The Vampire Diaries – Ball Gowns and Dance Partners

Ah yes. The ever present "Family Tree made with blood"

You know what The Vampire Diaries does so well?  Relationships.  Every single relationship on this show feels well thought out and developed and true.  And every time a new relationship is formed, it feels earned.  Take last night’s episode for example.  We got to see some new relationships move forward and see the bonds of some old relationships tighten.

Awkward! (Ian Somerhalder, Nina Dobrev, Paul Wesley)

Stefan – Elena – Damon:The writers have done an excellent job of setting up this love triangle.  I don’t know who to root for!  On the one hand, Stefan is Elena’s first love; that means something and she seems so determined to get him back.  On the other hand, Elena has helped Damon change into a better man and clearly cares about her role in his life and doesn’t want to let him go either.  Continue reading

The Vampire Diaries – Mama Original returns and so many tears

Welcome Back, Elijah! (Daniel Gillies)

Remember a few weeks ago when I was complaining about how fast The Vampire Diaries was moving through plot and wished the show would take a deep breath and pause for a moment?  Well, last night, I got what I wished for.  All of our favorite characters seemed to hunker down for the night, but for some reason, it didn’t feel like the action actually paused at all.  It felt like each story was given a little breathing room to hit the audience with a little more impact, but that calmer pace did nothing to compromise the action.  On top of that lovely pace, the actors were really bringing the most to their characters – I am particularly impressed with the way Paul Wesley has been communicating all of Stefan’s conflicting feelings and how Candice Accola has made Caroline so fantastically human despite her vampire powers.  In other words, The Vampire Diaries crew hit it out of the park, again.

Hey, if the CW is going to give us gratuitous shots of Paul Wesley shirtless, why shouldn't I embrace them?

This episode basically breaks down into two parts – Klaus and Elijah vs. Stefan and Damon which includes Bonnie and her mother, Abby, attempting to open the 5th coffin and the mystery of who killed the medical examiner which involves Caroline, Elena, Matt and Alaric.  As much as I love this show, I do find fault in the lack of integration of its story lines.  Somehow it always feels like it is split into different stories that don’t include all of the characters.  I really want to see these plots start to dove-tail into each other so that all of our Mystic Falls heroes are working together toward the same goal like they were at the end of the first season. Continue reading

Monday Night TV Comfort Food: Hart of Dixie & Gossip Girl

I very much enjoyed the ongoing gag of Rachel Bilson in that horrific dress and the silly little cheer she had to keep repeating.

I had a crap day yesterday.  It was like I left my brain at home and couldn’t do anything right at work.  But there were two bright spots in my day: Hart of Dixie and Gossip Girl.  Just as I love television that makes me think or taps into emotions that I don’t reveal very often, I appreciate the shows that hold their cards out for everyone to see and try to bring a little joy to my every day life.  While I would never suggest that either of these CW shows has more depth than a thimble, they don’t claim to be anything they’re not.  They are easy to watch and definitely helped make my bad day better just by being themselves. Continue reading

The Vampire Diaries: Giant Info Dump

Oh, Joseph Morgan. Never stop being you.

Is anyone else feeling like this winter season of The Vampire Diaries is getting off to a slow start?  I have written recaps on the past three episodes, but feel like they have been more information dump than entertaining story.  It’s like the writers are trying to get us caught up on all of the new Mystic Falls rules and regulations and introduce us to a whole new slate of characters all at once.  This show has never been one to lay things out slowly or methodically, but lately, I’m feeling as if it has become more clunky exposition than flowing narrative.  I hate to criticize because I think The Vampire Diaries is so great, but I’m just not clicking with it right now.  Despite that, there have been a few interesting developments since the show returned that I would like to discuss if you don’t mind.

Bonnie (Kat Graham, who was awesome this week) dreams about her mother.

1. Here’s a little recap of the basic goings on around town: Stefan has all of Klaus’ family coffins and is using them as leverage to get Klaus out of town (he successfully got rid of the hybrids last week).  There is one extra coffin that no one can figure out how to open.  The coffins were being hidden in the house of 100 dead witches (which is my favorite place in Mystic Falls) until last night when Klaus got all of them, except the mystery box, back (I’m guessing that the locked coffin holds his mother).  Bonnie went to find her mother to help her unlock the coffin and Klaus used their reunion as a way to get his family back.  Meanwhile, Tyler is trying to break his sire-bond to Klaus with the help of Caroline’s father, in order to be able to be with Caroline and Alaric has befriended Dr. Meredith Fell who has been using vampire blood to help her patients cheat death.  Oh, and Elena got Damon to compel Jeremy so he would go to Denver in order to be safe and she and Damon kissed. Continue reading

The Vampire Diaries takes a deep breath

Elena (Nina Dobrev) discovers a secret on the cave walls (with Matthew Davis)

Finally!  An episode that allows me to breathe!  After weeks of piling on the action, last night’s episode of The Vampire Diaries took a step back and told us the origin story of the original vampires (as written on the Lockwood cave walls).  Alaric, Damon and Elena were determined to discover the meaning of the cave drawings (“It’s like the Lockwood diaries, Pictionary style.” – Damon) as a means of figuring out how to kill Klaus.  To that end, Alaric took hundreds of photographs of the drawings and figured out what all the symbols meant, Elena went directly to the source, Rebekah, for some answers, and Damon let Stefan out of the dungeon to get Mikael to show himself. Continue reading

The Vampire Diaries: I ain’t afraid of no ghost.

Mason tortures Damon a bit before Bonnie's manifestation spell kicks in.

After Bonnie sent Vicki back to the other side, a few other ghosts were let back into the real world – including Mason (who has set up quite the torture device for Damon), Grams (who is heartbreaking to see return), Lexie (whom Elena has been hoping can help her get Stefan back) and some of the tomb vampires (who are out for vengeance on the founding families).  Anna is also still hanging around, romancing Jeremy.  Bonnie’s grimoire opens (literally on its own.  I’m thinking the original vampire witch had something to do with it) to a manifestation spell which allows all of the ghosts to be seen and interact with people in the real world. Continue reading

The Vampire Diaries: THIS FREAKING AMAZING SHOW!!!

Oh Ian Somerhalder. You're so pretty.

Sorry I missed the recap last week, but I was flying to Portland at the time.  I did, however, ask my mother to DVR it for me and she came through like a champ!  This season just gets better and better doesn’t it?  I don’t know where the writers are drawing their inspiration or how they’re getting all of these puzzle pieces to fit together, but, in my opinion, the show is really growing.  Both last week’s episode and this week’s were chock full of action and important moments, but I feel like I say that every week. Continue reading

New Series News: Prime Suspect, Ringer, & Pan Am

Maria Bello of Prime Suspect

Prime Suspect got an additional 6 script order.  That’s not a full season or even a guarantee that those scripts will be shot, but it’s something.  I can’t really figure out why that show isn’t attracting more viewers.  Thanks to The Playboy Club’s cancellation NBC will be running repeats on Monday nights so maybe that will help the show attract more eyeballs.  It seems like a better fit on Mondays anyway (really, I just want it to come earlier in the week).

Ringer got picked up for the full season which isn’t really a surprise.  Despite the fact that it’s not a huge ratings get, even by CW standards, there’s just no way a network like CW is going to pass up an opportunity to be associated with a star who has the cult-power that Sarah Michelle Gellar does.  I haven’t seen this week’s episode, but I liked where last week’s left off.  I think it will be great to have someone be in the know about who Bridget is, and that was the best cliff-hanger thus far.  I do wish I liked the show more all around though.

This is news that I really like.  Gaius Charles (from Friday Night Lights) has been cast in guest role on Pan Am.  It’s going to be small which is a bummer because I love Gaius, but it’s on a pretty high profile show so hopefully that will help him get something bigger or more regular.  Overall, I’m still sort of feeling out Pan Am.  There are definitely things that I’m loving about it – especially Karine Vanasse as Colette.  Her performance last week was riveting to me – but something about it just isn’t connecting yet.  The stories and characters aren’t gelling for me.  Specifically, it would be nice to feel like all of the characters actually know each other.  Right now, they all seem so wary of one another and not familiar at all.

 

The Vampire Diaries: “Well, this is creepy.”

Wow.  I feel like The Vampire Diaries just opened a million new doors and I cannot wait to see where it takes us.  I love the way even the laying out of each story feels momentous instead of tedious.  Every moment last night involved some sort of fairly large reveal so I’m just going to make a list.

Caroline to the rescue!

1. “Grow up.” Caroline rescues her dad from Damon.  So, Sheriff Forbes took Damon to compel Caroline’s Dad, Bill, to forget all about Caroline and leave town.  However, Bill believes in the power of the mind to overcome anything (he’s totally a creepy motivational speaker) and proves it by being impervious to Damon’s tricks.  When he arrives at Lockwood mansion to take over the council, Damon goes on the attack and Caroline comes to her father’s rescue (when he resists taking her blood she tells him to grow up and it is awesome).  She and Damon have a BRILLIANT fight in which she totally kicks his ass.  In the end her dad leaves town, but not before telling her that despite her reassurances ”You’re a vampire sweetheart.  I don’t think you’ll ever be ok.” I find that incredibly cruel.  Do we think that her dad will be able to convince her to stop being a vampire?

Gloria tries to suck information about the necklace out of Stefan using vervain.

2. “Well, this is creepy” Katherine, upon seeing Gloria’s voodoo setup.  Gloria the witch gives Stefan a vervain laced pat-down in an effort to find Rebecca’s necklace/figure out why Klaus can’t make more hybrids.  I just love how completely over the top the setting was – with all of the candles, Stefan splayed on the table, the two decorative jars under his wrists to catch his blood – I mean, I know that rituals require precision, but it’s not like they were guaranteed a bunch of alone time.  After doing a locator spell on the necklace, Gloria saw Elena, Caroline and Bonnie talking about Stefan which put her on alert.  She didn’t divulge this information to Klaus because she would never help a “hybrid half-breed”, but also because she wants the necklace/talisman for herself.  She threatens to tell Klaus the truth unless Stefan helps her get it and when Stefan goes to attack, she does that fantastic witchy thing that Bonnie does and shocks his brain or whatever.  So she sets up her little voodoo lounge of comunicating with souls and tortures Stefan until she sees how much he loves Elena and how far he’s willing to go to protect her from Klaus which is when Gloria figures out that Elena is the doppelganger and the fact that she’s not dead is why Klaus can’t make more hybrids.  But, before Gloria can get what she really wants, Katherine arrives and stabs Gloria in the neck.  I love Katherine so much I literally clapped.

While I enjoy the dichotomy between Katherine and Elena, Katherine is definitely more fun to be around.

3. “Be careful, she’ll ruin you.” I LOVE Katherine.  After she kills Gloria and saves him (I do love how often the women do the rescuing on this show), Stefan lays out his plan for her.  I’m not sure I really get how the whole thing works, but he claims that he was mimicking what Katherine did with himself and Damon (she pretended to love Damon in order to get Stefan to love her.  In this situation, he’s pretending to be best buddies with Klaus in order to get Rebecca in a position to be willing to do anything to earn back his love?  Maybe?).  Stefan tells Katherine that they were running from a hunter in the 1920′s and that he wants to know why a vampire who can’t be killed is running from a vampire hunter.  When she says she wants in when he makes a move against Klaus, he just dismisses her with a “it’s good to want things Katherine”.  I like this scene so much.  I like seeing Stefan relaxed and smiling instead of angsty.  And I like seeing Nina Dobrev sultry and sassy as Katherine.  She and Paul Wesley have great chemistry and sometimes the darkness and guilt of Stefan and Elena’s relationship overshadows that.  ”I’m in this alone.  If you’re looking for a diabolical partner in crime, I suggest you look elsewhere.”

Rebecca sees what Stefan is trying to hide.

4. “My girl’s dead.  I’m bored.” I’m sad that Rebecca turned on Stefan (or caught on to him, whatever) so quickly because I sort of like her.  She’s got that same entitled brattiness that Katherine has.  The big theme with her this episode was how well she knew Stefan and it was interesting to see all the ways in which she tested his truthfulness.  Stefan tried to get her to tell him who she and Klaus were running from before Klaus stabbed her with the dagger of almost-death.  He thought he was being so smooth and manipulative, but she doesn’t buy it.  Rebecca immediately rats Stefan out to Klaus, telling him that he’s no longer on their side and asking about Michael.  Poor Stefan is kind of a dope isn’t he?  I mean, he had a plan – to use Rebecca’s love for him to find out who Klaus is running from – and he executed that plan, but she still saw through it.  I wish that we had seen a little more bonding between Rebecca and Stefan before she called him out.  It might have been nice to see her loyalties torn between Stefan and her brother.  Also, it would have made her feel less expendable.  It’s very rare that this show telegraphs a character’s expendability like this (I mean, it took them two seasons to off Aunt Jenna and I was SURE that Tyler’s uncle was going to become a part of the fabric of the show and he was killed pretty quick) but I feel like, her brother has already done away with her once and now that Stefan has no emotional tie to her, there’s no one to keep her from NOT dying (well, except for the fact that she’s an original and technically can’t die).

I love that the entire time Damon was yelling at Elena about not being Stefan, he had blood on his chin.

5. “So you’re not, like, switching Salvatores are you?” – Caroline to Elena.  Damon has been spending a lot of time with Elena which is making the hairs on the back of everyone’s neck stand up.  Alaric is worried and tells Damon to “take a beat” with Elena, Caroline spends most of the episode trying to convince her that he can’t/won’t change (I loved the way Caroline snapped “stay focussed” at Bonnie when first trying to talk to Elena about Damon), and after his run-in with Bill and Caroline, even Damon is trying to convince Elena that what she wants isn’t who he is.  ”I am not Stefan.  I wish that everyone would stop trying to turn me into him.”  I appreciate that the writers aren’t toning down Damon and his thirst for human blood in order to justify Elena’s attraction.  Nor are they saying that what Damon does is ok.  I mean, clearly, Damon is meant to be the “bad boy” in this little triangle, but part of a woman’s attraction to the bad boy is the desire to fix him and I’m glad that (so far) the writers are refraining from allowing Elena to “fix” Damon.

Ok, so if Anna can actually touch Jeremy does that mean she's not a "ghost"? WHAT IS SHE?

6. Unfortunately, I have no witty quote to jump into the Jeremy/Anna/Bonnie situation.  So far, I’m a little bored by this story, but I have a couple of theories.  First of all, Anna told us that it takes both her desire to see Jeremy and his desire to see her for their communication to work.  We also learned that Vicki leaves a very dark feeling over Jeremy whenever she’s around and it seems that she doesn’t like Anna interfering.  But Jeremy seemed to tire of Anna as well and after he realizes that he needs to be able to be with his alive girlfriend more than his dead vampire ex-girlfriend, he shuts Anna out and leaves her sobbing and alone and it’s actually kind of sad.  My first theory about this plot is that Matt is going to discover the push/pull method of getting in touch with his sister and it’s going to take him down a very dark path.  My second theory can be found below in #9.

Alaric (Matthew Davis) can protect me from the supernatural children of Mystic Falls any day.

7. After Alaric wakes up from his Damon induced nap (“Your temporary funeral”), he’s pretty pissed off and takes his new role as Elena’s father figure seriously.  He goes to the Mayor and Sheriff and tells them that he wants to be the Gilbert family spokesperson on the council because, thanks to their supernatural children, they can no longer be objective and the humans of the town need someone on the council looking out for them too.

I think we definitely need more Tyler/Caroline alone time.

8. Caroline surprises Tyler in his bedroom and he offers to kick her dad’s ass (which she refuses because she bought him the shirt he was wearing and it was really expensive.  That’s our Caroline).  They have a little sexy time and it’s super sweet and sexy.  I don’t know when this happened, because I loved Matt and Caroline, but Caroline and Tyler are totally my new favorites.

Katherine lures Damon into a road trip.

9. Elena gets her necklace back from Bonnie and she spills Jeremy’s ghost secret and she blames it on the fact that the witches said there would be consequences.  She turns around for a milisecond and when she turns back, Elena is gone.  BECAUSE ELENA WAS KATHERINE.  It took me far too long to grasp that (I seriously paused my DVR to figure out how Elena could disappear so quickly.  D’OH!).  It is important to note that during their very short encounter, Katherine became privy to the fact that Jeremy has been talking to his dead vampire ex-girlfriends.  I haven’t quite formulated my theory on what Katherine will do with that information, but you just know it’s going to be important.  Next stop on Katherine’s Mystic Falls tour is Damon’s house where she asks him to be the Clyde to her Bonnie and shows him the necklace.  He accepts, because what else is he going to do at this point with everyone trying to get him to either change or stay away from Elena.  LOVE this – Katherine and Damon tearing down the Eastern seaboard?  Perfection.

Look how proud Klaus is; I guess he thinks his plan must be working.

10.  The very last scene showed Stefan waking up among Klaus’ family coffins to find himself in the back of a truck that has returned him to Mystic Falls so that Klaus can figure out just what Stefan has up his sleeve.

Damon’s Bon Mots of the evening:

“I knew your old family.  They made sucky chili.” – Damon

Elena tries to get Damon to behave.

“Just because you and I are on ok terms doesn’t me I’m suddenly a big advocate for your lifestyle.” Sheriff Forbes “Is that what you told him when you two got divorced?” – Damon

“Don’t get me started on the irony of that” – Damon when Bill (who is gay) threatens to out him

One disappointment: I wish the 100 dead witches hadn’t cut Bonnie off after she brought Jeremy back to life.  I liked them and their house of horrors.

Hart of Dixie: How to make it work

Rachel Bilson may be totally charming, but I still don't buy her as a doctor.

Hart of Dixie is a perfectly charming concept for a very sweet show, except it’s doing everything wrong in my opinion.  It seems to want to be as middle of the road and dull as possible instead of really pushing the boundaries of its genre and being something interesting and fun.  First of all, it needs to take itself less seriously.  It needs to embrace how ridiculous it is that Rachel Bilson is playing a cardiothoracic surgeon and up the quirky quotient of the townspeople.  If it went just a little more over the top with Lemon (you know, she really didn’t have to have a reason to be such a brat.  I was good with her being a brat just because she is one), if they gave Scott Porter something to do as George besides look good and resist flirting with Bilson, if the townspeople leaned more towards the pick-a-little-talk-a-little bench gang from the beginning of last night’s episode and less towards the complimentary group of women sitting on the bench at the end of the episode (I recognize that they were the same women.  I am just saying that I like the snippy, gossipy side to them much more than the admiring side of them) – if all of that happened, things could be a lot more interesting in Dixieland. Continue reading