Movable Type 3.2
June 30, 2010
Tater Tops: Shockers
(Warning: Because of the nature of these categories, there are spoilers for season finales involved!)
Watch with Kristin's next categories for Tater Tops awards voting are now up.
Best Shocker: The only ones of these I saw were Vampire Diaries and Grey's. While the Grey's finale was suspenseful - and extremely well done - I'm not sure I'd exactly call it shocking. The Katherine/Elena switch on Vampire Diaries definitely was, and the whole last few minutes of that episode (the switch and the various things it caused) were so shocking that I still couldn't believe it when I watched it again last night.
Moment That Made You Want to Throw Out Your TV: Honestly? None of these. (And I've seen all but the Life Unexpected one.) I mean, that doesn't mean I necessarily liked them, but when I want to throw out my TV, it's generally because some is acting completely out of character, and/or something off-the-wall happens for no good reason just to mess with the plot/break up a happy-but-"boring" couple/get ratings/whatever. And I don't think any of these qualified.
I don't understand why either Grey's moment is even on the list. I've gathered that people hate the Owen/Teddy storyline, but I don't get why, at all. People are complicated. Of course he has conflicting feels about his ex, with whom he survived a war! Same with the Lexi/Alex/Mark thing. Her boyfriend was dying! There are various reasons why she might have said "I love you," regardless of how, exactly, she meant it, or whether her ex-who-wants-her-back was in the room. The reason I still watch Grey's is that even when the actual plotlines are wacky, it stays very emotionally real, and these moments were no exception.
Bones - do I want them together? Yes. Was I a little frustrated with her refusal? Of course. But was it in character for her? Yes, completely. Glee - I actually wanted to throw my TV out the window basically any time Jesse was on screen, but I don't think that's what they mean here, and the particular moment they mention was kind of weird but not really surprising or out-of-character or anything. Gossip Girl - again, not my favorite moment, but it made perfect sense for those characters at that point. And I know this is an unpopular opinion, but I'm honestly not at all convinced that Chuck really did anything wrong (I mean, by his and Blair's standards, not mine) here.
So what moments did make me want to throw out my TV? Barney and Robin breaking up for no reason. Practically any time Izzy was around this season of Grey's, although I seem to have blocked much of it out of my memory. A large chunk of Vanessa and Dan's screen time on Gossip Girl, although more out of boredom than anything else. Most of this season of Private Practice, but especially Dell's utterly unnecessary death. Oh, and Castle going off with his ex-wife right after Beckett breaks up with Anders for him. (No, I apparently never bothered learning the character's name. Sam? No, that was Anders's first name. Checking . . . Tom Demming. Huh. Apparently he will always be Anders [from BSG] to me.)
The Gates: These are not the vampires you're looking for.
Well, okay, who am I to judge? Maybe these are exactly the vampires you're looking for. But they certainly weren't the ones I was looking for. I've written here before that I'll try anything with vampires. (My best friend's response: "This is what's wrong with America today." I know, I know.) But "try" doesn't necessarily mean "become a fan of" or even "keep watching." My love of certain vampire properties (the Buffyverse, Vampire Diaries, the Vampire Academy books, etc.) is something of a double-edged sword here. It means that I'm more likely to try other vampire stuff, sure. But it also means that my standards are higher, or at least more particular. When evaluating a new vampire show, there's always a question at the back of my mind: When I'm in the mood for vampires on my TV, will I ever pick this over reruns of Buffy or Angel or The Vampire Diaries or even Moonlight?
And the answer in the case of The Gates is - well, probably not. It's hard to say after just one episode, so I'll probably watch a few more, but this is one of those shows that I inevitably start hoping get cancelled quickly so I don't have to really decide whether to commit to watching. I mean, it isn't awful. It's just . . . blah. There are vampires and werewolves (or shifters?) and various other as-yet-unspecified magic types, but none of them were particularly interesting in the pilot. Virtually none of the mythology or mechanics of the world have been explained yet, so it's hard to know how to react to some seemingly-significant actions. (Are vampires expected to feed on people? Does the little girl know she's controlling her skateboard with her brain? etc.) The show splits its time more or less evenly between teens and their parents, which is a concept I rather like, but the parents, so far, are just boring. The high school social dynamics are vaguely interesting, but you can get that on a lot of shows.
The pilot did touch upon two ideas I found intriguing. The first was how a high school with a large concentration of children with special abilities - and special abilities that are different from one another - would work. On most shows, there are only a few supernatural folk, so they're outliers, and the focus is usually on staying secret and/or fitting in. Here, where abilities seem to be an open secret (and not a secret at all, among some), they can play with issues like how to coach a football team made up of a mix of humans and werewolves without having any of the kids wind up seriously hurt because others don't know their own strength.
And the other issue, basically, is whether having a school, and a town, like that is worth it at all. A vampire couple discusses how the wife feels that she doesn't fit in with the affluent suburban lifestyle of her neighbors, but the husband is worried about what would happen to their (telekinetic? maybe?) daughter anywhere else, especially among less civilized vampires. (They would eat her, he implies. Vampiric codes of conduct weren't really established yet in the pilot.) Should children be confined to small slices of a carefully-selected world in order to keep them safe, or is it worth trying to integrate into the larger society, even if their differences might put them in danger?
If The Gates can actually use its Stepfordian setting and sundry supernatural characters to examine issues like these, rather than getting bogged down in the Desperate-Housewives-with-fangs melodrama, then it could turn out to be worth watching. But this is ABC, on Sunday nights, in the summer. So I'm not holding my breath, and I'm dusting off my Buffy DVDs, just in case.
June 29, 2010
Some guy in DC cooked some stuff. And apparently Politico felt this warranted an article. What? WHAT??? Are they trying to become a parody of themselves? (And have they never seen the Internet Food Association? Guys [and girls] in DC cook all the time!)
I'm in the middle of the first volume of Stieg Larsson's trilogy, so I was interested to see this NYT article about him and his estate.
Ian Somerhalder is doing . . . something nonspecific . . . with Go Green Mobile Power. Is he investing? It's kind of unclear. But anyway, good for him! And part of his plan is to transfer the Vampire Diaries to green energy sources.
I just watched Justin Bieber's new video because Katerina Graham is in it, and honestly, my main reaction was "Will someone please get that child's hair out of his eyes?" I'm so old.
Apparently Rob Lowe is involved - producing? unclear - with a reality show about young Washingtonians called Potomac Fever. Really? Really? Maybe they'll cook! Also, it doesn't look like there's anyone political on the potential cast list, so I think I'm missing the point. Or maybe they are.
This review of Eclipse is harsher than I would probably be, but makes a bunch of very sound points, especially about the messages these movies send to young girls.
I love the Vampire Academy books, so I am approaching this news of a possible movie with cautious optimism.
A week ago, everyone reported that Glee reality show plans had been scrapped, and I was happy. But now it sounds like they're back on. Sigh.
Paging John Le Carre: The 8 Coolest Things About the Alleged Russian Spy Ring
Russell T. Davies has been known to lie about Doctor Who stuff. Please please PLEASE let this Johnny Depp as the Doctor thing be one of those lies.
Song of the Day: "Sassy"
As a rule, I have extremely low expectations of songs put out by young actresses. So this one by Vampire Diaries costar Katerina Graham struck me as delightfully non-awful!
Trailer: The Oxford Murders
This came out a few years ago in Europe; I'm hoping that the trailer floating around is a sign that we'll get it over here.
I love academic mysteries. And Elijah Wood. And things set at Oxford. Wheee! Prediction: I will spend much of the movie wondering when Inspector Lewis will show up.
Tater Tops: Breakout Star
One of my favorite TV journalists, Kristin Dos Santos at E!, runs fan-voted Tater Tops awards each year. I figured I might as well link you to them and tell you my picks as they happen - I think she does a category or two a day. First up: Breakout Star. I don't watch Community or Modern Family (I know, I know) so that knocks out about half of each list of nominees.
Among the men, I am compelled (hah!) to vote for Ian Somerhalder whenever possible, although I'm not entirely convinced that he wasn't already more of a star than most of these actors, seeing as how he was on Lost and all. (Also, I swear Somerhalder wasn't on the list the first time I looked at it, last night. Huh.) I would not be sad if his vamp brother Paul Wesley got it, or either of the listed guys from Glee (Matthew Morrison or Cory Monteith), although I would have put Mark Salling on the list too - he certainly seems to be more of an unexpected star than Morrison or Monteith. I love Jesse Williams on Grey's, but I don't think he's quite at the level of the other guys as far as star power goes.
Among the women - in addition to the shows listed above, I don't watch The Office either, so I have no opinion there. Life Unexpected drove me nuts and I gave up on it, so Robertson doesn't get my vote either. This leaves Nina Dobrev from The Vampire Diaries and three ladies from Glee, and among that group, Dobrev seems the clear winner. She plays two characters impeccably, and neither are exactly easy roles. Lea Michele is a close second, though. Jane Lynch was already a star, was she not? And, honestly, I like her Glee character exponentially less than everyone else in the universe seems to. Finally, I might be paying too much attention to semantics here, but while I'd definitely call Heather Morris a breakout something, "star" seems like a stretch for that role.
I'm trying to decide if there was anyone else I would have added to these lists . . . Mark Salling, as I'd mentioned. Maybe Malese Jow from Vampire Diaries. Maybe someone from Parenthood? (I've still only seen the pilot of that, but one of the teenage girls is getting a lot of buzz, right?)
OP Fall Campaign
I was looking at the OP fall line because of all the teen show stars in their ad campaign, but I actually really like the clothes! By which I might just mean that I like hoodies and plaid shirts, but whatever. Good job, marketers! I may actually have to look into this.
Warning: In the video at the latter link, there's a clip of Jessica Szohr (Gossip Girl's Vanessa) cuddling with Cory Monteith Glee's Finn that pretty much broke my brain, because can you even imagine how disastrous that relationship would be? Between the characters, I mean. The actors can do whatever they'd like.
Of course, I clicked on the "Find a Store" link on the OP site and it took me right to Walmart.com. Am I going to have to shop at Walmart to get these clothes? Sigh.
Trailer: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
It looks good, but, well, more or less exactly as expected. Which is good! Seven movies into the series, and with source material about which people feel so strongly, I think if there was anything really surprising in the trailer for the new movie, it would actually be a bad sign.
Also, I really need to reread all the books before I go see this.
Conflict Minerals and Electronics
I don't find it terribly surprising that minerals used in the production of computers, iPods, and other popular electronics often come from the Congo and fuel conflict there, but honestly, I'd never really thought about it. Until now, thanks to a takeoff on the "I'm a Mac/I'm a PC" ads that features the ever-charming Joshua Malina:
Read more about the issue here.
June 28, 2010
Okay, I like a lot of people on this list, but any list that has Alex O'Loughlin as the Number One TV Hunk of All Time makes me highly suspicious. Since this poll was conducted via Twitter and blog comments and stuff, I'm assuming his fans are just well-organized.
From the Daily Beast: Hot princes. Yup.
Hah. The WSJ tweeted that the Supreme Court struck down Sarbanes-Oxley. Yeah, not so much.
Honestly, I am all for regulating baby names.
Little Edie Beale's childhood diary is being published in August. I cannot wait.
Rob Lowe is writing a memoir. Insert "hope he doesn't quit halfway through" joke here.
Song of the Day: "Running Up That Hill"
They used the Placebo version of this on The Vampire Diaries, and I hadn't even realized it was a Kate Bush song. But it is!
Star Trek/Ke$ha Mashup
I realize I'm very late to the party here and you have probably all seen this already, but it's really rather delightful so I had to post it.
SyFy's new show Haven starts next week, and I finally just remembered to watch a promo. It looks pretty good!
I thought Eric Balfour looked weirdly familiar in that clip, and I couldn't figure out why - did Veritas: The Quest really make that much of an impression on me? Then I kept reading back in his IMDb profile and realized I probably remembered him from Six Feet Under, and definitely remembered him from a teeny but memorable (at least to me, apparently) role as Frat Boy Going After Zoey Bartlet on an early episode of West Wing. AND he was Jesse on the first few episodes of Buffy! Now I am wondering how I managed to entirely miss this Valemont thing he was in last fall, as it sounds right up my alley. Huh.
I'll spare you my contemplation of whether I recognize Emily Rose from her TV work or just from red carpet pictures. But anyway! This looks like a fun summer sci-fi show! And it's set in Maine! So I think it will be worth a try.
Back from vacation!
Hey everyone! I had a lovely time in North Carolina, and now I'm home and trying to get back into the swing of things. I owe you a bunch of TV posts, and I promise I will get to them eventually, but I wanted to check whether anyone has requests as to which show(s) I should tackle first: Vampire Diaries, Royal Pains, Persons Unknown, Pretty Little Liars? Reviews of pilots of other new shows (The Gates, Scoundrels, Rookie Blue, Memphis Beat)? Opinions, anyone?
June 25, 2010
June 23, 2010
Song of the Day: "Carolina in My Mind"
I am, in fact, going to Carolina. Not in my mind. Really. I've been saying I would for years, since my then-roommate moved down there and this song started making me cry every time I heard it. And then another good friend moved there, and then she had a baby I desperately want to meet, and so I am going, because who can resist a one-month-old? Not me.
(And yes, it is in fact 3:30 a.m. Good morning!)
June 22, 2010
Look at the cast of The Double: Martin Sheen, Richard Gere, Topher Grace, Stephen Moyer, Stana Katic. Wow.
Here's a poster for The Social Network (the Aaron Sorkin Facebook movie).
I can't decide whether I want to read a YA novel about Anne Frank's sex life.
Jason O'Mara has been cast as the lead in Terra Nova. You know, the Spielberg/Braga/Avatar dinosaurs-from-the-future nonsense. Okay, it might not be that bad. Maybe.
June 21, 2010
Celebrity Tweet of the Day
This morning, Rob Lowe tweeted:
Hey all, anyone know the name of the first #westwing episode? (After the Pilot). Am on the Euro-star to London, have a bet with a guy.Hee! (The answer, of course, is "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc.")
I'm going on vacation later this week, so between preparations today and tomorrow, and then actually being away until Sunday, posting might be sporadic until next Monday. I know I owe you some TV posts. I'll do what I can. Have a great week!
June 18, 2010
I don't particularly care about Angelina Jolie or Johnny Depp, but this headline was funny enough to make me click (Good job, EW!): Breaking: Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp have good hair in 'The Tourist' And look at that! Their hair is gorgeous. Wow.
Alexander Skarsgard will star in Battleship. I'm still amused at the whole concept of a movie based on that game, but now I am also relieved, because I first read the headline as "Battlestar" and I was gravely worried that they were making MORE Battlestar Galactica.
ABC Family is developing a show about young spies training at Harvard. Could be fun.
Um, huh. Bobby Fischer paternity drama! They're exhuming his remains in Iceland! Who knew?
Margin Call is certainly casting a lot of pretty, pretty men.
Song of the Day: "California Gurls"
This is somewhat rare for me, but I'm actually embedding this purposefully for the video, rather than incidentally just because I want the audio. I've gotten the impression that this video is much-derided, but I don't really know or care enough about music videos to understand why. I thought it was fun. And it made me hungry. My only question was why it seemed to have nothing to do with California.
(NOTE: This may not be appropriate for kids to see.)
CNN Oil Spill Telethon
On Monday, Larry King is doing a special Disaster in the Gulf: How You Can Help two-hour show from 8-10 p.m. Eastern on CNN. The list of celebrities involved is growing, and it looks like there's something for everyone: Ian Somerhalder! Sting! Edward James Olmos! Harry Connick, Jr.! Pete Wentz! Robert Redford! Carville and Matalin! Anderson Cooper! Tim McGraw! Alyssa Milano! Yeah. Quite a group. Tune in and donate!
The Vampire Diaries 1.3: "Friday Night Bites"
Again, you're getting more or less my stream of consciousness notes from my rewatching of this episode, made slightly more coherent after the fact. If I'm just doing these random thoughts, maybe I should start actually putting timestamps on it and making it more like a liveblog? Hmm. What do you think?
Okay. I know what Damon did to Caroline was wrong and all, but if you HAD to wake up all bloody, there are worse ways to do it than in such a pretty nightgown with Damon sleeping next to you. I like that these vampires actually sleep and stuff. Do Caroline's wounds hurt after the fact? She covers them up, but she never seems to say "ouch" or anything.
What is WITH this history teacher? Why is he always asking about random unconnected dates? Shouldn't they be studying a particular part of history? And he's a bad coach, too!
The football itself seems reasonably realistic in this episodes - much better than on Glee, say. Not that I'm any football expert, but my brother plays and I attended many of his high school games.
I had sort of forgotten about the whole Vicki thing, by the way. Do all of Jeremy's important scenes with girls happen at the grill? Well, not all, but a lot of them do. I suppose that makes some amount of sense.
The dinner party with Elena, Bonnie, and Stefan is so awkwardly cute, and Stefan is trying so hard. He's such a good boyfriend. And then, of course, Damon and Caroline show up, and Stefan can't manage to stop Elena from inviting Damon in. Caroline is hilarious as always, and even Damon can't believe how offensive she's being talking about Elena's "blah phase."
The scene with Elena and Damon in the kitchen was adorable, even if he thinks he's faking. A lot of his fake nice stuff in this episode ends up being true by the end of the season. Elena and Damon are somewhat inexplicably comfortable together from the beginning - watch them load the dishwasher. And Damon is the one who realizes that Elena was miserable at cheerleading practice, and tells her to quit. And she does.
When Damon tells Elena about Katherine, she's clearly uncomfortable with the whole thing, but she cuts right to the chase: "I'm sorry. About Katherine. You lost her, too." Stefan would never, ever say that sort of thing to Damon, and no one else really knows what happened, so far as we know, so is this the first time Damon has had his grief openly acknowledged like that?
How old is Damon trying to pass for, anyway? Early twenties? Do we ever find out exactly how old he was when he turned? Is he pretending to work or anything? What does he tell Caroline? I guess it doesn't matter, since he wipes her memory whenever he feels like it.
When Caroline tells Stefan that Matt and Elena were each others' first, is she meaning to imply that they slept together, or does it just sort of sound that way? Did they? The extent of their relationship, and Elena's sexual and romantic history in general, is kind of unclear. I guess the point is that nothing before Stefan really mattered that much, but I'm still curious, especially since Matt remains such a major character.
Even in Elena's dream, she says Damon isn't so bad, and Stefan says he is. Was the dream totally dictated by Damon or did Elena's subconscious play a role? Unrelated: Elena's bed always looks so comfortable with that big fluffy white comforter. I want it.
Stefan: "There must be a shred of humanity left inside my brother. Somewhere. I keep hoping. But how do I make him see it? And how do I protect her?" Interestingly, Damon ends up realizing his humanity BY protecting her, basically. So Stefan's looking at this all wrong. Sort of.
Football game: This is making me miss football season. The drinking here is way more obvious than at any of my high school's games, though. The Elena/Stefan scene with the necklace was adorable, and he frames the gift in a very chivalrous way - as a token for her to wear while he plays. Of course, this is a cover for it being for protection, but still.
The Damon/Elena scene at the game: What's Elena doing at her car, anyway? Or is it an SUV? Do we see this car again? Am I just forgetting things? Quite possible. Anyway! Damon and Elena's conversation about Caroline is interesting. It's slightly surprising to remember that in these early episodes, even Elena thought Damon was just . . . you know, a guy. So having these conversations about his dating life and whatever seem so strange to the audience but are completely reasonable, given what people know (or don't). And even this early, Elena's the one who has Damon's number and isn't afraid to stand up to him. Sure, it helps that she thinks he's human, but still. The slap scene is great, and Damon looks so confused.
Stefan thinks Damon keeps him alive to torture him because he loves Katherine, but I think deep down it's just that Damon loves Stefan. Yes, this ties in to my ongoing theory that the Stefan/Damon relationship is the core of the show. Damon's like a little kid here after Stefan says there's some human in him - "You say I'm human? I'll show you!" And then he chomps on the evil history teacher. It was nice to have him kill someone so unlikeable, for once, and to open up a spot for Alaaaaric.
I love Stefan's voiceover of "There's nothing human left in Damon" over the visual of Damon watching Elena sleep. After Damon's whole "I can do with Elena whatever I want" speech to Stefan, we see that what he actually wants to do is gaze at her, touch her hair and her face, gently, and leave. Oh, Damon. Swoon.
A few other random things:
June 17, 2010
This Andrew Cuomo/Sandra Lee thing continues to mystify me, and apparently his mom agrees. Lasagna made with tomato soup and cottage cheese? That's just wrong.
John Dickerson loves Foyle's War. I mean, come on. Everyone should love Foyle's War.
Bill Richardson isn't President, but that means he had time to perform the marriage ceremony of Harrison Ford and Calista Flockhart. So, you know, silver linings.
The Breaking Dawn screenwriter swears there will be no graphic sex or birth scenes in the movies, which is kind of odd because really, does anyone remember anything except graphic sex and birth scenes from that book?
Okay, the MGM nonsense messing with James Bond and The Hobbit was one thing, but if it means Cabin in the Woods will be indefinitely delayed, then they really need to resolve things, because how dare they keep us from seeing Bradley Whitford in a Joss Whedon movie?
This Glee/Grey's Anatomy crossover idea is kind of brilliant.
Do girls like Edward Cullen because he encourages Bella to eat?
Song of the Day: "Crossfire"
Brandon Flowers of the Killers has a new solo song. I kind of like it. Different format than usual: when you click here it will take you to his site and automatically start playing.
Not Every Conspiracy Is a Theory.
Okay - any show that defines the three branches of government in its promo has my attention:
And really, it just looks intriguing in general. Apparently you can watch the whole pilot at AMC's Rubicon site. I haven't had a chance yet, so I don't really know what the whole deal is, but codes! Chess! Conspiracies! Sign me up!
June 16, 2010
Katherine Heigl seems to be downplaying the amount of mystery in One for the Money, which is, ah, distressing. Seeing as how it's based on a mystery novel and all.
Vampire fan? Want to support Gulf Aid? Here are shirts.
Stephen Collins, the dad from 7th Heaven will be a regular on No Ordinary Family. Marcos Siega is supposed to be involved too, and I have to say, those two things both make me more excited about this show.
Song of the Day: "All I Need"
Fine. Fine. I'm using a lot of songs from The Vampire Diaries recently. So sue me! They're good songs.
Royal Pains 2.2 "Lovesick"
My thoughts on this second episode are after the jump.
Patients of the Week: Two of them! I actually like that, because it seems more realistic for them to be treating several patients at a time for reasonably minor things than to constantly have one patient with a big weird ailment. Not that I generally demand realism of this show or anything. That said, these were a bit Messagey - Don't try to change yourself for someone! Trust your partner! Last week was kind of Messagey too, so I hope this isn't a trend for this season. This isn't Grey's Anatomy, people!
The Lawson Family: I continue to be skeptical of the father situation, but if it makes Hank and Evan into more interesting characters, fine. Is Evan more willing to forgive their father because he's younger and doesn't remember as much? Perhaps. How old were the boys when their mother died? Who was their guardian? Were they in foster care or something? I want answers!
HankMed: I like them best when they're all working together, really, so I hope this continues. The bobblehead thing was hilarious and also a brilliant product tie-in, because you can of course now buy the bobbleheads from USA.
Divya's Engagement: You know what? I like Raj. His ongoing "I don't think you know what subliminal means" thing was hilarious, and it's really interesting to watch Divya and Raj navigate these questions that come up when they try to figure out a way to balance their respect for tradition with their modern sensibilities. The only thing I don't like about this storyline is the whole moving-to-London thing. Why can't they just get rid of that, and make Raj part of the cast?
Jill's Job: I continue to be bored by this supposed plot, so I will ignore it until it produces something interesting.
Boris: Was he even mentioned?
Hank and Jill: Well, I got what I wanted here - this storyline was not ignored. The moment with Newberg at the beginning, when they were cutely but awkwardly explaining that they weren't together but it was okay, was adorable, and I was all ready to say that I wanted to see them apart for a while and dealing with staying friends. But then Jill had her yard sale, and then the whole garage thing happened and that totally won me over. So really, I'd be okay with them being together, or trying to be friends but not together, as long as they keep having good scenes together.
Overall: Again, this was . . . fine. Which is really all I demand from this show.
Chrome Has My Number
When you start up Google's Chrome browser, it helpfully shows you the eight sites you visit most so you can just click on the image of the site to go to it, if you want. It occurs to me that that paints a pretty accurate picture of my online activity and, well . . . me. Here are the sites:
IMDb(Nota bene: It doesn't register Google Reader or Google Docs because they're subdomains of Google. If it did, they would definitely be on the list.)
June 16 is Bloomsday - the day on which all the action, if you want to call it that, of James Joyce's Ulysses took place. People celebrate this. No, really. They celebrate all over the world, but especially in Dublin, where the book took place. The Huffington Post has a bunch of pictures up of these celebrations. The James Joyce center, as you might imagine, goes all out. So does New York. (Nota bene: This Bloomsday, the first Google result, seems to be unrelated.) Oh, and a very traditional way to celebrate: banning the book, again, still! Thanks, Apple!
It was about ten years ago now that I took a Joyce seminar entitled, simply, "Reading Ulysses." And so I can say that I read every word, from "Stately, plump Buck Mulligan" to "yes I said yes I will Yes." (We read secondary sources too, don't worry.) And I pretty much hated it at the time, but I'm glad I did it, and I almost have some vaguely fond memories of it now! At this very moment, 40% of me wants to reread it in a non-class setting, and 60% still thinks it's drivel that people say is brilliant because they don't understand it. So . . . happy Bloomsday? Yeah.
June 15, 2010
Song of the Day: "One Fine Day"
I came across this while looking for versions of "My Boyfriend's Back," and, well, since when do you need an excuse for some Carole King/Chiffons action, anyway?
All Good Shows Use "My Boyfriend's Back"
They played a version of this on The Good Guys last night, so I thought I'd use the original as the song of the day. But then I realized there were a lot more versions of this than I'd realized, so here you go. A retrospective!
The original: the Angels (complete with random images from Grease):
Martha and the Vandellas:
Here are the Raveonettes, otherwise known as the version on The Vampire Diaries:
And - aha! The version they used on The Good Guys, by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes:
June 14, 2010
Apparently the ladies of Friends ate Cobb salads for lunch every day for ten years. Now you know!
Remember how Coldplay wouldn't let Glee use their music? Yeah, they've totally changed their minds.
Random Tony Awards Thoughts
I've been going to bed early recently, so the fact that I stayed up to watch the Tony Awards last night means that I am SO TIRED this morning and cannot possibly write up my notes on Royal Pains as I'd intended. So here are some random thoughts about the Tony Awards instead.
1. I'm not particularly a Sean Hayes fan, by which I mean that I wasn't wild about his character in Will and Grace and haven't really seen him in anything else. But I thought he was a perfectly competent host. I mean, fine, if we can't have Neil Patrick Harris host everything (why not?) - it coud have been a lot worse.
2. His make-out session with Kristin Chenoweth was a nice jab at the Newsweek thing, without belaboring the point. I know people tend to be love/hate with Chenoweth, but I love her and I thought all her bits in the show were perfectly charming.
3. I honestly had no idea that Daniel Radcliffe was so short. Or Katie Holmes was so tall. Or something. (According to IMDb, he's 5'8" and she's 5'9", but if that's true, then she was wearing 9-inch heels or something.)
4. I'd never even heard of Million Dollar Quartet, but it looked pretty interesting.
5. Angela Lansbury! She was wonderful. Of course.
6. American Idiot looked way better than I'd expected, and reminded me that I still haven't figured out what about 40% of the lyrics to "Holiday" are.
7. Why can they never mic people properly at the Tonys? I remember they had this issue last year, too. I mean, of any award show, this one should understand the whole live/on-stage concept!
8. Related: I'm not going to give Lea Michele all the blame for all the popping with her microphone. But she did seem to be trying a bit too hard. Can we just go ahead and cast her in the revival of Funny Girl already and get it over with?
9. Matthew Morrison, on the other hand, was perfection, as usual, as far as I'm concerned. I would happily watch an entire show of him singing and dancing, and now I'm quite looking forward to his album.
10. They ended on time! Good job, show!
June 13, 2010
Ha! Joss Whedon's 25 favorite TV character (that weren't on his shows) include at least two of my favorites, and the list is rather amusing overall: "5) Josh Lyman from the West Wing. Another 'throw a stone, hit a favorite', but Josh has a thing. That thing is called Donna."
HBO showed the first trailer for The Game of Thrones tonight. I'm kind of excited about it. Not that I get HBO.
I don't think I ever saw the original Fright Night, but the cast of the remake is looking pretty great.
Don't understand how the tournament in Glee was supposed to work, exactly? Don't worry. No one else does either.
USAhas a new cop show. On the one hand, USA has been coming out with really good shows recently. On the other, I'm not sure how many more cop shows I can bring myself to care about, or even keep straight in my head.
Vampire Diaries Quotes (1.1-1.3)
I'm always trying to look up quotes from TV shows I like and getting annoyed that various sites either don't have what I want or have too many typos or whatever. So! I am going to start recording quotes from various shows, mostly for my own reference. But who knows - maybe they will help someone else out there Googling for quotes. I'm going to try to put the actual quotes behind a cut so they won't take up space on the main page of the site, and I'll update this as I rewatch various episodes.
Stefan: For over a century I have lived in secret, hiding in the shadows, alone in the world. Until now. I am a vampire, and this is my story.
Darren: He sounded like James Blunt.
Stefan: I shouldn't have come home. I know the risk. But I have to know her.
Elena: Dear Diary, Today will be different. It has to be. I will smile, and it will be believable. My smile will say "I'm fine. Thank you." Yes. I feel much better. I will no longer be the sad little girl who lost her parents. I will start fresh. Be someone new. That's the only way I'll make it through.
Elena: It's all about the coffee, Aunt Jenna.
Bonnie: But then I started thinking - I predicted Obama. And I predicted Heath Ledger. And I still think Florida will break off and turn into little resort islands.
Elena: Really, I can't be freaked out by cars for the rest of my life.
Bonnie: Look at the shower curtain on Kelly Beech. She looks a hot - can we still say tranny mess?
Tyler: Hey, Pete Wentz called. He wants his nail polish back.
Elena: All I see is back.
Elena: You haven't seen crazy, Jeremy.
Elena: Dear Diary, I made it through the day. I must have said "I'm fine. Thanks." at least thirty-seven times, and I didn't mean it once. But no one noticed. When someone asks "How are you?" they really don't want an answer.
Elena: Okay. Hi, bird. That's not . . . creepy or anything.
Elena: I'm Elena.
Jeremy [to Vicki]: When's the last time you had sex with a puppy?
Caroline: His name is Stefan Salvatore. He lives with his uncle up at the old Salvatore boarding house. He hasn't lived here since he was a kid - military family, so they moved around a lot. He's a Gemini, and his favorite color is blue.
Elena: No worries. I get it - blood makes you squeamish.
Elena: How did you know where I lived?
Stefan: If I don't write it down, I forget it. Memories are too important.
Elena: Any siblings?
Mr. Tanner: Mr. Donovan. Would you like to take this opportunity to overcome your embedded jock stereotype?
Mr. Tanner: Salvatore. Any relation to the original settlers here at Mystic Falls?
Elena: What makes you think that I'm sad?
Stefan: You won't be sad forever, Elena.
Vicki: No. Ty. I'm not having sex against a tree.
Stefan: Crow's a bit much, don't you think?
Stefan: Why are you here now?
Damon: Took my breath away, Elena. She's a dead ringer for Katherine. Is it working, Stefan? Being around her. Being in her world. Does it make you feel alive?
Damon: Imagine what her blood tastes like! I can.
Stefan: But wherever you go, people die.
Damon: I promised you an eternity of misery. So I'm just keeping my word.
Caroline: I'm inappropriate, I always say the wrong thing, and . . . Elena always says the right thing. She doesn't even try, and he just picks her. And she's always the one that everyone picks. For everything. And I try. So hard, and . . . I'm never the one.
Stefan: I know it's late, but, uh, I needed to know that you were okay.
1.2: The Night of the Comet
Stefan: I'm awake. For the first time in a long time, I feel completely and undeniably awake.
Jenna: Hair up or down?
Caroline: You and Stefan talked all night. There was no sloppy first kiss or touchy-feely of any kind?
Caroline: Okay, it's easy. Boy likes girl. Girl likes boy. Sex.
Damon: You must be Elena. I'm Damon. Stefan's brother.
Elena: Wow. This is your living room?
Damon: I see why my brother's so smitten. It's about time. For a while there, I thought he'd never get over the last one. Nearly destroyed him.
Damon: Great gal. She's got . . . spunk. You, on the other hand, look pooped. Did you overexert yourself today? Let me guess - hospital.
Damon: Remember, if you don't feed properly, none of those little tricks work right!
Damon: We both know the closest you'll ever get to humanity is when you rip it open and feed on it.
Stefan: What game are you playing, Damon?
Elena: He's on the rebound, and has raging family issues.
Elena: We never got to the texting part.
Zach: What is Damon doing here? Why did he come home?
Zach: Is she worth it? Uncle Stefan. This girl you came back for?
Stefan: I think it's just a ball of snow and ice, trapped on a path it can't escape. And once every 145 years, it gets to come home.
Elena: You seem to spend a lot of time apologizing.
Elena: You didn't tell me that you had a brother.
Elena: He told me about your ex . . . Katherine?
Elena: We met, and we talked, and it was epic. But then the sun came up and reality set in.
Vicki: I know you.
Damon [when Stefan jumps onto the roof]: Not bad! Have you been eating bunnies?
Stefan: That's what this is about? You want to expose me?
Damon: It's good to be home. I think I might stay a while. This town could use a bit of a wake-up call, don't you think?
Stefan: What are you up to, Damon?
Caroline: Ugh! So much drama. Ever notice how the druggies are the biggest attention whores?
Caroline, on Bonnie: Yeah, she kind of wigs out? It's like her thing.
Caroline: I was hoping I'd see you again.
Stefan: I met a girl. We talked. It was epic. Then sun came up and reality set in. Well, this is reality. Right here.
1.3: Friday Night Bites
Damon: This could have gone a completely different way.
Tyler: Oh look, there's Elena and her new boyfriend. What are they doing? Oh, they're walking. Walking. Walking. Yep, right into the sunset.
Elena: I didn't know you played football.
Elena: To them you're Mysterious Loner Guy. Wouldn't hurt to be part of. Make some friends.
Matt: First my girlfriend, now my team?
Caroline: I got the other brother. Hope you don't mind.
Damon: Very Emerson, the way you reveal your soul with so many . . . adjectives.
Damon: I've got my own cheerleader now.
Bonnie: I don't want to be a witch. Do you want to be a witch?
Stefan: Salem witches are heroic examples of individualism and nonconformity.
Damon: You don't seem like the cheerleader type, Elena.
Matt: She's my sister, and I love her. But sometimes she can really make you work for it.
Damon: I like you. You know how to laugh. And you make Stefan smile, which is something I haven't seen in a very long time.
Elena: What was she [Katherine] like?
Damon: I'd quit cheerleading if I were you.
Elena: I'm sorry. About Katherine. You lost her, too.
Caroline: Does it look like I do dishes?
Stefan: They are people, Damon. She's not a puppet. She doesn't exist for your amusement, for you to feed on whenever you want to.
Stefan: Now it's time for you to go.
Stefan: There must be a shred of humanity left inside my brother. Somewhere. I keep hoping. But how do I make him see it? And how do I protect her?
Stefan: What happened? No more cheerleader?
Stefan: We're a work in progress. We'll figure it out.
Tyler: Don't look so down. You can have her when I'm done.
Bonnie: When I touched Stefan, it was a feeling. And it vibrated through me and it was cold and -
Damon: I'm hiding from Caroline.
Damon: Isn't that nice. Stefan joins a team, makes a friend. It's all so rah rah go team yeah!
Damon: Guess I could just seduce her the old-fashioned way. Or I could just . . . eat her.
Stefan: Katherine is dead. And you hate me because you loved her, and you torture me because you still do. And that, my brother, that is your humanity.
Damon: If that's my humanity, then what's this?
Damon: Anyone. Any time. Any place.
June 11, 2010
All you need to know about this story is "Rogue knitters encamped along the Berkeley-Oakland border" . . .
Zachary Quinto in Angels in America? Sounds good.
Because it's a Joss Whedon movie, there have actually been headlines about the fact that the IMDb cast list for Cabin in the Woods now has more information on it.
So here's this Robert Pattinson cross stitch pattern. On the one hand, I want to mock it. But on the other hand, I once totally bought a cross stitch magazine because it had a Mr. Darcy pattern. And if it were a different vampire actor - Ian Somerhalder instead of Pattinson, say - I would seriously consider buying it, so I feel like a hypocrite for mocking. On the OTHER other hand, I would happily make the case for The Vampire Diaries being in all ways superior to Twilight, so I feel justified. So! There are my ridiculously ambivalent thoughts on that.
These bedrooms of Twilight fans are a bit terrifying.
I agree with most of this review of Pretty Little Liars, especially this:
But they're bad girls in an ABC Family way that seems quaint and almost cutely naive compared to that the snobby socialites of "Gossip Girl," also an Alloy literary property, get into.and this
Lowe, Combs and Leighton are such pros that you immediately start caring more about the parents and their secrets than the mismatched teens.
Song of the Day: "You're the Top"
Apparently I missed Cole Porter's birthday earlier this week. Oops. (I also missed my cousin's birthday earlier this week. Not my week for birthdays.) Here he is, singing what I am fairly convinced is the best ode to a best friend ever.
Babies is a documentary about the lives of four specific babies from birth to age one in various parts of the world - Mongolia, Namibia, Japan, and the U.S. Really. That's it. There's no narrations. No voiceovers. No dialogue other than whatever adults happen to be saying in the background. But it's oddly riveting. I mean, I suppose it helps if you like babies - and these are some seriously cute babies, but then, most are. But while the babies are charming, the really interesting thing about the movie is the lens it provides to examine everyday life in these various cultures. I thought the lack of narration made the movie more effective, but personally, I would have liked a companion book to learn more about the cultures in question.
This movie didn't seem to set out to have a message or moral, exactly, but there were definitely two messages that seemed clear. The first: Babies are not fragile. They're really hard to break, in fact. These babies were crawling around Africa and getting trampled by cows and being hit by their siblings and falling off things left and right, and they were all completely fine. Nervous first-time parents should perhaps watch this just for that lesson. The second message was that Western babies have an awful lot of stuff they don't need, and are pretty overstimulated, and parents should probably just calm down already.
And one thing not exactly about the movie itself: It seems that, because the movie is about babies, parents have concluded that it is for babies. This is not the case. I have no problem with small babies being pretty much anywhere as long as they stay fairly quiet, but there were a bunch of toddlers and preschoolers at this movie who were pretty bored. And there were crying babies who were not taken out of the theater. The content of the movie makes this complaint sound slightly ridiculous - "Please take your screaming child out of the theater so I can hear the screaming child on the screen!" - but I don't think I'm wrong here. It doesn't matter what the movie is about. If your baby is screaming, he's not happy, and your fellow movie-goers aren't happy either. Please do something about it.
Ridiculously Adorable Vampire Diaries Cast Interview
As usual, they're charming and gracious, and they actually have a kind of interesting answer to whether they would choose to become vampires themselves. But there's a lesson here, kids: Don't run around chewing on your coworkers! Someone might get hurt!
June 10, 2010
If you only read one thing today, read Maureen Johnson's manifesto about the Internet.
Was Battlestar Galactica Star Trek done right? No. It was not.
I was undecided about watching the Tonys, but now I obviously have to.
Bittman writes an open letter to an unnamed chef.
Song of the Day: "To Sir, With Love"
It occurred to me while watching Glee that those less steeped in 1960s pop music might not know the original "To Sir, With Love." So! Here you go. There's a movie, too - I really should see that. (And I think it's all based on a book, now that I think about it.)
10 Things I Liked About the Glee Finale
I won't go so far as to say that this week's Glee season finale made up for all the issues I've had with recent episodes, but it was very, very good. Here's why:
10. "Don't Stop Believin'" This is the song that hooked us all a year ago, and I'm glad they brought it back in the finale. But I'm also glad they did it a little differently, and included more of the kids in it.
9. It laughed at itself. The bit about the scrappy little group being "so 2009" was hilarious.
8. It focused on the stars and the important storylines. Don't get me wrong - I like the supporting cast, a lot. But I feel like I signed up to watch a show about the Glee club's competitions, the Rachel/Finn/Puck/Quinn love quadrangle, and Will's Terri/Emma drama, and some of the episodes got way away from this. I was glad that the plotlines I really cared about came back in the finale.
7. The "Bohemian Rhapsody" birth scene actually worked. I had heard about this scene before I saw it, and I was skeptical. But it was actually really, really good. (And speaking of the birth scene, I'm glad Quinn's mother reappeared, but that everything wasn't magically all perfect between them.)
6. Sue has a little bit of a soul. I know a lot of people really love Sue, but I'm kind of iffy on her. She's funny at times, but it gets old. So I liked to see her get a little more complicated - and actually speak like an educator who cared about educating.
5. Emma's back! I missed her. I loved watching her stand up for the glee club - for the kids and Will - and I'm glad it seems like there will be more of the Will/Emma story next season.
4. Will. Puck. Ukelele. What more needs to be said?
3. The boys all said "I love you." Will, Finn, and Puck each said they loved Emma, Rachel, and Quinn, respectively. This was exciting on a "fangirl squee" level, but also nice to see given the focus this show (and so many other shows) has had on the girls and women having unrequited love for the guys.
2. "And I didn't have a father." I'd been a little sniffly for much of the episode, but this was the line that made me sob. The relationship between Finn and Will isn't discussed much, but I think it's one of the more touching and realistic elements of the show.
1. "To Sir, With Love" I've been saying they should do this song in the finale for months, so I'm very happy they did. And coming as it did after each student gave a tribute to Mr. Schuester, it was virtually perfect.
Review: Vampire Academy
Hey, look, teenage vampires! At a boarding school! It's almost like someone noticed the vampire craze and Harry Potter and tried to combine them! At least, that's what I thought when someone recommended this series to me. I didn't expect much, but I was very pleasantly surprised. Vampires work totally differently in this universe than in most, but it's done well and makes the book more interesting than I'd expected. The main character, Rose, is a half-vampire (dhampir) training to guard the good vampires against the evil vampires. Basically. She has an intense and complicated relationship with her best friend and future protectee, and an intense and complicated relationship with her hot Russian mentor, Dimitri. Rose sees the authority figures at the school as her antagonists, but it soon becomes clear that there are other, scarier bad guys out there. It's an atmospheric page-turner, and Rose is a really interesting character, and the world is very well-drawn. It definitely left me wanting more.
June 09, 2010
Here's a first look at Showtime's Borgias.
I managed to read several news stories about Q'orianka Kilcher's arrest at the White House before I even remembered that I'd seen The New World, and I still remember very little about it. Apparently I successfully blocked that traumatic experience from my brain. (I saw it with a friend, and I have vivid memories of the German apple pancake and caramel sauce we made the same weekend. Presumably because that was good, and the movie was bad.)
Is anyone surprised that Glee novels are on the way? No? Didn't think so. (I'm sure they'll be bad, and I'm sure I'll read them anyway.)
Slate is doing a serialized YA vampire novel. Whee!
Which vampire cast is hotter? I think we know where I stand on this.
Pretty Little Liars 1.1: "Pilot"
The short version: I watched it. It wasn't very good. But I'll keep watching for a few weeks to give it a chance.
The slightly longer version: I wasn't particularly wild about the book, but I was hoping the show would be better. It wasn't. It was worse, and worse specifically in ways it diverged from the book. This is supposed to be soapy, but the characters on the show seemed much more wholesome than the book characters. There was no label-dropping and no sense of place. The characters were even more one-dimensional, but I'll give them a few episodes to see if they improve upon that. Much less time elapsed between Ali's disappearance and the beginning of the show than the corresponding events in the book, which makes sense because it would be much harder to film the flashback scenes if they had to make the characters look that much younger. But it also means that the characters had less time to change, and to grow apart, than they did in the book, and it made the whole thing less dramatic.
But the young actresses all did good jobs, and I am somewhat curious to see how everything turns out. So I'll keep watching for the moment. This show is really, really lucky that it's on during the summer: if I weren't in withdrawal from my favorite TV teens - those on Gossip Girl and The Vampire Diaries - I wouldn't bother with this.
Song of the Day: "Charlie Wilson's War (Main Theme)"
Today is the birthday of James Newton Howard, a movie and TV composer. Here's his theme from Charlie Wilson's War.
Persons Unknown 1.1: "Pilot"
I watched the Persons Unknown pilot last night, and - it was okay! I wouldn't necessarily want to commit to watching it for years, but since they're saying it's a miniseries, I'll go with it. It was well-done and creepy enough to make me want to find out what happens. And hey, Jason Wiles is hot. There are worse ways to spend an hour a week during the summer.
The really bold thing Persons Unknown is doing is pledging to solve all of its mysteries by the end of summer. I applaud them for this demonstration of respect for their viewers - but now let's see if they stick to it. I've made a list of the questions I was left with at the end of the pilot, and each week I'll track them (and add to the list, I'm sure) to see what gets answered and what doesn't.
The seven, and a little of what we know about them:
First, the obvious: Where are they? Who put them there? Why? And are we really calling the bad guys "Them"? Related: Who's watching the cameras? (Presumably "Them.")
Questions about the hotel:
1. Why are the keys in the Bibles, specifically?
Questions about the town:
1. Where is it?
Questions about the Chinese restaurant:
1. Where did the van come from?
Questions about the characters:
1. What's the deal with Janet's husband, and the P.I. guy at the beginning? How was Megan found and identified after Janet disappeared? Is Janet's mother as creepy as she seems, or more so? (I mean, is what we think is going on with her actually what's going on?)
1. What exactly is the deal with the implants in their legs?
And hey, how had I missed until now that both Jonathan Frakes and Tim Matheson are directing episodes of this?
June 08, 2010
Vote in the TV.com NOW Awards.
The new Muppet movie is coming out Christmas 2011.
Stop saying you don't have time to read.
Song of the Day: "Fairy Tales for Viola and Piano"
Happy 200th Birthday, Schumann!
The Vampire Diaries 1.2: "The Night of the Comet"
Okay, I don't really have anything deep and profound to say about this as a whole, so you're getting my stream-of-consciousness notes I took as I watched. Sorry!
Another starting scene with an attack, and the fog. There's also a lot more of jumping out of trees and stuff than I remember later on.
I really love Jenna and her attempts at parenting. She's not doing too badly, given the awful situation.
I had kind of forgotten about this whole comet thing. Doing math . . . 145 years ago was indeed 1864. Does this end up being actually relevant somehow? Bonnie says it created a bed of paranormal activity. So is that why the vampires are coming back now? Because of the comet? Hmm.
I love how Stefan has an original Wuthering Heights. Hee.
The whole scene with Stefan, Vicki, and Matt in the hospital seems... odd, somehow. Off. Vicki isn't supposed to be starting to turn or anything yet, is she?
With all these doctors and everything, does no one notice that Vicki and Matt have no parents around? Do they have insurance? Does their mom send them money? How does this work?
Why does Elena just walk into Stefan's house? That's rather rude. But boy, this is a gorgeous house. I want it. Damon and Elena stare at each other without saying anything for an awfully long time, there.
It's interesting that Damon starts talking to Elena about Katherine immediately. And he's doing the eye thing already! And the hand kiss! Damon kisses her hand before Stefan touches her at all, huh?
I don't know if it's just later events coloring my feelings, but I'm finding Bonnie kind of annoying already.
Song lyrics are "I say yes when I oughtta say no" as Damon and Caroline look at each other. Perfect.
I like how this group of friends all have their problems with each other, but still band together when someone's in trouble - like when Vicki is missing. It reminds me of Gossip Girl, where everyone ends up together when something's really wrong, and they all know that they care about each other underneath everything.
And finally - "epic"? No, kids, that was not epic. Go watch the Veronica Mars "epic" scene and then get back to us, okay?
Review: Pretty Little Liars
The ABC Family show based on this series of novels starts tonight (and I'll have a post about the pilot up tomorrow or Thursday), so I figured I should give the books a try. And it was . . . okay. Really, I'm hoping this show will continue the Gossip Girl/Vampire Diaries trend of taking mediocre teen books and turning them into really good TV. Anyway. The most popular girl in seventh grade disappears, and with her a bunch of secrets. Three years later, her former best friends start getting mysterious messages referring to things that only the vanished girl knew, and their lives start falling apart. Each girl has a Big Secret: one thinks she might be gay, one has an eating disorder, one saw her father having sex with one of his students, etc. There's a very Grey's Anatomy scene in which a girl discovers the hot guy she'd picked up the night before the first day of school is actually her new teacher. You get the idea.
None of the characters are particularly nice, but they're all at least somewhat sympathetic - except, perhaps, for the girl who disappeared. The way her friends remember her, at least, she was basically the meanest of Mean Girls, and I'll be interested to see whether this image changes at all as the series progresses. There's a lot of label name-dropping - Kate Spade, Tiffany's, etc., and that got a little tiresome, but I know a certain sort of Gossip Girl-esque book needs to have that. It's set in the Philadelphia Main Line, and some of the brands mentioned do place it there nicely - everyone's always going to Wawa, and one character not only buys Tastykakes, but Butterscotch Krimpets, specifically. I think there was a cheesesteak mention, too, although, of course, none of these girls would actually eat something like a cheesesteak.
This book was by no means great, and maybe not even good, but it was entertaining enough, and I am actually curious enough about the big mystery of the vanished girl to keep reading the series, at least for a while. (It helps that it's a quick read - I read it in a little under two hours.) It looks like they're up to eight books or so, and I can't imagine how they'll sustain this for so long, but . . . well, we'll see. As mindless summer fun, it's not bad. And I look forward to seeing how it translates to TV.
June 07, 2010
Need refreshments for your next gaming session? Jones now has D&D soda. That's pretty awesome.
Here are Television Without Pity's Emmy nomination suggestions. I am particularly pleased with their inclusion of Ian Somerhalder, Peter Krause, and Matthew Morrison.
Here's a fascinating look at young American dancers training at the Bolshoi Academy.
Rahm Emanuel, Joe Biden, and Super Soakers You're welcome.
The Vampire Diaries 1.1: "Pilot"
I know the Vampire Diaries episodes currently airing are reruns, so it seems a little late to blog about it, but I'm going to do it anyway. Specifically, I'm going to be thinking about the way that the early episodes set up some of the big reveals later in the season, so assume that all these posts might have spoilers all the way through season one and proceed accordingly.
One of the things that struck me most when rewatching the pilot was how different some of it was from later episodes. It certainly seems like they were trying to make it look like Twilight in order to get picked up, and then spent the rest of the season getting away from that. For one thing, I had forgotten the way the episodes used to always start with attacks. I guess it nicely set up the fact that they're not messing around about killing people, but I'm glad they stopped after a while. Of course, now I can't remember when exactly it stopped.
There are a few events in the pilot that really set things up, in ways I didn't necessarily see the first time around. It's telling that Damon's first line is "Hello, brother," as I think there's an argument to be made that the Stefan/Damon relationship is the core of the show, and Elena and Katherine are both somewhat incidental to the whole thing. And the episode ends with Elena inviting Stefan into the house, which is really the perfect ending for a pilot like this.
More things that go away as the season progresses:
All the fog! They certainly got their money's worth out of the fog machine in the pilot, huh?
Was it ever firmly established that it was Damon who killed the couple at the beginning? It certainly looks like it could be him, and there's a ring, but at this point, I guess I'm questioning everything. Similarly, Stefan walks out of the woods in a way that makes us think that he might have be the one who attacked Vicki.
I like Zach, and he's pretty hot. Too bad he didn't stick around for long.
Other random observations:
I love the clothes in this series, especially Elena's shirts. But in the school shots, there are an awful lot of jackets and long sleeves for Viriginia in early September, aren't there?
Royal Pains 2.1 "Spasticity"
Spoilers ahead! Here's my take on the season opener of Royal Pains . . .
Patient of the Week: Enh. I figured out it was mercury poisoning before Hank did, which was frustrating. It was fine, I guess, but the faux-parallelism to the situation with Hank's father was a little too Grey's Anatomy for this show. On the other hand, I liked the actual parallelism of Jill risking her job for a patient, mirroring the way Hank lost his job in the city. One other thought about the patients of the week: Have they saved them every time? Is the show ever going to let someone die?
The Lawson Family: I'm not entirely convinced we need this whole father storyline, but if it prompts more good brother interaction, I guess I can get behind it. I hope the father doesn't end up disrupting the dynamic too much. I did love the moment of Hank taking the check and then punching his father, but I'm about ready to be done with the father now. I doubt I'll get my wish. Oh, and Evan selling his car is a good illustration of what we already know - that Hank is what he cares about most - but also shows some nice personal growth and maturity.
Divya's Engagement: Her refusing to talk about her situation with Hank is frustrating, but if we're never going to get to Labor Day anyway, does it matter? I think it's really interesting that she'll talk to Evan but not Hank about this. I love the sort of grudging friendship between Evan and Divya. I can't tell whether the show is thinking about making it romantic at some point, but I think I like them just as friends.
Jill's Job: Meh. I know Jill's nemesis is Oscar Winner Marcia Gay Harden and we're supposed to be excited about that, but I'm not. Harden's character so far seems to just be inexplicably and needlessly evil, so I hope we find out more of her background or some excuse to make her more sympathetic, if she's really sticking around as a regular. What is this fancy surgeon doing at this hospital everyone keeps saying is so awful, anyway?
Hank and Jill: I liked that Jill told Hank about the divorce right up front, rather than dragging it out, but I also like that Hank didn't just immediately try to jump in a relationship. But I do like the two of them together, so I hope that storyline isn't back-burnered too much because of all these new characters and conflicts they're throwing in this year.
Boris: Continuing to be Boris. His decision to trust Hank was probably supposed to be a big sign of personal growth, though, and the football thing was adorable. I wonder if they actually have some plan for his mysterious illness?
Overall: As a season opener, it was fine. They're clearly trying to make the show more complicated with these two new storylines (and characters), but I'm not convinced that's a good idea. This is supposed to be summer fluff. I think between patients of the week, the Evan/Hank sibling dynamic, Divya's family drama, Boris's mystery illness, and Jill and Hank's relationship, they had enough going on already, and I like all those elements more than any of the new stuff, so far. So I really hope they don't move too far away from what I liked about the show last season.
June 04, 2010
Prince of Persia sounds awful, but this review is hilarious.
Have you ever wondered which Austen heroines Jay MacInerney prefers? No? Neither had I. But now you can find out.
The pool reporters had an interesting evening in Chicago.
Song of the Day: "Dream On"
If Glee accomplished nothing else in its run, the fact that they brought us this Matthew Morrison/Neil Patrick Harris duet would mean they'd done more than most TV shows ever do.
Review: The Friends of Eddie Coyle
I read this because Slate told me to, and . . . I'm not sure I got it. I don't know. I mean, it was interesting, and well-written, but where Patterson says the reader will be "blissfully disoriented," I was more just disoriented and not entirely convinced I had to be. I agree that the "purposefully shadowed" style produced some great writing, but it also kept me from getting attached to any of the characters and therefore from really caring what happened. But - well, I'd still say it's worth reading, if you like crime fiction, and its style is obviously an influence on contemporary authors like Henry Chang. And it's definitely worth reading if you're familiar with the Boston area, because really, how often do you open a book to find the bad guys hanging out in Nahant, of all places?
I've heard from various people that this afternoon is going on forever. Need a pick-me-up? Here a slideshow of the sexiest scenes from season one of The Vampire Diaries. (There are at least two extremely sexy scenes they left out, so I'm wondering if they restricted it to shirtless scenes.) If that's not enough, here are 92 pictures of Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev at a basketball game. You're welcome.
Happy National Doughnut Day!
I don't know who decided that it's National Doughnut Day, but hey, I'll go with it. Dunkin' Donuts is offering a free doughnut today when you purchase a beverage. It looks like Krispy Kreme is doing something too, and - are there other big doughnut chains? I don't even know, because Dunkin' Donuts has such a monopoly around here.
If you're anywhere near Fairfield, Maine, though, I highly suggest that you forget about the free stuff and go pay full price for the best doughnuts in the world at the Kennebec Cafe. Really. You won't be sorry. (Do I have any readers in that area? Probably not. Oh well.) I'd read that Atlantic piece about it and then convinced my parents to give the place a try when we were in nearby Waterville, where my brother goes to school. We were all very impressed. There's sometimes a wait, but it's worth it, as your doughnuts arrive still warm. Heaven.
June 03, 2010
Song of the Day: "Will You Love Me Tomorrow?"
I was actually looking for a live version of this I heard on the radio yesterday - I think it might have been Carole King and James Taylor. But I came across this, and wow, I'm not sure I even knew Dusty Springfield covered this! And now I'm wondering if this was the version used in Studio 60, and it is taking every ounce of my self-control not to put in the DVD and find out RIGHT NOW.
Previously on Royal Pains...
(For some reason, the blog isn't letting me make new categories, so I will go back and try to make a Royal Pains category later.)
I started watching this entirely because of Mark Feuerstein (Cliff from West Wing), and I was a little surprised by how much I ended up liking it. The four core characters are all sympathetic but multidimensional, and I think the concierge doctor concept means that the whole thing is different enough that the lack of realism doesn't bother me the way it does with most medical shows. Season two starts tonight on USA, and I actually just finished catching up on season one last weekend, so here's a quick recap of where things stand going into the new episodes:
Hank: Decided to stay in the Hamptons permanently, but I read somewhere that this mythical "after Labor Day" will never actually arrive on the show. Summer forever? Enh, I suppose.
HankMed: Thriving, but bankrupt, because Evan invested their money with his (and Hank's) estranged father and now it's gone.
Evan: Disappeared, presumably in pursuit of said father and money.
Jill and Hank: Hank goes after Jill at the end of the finale, but Charlie answers Jill's door and make Hank think they've gotten back together.
Jill and Charlie: Charlie refused to sign divorce papers, but at the end of the finale Jill finally made him move out.
Jill's Clinic: On hold, I think, because she feels badly about accepting money from Boris because Boris had her throw out his blood sample.
Boris: Dying, and being mysterious. So, you know, the norm.
Divya: After thinking about backing out, she went through with the big engagement ceremony for her arranged marriage. But they can't actually make her move to London, can they? HankMed, and the show, would collapse without her.
Summer TV Blogging
With the summer season currently starting, I'm going to try something I've been wanting to do for a while - regular TV blogging. I already write about TV, but I want to try writing every week about certain shows. I'm not going to attempt summaries or recaps - there are plenty of other sites that do that well. The format of my posts may vary based on the show and the issues that interested me in a particular episode, but I'll commit to posting something about each episode. I'm going to start with the second season of Royal Pains (which starts tonight on USA, but I won't be able to watch until tomorrow) and the CW's Thursday Vampire Block (reruns of The Vampire Diaries and Moonlight). As new summer shows get started, I'll write about whichever pilots I watch, and then pick which shows to keep writing about. And if this test run goes well over the summer, I'll continue with the "real" TV season in the fall.
New Summer & Fall 2010 Shows: Cable
Covert Affairs, Summer, Tuesdays at 10
Memphis Beat, Summer, Tuesdays at 10
Rizzoli & Isles, Summer, Mondays at 10
Franklin & Bash, Fall
Are We There Yet?, Summer, Wednesdays at 9
Neighbors from Hell, Summer
Pretty Little Liars, Summer, Tuesdays at 8
Huge, Summer, Mondays at 9
Melissa and Joey, Summer, Tuesdays at 8
June 02, 2010
Song of the Day: "Enigma Variations"
The radio just told me that it's Elgar's birthday. So!
I realized that I listed this as one of the best books I read last year, but never actually posted anything about it. Time to remedy that.
Imagine vampires and werewolves as an accepted but not exactly welcomed part of society - and part of Queen Victoria's government. Honestly, even if this book had nothing else going for it, it would have had me right there. But it does have other things going for it. Read this description (pulled from Amazon; I think it was on the back of the book, because I know I've read it before):
Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.It's every bit as funny as that makes it sound. The steampunk version of Victorian England is well-drawn, the characters are vividly drawn (if a tad overdone at times), and the romance is both sweet and pretty hot without being sappy or sentimental. Fans of Amelia Peabody, especially, will love Alexia. I'm about to read the sequel, and I can't wait.
New Summer & Fall 2010 Shows: FOX
Bob's Burgers, Fall, Midseason, Sundays at 8:30
The Good Guys, Summer, Mondays at 9
MasterChef, Summer, Tuesdays at 9
Mixed Signals, Spring, Tuesdays at 9:30
Raising Hope, Fall, Tuesdays at 9
Ride-Along, January, Mondays at 9
Running Wilde, Fall, Tuesdays at 9:30
Terra Nova, Midseason?
June 01, 2010
What will happen to the special relationship under Britain's new coalition government?
I know the point of this is that people are up in arms about the message of a bride being given away by her father, but - Princess Victoria is marrying her personal trainer? Really? Hee.
Review: Not My Daughter
Okay. Catching up on book reviews. Seriously.
A group of best friends in a small town in Maine (? I think? The company they work for is obviously based on L.L. Bean so I assumed Maine, but it could have been Massachusetts) find out that several of their teen daughters are pregnant, presumably in some sort of pregnancy pact, and they all have to deal with that, and blah blah. The main character is the principal of the high school, so everyone blames her for the whole thing, because she had her daughter when she was a teenager. Never mind that that was an unplanned pregnancy and the pact pregnancies are all planned. Or so they claim. So the families and various groups of friends all have to deal with this, and there are of course baby health scares that bring everyone together, and - look, I'm not even going to bother. You know how this is going to go, and no, it doesn't really make a whole lot more sense than I'm making it sound like.
Okay, I have to be honest here: I didn't expect this to be any good, going into it. And I was . . . not disappointed? Yeah. It was exactly as bad as I'd expected. The characters were pretty flat, the plot didn't make much sense, and no one's motives were ever sufficiently explained. The one bright spot was the hand-dyed yarn company that the main characters run, and, in general, all the knitting that the characters did. Delinsky certainly knew what she was talking about there, and I think this would actually have been better as a "group of disparate friends brought together by knitting" book, without the ripped-from-the-headlines pregnancy pact stuff. Oh well.
New Summer & Fall 2010 Shows: NBC
The Event, Fall, Mondays at 9
Chase, Fall, Mondays at 10
Undercovers, Fall, Wednesdays at 8
Law & Order: Los Angeles, Fall, Wednesdays at 10
Outsourced, Fall, Thursdays at 9:30
Love Bites, Fall, Thursdays at 10
School Pride, Fall, Fridays at 8
Outlaw, Fall, Fridays at 10
Losing It with Jillian, Summer, Tuesdays at 10
Persons Unknown, Summer, Mondays at 10
America's Next Great Restaurant, Midseason?
The Cape, Midseason?
Friends with Benefits, Midseason?
Harry's Law, Midseason?
The Paul Reiser Show, Midseason?
Perfect Couples, Midseason?