Sunday, May 30, 2010

M: how much more how i met your mother?!

I feel like this is said about How I Met Your Mother at the end of every season, but seriously, when are we going to meet this mother?!?! How much longer can this show possibly continue on without the mother becoming a part of the story? It's now FIVE seasons, FIVE years without meeting the mother. At this point we know she has a bright-colored umbrella, likes the same music as Ted, plays the bass guitar, has a really hot roommate (Rachel Bilson) and I think we saw her toes in one episode.

FIVE years.

Next season will be year 6. Ted's love life pre-mother is just getting boring and played out. Robin and Barney, Robin and Ted, Robin and anyone -- played out. Barney as a man whore, Barney pining over Robin -- played out. Lily and Marshall being cute -- well, that can continue. But even that will get old at some point. And perhaps Lily will spend part of next season preggerz, but that's only 2 out of 5 of the main characters having a storyline that goes somewhere, while the 6th (title) character hasn't even shown up! If they don't hurry and start moving this show and its storyline forward, I really do think I'm going to have to call it quits. :( And I really don't want to call it quits!


Saturday, May 29, 2010

M: gossip girl finale -- i really need to give up this show!

So before I actually saw the finale of the episode, I decided to read a bunch of very complete recaps of the show. In reading these recaps I was horrified with the insane direction the finale had taken. C takes J's V-card?! D picks S over V, but can't chase S to Paris because G shows up preggerz?! C proposes to B and we almost get C and B back together again but D punches C for sleeping with J?! Then C gets mugged and shot?! Oh and N is now channeling his inner C and sleeping around with girls after breaking up with S. And J is finally sent off packing.

Yeah, I read all that, rolled my eyes, and proclaimed that I was ready to be DONE with Gossip Girl! In the same way I completely dropped 90210 and Melrose Place this past season, or The OC before it ended. I tend to have difficulty dropping shows completely, but there is a level of extreme absurdness or extreme wow-I-just-don't-care-anymore. And I decided after reading all those recaps that Gossip Girls had hit that level.

Then I watched the episode.

I don't know what it is about this show. It has NUTSO storylines; it is lacking of truly likable characters because every single character has proven to do truly unredeemably evil, bad, selfish things... But I've watched every single episode to this day. To the show's credit, it does pack a lot into 40 minutes of TV, and maybe that's why I enjoy it? It's ability to zoom right through all its crazy storylines? I have no idea. Maybe I just like Kristin Bell's narrating? ;-) Truthfully the only character I still like on the show maybe 80% of the time is Blair, and that's 50% because of Dorota. Everyone else falls into a likable 20% of the time or less category. So tell me... Why did watching the season finale *not* make me want to give up the show? Reading about it did. But watching it... Now I'm curious to see where they'll take it next season! Is something seriously wrong with me?

I still want C and B to end up together. D is just annoying and V gone is kinda nice. S is a bitch and I hate her. J is finally gone (for a little while at least?). I actually like E a lot, but whenever E is on the screen more than 5 minutes he starts getting evil and annoying, too. N is boring. I used to believe that the best "ship" on the show was B and S but even they're so boring and played out now! So um... Why am I planning on watching more Gossip Girl?!

Friday, May 28, 2010

M: life unexpected, finale & renewed!

So I have a whole series of posts in our draft box on season finales but I haven't had time to sit down and finish any of these posts. Now, season finales are hitting me right and left and I definitely know I may never catch up... but here's to trying anyway! I'm going to start with the earliest of these spring season finales -- Life Unexpected!

This is a show that I didn't expect to love and care about, but I really do. For the finale, I was super scared that they would screw with the season finale and let Baz stop Cate and Ryan's wedding. I mean Cate and Baz have this really interesting chemistry and they have Lux between them, but so very obviously Ryan is her perfect guy. And I'm a major shipper, I loooooove ships, but I do not root for Cate + Baz, I'm definitely Team Ryan. My hope is the show producers and writers and powers-that-be recognize this and don't mess with it. Please, please, please don't let the nice guy finish last here. While Baz may be Cate's high school crush, and possible "first love" (I say possible because I don't really believe she could've been "in love" with him back then, just completely "in crush") and for Baz, Cate may become the "girl that got away," they work better separate. Their individual dynamics with Lux as her parents are much more interesting, and Ryan is such a great guy! (Even though I snicker a bit that he's Kerr Smith, also known as Jack from Dawson's Creek.)

In any case, the finale was extremely satisfying for me: Cate and Ryan got married; Lux was fully on board with it and let go of her childish dreams of her real mommy and daddy being together in a nuclear family; Baz realizes what he missed out on with Cate. I think that those were all important events/revelations for each character and I really hope that the next season (yay for renewal! even if it's only 12-13 episodes...) doesn't mess with that, but rather builds on it.

This show is really interesting to me because it does really remind me of Gilmore Girls in feel, even though it's set in a completely different place (Portland, not Connecticut), is grayer in feel, and doesn't have a cast of quirky supporting characters. *shrug* But it definitely satisfies that void in my life left behind by Gilmore Girls (the good, Lorelai-Luke years). :) I hope that the half-season renewal of Life Unexpected eventually becomes a full season renewal. How the heck does The CW justify 20 years of stupid One Tree Hill but only half a season of this show that has actual heart?! *sigh*

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Still Lost: At least it's over?

Plenty of people more knowledgeable about and invested in Lost than I am have already written about the series finale in great detail but I figured that I might as well chime in and finish up the story of my relationship with the show (see parts onetwo, and three).

Bottom line? I found the finale to be generally pretty disappointing, but my expectations had not been that high. I caught up with all of season 6 in just a matter of weeks, squeezing in the last 5 episodes into the weekend right before the finale, so in a way I felt like I'd had less of a chance to mull it all over and form any theories. So while I didn't find the ending to be terribly satisfying, I'm not outraged or anything. The writers kind of dug their own grave with the number of questions left unanswered over the years so the likelihood of resolving everything was pretty slim, especially since they seemed to be under the impression that the viewers really just cared about the characters.

The biggest problem I had with the finale was that I felt like it really only addressed things that happened in this last season. The action climax was all about defeating the Man in Black/Locke/smoke monster, who wasn't even introduced until the season 5 finale. The whole deal with Jacob and protecting the glowy cave and MIB not being able to leave the island still doesn't really make any sense to me, but I was fine with the resolution of Jack killing Locke and dying to save the island and with Hurley (and Ben) taking over for Jacob. (Although...did anyone else find it kind of lame that pulling the plug out of the hole in the cave didn't cause more destruction faster? It seemed way too easy for Jack to get back to the cave and replug the light.)

What I'm not fine with is how all this relates to the first 5 seasons of the show. I mean, wasn't Jacob the leader of the Others? Didn't he bring the candidates to the island? So what was up with the Others' hostile behavior during the early seasons? I get that Jacob was a hands-off leader but the Others always acted like they knew everything. How did what the Dharma Initiative was doing with electromagnetism or whatever relate to the glowy cave? What in the world was the deal with Charles Widmore? With Walt? All of these things were just pretty much ignored.

And the emotional climax of the finale, in the"flash-sideways," turned out to actually have nothing to do with the island at all: it was some kind of purgatory where all the characters went after they died (whenever or however) to "find each other." I can understand why the writers did this--it was fun for both them and the audience to have these fun what-if scenarios and allow the characters to get their "happy endings." I loved the idea of Ben as a crotchety high school teacher, of Miles and Sawyer as an LAPD detective team, of Hurley as a happy millionaire philanthropist, and of course Kate as still pretty much exactly the same person. And the Sawyer/Juliet and Charlie/Claire reunions were pretty wonderful. (Less so Sayid/Shannon--was I the only one who totally forgot that they had a thing? Wasn't Nadia supposed to be Sayid's true love??)

But I found a lot of things about this ending to be somewhat troublesome. Why was Desmond the first one to know where they were anyway? Why did Eloise not want Desmond to gather everyone? What did it mean that Ben didn't want to go into the church? Why were Desmond and Penny there but not Miles, Daniel, Charlotte, etc? And most concerning--this means that the blowing up of the Swan station at the end of season 5 decidedly did NOT work. I think one of the main problems I had with Lost in general was that the characters seemed to always think they knew what was going on or what they had to do, but it turns out that they were really just blindly doing big things and getting nowhere. Are we supposed to take this as some kind of comment on human nature or something? The producers and writers can claim it was all about the characters as much as they want, but Lost was a mystery show. And when it turns out that most of the events of a mystery show, while they happened seemingly organically and were definitely interesting, didn't even really matter? Kind of not cool.

I don't know, maybe some of the questions I have were actually answered at some point or can be explained otherwise, but I don't really care enough to look into it. This isn't really a show that you can endeavor to fully understand as a casual viewer, which is what I consider myself, and anyone who, like, doesn't read message boards to be. So whatever, it was a fun ride. I've invested just as much time on shows that were not nearly as high quality and ambitious as Lost was. I am pretty glad that it wasn't on my mind week after week for 6 years though. I think the payoff would have been even less if that had been the case!

T^2: Missed out!

M: This question came to mind because of all the season (and series) finales happening right now... What's a show that was on air this past season that you really felt like you missed out on?

Mira: I'm not sure if Cougar Town or Modern Family count because technically I did start watching them, but I fell behind and couldn't catch up because the episodes weren't on the website anymore. But I did really want to watch them and didn't get to, and from everything I've read since -- they both sounded awesome. A show that I never even realized existed but sounded interesting to me is USA's Royal Pains which is about to start its second season. Rich people, doctors, corruption; sounds like fun. :) My curiosity is also piqued by Jenn's blog entry on Vampire Diaries. It was a show that just didn't interest me before it started, didn't capture my attention the half episode I happened to catch of it once, but now I must say I am a bit interested. I'd like to point out that Lost is not on my list. I have yet to see a single episode of it and had figured if I ever did start watching it, it would be after it ended. Well it's ended and I'm still not interested... Anyone want to change my mind on this? :)

Jennifer: It's not a show that I normally would be interested in but I wanted to watch The Good Wife but never got around to it. I've also heard very good things about Breaking Bad but haven't watched that either, and I have whole seasons of Damages and Justified on my DVR unwatched. And of course there are all the premium cable shows, like The Pacific and Treme, that I always intend to catch on DVD but there's just never enough time...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thursday Talk Week 20

J: Which actors do you want to see return to TV or get their own TV shows?

Jennifer: I think Sarah Michelle Gellar needs to come back to TV. Her movie career hasn't really taken off but I think she could totally be great again with the right series. I also think Katee Sackhoff (Starbuck from Battlestar Galactica) should get her own show. I didn't watch this season of 24 but I doubt it was a good use of her talents.

Mira: This is hard!!! But I'll pick Jason Behr for eye candy. Though I guess he wouldn't make for an interesting character really in any way. Well he can be the pretty boy in a show starring... Ooh! The Wonderfalls girl, Caroline Dhavernas. I really liked her in that she was so normal seeming and really likeable as Jaye in the show. And I want more shows with female leads who don't have to be crazy or slutty or bitchy or klutzy to be interesting. Just normal! :)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

The Vampire Diaries: The Best Show You're Not Watching

I'm totally serious about this. No, The Vampire Diaries isn't innovative or groundbreaking or anything new really, but in terms of entertainment value, characters you actually like and care about, storylines that actually progress and pay off, twists that make sense but that you don't see coming? The Vampire Diaries has totally been knocking it out of the park.

I admit that I dismissed the show at first. I know that the recent resurgent popularity of vampires with Twilight and all that probably led to this show being made in the first place (it's based on a series of books first published almost 20 years ago) but I was wary of another vampire romance, especially another triangle, this time with the girl, Elena, caught between two vampire brothers, Stefan and Damon.  And the first couple of episodes really weren't that great. I felt like it was trying a little too hard to be "shocking" and a lot of the supporting characters felt useless. But things started to improve, and actually the show turned out to not even really be what I assumed -- yes, there is the romance, but the triangle hasn't quite manifested yet (though it'll probably go there eventually), and there's just a lot more going on with the town's history. It's doing what I think vampire stories should always do: take advantage of the vampire characters' long pasts. Plus, the show totally has guts: it's not afraid to kill off people, even main characters.

By the midseason break I was definitely enjoying the show but it wasn't yet on my weekly viewing list. For awhile there was this situation with Damon "compelling" Caroline, one of Elena's friends, that I thought was just kind of unpleasant, and also it felt like every week Damon doing something bad and Stefan wanted to kill him but then didn't. There's also this "Founders' Council" of various town officials and descendants of the original founders of the town that knows about the vampires that I thought was generally kind of lame, and a lot of the more "regular" high school type stories were just falling flat.

But then the second half of the season really amped things up. This tomb was opened up, releasing a group of vampires trapped there in the 1860s (when Damon and Stefan became vampires), and all the history stuff became completely relevant. I don't want to spoil too much for those of you who haven't watched at all, but I really can't believe how much has actually happened. While a lot of shows would drag out questions like who Elena's real parents are or will Jeremy, Elena's brother, actually become a vampire or where's Katherine (Elena's vampire doppelganger)...we've already got answers! Yesterday's season finale upped the body count yet again and ended on multiple cliffhangers but it was still really satisfying. I can't WAIT until next season!

Of course, besides story, the other thing that really makes a show is the characters and the acting, and the three leads are doing a pretty fantastic job. The biggest revelation in the cast for me has been Nina Dobrev as Elena. I kind of hated her on Degrassi but was pleasantly surprised that I actually really like her here. Elena is definitely more Buffy than Bella in terms of being in love with a vampire. She doesn't have any special powers of her own, but she's not helpless, she's not obsessing over the future, and even as she gets more and more embroiled in vampire drama, she still cares about being a good sister and friend.

Stefan and Damon are kind of like what Angel and Spike from the Buffyverse would be like as brothers. Stefan is the "good" brother, brooding and tortured, and Damon is the snarky "evil" one who starts coming over to the good side because of Elena. Paul Wesley as Stefan doesn't get to have as much fun as Ian Somerhalder does as Damon, but I do really like their dynamic. There was this one plotline where Stefan temporarily loses control and their roles are kind of reversed that was really good. Oh, and I definitely don't mind that the show seems to relish opportunities to get these guys shirtless...

So yes, the Vampire Diaries is still basically a teen soap, but what it does, it does really well. Hopefully the show can keep up the momentum next season!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

T^2: Travel!

M: A book/movie/TV show (no travel shows!) that made you really, really want to travel somewhere. Where and why?

Mira: For me it's Greece and Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (one and two!). Absolutely gorgeous. Additionally there are probably a dozen books that I've read that have been set in Ireland and revolves around Celtic folklore. (Like every other Nora Roberts novel, or... I can't name any more off the top of my head, but I know there are more!) Green of Ireland, blue and white of Greece; that's where I want to go!!

Jennifer: I definitely agree with Sisterhood and Greece--Santorini just looked so breathtakingly beautiful but also quaint and cute! Some others of mine are Prince Edward Island from Anne of Green Gables, Antarctica because of Troubling a Star by Madeleine L'Engle, the Royal Crescent in Bath and the Cobb harbour wall in Lyme Regis because of Jane Austen's Persuasion and its various adaptations, the Taj Mahal because of The Namesake (though somewhat negated by Slumdog Millionaire)...I could probably go on and on. I have travel envy!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

M: summer movies 2010

I've been meaning to blog this for a while now. Here's a run down of the summer blockbusters and movies I am most looking forward to watching! (Some of them have already hit theaters.)

Iron Man 2 - I heart Robert Downey, Jr. and I really enjoyed the first one.
Letters to Juliet - For whatever reason I really want to see this movie. Maybe it's because I'm going to Italy later this summer. ;-) Odd because I don't really like Amanda Seyfried.
Robin Hood - Though I'd be fine waiting to watch it on DVD...
Sex and the City 2 - Hey, can't stop following the franchise now, right?

Knight and Day - Shrug, what's the summer without a spy thriller? :)
Twilight: Eclipse - Well, not really. I still haven't watched New Moon, but I have read all the books and I enjoyed Twilight. So... I'll watch this eventually.

Salt - Or two. (spy thriller)
Beastly - Where did this movie come from? How come I hadn't heard of this before? Well, I want to watch!

Step Up 3D - I've only been waiting for this for a couple of years! Yay!
Going the Distance - Um, anything with Drew and Justin! (I like them individually, that is.)

I'll probably get to watch maybe 3 of those movies at most. I seriously never make it to the theater! :-(

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Thursday Talk Week 18

J: What is your favorite traditional animated film? Computer-animated? Stop motion? (Any other kind?)

Jennifer: For traditional, my favorite is Beauty and the Beast. I grew up with the Disney films of the 90s and loved a lot of them but I think this one has held up the best as I got older. I know there's newer technology nowadays and all that but the library and ballroom are still GORGEOUS. For computer-animated, I think my favorite is The Incredibles--it's still fresh and funny every time I watch it. For stop-motion, definitely Wallace and Gromit. I enjoyed the feature film, Curse of the Were-Rabbit, but I think the shorts are my favorites. Gromit is so cute! And he knits!

Mira: Mine, too, is Beauty and the Beast! I think it's in large part because it has my favorite Disney songs: "Belle," "Be Our Guest," "Something There," and "Beauty and the Beast." Another close second is Anastasia. For computer-animated I have to go with Finding Nemo. Though Up! was pretty fantastic, too. I only like Wallace and Gromit because of the dog's obsession with cheese, but it didn't really draw me in. Stop-motion just might not be my thing. To add another category, I'm going to add in anime -- simply because I don't think of it in the same way as the other traditional animated films. I adore Miyazaki and his fantastical worlds, but my absolute favorite of them was Kiki's Delivery Service. (Kiki wasn't exactly named after the title character of the movie, but it did occur to me when naming her that there was a connection to the movie.)