calls The Heart, a tv series based upon a series of books I enjoyed as a kid and it's quite cute so far, bringing back that frontier period drama feel that's been seriously lacking since the 90s. The characters, especially the children, grow on me, and Jack is appealing, even if I wish they hadn't changed his name from the book. I also saw the film, and while I didn't enjoy it nearly as much as the tv show there were some lovely moments, especially with Edward, a character I wish the series included. I can't figure out exactly where and how it fits with the show, though, since the characters are vastly different in personality and circumstances of their relationships and meetings.

I've started watching Arrow and while it hasn't completely won me over I find it's unusual version quite interesting. While I miss Oliver's humor and warmth, this scarred, troubled, and often violent Oliver is realistic seeing all he went through, and the family intrigue is a fun twist. I adore Barry Allen, such a cutie and a sweetheart, and I love finally seeing the origins of the Flash. I'm looking forward to the spin-off, too. My favorite character so far is the complex and tragic Roy Harper, and I'm fascinated by his journey from thief to superhero. There's a good heart underneath all the anger, and I loved seeing Oliver save him. "Three Ghosts", my favorite episode so far, was stunning, and delightfully whump-filled, continuing with the intriguing storyline of the Japanese miracle drug. I was saddened by Slade's turn into evil, though, since I liked both Shado and he.
 
 
feeling: ecstatic
calliope tune: "Harden My Heart"-Quarterflash