emeraldarrows: Buffy the Vampire Slayer - Spike kissing the top of Buffy's head (10)
2013-07-07 02:42 pm

Shall I tell you what I find beautiful about you? You are at your very best when things are worst.

I went to see Oz the Great and Powerful and it was amazing, the perfect Oz film I've always hoped for. James Franco was absolutely wonderful at the role and I fangirled so much over the 1904 carnival opening, both in awe over the sight of it as well as having it in black and white. The themesong was gorgeous and the opening and closing credits were lovely and old-fashioned. Oz was incredible, with just the right balance of CGI and real things, and I adored the music of the various plants and animals as Oscar sailed down the river as well as the butterfly trees, yellow brick road, and Emerald City. I wish the film had shown something of China Town before it was destroyed since it looked like such a sweet, fairytale place, but China Girl was the cutest thing ever! I loved her father-daughter-like relationship with Oscar and how gentle he was with her, and Finley was hilarious. I suppose I should have picked up on the clues but I was completely surprised when Theodora turned into the Wicked Witch. It seemed incredibly tragic, and I've never thought of the Witch that way before. The battle against the witches was amazing, with steampunk and carnival tricks, and I couldn't stop grinning ear to ear at the ending. I also saw Return To Oz and was pleasantly surprised to find it more sweet than scary, and very much capturing the feel of the books. Dorothy, a child as she should be, has an adorable innocence while still having a lot of spunk, and is quite the good little actress for a first role, and her wonderfully fairytale-like companions, especially the cute Jack Pumpkinhead, my favorite in the books, are fantastic and fit perfectly with Dorothy. Ozma is sweet and lovely, exactly as I imagined, and the special effect of her stepping through the mirror was my favorite among the rest, all very well done. While the Emerald City lies in ruins for much of the film, there's still plenty of magic and wonder in Oz, and I loved the creative and whimsical lunchpail tree as well as the glowing effect of the ruby slippers. Then I watched all of the silent Oz films and His Majesty The Scarecrow of Oz, actually written and directed by L. Frank Baum, was my favorite. Tiny and adorable Violet MacMillan was the perfect Dorothy and despite the film pairing up Pon with the Princess who does nothing except be bewitched and have characters fall in love with her, Dorothy and Pon were too cute together, making me want to rewrite the ending and have Pon/Dorothy be canon. Refreshingly, the Wizard wasn't just a "man behind the curtain" and truly had magic, helping the characters, restoring Pon from his enchantment, and making "preserved witch". There was also a quirky and adorable scene which I loved that had a mermaid swimming with an parasol in her hand.

Despite being the last person on earth to do so, I've finally seen Harry Potter, starting with the first Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I instantly fell in love with the world and the characters and the richness of imagination of it all, especially the living paintings and talking telegrams. Everyone and everything is fairytale-like and perfectly fantasy-like, and all fabulous. Then Harry Potter and the Chamber Of Secrets, which while not quite as good as the first, was still fun and clever, even with a somewhat darker feel. I love the friendship between Harry, Ron, and Hermione and it was even more evident in the second film. Then Harry Potter and the Prisoner Of Azkaban and I adored Sirius, definitely my favorite minor character so far, such a wonderful and unusual character, and kind, too. My favorite part was the time travel, always fun and even more so here, and the happy ending for everyone. Next was Harry Potter and the Goblet Of Fire, probably my favorite plot so far, and I loved the concept of the contests, especially the one in the water. Cedric's death was shocking and horrible, and I was actually surprised by how much I loved his character considering I'm not a fan of the actor. Daniel Radcliffe, as well as the others, keeps getting better and better at his role, and even the tiny parts are brilliantly cast. I especially am learning to adore Fred and George, and David Tennant was deliciously wicked as Barty Crouch Jr. Next was Harry Potter and the Order Of The Phoenix, and while loving the character development, I was saddened by the gloomy tone. I hated the new professor, but loved the students forming their own school with Harry as the teacher. Severus Snape became more interesting to me with the glimpses into his past, as well as a surprising look at Harry's father when he was young. I adored the new character, Luna, a lovely mix of sadness and sweetness, as well as her touching friendship with Harry. I sobbed over Sirius's death which felt completely unnecessary and horribly tragic, but cheered when Harry was able to overcome Voldemort's possession. Still there was a lot of fun such as Christmas with the Weasleys, and Fred and George - growing more beloved to me by the film - gleefully destroying the school exams with fireworks and flying broomsticks. Next was Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, and the children are growing up so much, falling in love and everything! While I would have preferred Harry/Hermione or even Harry/Luna, Harry and Ginny are quite cute together, and Hermione and Ron seem sweet enough for now. The Weasleys are as wonderful as ever - I especially love Fred and George's shop - and I was sad when their lovely little house got destroyed. Ron scared to me death in the scene where he nearly gets killed, which made me realize how much I love his character. I was saddened by Dumbledore's death, as much as I half expected it, but I found the concept of the horcruxes fascinating. Then was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 and I loved Bill and Fleur, so sweet and wonderful together. Harry's owl getting killed was too sad, as was George's ear, but I loved the way everyone rallied around to defeat Voldemort and protect Harry from him. I sobbed over poor Dobby, such a wonderful and brave little elf and one of favorite side characters, and it felt like one loss too many. On the fun side of things I loved Hermione's bottomless bag, and Ron/Hermione is growing more on me..they're actually quite adorable together. Last was Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2, an incredible and powerful finale. The destroying of his horcrux was powerful, showing the emotional effect upon not only Voldemort but Harry as well, and I loved the bits of mercy and closure such as Harry saving Draco from the fire after all he'd done. Snape's death was haunting and deeply sad, even if I could never quite grasp whose side he was on until the end, and I teared up over Lupin and Tonks lying dead side by side with their hands almost touching. Fred's death was the worst, though, since I adored the twins, and I couldn't stop sobbing with Ron when the scene showed him lying there. The flashback of Snape and Lily as children was poignant and deeply sad, but lovely in a bittersweet way, and finally made me understand Snape as well as providing insight into Harry's mother. Snape emerged as a deeply tragic hero, surprising me by how much I grew to love his character in those few short minutes. Harry being the last horcrux was stunning and haunting, as well as neatly tying everything together, and I could feel the weight on him having to go to his death. The epilogue was beautiful, though, very much what I'd hoped for and happily adorable. I loved their children and was impressed by how much older they made everyone look, very believable. All in all I adored the series and am very sad to be finished with it, even if I have rewatches to look forward to. The world was magical, the characters dearly beloved, and the cast were all amazing. Daniel Radcliffe impressed me the most - I was familiar with him and impressed by his performance in the incredible The Woman In Black but otherwise didn't know him - growing from adorable and innocent little boy to amazing young man.

I love and consider M. Night Shyamalan a genius with story and direction and I always adore his films, especially the ones I watched recently. The first was Lady In The Water, a lovely, unusual, and visually gorgeous fairytale with easy to love characters. I loved the mermaid-like air about Story as well as the world within the Cove with all the people's lives. The film was also refreshingly slow-moving and I adored how all the people banded together to help Story return home. I followed that with another one of his films, the unusual and creative Unbreakable. I loved the contrasts between Elijah and David, as well as the fascinating illusions to superheroes and comic books in plot and style. The twists in the plot were quite incredible, too, and the stunning final revelation took my breath away. Next was his chilling but amazing The Sixth Sense. Haley Joel Osment was stunning as the troubled yet deeply insightful little Cole, and my heart bled for him and all he could see and hear when no one else could. The final twist was jaw-dropping and deeply poignant. Last was the spooky but beautiful Signs which gave me everything I love in a sci-fi: aliens, family togetherness, stunning acting, and an amazing string of coincidences that added up in the finale.

I discovered the lovely pairing of Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee who were perfect together with That Funny Feeling, an adorable and gently humorously silly romance. I loved the zaniness of the premise, as well as the happy ending. Then I had to see another film of their's, which turned out to be the cute and in many ways even more adorable If A Man Answers. They were fabulous together, and even played husband and wife instead of love interests, and the plot was just as zany and loveable as the first film.

In other new films I watched the 1980s gorgeous fantasy Starman, mostly because of my love for the spin-off tv series, and was impressed by the beauty of it, such a lovely, moving fairytale. Jeff Bridges was wonderfully sweet and innocent as the alien, and I loved his slow-growing and perfect romance with Jenny. Their moments were the best even as much as I loved the story, and I adored when he showed her the star that was his world and told her what their son will be like, definitely my favorite scene. The theme was lovely, too, very fitting. Then I saw the adorable The Water Horse, an incredibly cute and poignant fantasy. Crusoe was precious, and Angus was a wonderful character, as were all the others, especially Mobley, each richly detailed and easy to love or dislike. I had tears in my eyes by the ending but I loved it dearly. Next was Far and Away, a surprisingly lovely historical romance. Despite the slow-moving opening and originally somewhat unlikeable characters, I quickly fell in love with Shannon and Joseph and their story as they struggled in America and grew to care about each other. The scene where they pretend to be a married couple in a beautiful abandoned house was touching and the turning point in their building relationship. I loved the fascinating ending, like Joseph looking down on himself and then coming back through Shannon's love, and the beautiful way they claimed their land together. Following that I saw Beastly, the updated and changed version of Beauty and the Beast that still manages to capture the beauty and magic of the fairytale. Alex Pettyfer was superb as egotistical Kyle who is transformed by a witch into a scarred and disfigured man with one year to find someone to love him. I loved his slow internal transformation as well as his sweet romance with Lindy. The mixture of modern and faithfulness to the tale such as the roses and Kyle's fascinating and ever-changing tattoo was beautifully done, and as a big fan of the book I was thrilled with it's adaptation. Next was A Knight's Tale, an entertaining and curious mix of the Middle Ages and modern day that managed to fulfill my void of jousting, one of my favorite "knightly" things and so often overlooked or underappreciated in films. William was easy to love and root for, Chauncer was hilarious, and I loved all the other characters, too. Then was the beautiful Soul Surfer which I found deeply moving and inspiring. AnnaSophia Robb, always excellent, was superb as Bethany, and knowing it was a true story made it all the more powerful. Next was the '90s version of The Borrowers which, while not faithful to the books, was quite cute and fun. I loved the addition of a little brother, Peagreen, to the Clock family, and Spinner and Arrietty's friendship - I even found myself shipping them when they grow up - as well as the magical glimpses into the world of the borrowers. After that was the fun Van Helsing. I adored Hugh Jackman as the title character - and he looked very swoon-worthy with that long hair - and his high-speed adventures battling monsters. The finale, with Anna dying to save him and Frankenstein's Monster sailing out to sea, was poignant, and I wish there'd be more about Van Helsing's past as I was hoping for some flashbacks, but I enjoyed it, especially the steampunk feel and the amusing Carl. Next was the unusual The Others. The concept was fascinating right from the beginning, with the light sensitive children and moody, foggy English manor house, and I loved the inclusion of mourning photography as part of the themes, a rare thing I've always had something of an interest in. The ending twists were shocking but fascinating, and despite a few chills up my spine I liked the conclusion. After that was the gorgeous and heartwrenching Doctor Zhivago, 2002 remake, which I loved, surprisingly so since I've always disliked the original. Hans Matheson was stunning and shattered my heart as Yuri, the idealistic poet-doctor, and his poignant romances with both Tonya and Lara were heartbreaking. I loved the scenes with Yuri and the children, though, which were adorable, and I sobbed at the ending with little Yuri running, even with the voice-over telling me their child at least survived. The history, especially the newsreel footage, was fascinating, too, and I learned a lot from this beautiful, deeply moving film. I followed that with another Hans Matheson film, the somewhat fictional but stunningly beautiful Imperium: Nero with him as the title character, a sensitive, slowly twisting young man driven to madness. His relationships were poignant and tragic, and the ending made me tear up a little, mostly due to his powerful acting in managing to make Nero pitiable.

In new animated films I found How To Train Your Dragon and promptly fell in love with it. Hiccup was quirky and perfect, Toothless was adorable, and I loved the imagination of the story, as well as the setting. Next was the Arthurian adventure Quest For Camelot which, while far from perfect, was entertaining. I loved Garrett, a uniquely blind knight, and the hilarious chicken, and the ending was lovely. After that was the precious, heartwarming, and utterly adorable Arthur Christmas. I loved James McAvoy's voice work as the sweet and clumsy Arthur, and I laughed through all of the hilarious moments as everyone scrambled to deliver Gwen's gift. I loved how clever and imaginative everything was, as well as the touching, beautiful finale. Then was the humorous spoof of horror films Hotel Transylvania, and I loved Johnny and Mavis, their relationship, the amusing other characters, and the perfect ending. Next I saw The Prince Of Egypt, a stunningly animated film with gorgeous music, especially the beautiful "When You Believe", and a lovely, unusual take on the story with the focus on the tragedy of Moses and Ramses's journey from brothers to enemies, and an incredible nightmare scene in which hieroglyphics came to life.

I'm watching the eighth season of The Virginian and there's few changes this season with the exception of seven's David vanishing, and a new ranch hand, Jim Horn, played by an impossibly young and always completely wonderful Tim Matheson who brings some much-needed prettiness to the cast. He gets to shine in "Family Man", and he's incredibly sweet, especially with the baby. He even gets to sing later in the season! "A Flash Of Darkness" is an unusual episode, despite using the tired trope of blinding a character, if for nothing else than the Virginian finally expressing emotion, even fear, when he calls for Trampas after his injury, and suffers nightmares, cowering in terror from shots. I jolted and got a lump in my throat when he grabbed and hugged Trampas with a quiver in his voice, so unlike him and yet highlighting the friendship between the two that's so often hinted at and spoken of and rarely overtly seen. The season's best is the beautifully poignant "A Woman Of Stone" which takes the usual "white woman returns from Indians" plotline, and makes it believable, acknowledging the span of time and how the characters have changed while still presenting a hopeful, although not idyllic ending.

I'm on season six of Rawhide now, and after seasons of changing and worsening shows it's like finding an old friend back. Except for Clay's disappearance - no great loss - nothing has changed, giving the season a comfortable yet still fresh feel as the good stories keep coming. I like the new theme's look with the silhouettes, giving the show an even older feel. Excellent episodes include the spooky twist ending of "Incident Of The Prophecy", the haunting and poignant episode "Incident At Two Graves", the tragic and unusual "Incident Of The Peyote Cup", and the delightfully light-hearted "Incident Of The Pied Piper" which gives Wishbone a chance to shine as well as providing some adorable moments.

I've discovered the delightful Pushing Daisies, an utterly hilarious and completely adorable show. Ned is cute and precious, and I love his relationship with Chuck, and Emerson and his knitting never fails to make me giggle. Everything is so bright and colorful it looks like something out of the 1970s, and the sets, especially the Pie Hole, are lovely. Plus the narrator is just perfect. In the second season Ned's magician twin half-brothers get introduced and they're wonderful. I've been working through the whole series and have fallen entirely in love with it and it's characters.

I learned of and watched The Lone Gunmen this week, the fabulous spin-off series from The X-Files. Byers, Frohike, and Langly are wonderful as usual, and they're joined by a fourth member, the overly-eager and somewhat dorky but loveable Jimmy Bond. He quickly shot to my favorite as the heart of the group, even as much as I adore the trio. Yves, the other new character, is fascinating, a mix of friend and foe. My favorite episode was the powerful and unusually poignant "Maximum Byers" in which Byers and Jimmy go undercover at a prison to free an innocent man. The surprise twists and bittersweet ending made it just perfect. Other great episode include "Three Men and a Smoking Diaper" is a fun episode that let's the guys show their softer sides while taking care of an infant. Langly especially was adorable with the baby. Also "The Cap'n Tobey Show" which is equal parts who done it and humor with Langly the focal point. I loved the plot, the hilarious ending, and Jimmy and Yves's relationship in it.

In new shows I've discovered the fantastic Primeval and am loving the imagination and glorious fun of it all, as well as it's wonderfully geeky characters and adorable Rex. Cutter and Connor are my favorites, but I have a soft spot for Abby (all these characters and their dimples!) since I ship Connor and her. The whole team works beautifully together, though, and I'm loving the flavor of the series. I finished up season two now and am slowly learning to enjoy the new format, with the help of fun episodes that include raptors in a shopping mall. Claudia has turned into Jenny which is something of a slight improvement, but the annoying Leek and Caroline aren't welcome additions by any means. Still the team is wonderful and Connor and Abby get a beautiful and extremely shippy set of scenes in the episode with the merpeople. Stephen's death was completely horrible and heartbreaking, though, and I wish the writers had killed Helen off instead, since I can't stand her and I liked Stephen. Then season three, off to a great start with a spooky old house and decade old mystery, and Connor imitating Cutter's Scottish accent is the most adorable thing ever. New character Becker doesn't fill Stephen's shoes by any means but he's different and he grows on me more with each episode. But Cutter's death..I'm never getting over that. Stephen's hurt horribly. Cutter's completely shattered me. He was my tied second favorite with Connor and I loved him so much. I can't seem to warm to Danny, either, he's got a cold edge Cutter never had and for all his heroics something just rubs me the wrong way. Sarah, so far, is a lot of fun, though, and I'm grateful to see her replace Jenny. But Abby kissing Connor and their beautiful moment there more than makes up for everything else, and best of all Helen finally gets what she deserved - I've never been so grateful to see a character killed off! Onto season four then, with many format changes. New character Matt is the first intriguing leader since Cutter's death, and Jess is sweet enough, even if she'll never replace Sarah. Still Becker is there and Connor and Abby are back and shippier than ever. Season five was fantastic with an amazing storyline that kept me excited as well as sad that it was the last season. I grew to love Matt, especially when he returned to 1860s London in a steampunk explanation for Spring Heeled Jack, and he made a wonderful leader. Emily made for an interesting character, and I loved her romance with Matt and it having a happy ending against all odds. I grew to adore Lester, always a character I disliked, and he was awesome in the finale, finally leaving his office and standing up to the creatures. He almost never shows it but he loves his team, and I kept grinning ear to ear when he came back to work in the end. Despite the attempt to redeem him at the end, I just couldn't make myself feel anything for Phillip after the way he used and abandoned Connor. Connor broke my heart all season long with his naivety and doubting Abby, but he turned out to be the real hero at last. I loved watching his character grow across the seasons and see Cutter's faith in him rewarded, even if Connor always doubted it himself. His relationship with Abby became so beautiful. I loved how she pulled him back emotionally when he was ready to give up in the finale, and the fabulous proposal scene. Abby was wonderful all season, but especially so in the finale, saving Connor over and over. The ending was perfect except for the hanging thread of a storyline that never got resolved, but I felt happy with it overall, since otherwise it was a fitting last story for everyone.

I discovered and watched the odd and short-lived series Harsh Realm this week. It's an underrated little gem from the creator of The X-Files with a richly detailed, darkly dystopian virtual world that threatens to destroy the real world due to the plans of an evil dictator. The protagonist is Tom, a soldier forced into and trapped inside the world who has to stay alive and take out the corrupt leader to save everyone. I love his little team, and the unusual characters, some good, some bad, who surround him, and the episodes are often intriguing and always fun. "Reunion" is a fascinating and touching story with the focus on Tom and Pinocchio's friendship as well as Tom's with his mother. The scene with Sophie and Tom seeing each other through her eyes was amazing. The series' best is the stunning "Manus Domini", a breathtaking and haunting portrayal of faith and loss which made Pinocchio my favorite character. The ending is deeply moving and tragic, and Tom's voiceovers are especially poignant. While waiting for season nine of The X-Files I watched I Want To Believe. While I didn't enjoy it as much as the first film I still liked the secondary storyline, much better, in fact, than the main one which was a little too gruesome and disturbing for my taste. Scully's attempts to save little Christian were a poignant parallel with William. Mulder seemed a little off at first but fell back into character fairly quickly, and I adored that Scully finally said she loved him and that they kissed. His final line was beautiful and made me grin ear to ear. Also I liked the little bit of Mulder and Skinner friendship included, even if Skinner had a strangely small part.

Feeling nostalgic I watched an episode of Boy Meets World, the wonderful "Can I Help to Cheer You" which was a perfect mix of zany and hilarious humor and poignant sadness. I loved the storyline with Eric, since he was always my favorite - I loved his sweetness and quite amazing hair - and he was adorable with little Tommy. I wish he'd adopted him, but I loved that the two remained friends at the end, such a cute and perfect episode. In new tv series I discovered the Ray Bradbury Theater, adaptations of his stories that I've always loved. My favorite so far is the hauntingly beautiful "The Lake" about a man drawn back to the summer place where a tragedy happened when he was ten. The conclusion was poignant, and the episode was perfectly underplayed and acted, giving it a dream-like quality. I also found the '90s series Roswell this week, a fun story of aliens who survived the 1949 crash and pass themselves off as humans, undiscovered until one of them, teenager Max, heals the human girl, Liz, he has a crush on, when she's shot in the restaurant where she works. Max is a sweet character, with just a dash of mystery to make him seem alien, and I was shipping Max/Liz before the end of the pilot. Then, feeling nostalgic, I started watching season one of Highlander and found it as awesome as I remembered. It's quite a fascinating and often poignant series, and I love Duncan MacLeod and the glimpses that are given of his mostly tragic past.

I borrowed one of the early film "Treasures" from the library, too, and there was an amazing documentary on San Pietro, filmed during WWII with all the battle explained clearly. I've been fascinated by that battle since my obsession with The Gallant Men began, and now I finally understand it. I loved seeing so much of the once beautiful village, too, and the children who could still smile and laugh despite all they'd suffered.
emeraldarrows: Once Upon A Time - Killian and Emma's first kiss (7)
2013-04-14 12:02 am

There are so many things I want to say to you, but time's caught me up and now I'll never say them.

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

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

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

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

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

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

In new animated films I saw the quite adorable Turbo. I loved the title character and his friendships with both the people and other snails. The story was cute, and the race was perfect, as well as the wonderful ending. Next was The Swan Princess III: Mystery Of The Enchanted Treasure, a cute and lovely sequel to the fabulous The Swan Princess. I loved seeing life in the castle post their marriage - too bad they didn't add in a little child for them, though - and the story was both funny and touching, poignant in parts such as Derek's grief when he thinks he's lost Odette, and hilarious in the scenes like the tango dance. I followed that with The Swan Princess II: Escape From Castle Mountain, and I loved Derek's mother getting a larger role, as well as Jean-Bob finally getting to turn into a prince if only for one scene. I loved the song "The Magic Of Love", and Derek and Odette's romance, while a little shaky at first, quickly found it's footing as she saved him over and over and he rescued her. After that was Bartok the Magnificent, a spin-off to Anastasia which, while failing to live up to it's gorgeous original film, still managed to be quite entertaining, mostly due to it's darling hero. Next was the beautifully animated Joseph King Of Dreams, a touching story with lovely and clever moments - I especially loved the tree that grew in the dungeon, and his future wife bringing him food in prison - that I really enjoyed. Last was the touching fantasy The Nutcracker Prince. Pavlova was endearing, Hans and Clara's friendship was adorable, and I loved the happy ending.