Thursday, August 23, 2007

Rewinding Kidnapped

Last fall one of the new shows on my plate was Kidnapped, but it was cancelled after only 5 episodes. I was disappointed, because I'd just been getting into it, but I sort of forgot about it until this summer, when NBC decided to air the 8 remaining unaired episodes at a random early-morning timeslot. My DVR caught them for me so I decided that I might as well finish them out.

And it's good. It's really good.

Now I don't remember a lot of the details from the episodes that did air the first time around and my DVR seems to have cut off the first few and last few minutes of each episode (which is super annoying), but it's engrossing enough regardless. There's really a lot of good acting and storytelling on the show. But with the knowledge that the show is dead and going nowhere, I think the main thing I got out of watching these episodes are some actor revelations:

1. Jeremy Sisto. Probably because his character on Six Feet Under, Billy, was so creepy and unstable, but I've always been sort of immune to his supposed charms. But now I totally get why people think he's hot. Which is really funny because on Kidnapped he has this unkempt air about him, with stubbly facial hair and a wardrobe of drab hoodies under a beat-up leather jacket. But it's hot! He also showed up this week on My Boys as the one gut that makes our tomboy heroine PJ turn into a giggly girly girl. I can see why!

2. M├Ądchen Amick. I don't know what it is with the roles that she plays but I cannot stand her. And her appearances on the show just confirmed that.

3. Dana Delaney. Another actress that I generally can't stand (HATED her appearance on Battlestar Galactica last year) but actually I was totally okay with her here.

4. Timothy Hutton. I don't recognize this guy from anything else but apparently he won an Oscar when he was only 20 years old. I kind of like him...

Top Chef: A good soldier goes down

Man I really hate it when the previews give things away. In the preview for this week's episode Padma said something like "this decision is really unexpected" which was a signal that one of the heavy hitters, like Hung or Tre was going to be sent home. And as the episode progressed it was obvious. It was definitely going to be Tre, especially after Ted's rather severe comment about Tre's salmon dish. I don't think I've ever heard him react that negatively to anything. I'm disappointed that Tre got kicked off so early, but I do think it was the right decision. He was the executive chef and Restaurant April definitely failed on food. Even more disappointing was that their second attempt was worse than their first. I guess that goes to show that a team of hand-picked "nice" people doesn't necessarily make for an effective team.

I was really pleasantly surprised by Quatre (which looks so much better than it sounds). They really reworked their menu according to the notes they were given and improved where they needed to improve. And Sara ran the kitchen well. Still not sure of her chances of winning it all, but it's good see her get a win under her belt. No prize this week though I see...

Some odds and ends:
1. The Quickfire was awesome! Hung with the chickens was hilarious, especially Tom's look of disbelief while watching him. Also apparently Casey's knife wasn't sharpened, which is why it looked like she was sawing at the onions when a sharp knife (like Sara's) should just slice right through. (Makes me wonder if I'd be doing better chopping if I had a really well sharpened knife...) Loved Dale's quote about how his team was the "Bad News Bears," haha.
2. Stephen helping the Quickfire winner seemed to have no effect whatsoever. I do always love seeing Stephen though, which is funny because I couldn't stand him on his season and only started liking him after the reunion show...although I did laugh when Dale gave him the smackdown about not babbling on so much.
3. Madonna's brother? Talk about random. His help kind of took the decor out of the judging equation altogether so it ended up really being all about the food. I wonder if that was the intention.
4. Camille, Lia, Joey, and Sara N. showing up for dinner was nice but we hardly got to see them or hear any of their comments, boo.

So...winner of Restaurant Wars? I gotta say that no team yet has compared to Tiffani, Harold, and Dave from Season 1. They had the perfect combination: Tiffani's creativity and thoughtfulness about the concept and menu, Harold's kitchen workhorse, and Dave's superior front-of-the-house. They definitely set the bar high.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Yay Sabra!!!

I have to say I'm super pleased with this outcome. I think I would have supported really any of the final four winning (except maybe Neil...I was a fan of the guy but I just don't think he's delivered quite as much as the others) but Sabra was the one that I had absolutely no reservations about. She's just a pleasure and a joy to watch and I'm so happy for her! I was a bit disappointed by how rushed the ending was though...Cat announced the winner and it was immediately "Stay tuned for your local news"! On that same note, Danny kind of got gypped out of a proper goodbye too. Did they just run out of time?

Usually I would have said that a two-hour finale just to announce the winner is overkill (ahem, American Idol), but overall the show was really enjoyable. It was nice seeing the top 20 again and I loved seeing all the judges' and choreographers' favorite routines again. I was so happy to see Sara and Pasha again! Sara had 3 of her routines picked, which was awesome because I always felt she was a bit underrated by the audience. I'm also glad that they highlighted all the breakers from the auditions and invited the clogger and Brian Gaynor to perform. How excited must they have been? I could have done without the musical performances, but I even liked the little Cat and Nigel Jib Jab "dancing" bit. I knew it was going to have to be something like that because honestly the real thing would not have been pretty.

I believe Mira's going to the tour this year so it's not over yet! I don't yet have tickets but there's still a chance I might be able to go. We'll see!

YAY SABRA!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

I love the Hills

I used to kind of be ashamed of this fact, and wonder why I was so into this silly MTV semi-reality stuff. But while watching the third season's premiere episode, it kind of dawned on me. I enjoyed Laguna Beach, sure, which is what spawned the Hills in the first place (and I'll probably be watching the new incarnation Newport Harbor) but those shows generally have too many characters, some of which are not interesting enough to be given as much screentime as they are. And despite their privileged and sometimes unreal lives, it was all still petty high school stuff. And as addicting as it was, it wasn't all that satisfying.

But the Hills somehow manages to be almost more interesting than scripted TV. For some reason, there aren't a lot of shows on TV about characters in college or in their early twenties, and the Hills kind of fills that void. And despite the fact that she's kind of a semi-celebrity who's had three years of her life shown on TV, Lauren's still pretty much a normal person. Although thankfully the show isn't just all about her romantic life. Her friendship issues with Heidi are the stuff of good scripted TV (it's often hard to believe that Spencer can be an actual person) and some of the scenes at Teen Vogue have a funny Devil Wears Prada feel to them. And more lately, Lauren's celebrity status has been a bit more apparent on the show. In the premiere, Lauren talks about how a rumor of a sex tape got back to her parents through the Internet. It's all addictively watchable.

Of course the show is really beautifully shot and edited and doesn't seem at all like your usual candid reality shows. And I guess since this is MTV, they have a knack for choosing amazingly appropriate songs for the situations. Like OneRepublic's "Apologize" was playing in a scene after Lauren and Heidi have a fight where Heidi denies doing anything to make Lauren mad at her. "It's too late to apologize" indeed.

Anyway, last season ended with Lauren and Heidi's friendship seriously on the rocks thanks to Spencer, so we'll be sure to see more of that, especially with Heidi and Spencer now engaged. (Speaking of which, how lame was that proposal?? Was it maybe just for the sake of the cameras?) I'm also happy that we'll be seeing more of Whitney, who seems almost too normal and well-adjusted to be on reality TV, and Lo, one of my favorites from the Laguna Beach days. She has this hilarious way of straightforwardly questioning people about things, like when she asked Audrina's ex-boyfriend if his name was really Justin or Bobby, haha.

So You Think You Can Dance goes down to the wire

So I was going to vote last night for So You Think You Can Dance, but interestingly I couldn't decide who to vote for...

Up until last night Sabra was unquestionably my favorite, and part of me still does want her to win but I kind of wasn't that impressed with her last night. She was very consistent but nothing really blew me away and that kind of makes me sad. The Shane Sparks hip-hop was disappointing. The Wade Robson fox thing was kind of too bizarre (where does this guy come up with all this?) and the cha-cha didn't seem to have too much cha-cha in it.

So that leaves Lacey, Danny, and Neil. I know Lacey's got a huge fanbase but I've never really warmed up to her. She's not a terribly good solo dancer but that's not really her fault. Danny obviously has the best technique out of everyone, but I still can't help thinking that he doesn't really belong on the show. As for Neil, I think he's improved immensely but despite the screaming teenage girls I'm not sure he's really that popular. But do we really want a sibling of last season's finalists to win?

Gosh, this is difficult. On American Idol there's only 2 in the finale and generally it's pretty easy to pick one, but with 4 finalists? I just don't know!

My favorite routines of the night: The Danny/Neil two princes contemporary piece was awesome! A nice departure from the usually flowing and running pieces that Mia Michaels does. It kind of reminded me of how fight sequences in movies have to be choreographed. Totally cool. Also really liked Lacey and Neil's lindy hop. No, it wasn't perfect and they were definitely tired being the end of the night, but I thought they did a really amazing job keeping up the energy and being light on their feet. I WOULD have liked the Lacey and Danny waltz but that damn Avril Lavigne song kind of ruined it for me. And I'm a bit tired of the waltz in general.

I think I'll be surprised no matter what the outcome is tomorrow...

Top Chef: And the war rages on

My first thought after last night's Top Chef was: LAME.

First of all, both restaurants kind of sucked. And second of all, I really hate when they pull the "no one's going home tonight" thing, especially since this is a challenge that's been done in both past seasons. But I thought about it some more, and I like that they get a second chance. Neither restaurant was clearly better than the other...both had good and bad food, one was lacking in service, the other was lacking in decor. You couldn't really blame one person on either team for what went wrong, so I can see why that decision was made. And honestly, this is one of the most fun episodes of the season so a double dose can't hurt.

Biggest surprise tonight: Howie CAN actually work on a team. But he can't make risotto?

And what was up with the "secret blogger"? Who is she and why were the judges making her out to be so important? Ask the rest of the customers what they think too, geez.

It was nice to see Daniel Boulud, and I kind of liked the burger challenge. Product placement yet again, but truthfully Red Robin does have some pretty awesome burgers. I'm surprised by how many people went the seafood route though...and the whole burger/sandwich line seemed kind of blurred to me. A burger to me is a beef patty on a burger bun. Gail Simmons says it's a patty "of some kind" on a burger bun. So that fake chicken stuff you get at school cafeterias...is that a burger? A crabcake...is that a burger? Color me confused.

Oh, and one last thing, just want to comment on the names of the restaurants. Did I hear CJ saying "my sister's name is April" and that's how they named the restaurant? I mean, it's kind of sweet but totally random. I did kind the Garage" at first but the thought of eating in a garage isn't all that appetizing. Still, both better than "Lalalina" from last year. And thank goodness they all remembered to buy wine!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Top Chef's bulldog problem

Sorry for this late review of last week's episode...I was in Cape Cod for a couple of days without Internet access. I did eat a ton of good food there, though, including lots of fresh seafood and homemade ice cream, which by the way, is SO much better than the overrated Cold Stone Creamery.

I have to say that I'm getting tired of all the product placements this season. And I was so not a fan of this Quickfire. Last season's ice cream challenge at least actually required the chefs to make their own ice cream, this time, they were just supposed to make the mix-ins. But the results were pretty much the same: Dale's prudent but not exactly groundbreaking peach cobbler wins, while Hung and Casey's adventurous combos crash and burn. I can actually kind of see where Casey was coming from...I've had some desserts at Asian restaurants with interesting sweet and hot flavors, but Hung was just insane. I mean, cauliflower? And you know, now that we're down to under 10 chefs you'd think they would show all of the chefs' dishes, but no. I feel like we only got to see about half of the Quickfire entries. what the hell?

The Elimination Challenge was truly cruel. I mean, on the one hand, the chefs should probably know that on shows like this they never really get a break, but Padma definitely made it sound legitimate. The challenge itself ended up being pretty interesting. I thought that the Orange team had a better concept of what people want to eat late at night after partying (burgers, sandwiches, tacos, quesadillas), but their team dynamics were just crappy. Sara N. definitely had a part in this, although I do sympathize with her...clothes might seem like a silly detail, but being dressed for clubbing and having to cook in a tiny and hot food truck sounds truly miserable. But Howie was definitely not making it any better. Last week it was kind of questionable whether Sara M. was really being that annoying or whether Howie was really just an ass, but this week, he was definitely being an ass. And with this week's Restaurant Wars episode being another team challenge...it's going to be interesting.

I do always like to see harmonious teams though, and the Black Team was really pleasant to watch. Deciding on the menu based on stations in the food truck was extremely smart, and while a raw bar as late night food sounds kind of gross, it was a good idea to have Brian out there revving up the crowd. And Tre with his wifebeater and muscles was cracking me up. And his bacon wrapped shrimp and cheesy grits sounded and looked awesome. I'm going to have to try that recipe. Sara M.'s taco sounded pretty yummy as well...I kind of feel bad that she seems to only be shown when her food is bad. I distinctly remember her dish for the Latin Lunch episode being praised by some of the soap opera cast members but she wasn't mentioned at all during Judges' Table.

So in the end it's down to Sara N. and Howie, and Sara goes home. While I'm sad to see yet another woman go home, the decision made sense. The judges claim to judge on that week's challenge only, but the truth is that Howie's put out some great food while Sara's really been coasting in the middle the whole way.

Is it still too early to call favorites? I'm liking Dale, I think he's one of the more thoughtful chefs there, and I'm also calling Brian and CJ as ones to watch. And I can't really count out Hung. Howie needs to work on his teamwork issues...doesn't he know that if he gets to the finale he has to choose fellow contestants to help him? Both Tiffani and Marcel got screwed in the end because of their "I didn't come here to make friends" mentality. It's really funny...I was positive that Hung was going to be the "villain" of this season, but it looks like Howie's taking that role instead.

So You Think You Can Dance picks its Top 4

Silly NFL preseason football pushed last week's results show to last night, which meant we had to wait extra long for the results but on the bright side, there are 3 nights of SYTYCD this week, with the winner being revealed on Thursday!

Two things I noticed from last week's performances:
1. My DVR messed up in recording the show, so I watched the routines online without the judges' comments, which really allowed me to form my own opinions. Usually hearing the judges' comments forces me to sort of re-evaluate my own and sometimes defer to their expertise, but this time I was flying blind. The two routines that I really loved were Lacey and Pasha's hip hop and Sabra and Neil's jazz. I thought they were both choreographed really well and were more interesting than the usual sexy romance passion stuff that we seem to get so often. I was not a fan of Lauren and Danny's contemporary, which I thought was just a lot of running around. I think I'm getting a bit tired of Mia Michaels. Everything else didn't really stand out. Hearing the judges' comments replayed last night was interesting...they seemed to have liked everyone in everything.
2. The music sometimes plays a big part in whether I enjoy something or not. I LOVE the Junior Boys song in Lacey and Pasha's hip-hop routine, whereas I despise Celine Dion, which probably contributed to my dislike of the Lauren/Danny contemporary.

Anyway, I wasn't too enamored with any of the solos. I know, I know, this is a solo competition but I don't know how much I really enjoy any of them as soloists. I feel like dance is much more fun with partner and group routines.

Although last night's group routine? I totally fast-forwarded through it. Was that Wade Robson? What is up with him and the zombie-ish things?

I did really like the krumping. The watered down versions that we've seen the dancers do really doesn't compare, and I hope next season they challenge the dancers to do some real krumping. When done well it's pretty mesmerizing.

So our top 4 is kind of not that surprising. I couldn't see Lacey or Sabra being sent home, so Lauren was bound to go. The guys were a bit more tricky...I'm a huge Pasha fan and was definitely sad about his exit. Ironically I thought his solo last night was the best on the show so far and he's a ballroom dancer to whom solos don't come easy. I wonder if it would have helped had he danced that solo last week. Maybe not.

I know a lot of people probably would have rather seen Pasha in the finale than Neil, but I don't know, I kind of like Neil. And honestly I don't know that either of them really have a shot at winning. Somehow I see it coming down to the girls this year. There have been two male winners so far, and I think it's time. Personally I'm rooting for Sabra, who I think has been the most consistently entertaining, and who just shows so much joy while dancing. But we'll have to see how the final performance show goes this week...

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

BBC's Robin Hood

I got turned onto this series because Richard Armitage (of North & South) is in it. The first season is already out on DVD but I've been watching the reruns on BBC America. I'm almost through the season and I have to say that I've really been enjoying it. It's extremely silly and there are bizarre anachronisms all over the place but it's really a fun guilty pleasure. Which I suppose is kind of surprising because I've always kind of been indifferent to the whole Robin Hood thing. I know the basic story of course but I haven't watched any of the movies or anything.

Robin Hood is played by Jonas Armstrong, who I originally thought looked way too young to play someone who'd already fought in the Crusades for a couple of years, but he's really grown on me and he has this boyish charm going that makes him really easy to like. And it doesn't hurt that he's kind of cute. Actually a lot of his gang is kind of unnaturally good-looking, in an, um, outlaw way? Much, his right-hand man, is probably my favorite; he's got this sort of wide-eyed innocence that's really endearing. He also has this funny proper way of speaking and his always being hungry cracks me up. Allan A'Dale is snarky, and the newest addition to their gang, Djaq, who's actually a Saracen (Arab) woman, brings a lot of intelligence and freshness to the gang. Little John and Will Scarlett, traditional Merry Men characters, round out the gang.

One the baddie side, there's the Sheriff of Nottingham, played to ruthless perfection by Keith Allen (interestingly the father of current indie princess Lily Allen), and his deputy, Sir Guy Gisborne, played by our delicious Richard Armitage. He's pretty dark and brooding here as well, and though he's not as unequivocably evil as the Sheriff, it's yet to be seen whether he'll ever truly redeem himself. Robin and Lady Marian were engaged before he went off to the Crusades, but she became engaged to Guy after Robin returned and truthfully I'm completely torn about which man she should go for. I mean, obviously Robin is the "good" one and I do have a little crush on Jonas Armstrong, but something about Sir Guy's attentions toward Marian is kind of hot. Because I mean, it's Richard Armitage.

As for Marian herself, it seems like every episode I change my mind about her. I get that they wanted to create a more mature and modern version of her for this series, but sometimes her assertiveness and self-righteousness gets a little annoying. But then the next episode she'll kick some ass and get back in my good graces. I guess I'm still withholding final judgment on her.

A second season is going to be airing this fall on the BBC, no word yet on when that'll be coming to the US though. But if you get BBC America with your cable package, it's definitely worth checking out.

Friday, August 03, 2007

So You Think You Can Dance - 2 weeks left??

Is it really true that there are only two weeks left? That is CRAZY. It seems so soon...

The performances:

I wonder why there were no solos this week. Making us endure ten performances of the same routine last week was kind of cruel, but I like the idea of solos because as Cat keeps reminding us, this is a solo competition...

My favorite couple of the night was Pasha and Sabra. They're individually my favorites as well. I think what helped was that their routines were both just FUN. More serious dancing is fine but I think I prefer the dances that make me happy afterward. I liked the Broadway a bit more than the Quickstep I think, but I really appreciated that the Quickstep was more traditional and not the broad interpretations we've been getting in some of the other dances.

My least favorite was Lauren and Dominic. Dominic was one of my favorites earlier on, but I think that his weaknesses have been showing in the past couple of weeks. Lauren I thought should have been gone weeks ago, although she has improved somewhat.

As for the rest...I'm glad that the judges finally called out Lacey for playing too much to the audience. And I'm glad the contemporary routine gave her a chance to give the sexpot thing a rest. Neil seems to be extremely popular and I still kind of like him but I keep comparing him to Travis from last year (as the blonde contemporary guy I guess?) and I don't think Neil compares.

Sara's another one of my favorites. I was actually pretty entertained by her and Danny's hip hop and I thought the costumes were done like that on purpose. As for Danny...he's been growing on me. I think he's been consciously working on his image, which I appreciate.

The results:

I usually fast-forward through the musical performances but I actually didn't mind this week's. I'd never heard of OneRepublic before and they're not exactly my style but it was enjoyable. I like bands that have piano and strings.

I liked that everyone had to dance solos but I didn't find too many of them that interesting, except maybe Pasha. I thought Lacey was especially unimpressive. She's never had to "dance for her life" before, and maybe she was lucky in that respect because her solo consisted of a lot of sliding and strutting around and that was about all. And what is up her thing for knee socks?

Anyway, our breakers Sara and Dominic get eliminated. I predicted Dominic, and while I think he's really talented and entertaining I don't think he really had a chance to win it all. I do have to say that I won't miss his creepy attachment to Cat. Sara I was much more surprised about because I was sure Lauren was finally going to be sent home. I guess I can kind of see where Sara isn't as popular with the audience and she did have a bit of a weak night, but she's done so well with every style and I really wanted to see her make the final four. Sigh.

Someone said this on some message board and it's so true: who would have thought that the only original couple remaining intact this far would be Neil and Lauren??

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Top Chef in Deep Freeze

I didn't blog about the reunion last week, but I actually thought it was pretty amusing and not at all the uncomfortable mess that was the season 1 reunion two years ago. I think part of that might have had to do with the fact that Marcel wasn't there. But a lot of it was really hilarious. Why they decided to do it in the middle of the season I have no idea but there you go.

Moving onto this week's episode, I initially thought it was kind of lame to not have any cooking at all during the Quickfire, but I ended up kind of enjoying the "Culinary Bee." I wonder if they got the idea from Hell's Kitchen's palate test. Although here there were no eyemasks and earmuffs...they just had to identify ingredients by sight and/or taste, which turned out to be hard enough. I probably would have been out pretty early, as there were things I'd never even heard of, like chayote, but I DID get the Thai eggplant! What was up with Casey getting bowtie pasta though? Like anyone would look at that and mistake it for some other kind of pasta?

The Elimination Challenge was really interesting. Generally I find these "feed the general public" type challenges to be kind of boring, but this I liked because I love pasta and make it all the time. I'm definitely going to be trying out the recipes from this one. And once again the chefs show that working in teams is generally a recipe for disaster (ack that was a bad pun). I actually found this very reminiscent of Project Runway, where some of the teams immediately gel and are on the same page, whereas some of the pairs just kind of implode. There were a lot of surprises here. Howie struck me as being a pretty horrible person to work with. For some reason I didn't see Sara M. being all that annoying...all I saw was Howie being defensive and difficult. And what was up with arrogant, loud mouth Hung not being assertive enough? He was even submissive during Judges' Table. I'm still confused as to why he couldn't get Joey to go along with his plan to individually freeze the items. And Joey ends up getting kicked off, which was a shock to me because I was almost positive that they were going to send Sara home. Joey's little goodbye was kind of sweet though. Oh, Joey, I knew that under that tough guy exterior you were just a big softy.

How incredible was it that the prize was four freaking tickets to Italy? What did the winner last week get, a bottle of wine? Glad to see that Tre and CJ won, if only because they were the only team that did the individual freezing thing properly. Although it seems to me that Casey and Dale's dish was more popular in the market. I suppose that one slightly frozen meatball did them in.

And then of course, there was Rocco DiSpirito as the guest judge. Did anyone else think he looked weirdly creepy? And can you believe that he's 40? I didn't watch his whole reality show debacle from a couple of years ago, but it seems to me that he has a somewhat laughable reputation now because of that. That said, I did kind of enjoy his little smackdown of Tom over the truffles. I like Tom but it always amuses me when people call him out.

Oh, and has anyone tried those Bertoli frozen dinners? I like to cook and I don't think making good pasta dishes is all that difficult but the episode has made me curious...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Stupid reality show roundup

I saw a blurb for this in this week's TVGuide and I feel like I have to mention it:
Mission: Man Band is a new VH1 new reality show in which "Chris Kirkpatrick (N*SYNC); Jeff Timmons (98 Degrees); Rich Cronin (LFO) and Bryan Abrams (Color Me Badd) will live together for one month, create new music, a dynamic stage show and perform as a new pop group."

Does this strike anyone else as just SAD? I was always pretty strong anti-boy-band but back in their day they were pretty unavoidable. That said I'm pretty surprised by how many former boy band members have actually made careers for themselves, (albeit on Dancing With the Stars type things, so maybe this reality show thing isn't such a bad idea) but this just seems a bit desperate to me. But of course it'll probably be reality comedy gold...

Also, apparently Laguna Beach is done and over and is beign reincarnated as Newport Harbor: the Real Orange County. I find it really amusing that now that the OC is over they're taking over the real Newport Beach.

And of course, season 3 of the Hills is coming. Don't ask me why I'm totally addicted to this show, although the continuing presence of Spencer is making it somewhat less enjoyable...

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8!

Buffy aired its last episode back in May 2003, which is way before I even started this blog, so even though I still reference it relatively often, I've never really blogged much about it. And up until early this year, there wasn't really a reason to. But then the Buffy Season 8 comics started to come out!

The series is split into mini-arcs, and the first 4-issue arc was written by Joss Whedon himself. And I have to say that it's really been a pleasure. I hadn't realized how much I missed the show and its unique blend of humor and action and angst and gore until I picked up that first issue. The TV series ended at the right time, I think, some might say it even went too long, but that didn't mean the story was over. There's still plenty more to tell and a comic book is a really great medium. Each issue is pretty short...I imagine it would amount to maybe half an episode, or maybe even less. But all the characters and dialogue are there, just as I remember them.

There are now a massive amount of Slayers in the world now, all having been activated during the proper TV finale, and Buffy is a de-facto leader of sorts, having rounded up nearly 500 of them and splitting them into squads around the world. Buffy and Dawn are stationed in Scotland, with Xander heading up a sort of Command Central connectd to the rest of the squads, including ones led by Giles and Andrew. Willow is as powerful as ever, and appears in the first arc to battle some old enemies. One thing that's great about comic books is that you don't to negotiate actors to have characters return so really anyone is game. Issue #5 is a standalone, but the season's second arc will feature Faith. And many of the show's old writers as well as writers from the comic book world are slated for their own arcs. Each issue has really gorgeous cover art, and the artwork inside renders the characters quite well too.

I have to admit that I've never been a big comic book reader. I've read a few here and there that I liked but I never got that into any one series. I find the sheer volume of comic books to be a bit overwhelming actually. And without really any friends who are into them I never properly got into it. I've also never read any of the previous Buffy comics. But maybe this is like my gateway drug? I now stop by my local comic book store every month for the new issues, so I could check out some other things too...

And on a related note, Joss Whedon has also recently announced that he'll be doing something similar for Angel, set after its own series finale. I wasn't really as big a fan of Angel, and bizarrely I haven't even watched all the episodes yet although I have the whole series on DVD (I've watched all of the first and last seasons, but I'm missing pretty big chunks in between). Some new Firefly comics may also be on the way, and there have been rumblings of a possible Ripper TV movie featuring Giles. Check out all the scoop from Comic-Con here. I have been a bit disappointed that Joss Whedon hasn't had any new TV shows since Firefly got cancelled so it's good to see that he's really been keeping himself busy with lots of other things.