It’s safe to watch Revenge again, everyone

After a disappointing second season, "Revenge" has regained its bearings.

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The midseason finale of Revenge airs tomorrow night, and it will most likely be met with middling ratings. After a convoluted second season (paired with a move to a different night), audiences jumped ship on the frothy drama. No one can blame audiences for abandoning what was once a fun summer-in-fall soap turned complicated mess. But something happened during season three of Revenge: it got good again. Everyone’s goals were clear. The stakes were raised. And none of it included superfluous, huge conspiracies (ahem, The Initiative, otherwise known as they who shall not be named). Revenge decided to recalibrate and got to the core of the show — Emily’s revenge, especially onto those it makes most sense for her to revenge. Yes, season three is all about Emily versus Victoria, and it’s been fantastic.

The frame of this season is Emily will be shot on her wedding night and fall into the ocean, seemingly dead. Obviously, there are more episodes this season, so we know that Emily won’t die. (Not just yet, anyway. That could possibly happen in a series finale. Who knows?) But what the frame has done is classic Revenge. We’ve gotten to see how Emily’s plans are unfolding and just exactly how all those plot points move closer toward the inevitable flash-forward.
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Saving Mr. Banks review: Two movies in one, and one ain’t bad

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It’s difficult to watch a film that’s sure to be on plenty of people’s — if not everyone’s — best-of list for 2013, perhaps a shoo-in for the Academy Awards next year, too, and just think well that was fine. In reality, author of Mary Poppins P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson) was a stubborn and snobby person who thought (perhaps rightfully so) that her story was much darker than what Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) and Co. wanted to create in film. She hated Mary Poppins the movie all the way until the day she died. And, yes, maybe she had some reason to be a bit reserved.

But, unfortunately, what Disney did with Saving Mr. Banks is the same they did with Mary Poppins: schmaltz up what was undeniably a grittier story.

Apparently if you’ve had a drunk for a father (Colin Farrell) and a lower-class upbringing which made you a stick in the mud, all you need is a little song and dance in the form of “Let’s Go Fly a Kite.” But that’s beside the point, because Saving Mr. Banks is kind of like two movies in one, and the one I’m referencing now is actually the good one.
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The Vampire Diaries ‘Fifty Shades of Grayson’ review

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You guys, whatever.

Is that an appropriate reaction? I hope it is, because that’s sort of what The Vampire Diaries feels like sometimes, right? Like, a lot of stuff happens, but when it’s over you’re just like, “OK.” Right? Right? This wasn’t a particularly awful episode of The Vampire Diaries, but it was sort of like, “Sure. That satisfied the requirements for one hour.”

At this point in The Vampire Diaries‘s life, I don’t think there’s much to say about character development. I’ve tried for a long time. Last week, I even skipped a review for the first time in two and a half years, back when I would be able to make sense of each character’s actions. This episode, I suppose I can muster up a few things:

For one, I’m glad that they’re digging into Damon’s villainous ways, that Damon is asking Elena to stop trying to defend his actions (as they all do for each other, which is just reprehensible), that Elena has stated that she’s kind of awful too, that Stefan is trying to rekindle with his humanity. I also love that Katherine is trying to find redemption, but I hate how she’s going about it: Stefan, love me!
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Lost Girl ‘Let the Dark Times Roll’ review: Line in the sand

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You guys, honestly, last time I’m tardy with this. The semester is officially over!

You already know how I feel about last week’s installment. It was perhaps the best episode of the series ever… or at least in a really long time. The problem with having such a good episode, of course, is that it’s difficult to follow that up. Now, certainly, Lost Girl could have an even better episode this season. All the storylines are in place for everything to begin crumbling down. I’m thinking The Good Wife “Hitting the Fan” kind of destruction. But what mostly bugged me about this episode is that it suffered a bit from that too-cheeky thing that Lost Girl sometimes does. Even though I’m all for more dancing from Ksenia Solo, really a dance-off?

Whatever, at least it continues to bring out my newfound strong like for Tamsin. The character certainly was given a few vulnerabilities last season, but Tamsin trying to discover her purpose is something I’m loving a lot this season, and it certainly adds another element to the Lost Girl title. For all of the overly campy things Lost Girl has done, having Tamsin literally grow again through a series of episodes is one of my favorites.
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Golden Globes 2014 nominees I’m most excited about!

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The Golden Globes nominations announcement is always one of the highlights of the year in television. Everything that seemingly got snubbed at the Emmys seems to get a nod during the Golden Globes. That’s what is so great about the Golden Globes: they like to recognize new names, take a few more risks. Plus, the show is a lot better. While this year’s Emmy awards was a shocker (some winners were deserving), it was also quite… uh, strange and sad at times. No surprises, I — and the rest of the Internet — am looking forward to Tina and Amy redux come January. And that all begins with today’s announcement.

Drama Series

For example, while The Good Wife was left out of the Emmy race this year, it has been nominated for best drama at the Golden Globes. Obviously, season four of The Good Wife was a bit wobbly, though I think the second half of season four was pretty great. There’s no denying that season five of The Good Wife has been almost masterful. I would argue that it’s perhaps the best drama on television currently (behind Masters of Sex). How you could infuse that much tension into a legal procedural is beyond me.
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The Mindy Project: ‘Christmas Party Sex Trap’ review

Grade: A

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There are a few reasons that The Mindy Project is better than New Girl this season and ‘Christmas Party Sex Trap’ is one of them. Great writing, sharp delivery, sexual tension; and best of all, it all feels fresh and new and exciting.

The episode starts out with a great line from Mindy: “Christmastime in New York City… snow on the ground, lights in the trees, and so many tourists that it’s nearly impossible to return a bra to a department store.”

Then this happens:

The entire opening was brilliant.

The episode had two main storylines – Mindy planning a Christmas party to seduce Cliff (Glenn Howerton), Jeremy, who has lost weight, abstaining from eating as Peter abstains from drinking. Oh and Maria Menounos stars as Brendan Deslaurier’s girlfriend for some reason. Brennan has some great one liners this episode, such as: “You know, there’s some recent scholarship that suggests Jesus was actually a black woman,” and, (re: Maria’s rendition of Santa Baby) “As a feminist, it offended me to my core.”

Mindy has a four step plan to attract Cliff, but of course, it doesn’t work out in the way she wants. Danny tries to tell her how stupid it is, in between building a gingerbread house, filling Mindy’s bra with wine, and giving her crappy Secret Santa gifts (medical gauze and a stapler).
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Lost Girl ‘Turn to Stone’ review: The Bo is back

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I know that I am quite late with this update. I even contemplated forgoing it entirely, but I definitely wanted to write something about this episode of Lost Girl, because I think it’s one of the strongest of the series’ run.

For the first three episodes of this season, I wanted all of the characters back together in their normal dynamic. And while we did get some of that this episode, something happened where I was also surprisingly content that the show had several loose ends at the fringes. Where’s Lauren? Where’s this story with Tamsin going? More so, there was finally some emotional punch we’ve been waiting since the series premiere for—Kenzi tells Bo just how alone she feels, how normal she is compared to the rest of our gang.

For the first time this season, the disconnected threads didn’t feel disjointed, they felt as though they were broadening the scope of Lost Girl‘s narrative. After watching this show for three seasons, you kind of get used to its elementary set pieces and back-and-forth between the same locations; it’s felt like a sandbox. But, for whatever reason, when I watched this episode, I felt as though this was just a good episode of television, without any qualifiers.
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Film review: Disney’s Frozen surprises and warms hearts

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You’ve seen the trailer, and you’ve most likely been dreading taking your little ones to this movie during the holiday weekend. But in truth, there is nothing to dread. Frozen is a nod to Disney classics while subverting expectations; it’s surprising and, of course, it will warm your heart.

Kristen Bell recently had an interview on The Tonight Show where she said she always wanted to play a Disney princess, but not a dainty one. In truth, Frozen harps back to the days of The Little Mermaid, but what it does right is call out Anna (Bell) on her newfound love and it doesn’t have her sacrifice her voice — neither metaphorical nor literal — for it either. When Anna and Hans (Santino Fontana) get engaged after knowing each other for just a few short hours, even I was calling out the story’s inanity. That would have worked in movies before, but it just feels outdated and ridiculous now. What I didn’t expect was the characters to feel the exact same way: Elsa (Idina Menzel), Anna’s sister, tells her she can’t marry someone she just met; Kristoff (Jonathan Groff) questions her better judgement.
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Lost Girl ‘Lovers. Apart.’ review: Elemental whisperer

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Welcome back, Bo. We’ve missed you! Anna Silk’s bigger presence in this episode just confirmed what I believe most of us felt during the past couple of episodes: We need Bo. Yes, the supporting characters are great, but ultimately this is Bo’s show — and I’m certainly glad that she’s back. I’ll still venture to say that during the premiere, it wasn’t so dire because of its whacky premise. More so, the premiere still chose to have a lead character: Kenzi. The previous episode tried to mesh everyone together in an ensemble, and it just didn’t work. Even this episode, where Bo’s back, lacks some of the rest of the cast; it’s better than last week’s, but it still leaves something to be desired.

And what I desired was not the A-plot this week. I know it’s only been three episodes (out of a thirteen-episode season, I presume), but for some reason, I’m more than ready for Lost Girl to tell us just what is going on. In fact, I dread the fact that Bo and Dyson apparently forgot everything that happened on the train. What was that train? And what about The Wanderer? I feel as though we’ve waited long enough.
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The Michael J. Fox Show: Thanksgiving Recap

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It’s been a month since I reviewed The Michael J. Fox Show, so I figured I would look at it with fresh eyes. While reviewing the show is no longer the bane of my existence, I didn’t come out of The Michael J. Fox Show’s Thanksgiving episode finding it remotely interesting.

Is it possible to write a Thanksgiving episode without tired old television clichés? Not for the writers of The Michael J. Fox Show. To be honest, the episode didn’t start out too bad, even if we have seen the premise a million times before.

In this episode, Annie decides that it’s time to have Thanksgiving in her and Mike’s Manhattan apartment. Since the Henry’s Thanksgiving is usually celebrated at Mike and his sister Leigh’s parents’ house, the elder Henrys are invited. This is where things take a wacky turn. Get it? It’s a sitcom!

It turns out Leigh told her parents, Steve and Beth, she moved to Portland because she doesn’t want to have to see them. Obviously, Steve and Beth don’t know that their daughter has been living with her brother and his wife. Leigh really doesn’t want to see her parents, so she tries to catch a flight out of New York, but as she was leaving Steve and Beth had just arrived.
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