Showing posts with label television shows. Show all posts
Showing posts with label television shows. Show all posts

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Starting a New Chapter with Once Upon A Time

When Once Upon A Time premiered on ABC in 2011, it was such an enchanting show. There was nothing like it on television, and for the near future, there's not to be a similar adventurous experience again. As news soars in about the future of the series, the seventh season will whole start a new chapter.

The first season was one of my all-time favorites of any show ever. Its heroine Emma Swan is compelled by the son she gave up for adoption to enter a secluded town called Storybrooke. Henry believes everyone is a fairytale character, and don’t know it because a curse has been placed on them by his adoptive mother Regina Mills. He compels Swan to believe that she was destined to save the town and break the curse keeping them in the dark.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Jennifer Morrison Bids Farewell to Once Upon A Time

Jennifer Morrison leaving Once Upon A Time
Photo Credit: ABC / Once Upon A Time
It's hard to imagine a show without its lead character but that's exactly what ONCERs have to face. After a long-awaited musical episode leading to Emma Swan and Captain Hook's wedding, actress Jennifer Morrison confirmed the worst: she's not returning to Once Upon A Time after season six.

The actress shared the announcement on her official instagram.
As I reached the end of my 6 year contract on ONCE UPON A TIME, I was faced with a significant decision. ABC, Eddy Kitsis, and Adam Horowitz very generously invited me to continue as a series regular. After very careful consideration, I have decided that creatively and personally, it is time for me to move on. Emma Swan is one my favorite characters that I have ever played. My 6 years on ONCE UPON A TIME has changed my life in the most beautiful ways.
This news comes after a turbulent season for the series. Unlike other shows on the ABC network which were given an official renewal or axe in early March, Once Upon A Time struggled to save itself,. Ratings continued to drop, leaving Storybrooke fans to wonder if the show had any magic left in it keep going. Morrison's announcement comes after an official renewal for a seventh season.

Now, I'm not even the most devout fan, but sometimes I wondered if it would've been good for the series to quit while it's ahead. Too many creative issues couldn't have fixed the past and mistakes continued to linger in every new episode. I often go back to season one and feel like there was so much potential left on the cutting room floor. Most of the time, it was the cast that kept me interested more so than the writing or worldbuilding. It remained one of the most optimistic and hopeful shows on tv. As the yellow brick road has come to an end, Morrison exiting the show isn't all that surprising.

Morrison has promised that she will be be back for at least one more episode of the show, so that at least guarantees the start of season seven to handle Swan's departure or explain her whereabouts. Her exit puts the rest of the cast in a bit of a pickle and leaves us to wonder about fan favorites. Actor Robert Carlyle, who played Rumpelstiltskin, was the second most outspoken star to say he was hesitant to sign on again. Word has it that the rest of the cast such as Lana Parilla, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Josh Dallas haven't renewed either. Colin O’Donoghue's contract, who plays Swan's husband Captain Hook, still has another year left.

Show creators Adam Horowitz and Edward Kitsis have been toiling with the idea of a reboot, taking the show in another direction with a new narrative. In what could be the series finale airing Sunday, May 14th, the two-hour final battle between Emma Swan and the Black Fairy comes to a head.

Swan's arc on the show is still something to be cherished. She was a lost girl who grew into a powerful woman deciding her fate alongside a loving family and believing in happy beginnings. But what will Once Upon A Time be without Emma Swan? I hate to say it, but a probably a whole new show, and one that fans will struggle to get on board with.

What do you think of Jennifer Morrison's exit?
Has Once Upon A Time's ship finally sailed?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Series Review: Bates Motel

Bates Motel review
Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho tells the twisted story of Norman Bates; a young man living at a desolate inn who kills a troubled hotel guest, but there’s much more to him than meets the eye. If you ever wanted to know more about the complicated loner and his overbearing mother, Bates Motel accomplishes what only a few have conquered before: re-imagine a classic horror film into a classic horror television show.

The 1960 film without a doubt put the psychological- slasher genre on the map and will remain a classic for all-time. As the master of mystery Hitchcock dolls out suspense in terrifying measure, the story doesn’t explore the complex relationship between mother and son. Save for the ending where Bates’ slashing tendencies is delved into between a psychologist and the victim’s closest relatives, there’s always more to wonder about them both. The re-imagining created by Kerry Ehrin and Carlton Cuse goes much further.

Building up to the evening where Marion Crane was murdered, Bates Motel dials back the years to when Norman and Norma first acquire the famous motel in an effort to start over. After suffering psychological disturbances throughout his childhood, Mother thinks a new place is just what they need. But a different life doesn’t fix all of their problems as Norma fights off detrimental plans destined to drive traffic away from their inn, the town’s seedy underground of drugs, and even darker secrets about their family Norman couldn't ever imagine.

It’s safe to say that Norman and Norma are the hearts of the show as well as the movie.  Though Anthony Perkins’ performance in the movie is without a doubt timeless, Mother exists, intriguingly but lightly, as a literal skeleton in a closet. Except for Perkins and Hitchcock’s detail to the atmosphere, it’s very one-sided. Bringing both of these characters to life comes unforgettable performances from Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga who are tasked to make a disturbed duo likable, interesting, but also scary and dangerous.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Feud (2017) Season 1 Review

Feud series review
Photo Credit: Feud / 20th Television
Having set a precedent for award-winning and binge-worthy shows, Ryan Murphy knows what it takes to make a drama. His latest creation Feud tackles notorious rivalries throughout history. It was fitting the first one tackles Joan Crawford and Bette Davis' famously bitter showdown.

After becoming Classic Hollywood screen queens, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis aged like the rest of humanity. With younger, hipper generations growing up on television as the studio system fell apart, their careers suffered dry spells. When Crawford initiated a project of two cruel sisters harboring jealousy and secrets in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane, the claws came out. On-screen and behind-the-scenes, a real showdown was ignited between the duo by the studio and publicity hounds.

Legend has it that the two hated each other. Speculation around this rivalry float in every which direction, it’s hard to tell what’s the truth or was fictionalized. Adding more misdirection following the movie's release, the stars threw shade at each other in interviews only to retract them later. Instead of resorting to catty squabbles and Real Housewives-esque drama, Feud tries to ask what was the source of their hostility and why they couldn't let their resentments go.

Drawing on second-hand biographies and heresy within the industry, this version tries to be as well-rounded as possible. Even though every episode spurred sites to fact check what was true or elaborated, Murphy does a smart thing by indulging in news pieces but focused more on Crawford and Davis’ limitations, strengths, and weaknesses. He depicts an exceptional range of ageism, sexism, the pressure and manipulation they endured from Hollywood, and publicity that threatened to put the final nails in their professional coffins.

As much as they regarded each other as enemies, Crawford and Davis were more alike than they could've recognized. Personally, they suffered insecurities wrought by rejection, always wanting to be better. In love, they married multiple times, and as mothers never recovered from scathing autobiographies their daughters published, where Hollywood's elite, former spouses and friends of the actresses would decry as trash and lies. Professionally, they had different acting approaches. They maneuvered through the studio patriarchy as best as possible; both trying to transition "past their prime" as women and performers trying to not be remembered as a laughing stock, or nothing at all.  Despite what they had in common, they struggled to see each other as allies trying to live up to the fans expectation as well as their own.

To carry Murphy’s vision, Lange and Sarandon play Crawford and Davis, respectively. As veteran performers in their own right, they’re certainly perfect picks because of their range and experience. It’s difficult to replicate their characters' talent, but they managed to portray them enough in mannerisms and attitude. Each explores self-value within and out of Hollywood. As the studio drives a wedge between them, they're left to vilify each other to protect their glory days. If they reach out, it's almost in vain to their self-preservation. In doing so, they render determination and ballsiness but also great vulnerability.

Though Feud explores both titan's struggles with a well-studied range, it also takes too long to find its groove and never quite reaches the same palpable energy displayed in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. As a making-of feature, the attention to detail with the sets and costumes is extraordinary for the most part. Playing the role of Crawford and Davis off-screen from their Baby Jane characters is when Lange and Sarandon truly succeed. But put them in scenes recreating earlier work or Baby Jane, and their performances are bad copycats with cheap wigs and choppy line delivery. These small moments reinforcing what talents these women initially were doesn't match their brutal obscurity.

It's hard to imagine these icons created something so palpable as the real icons that it earned Oscar nominations and created a whole new genre by which other aging Tinseltown titans had to follow through with to stay alive too. By all means, Feud studies the legends we think we know, but we're still talking about the movie itself fifty-five years later not just because of the bloated rumors of what went on behind-the-scenes. No matter how relevant the blatant sexism and ageism in Hollywood, let alone society, still exists today, the talent of Crawford and Davis are undeniably brilliant, and on those recreation scenes, Feud misses the mark.

Primarily told in flashbacks within a fictional documentary, Murphy often employs other characters to reinforce his powerhouse leads. Some are needed, some are a pure distraction. Those connected to the main stars, such as Judy Davis as the spirited snake-in-the-grass Hedda Hopper and Alfred Molina as director Robert Aldrich caught in the middle, offer more direct sympathy. But when Catherine Zeta-Jones as Olivia DeHavilland and Kathy Bates as Joan Blondell, among others, intermittently pop up to offer commentary, they weakly reestablish what's already playing out. DeHavilland at least has a closer utilized friendship to Davis, while Blondell is just sorta there. As the last few episodes increasingly attempt to soften the vicious narrative created by Christina Crawford's autobiography Mommie Dearest, Davis' near identical issues aren't as greatly explored and the story starts to drop off into a heartwrenching and half-realized what-could've-been finale.

In 1962, Baby Jane revived two stars to younger generations, and fifty-five years later, Feud will re-introduce their work to even more people. It’s hard to watch the show and not want to watch the movie. That’s a very good thing. However, other than the script, and the exceptional performances, the series never quite reaches the level of palpable energy of its inspiration. Murphy's biopic of sorts intelligently swaps juicy gossip into a heartfelt catharsis, but also made me think there’s simply no way of capturing the original, and it’s okay for legends to just be that.

Rating: ☆ 
If you love Feud, you might like: 
Conversations with Joan Crawford by Roy Newquist
Mother Goddam: The Story of the Career of Bette Davis by Whitney Stine

Have you seen Feud? What did you think?

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

5 Problems Once Upon A Time Needs To Fix

When a new season of Once Upon A Time whirls around, there's promising adventures to behold. Savior Emma Swan and her charming parents and son, swash-buckling boyfriend Hook, and Evil-Queen-turned-Hero Regina face off against 'fictional characters' re-imagined for the real world. And, the series' ability to plant powerful messages of hope, courage, and love is refreshing compared to darker-themed shows.

However, there is no doubt the fandom has been struggling. As much love as there is for Once Upon A Time, the storytelling  often falls down a rabbit hole of messy writing and confusing world-building. Off-screen, the show dropped in ratings and stars like Robert Carlyle and Jennifer Morrison are considering not returning. When rumors swirled over the holiday break that the series might be canceled, it wasn't surprising to ONCERS despite what a rotten apple the news was. But as the show has taught us over the years: there is always hope - we just have to look and fight for it. Here are five ways Once Upon A Time can break its own curse.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016 Year In Review: TV SHOWS

Television had many highs and lows in 2016. What show were you excited to see return? What was the worst character death? Some of these have been answered in categories for worst, favorites and best from what I watched have been compiled below. Spoilers ahead for the following shows: The X-Files, The Walking Dead, Bates Motel, Hell on Wheels, Jessica Jones, Scream Queens, Stranger Things. Hope you enjoy!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Season Review: American Horror Story Roanoke

Having been unspired by Ryan Murphy's previous series like Nip/Tuckand Glee before, American Horror Story never managed to hold my attention. The sixth season American Horror Story: Roanoke was my first full rodeo with the FX success, and what he churned out was not exactly what I expected.

Matt and Shelby Miller purchase a farmhouse nestled on the mysterious land of the famous Roanoke colony. By moving to a new place, they hope to start over and mend their broken relationship. Instead their issues are nothing compared to what haunts them when their house acts as a magnet for paranormal activity. The duo share their tale in a fictional documentary My Roanoke Nightmare which re-enacts their experiences.

Combining two genres at once, American Horror Story: Roanoke is impressively a show within a show within a show - practically like the Inception of Ryan Murphy's creations.

My Roanoke Nightmare morphs from dramatic recreations into documentary when the Millers and all of the re-enactment actors return for a reality series Return to Roanoke: Three Days in Hell. Locked together in the old abandoned house, who and what the couple previously survived comes back with a savage vengeance.

Both Roanoke installments especially engaging is what feels like two sets of casts. Andre Holland and Lily Rabe capture the hesitant confessional vibe found on most ghostly docudramas, while their re-enactment portrayals are increasingly dramatized by Sarah Paulson and Cuba Gooding Jr. When the reality tv aspect steps in, there's a satirical contrast between their performances and as celebrities/actors - (especially Paulson - give her all the awards please!) but also AHS elite like Kathy Bates, Angela Bassett, and Lady Gaga.

Even though Murphy typically utilizes great casts, his content of sex and violence can often be a veil over thin storytelling. Here the violence is gruesome but isn't an onslaught without a purpose. The documentary duplicates the melodramatic and slow-burning tone of ghostly encounters series. And, then the reality tv part is sprinkled with creative commentary about pop culture, over-the-top personalities and motives of Hollywood stars, and so much more. It helps that a lot of the gore here is hodge-podged from other familiar movies/shows like Blair Witch Project, Paranormal Activity, Big Brother, and Ghost Adventures. Though Roanoke uses bloodshed to keep up the action and tension, its well-balanced by the writing.

I can't adequately compare if this season fell in line with its predecessors, but on its own, Roanoke was up my alley. Much to my surprise, Murphy's supernatural probe fares to be shocking, gruesome and entertaining. There's a lot to revisit this season for clues, horror and humor, and I may even give earlier seasons another chance too.

Rating: ★★★
What did you think American Horror Story: Roanoke?
Which season should I try next?

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Season Review: Stranger Things

Netflix Stranger Things season review
Plucking similar children from The Goonies and setting them into a conspiracy within The X-Files and E.T., Netflix's nostalgic series Stranger Things is out of this world.

When twelve-year-old Will Byer (Noah Schnapps) mysteriously vanishes, his pals try to find him by putting their D&D knowledge, walkie talkies, and bicycles to the test. As Will's mother (Winona Ryder) and the chief of police Jim Hopper (David Harbour) start their own investigation, a mysterious girl Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) with supernatural powers may hold the answers about weird disturbances occurring in their small town.

While the show remarkably weaves together laughs and scares into the backdrop of an eighties sci-fi quest, the cast steals the show. To start with the kids as Mike (Finn Wolfhard), Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) and Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo) who are Will's closest friends are refreshingly natural. It's been a while since I felt performances by child actors were animated as well as complex. The boys are so buoyant and full of personality. With Will out of the show 90% of the time, the actor/characters' bond restore the purest connection friends share: the loyalty, hope and trust it takes to be apart of a pack.

Distinguishing one role over another is a difficult task. Every actor is an essential part of the show, but when Millie Bobby Brown as Eleven enters the scene, hold onto your eggos! She is someone of a very few words and whose actions speak much louder. Her character's abilities make her powerful and mystifying, and Brown brings a true humanity as a secret weapon, eliciting a fierce and tender performance.

In a true feat of meta-casting, Winona Ryder is on hand as Will's mother Joyce. Though the notable actress didn't go into an official retirement, the eighties icon 'comes back' with a striking perseverance. As a hardworking outsider of their small town, Joyce becomes increasingly unraveled and determined to find her son. Managing the difficult task of being aware how family and strangers see her desperation, Ryder acts a fine line between fragility and unshakable determination. Some critics have written her performance as hysterical, but she undoubtedly is another bad-ass mama bear whose protective nature is as fierce as it is warm and endearing. Seeing Ryder again in any capacity is pure joy, and she doesn't disappoint here.

I would say the series is a character-led adventure with enough creepy atmospheric elements to keep their quest interesting as well as entertaining. Series creators The Duffer brothers found a magical recipe to create the hit of the summer: write characters inspired by Steven Spielberg's young-adult catalog who have big hearts and a bigger sense of wonder, and cast them in a suspenseful Stephen King-esque world. Their binge-worthy experiment oozes with scares, delights with nostalgia and provokes epic feels.

Perhaps their most impressive achievement is how the series lives as a tribute to the eighties pop culture the brothers loved growing up. Although the Duffers make a plethora of references of movies from yesteryear, their influences aren't flat and flashy. The attention to detail towards the cast, costume, set, music and cinematography feel like something straight out of the eighties instead of a one-dimensional homage. For some, the creators might've gone overboard. For someone like me who is mildly aware of iconic science-fiction and horror movies, the show balances old and new to avoid being boxed in by certain film elements it mirrors.

Stranger Things is a welcoming change from a pretty slumber summer within television, and even newly released movies. The series' eight episodes play out almost exactly as one epic vintage blockbuster and even eight individual ones. If you haven't watched it yet - curl up under some blankets. Be prepared to laugh, get scared, and believe the hype. Trust me. Friends don't lie.
Rating: ★★★
Have you watched Stranger Things? What are your thoughts?

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

15 Killer Quotes by The Walking Dead's Rick Grimes

Rick Grimes is the bad-ass leader on The Walking Dead. As a former police officer, a father, and a leader, he is willing to do anything to keep his family alive. Previously I compiled a list of my favorite quotes from the series, but I left this sheriff out. Plainly because Andrew Lincoln has delivered so many awesome, chilling, and even heartbreaking lines, it was hard to not compile and devote a list to his iconic anti-hero. As promised, here are fifteen killer quotes by the man. Think I missed a few of his best quotes? Feel free to share in the comments below!

Thursday, June 30, 2016

15 Epic Quotes from The Walking Dead

The Walking Dead Best Quotes
There's so many things I love about The Walking Dead, it was a challenge to find the best place to talking about my favorite things. For one, there are some pretty awesome quotes - some are thought-provoking, funny, or cap off a highly emotional moment.

The more I dug around each season, a ton more memorable lines popped up and were very difficult to exclude (I'm looking at you Abraham, Glenn, and Dale!). This list could've gone on forever! You might notice that one character is missing from this list, and that's Rick Grimes. There is really too many to choose from or narrow it down, so he is going to get his very own list.

I hope you enjoy this week's Walking Dead Wednesday! Feel free to share in the comments: What are your favorite quotes?

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The X-Files Revival: Home Again Review

The X-Files Revival premiere review
Coming off of the heartwarming monster-of-the-week episode Mulder and Scully Meet the Were Monster, the X-Files took a somber turn with its latest episode. Director and writer Glen Moran combined an unknown force known as the Trash Man, and a solid focus towards Scully with her mother and as a mother.

In Home Again, the agents are sent to Philadelphia to investigate a serial killer connected to the homeless. Stuck between the streets and the city laws, dozens of homeless men and women were being shuffled around the city like cattle - until the local officials are mysteriously killed by a mystery assailant who swoops in and out of a garbage truck.

Just as the case gets underway Scully is called back to Washington D.C. where her mother suffered a fatal heart attack. Left stricken at her beside, Scully tries to stay strong as her mother mysteriously calls out for her long-distant son Charlie - whom she hadn't had contact in many years. Trying to focus at the task of hand, Scully struggles with her own regrets as a mother.

For the revival, it's been an explored subject that Scully had to give her and Mulder's son up for adoption in the original series. Now that so much time has passed and they've returned to the X-Files, Scully's plagued with doubts if she made the right call. With her mom lying in a near-coma, she feels like there needs to be said between them. Scully struggles to understand her mother's outreach to her brother, who's been a distant relative to the family.

What I really liked about the fourth episode was the combination of the 'monster-of-the-week' as well as focusing on Scully. While last week's episode was definitely more light and heartwarming, this took a darker turn. The Trash-Man and his link of killings brought back the good ol' days of the XX-Files that took take something normal and twist it into something truly creepy. Tall, scarred and with a bandaged nose, he snuck into the night to twist his assailants into literal trash.

I wouldn't necessarily say this was a strong episode. Was it better than last week's or the first two episodes? I'm not quite sure. The revival itself hasn't really returned to the pace of the original series - which is not something the actors could be expected to repeat. The chemistry and emotional intelligence is still there as they return to their characters, but the episodes themselves feel a little slow-going - not bad, or terrible. But I wonder, if this one revival is the only revival we are going have, has the material been the absolute best? I can't give a definitive yes, yet. That's perhaps is the biggest quandary.

The nastiness of the Trash-Man's crimes were both scary and chilling, but it didn't necessarily mar Scully's side of the plot. Gillian Anderson hasn't had a lot to do with the revival so far since much of the episodes centered on Mulder. In regards with her dealing with her mothers' condition, she gave the sorrow and confusion we were reminded of throughout the original series. The biggest difference now is that she is deeply experiencing the turmoil and void of Williams' adoption. The void of his William's presence and Scully's struggles with her mother is what really created the emotional impact and made the episode memorable.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The X-Files Revival: S10X03 Mulder and Scully

The X-Files Mulder and Scully
We've hit the halfway mark with the X-Files revival! It's so hard to believe that we're nearly two episodes until the season ten finale already. The third episode really lays on the charm and kitsch with a brand new monster-of-the-week episode: Mulder and Scully Meet the Were Monster.

Hold up in his office, Mulder is questioning his middle-agedness. Nearly all of the cases he and Scully investigated, or runs that excited him the most about the possibilities of the world, have been solved - either through technology, a weather phenomenon, or hoaxes. It's safe to assume that the sails have been knocked out for him, and he immediately realizes the childish naivete he had all those years ago.

Until Scully springs a new case on them: it's got monsters in it. Well, a monster to be exact. Out in the middle of a small Oregon town (where everyone nearly seems to high off their rocker), a series of animal attacks on humans brings the agents out to investigate. Mulder begins leaning towards a lizard-man Guy Mann (played by Rhys Darby) as the culprit, while Scully sorta sits back and enjoys this new side of Mulder. A side of Mulder who now uses the internet for all of his google-searching on supernatural phenomena, and a new app he hopes will help him capture phenomena on his phone. What would the Lone Gunmen think about this?

Darin Morgan has written and directed a few fair favorites of the series so far - War of the Coprophages might be my all-time favorite. This story that he brought to Chris Carter for the mini series had been scrambling about in his brain until the original series, and you can totally tell - this episode goes far beyond just a throw-in homage to all of the tiny, minute details fans know about - the two paint-huffing stoners, how Mulder and Scully are supposed to die, Dagoo, and so much more! There's some hidden details even die-hard fans caught that I never believed could be caught. What Morgan brings back is the humor and horror that was so memorable about the monster-of-the-week style.

It's not hard to do when Darby as Mann is so charming. His monologue of being a human sized lizard, becoming a human and facing the confusing trials of what mankind puts itself through - getting dressed, getting a job, keeping a job he hates, worry about retirement and the future, is funny and touching.

As funny as the episode is, it's heartwarming too. Mulder starts out very much in a skeptic Scully sorta way; sulking in the corner of his office and struggling to believe what he wants to believe. And, this case comes along that takes them on a wild goose chase. Scully into the lair of who the serial killer is, and Mulder into understanding who and what Mann is - a human-sized lizard man.

The newer episode are also treading the fine line of handling the advancement of modern technology since the series finale. Staples of the original series was big honkin' computers hardly hooked up to the internet and landlines. If Scully and Mulder went on an adventure together, or separate, they had to be near a payphone or phone in general to stay in contact to the outside world. Now, the world is so much smaller with the internet. While the agents now are not completely obtuse to today's world, their work is not grounded in constantly being hooked to smartphones. Again, another nice touch accomplished between Mulder and Mann.

My only complaint for the mini-series so far is Scully - there just isn't enough of her (well, in this episode we see enough of her in the best ways but there just isn't enough of Gillian). While I would've liked to have seen more of Scully for the mini-series so far, this is another tall-tale of Mulder relinquishing to the truth. It's not necessarily about proving something deep about the truth being out there - you gotta believe it in your heart. He makes a genuine connection to Mann, and we certainly do too. By the ending credits, this episode brings on the feels and has us frolicking with rejuvenated hope. This is the way we like our Mulder and our X-Files.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The X-Files Revival: My Struggle & Founders Mutation

The X-Files revival review
Mulder and Scully finally return for the highly-anticipated The X-Files revival. Finally we can say adios to the long wait for the tenth season! Below is a recap and my thoughts of the premiere episode as well as the follow-up. Hope you enjoy!

My Struggle, directed and written by show creator Chris Carter, had a lot to catch up on in the fourteen years since the show last aired, and nearly eight years since his second film opened to negative reviews.

In the series' finale Mulder escaped his indictment with the help of Scully and their fellow agents. The duo met with a wise man in the Grand Canyons who had knowledge of the alien's invasion at the end of the Mayan calendar in 2012. What the pairing discovered was the thought-to-be-dead Cancer Man, who was then blown to smithereens. Having survived yet another deadly encounter against their rival, the agents moved forward lying low from the FBI. For the second film I Want To Believe, the charges against Mulder were eventually dropped when he was called in to investigate a serial kidnapping, which left him and Scully's personal relationship strained.

One lingering question from the series' finale we wanted answered was the meaning of Cancer Man's revelation about the Mayan Calendar and the end of the world. Since the real world pushed onwards past 2012, the series made a turn to use that famous apocalyptic date as our own inflicted demise.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

X-Files Xtras: Thoughts on Season 8 and Season 9

The ending of season seven forced us to embark on a new era: one without Mulder, one with two new agents and replacements working alongside Scully, one that left us with questions about his disappearance and with the startling news of Scully's pregnancy. It pretty much dismantled the entire series as we knew it and tried to rebuild against a series imposed deadline.

So Mulder is gone, and season eight was another day. When a main character leaves it's hard to welcome the new kid in town. But, my god, I loved John Doggett. Choosing Robert Patrick as David Duchovny's replacement was perfect. He has to be given credit where it's due - his character comes in at the last second to tag-along with Scully in finding Mulder - two people he had no real prior investment in. He's a career guy without a family, a skeptical city cop, not built or trained to be investigating paranormal / supernatural phenomena. In a lot of ways, he's like Scully; he's assigned to the X-Files to spy on it for Assistant Director Kursh - someone who's oh so happy to have the department gone and out of the FBI. Doggett took over Scully's role as the skeptic, and Scully tried to think more like Mulder. But Doggett respects and likes Scully. She has the authority and he doesn't try to override or undermine her intelligence. In fact, he's pretty smitten and intrigued by her from beginning.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Best and Worst Television Show 2015

Television in 2015 was filled with brilliant and not-so-great moments. I'm truly surprised by how many fandoms I was apart of since I didn't consider myself that much of a tv hog. Categories & winners for the absolute worst, personal favorites, and best from the series I watched have been compiled below. There are plenty of spoilers ahead for the following shows: Doctor Who, Once Upon A Time, The X-Files, Scandal, The Strain, The Walking Dead - to say the least. Please proceed with caution, and I hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

X-Files Xtras: Thoughts On Season 7

Coming off the heels of my favorite season for The X-Files, where would the show would go next? Judging by fans' disapproval and critics' judgement of the series' inability to answer so many questions, the future as I knew it was crashing pretty hard and fast. Though everyone at the time of season sevens' airing called this the weakest one, I disagree. Season seven is not entirely unsatisfying, but it doesn't hide cracks and faults we previously overlooked either.

For one, the writers' plot themselves into a black hole. This was a given because a lot of episodes surrounding the agent's mysteries were 'solved' but not necessarily answered - we were always presented an idea of the supernatural or paranormal, and like Mulder and Scully left to believe what we felt was the truth. But as shared in past X-Files Xtras, a lot of the material for individual stand-alone episodes are recycled phenomena. Taking opportunities to expand Mulder and Scully's arcs, the writers opened more cans of worms than they had the time to close them.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

X-Files Xtras: Thoughts on Season 6

Season five was not my favorite of The X-Files so far. The latest set of episodes gave me a mix-bag of reactions. Chris Carter's format of recycling ideas of the supernatural and paranormal became too obvious. The only real exciting revelations centered on Mulder and Scully's individual quests, and their when-will-they chemistry. Everything else was a lot less interesting or entertaining.

Color me surprised when everything seemed to turn around for the sixth season. The direction and writing really hit its stride as nearly every episode was fun and exciting. Both Mulder and Scully's journeys go much further and deeper, opening up one can of worms after another.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

X-Files Xtras: Thoughts on Season 5

The season four finale is one of the biggest cliffhangers imaginable. Scully reveals that Mulder committed suicide after facing more obstacles and proof that his journey has been a lie. Season five kicks off with one of the most elaborate openers to the X-Files yet, it's hard to believe how much more entertaining the series grows.

Yet we have plenty of layers and scenarios left to play out just from the first episode alone - did Mulder truly end his life? What's revealed is some of the best partnering between the agents to uncover the government's games yet. And, this is just in the first episode.

Perhaps all of the twists in the first episode is what leads the rest of the season to be sporadic with excitement. Chris Carter's creation is not as tightly written as in the past. Instead, a lot of the episodes aren't that memorable, making this post a little shorter of categories than previous X-Files posts. As much as I love The X-Files, it starts to struggle with the next twenty episodes.

Cases are recycled with gusto forcing Mulder and Scully's individual and collective journeys to be intermittent - something the show relies on to keep the standalone stories from being too repetitive. It's a tug-of-war the series had from the beginning, but the disconnect between the Cancer Man arc, Mulder/Scully's partnership, and monster-of-the-week singlets start to show more strongly.

The show is far from falling into a million pieces but parts of the whole are beginning to show. Hope you enjoy anyways with my favorites, scariest, and more!

Friday, November 27, 2015

5 Favorite FRIENDS Thanksgiving Episodes

Halloween has its horror movie marathons. Christmas has it's A Christmas Story 24-hour takeover on TBS. And, Thanksgiving has to be all about Friends.

Perhaps the best moments of the gangs' dysfunctional friendships and mishaps came out around the holidays, just like all of us normal folk. One of my favorite ways to get into the holiday spirit is to watch their awkward and funny Thanksgiving episodes full of sisterly quarrels, secrets coming out of the closet, and the Gellar competition out in full swing. Hope you enjoy this post, the one with the Friends Thanksgiving Episodes! Which ones are your favorites? Feel free to share in the comments!

Friday, November 20, 2015

X-Files Xtras: Thoughts on Season 4

I wasn't quite sure which direction season four was going to dive into. As much as I love Mulder and Scully, some episodes hinges so deep into his truth-seeking escapades Scully is left in the dust. This season was surprising because their dynamics really grows leaps and bounds. More details of Scully's abduction comes to light deepening both of their connections to the governments' alien programs.

As for theme or genre, The X-Files still manages to be a little bit of everything; mostly drama and mystery sprinkled with comedy. The characters continue to deal with the obstacles in their way set forth by Cancer Man. Much more than the series solely centering on Scully/Mulder, we're also treated to more insight about his work as a master puppeteer behind the shadows. His organization's scope is much larger and treacherous than had been expected before. The bad guys' reach is really unlimited, and the questions posed about how much the government controls raises some true doubts and fears.

Here is a list of scariest, least favorite, and favorite episodes - and then some! Enjoy!