“Sinners and Saints” – The Originals

Screen Shot 2013-11-05 at 9.13.02 PMWow. This week’s episode of The Originals has officially cemented the show as our favorite of the season. Not favorite new show, not favorite show on The CW or favorite show about vampires. Flat out, simple favorite show. Why? We’re not even sure we can put our finger on it. We’re inclined to think that, mostly, it’s because The Originals – unlike most other shows on air at the moment – seems to wholly believe that mystery is compelling, but only in small doses. The writers of The Originals know that a good mystery can keep an audience hooked, but also know that dragging that mystery out for too long is as likely to turn an audience off as it is to keep them tuning in.

That understanding couldn’t have been more obvious in “Sinners and Saints” if it had jumped up and down screaming ‘I did magic in the quarter’. One of the more notable aspects of The Originals is that it, somewhat ironically, dispensed with the origin story. We mentioned this before – how the show is likely to be able to make great use of flashbacks because so much is unknown. And that remains true. We got an explanation about why Klaus and the rest of the Mikaelson clan were going to be in New Orleans but, beyond that, we knew very little.

And as the season has progressed, we have more questions rather than fewer, mostly about Davina – who she is, why the witches want her so badly, why she’s so much more powerful than the other witches, and why she’s so close to Marcel. This episode answered those, and Continue reading

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“Help Me Make It Through the Night” – Hart of Dixie

Screen Shot 2013-11-01 at 5.27.07 PMA slight improvement on last week’s crapfest, though it’s clear that something has slipped on Hart of Dixie this year. Maybe it’s just that everything’s gone so far off kilter. Annabeth and Lavon are struggling to survive Lynly (though Lavon doesn’t seem to have noticed), George is a mess, Lemon was consistently hooking up with Meatball, the Belles are Bitches, and Zoe and Wade have been torn asunder. Joel. So many problems relate to Joel. And somehow, in the middle of all of this, BlueBell seems to have lost some of its spirit, and the show is falling with it. Mostly gone have been the little strange quirks that used to pepper episodes. These latest episodes are too focused on the main characters and aren’t allowing the town (and its inhabitants) to shine the way it used to.

Far from being compelling viewing – we should want to watch to make sure everything gets back to where it’s supposed to be – this approach has been putting us off. It doesn’t feel like the Hart of Dixie we fell in love with. It feels like a new show, and it’s not one we’ve been all that interested in.

But some of that was rectified by “Help Me Make It Through the Night” and, with a few exceptions, we finally felt like things were heading back toward normal.

Lynly’s temporary absence gave AB and Lavon a chance to Continue reading

“True Lies” – Vampire Diaries

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 4.34.47 PMWe weren’t too impressed with this week’s episode of The Vampire Diaries. We’re not quite sure what it was that put us off. Maybe that it just wasn’t that exciting. Maybe that, after four years, we just can’t care about yet another disaster or about mysterious villainy. Maybe it’s that, with just two episodes under its belt, we already prefer Tuesday-night counterpart The Originals. Maybe we miss Klaus and Rebekah. Or maybe it was just an off week (for us and for the show) and next week will be a return to regularly scheduled awesomeness.

The episode wasn’t a total wash, however. For every moment of not giving a damn about Silas, we had hilarious one-liners from Caroline, or Katherine being a little bit of a badass. For every stupid, predictable coincidence – new hot guy, Jesse, is in the microbiology class of the lecturer who faked dead roommate’s death certificate – there’s the promise of a little bit more intrigue. For every introduction of thoroughly pointless gypsies, we had a truly emotional moment between Bonnie and dead Matt, or  between Bonnie and Jeremy. Because that’s one thing you can always say about TVD. Even the bad episodes are not without their saving graces.

So what do we know now that we didn’t before? Continue reading

“City of Heroes” – Arrow

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 1.29.04 PMQuite simply, this was one of the most satisfying returns of the season. It’s like the writers didn’t even miss a step. Right from the opening moments, we launched back in. There was no need to ramp back up. It was action, tension, drama and danger right from the first moments. We loved it.

As the episode opens, we see Dig and Felicity parachuting onto Liànyù to find Oliver. Apparently, when things are going badly, there’s no place like the island that tried to kill you over and over again. When they get him back to Starling City (by telling him that Thea and Queen Consolidated need him), we see how far the city has fallen. The Glades are still an inhospitable hellhole and there are copy-cat vigilantes roaming the streets. Thea is running Verdant, Roy is still running around trying to be a hero, Moira is in prison awaiting trial (and Thea won’t see her) and Queen Consolidated is about to go to Stelmore International in a hostile takeover. Laurel is working for the DA and Detective Lance is now a plain old beat cop. A bleak picture, sure.

So the episode focused on getting Oliver back on track. Since Tommy’s death, he has been determined not to be the Hood. He can’t reconcile himself to the fact that Tommy died thinking he was a murderer. And yet, in spite of his heroic impotence, “City of Heroes” did not lack for action. Some of that action was corporate – Isabel Rochev (Summer Glau, Firefly, Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Dollhouse), VP of Acquisitions at Stelmore, is ruthless and fantastic – and some literal. The copy-cat vigilantes, while Continue reading

“House of the Rising Son” – The Originals

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 1.24.41 PMVast improvement over last week’s offering here. Blessedly all new scenes, and what scenes they were.

“House of the Rising Son” showed Rebekah’s arrival in New Orleans and the fairly predictable fallout from it. She’s never exactly been the model of emotional stability. It also gave us some background into Klaus’ relationship with Marcel (Klaus saved a young Marcel from a whipping) and Rebekah’s relationship with Marcel (steamy and, no doubt, something to be more deeply explored). It dealt with the issue of abortion (quite well) and showed us Klaus’ paternal side. It gave us a better look at Davina (Marcel’s resident witch, with Carrie-esque powers of persuasion [relative newcomer Danielle Campbell]). And it amped us up for the thrust of the season – unseating Marcel.

Though it’s likely that that particular eventuality will be quite a long way off. The first step for the remaining (undaggered) Mikaelsons will be rescuing Elijah. The need for a rescue is, of course, Klaus’ fault. Giving the daggered Elijah to Marcel in a show of faith was not only cold, it was a bit dumb. Rebekah, finding Elijah with Davina, sees that immediately and, despite Klaus’ deviously ingenious plan to infiltrate Marcel’s inner circle, the Mikaelson priorities will change.

Perhaps most importantly, “House of the Rising Son” also provided us with one important ingredient Continue reading

“I Think I’m Gonna Like it Here” – Supernatural

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 1.21.32 PMGreat return from Supernatural. Made even more great by the fact that we weren’t expecting much from it… The show can be quite hit and miss at times, and to come back this strongly bodes well for the coming season. We hope.

Frankly worrying, however, was that credit sting. As you devout members of the Supernatural fandom will no doubt have noticed by now, every new season is accompanied by a new title screen. This season’s? Angel wings. That tells us what we’re going to be focusing on this year and, devout PHG fans that you undoubtedly are, you know that’s not going to make us happy. We’re always wary when Supernatural strays too far into the religious. But, as long as Kripke et al. handle it as well this year as they did last – a profoundly heaven-and-hell season that somehow still felt monster-of-the-week – we should be okay.

The episode picked up just a few days after we left off at the end of the previous season, and really set the stage for a fantastic run. It opened with a standard Winchesters-on-a-roadtrip scene then cut to a Winchesters-in-hospital scene. For the majority of the episode, Sam is in a coma. And this is fantastic television. You wouldn’t think there’d be much scope there, but Continue reading

“Who Says You Can’t Go Home” – Hart of Dixie

Screen Shot 2013-10-13 at 1.14.16 PMHart of Dixie’s third season picks up five months after the sophomore season’s finale. Zoe is still in New York, working in an inner city ER and about to move in with her writer boyfriend, Joel (Josh Cooke, Dexter, Better With You). And then her dream life hits a snag – she can’t stop thinking about BlueBell. When Rose turns up in the waiting room during Zoe’s shift, it’s a fait accompli… time to head back to BlueBell (the town she broke up with by email), tie up loose ends and get one all important letter from Brick. Of course, none of that is going to be smooth sailing. The town hates her, en masse. Her meddling with George and Tansy drove the couple out of town, in opposite directions. Since then, BlueBell has been a hellhole, and relations with Filmore are worse than ever. So it takes some time for the townsfolk to come around to the return of the erstwhile doctor, but come around they do. Zoe saves Founders Day, everyone is happy.

Not a bad return for the show, but not exactly groundbreaking either. It did little to surprise, but still had enough of its innate spirit to keep us interested. That’s one great thing about Hart of Dixie. Even when the story is nothing special, there’s something about it that keeps drawing us in. Maybe it’s the southern charm, or the wit, or the bright colors. Maybe it’s the interpersonal relationships, or the well-drawn characters. Maybe it’s just the promise of seeing Wade Kinsella. Whatever it is, even the bad episodes never make us want to stop watching.

Not that this was a bad episode. It did well at catching us up on what we’ve missed while we’ve been away. Instead of eloping, Shelby and Brick have gone their separate ways. Annabeth and Lavon are still going strong, but Lavon’s cousin, Lynly (newcomer Antoinette Robertson), is a constant thorn in AB’s side (and, we’re willing to bet, in ours). Magnolia’s gone to boarding school. Lemon has been sleeping with Meatball on the DL. Yes, you read that right. And Wade… well Continue reading

“Always and Forever” – The Originals

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 6.38.01 PMDisappointingly very little new from this premiere episode of The Originals. It was essentially a rehashing of the backdoor pilot that aired mid-VD last season (which you can read here to save us from having to write it again), but from Elijah’s point of view. This perspective gave us little new to be excited about, retreading old ground with very little imagination. The only new scenes to offer any additional expectation came in the very final moments, as Klaus daggered Elijah to get rid of his weaknesses (typical, power-hungry Klaus. The show can’t have much to do with the Original Family if they’re all daggered, though, so we’re not quite sure where this is going. With any luck, Rebekah will make her appearance next week and we’ll get more of a taste of where this is going) and Marcel’s secret weapon – which is keeping the witches in line – was revealed to be an incredibly powerful witch (or something).

We hope we’re not going to have to watch every episode twice this season, and we hope it regains that same sense of fun it had during the backdoor pilot. We’re doubly hoping that we won’t have to watch this episode again next week from Hayley’s perspective. Maybe that will be the entire first season… watching this episode from every perspective possible. Though as long as they maintain the fantastically New Orleans soundtrack, we’ll probably be happy. – K

Quoteworthy: “There is no power in love. Mercy makes you weak. Family makes you weak. If I am going to win this war I have to do it alone.” – Klaus (in desperate need of a hug)

“I Know What You Did Last Summer” – Vampire Diaries

Screen Shot 2013-10-07 at 6.04.22 PMWelcome to the first edition of Vampire Diaries does College, brought to you by a healthy dose of mystery and vervaine-laced water. Yes, kids, you heard us right. Elena and Caroline are in college and it’s not smooth sailing. We repeat, not.

But that was the least surprising bit of the episode, so we shouldn’t complain. The rest of it more or less surprised at every turn, and served as a great opening for the CW stalwart’s fifth season. Sticking with the college theme, we take a look at that brand new mystery first. From the moment Sheriff Forbes told Elena that Whitmore (their new college) is where Daddy Gilbert fell in love with medicine, we knew the campus would give us some echoes of the Gilberts. We weren’t expecting the extent to which the Gilberts would be relevant to the story – we have a suspicious roommate, a suspicious dead roommate, and a suspicious dead roommate who knew Elena’s dad and has pictures of him and her on her cell. Yes, they’re all the same person (new [dead] character Megan; relative unknown Hayley Kiyoko). Megan will likely be a recurring character. But as a ghost. Or a vampire. Bringing us neatly to the second college-based mystery: who killed her? Our money’s on hot-new-guy-for-Caroline (now that Tyler’s out of the picture), because he’s the only one getting any screen time, and we all know she can’t be happy for a hot second.

But college wasn’t the only venue providing the fun times. Back in Mystic Falls Continue reading

“Graduation” – Vampire Diaries

Screen Shot 2013-05-22 at 1.18.31 PMOh. My. God. Omigod, omigod, omigod.

We could waste time and precious page space talking you trough every single moment of this incredible season finale – one in which so very much happened – but we think the rest of the episode is entirely immaterial when one considers the MAJOR moments that came toward the end and completely changed the face of the show. Suffice it to say that everyone graduated and there were some touching goodbyes before the veil went back up. But we barely care about any of that, because the ending. Oh wow. The ending.

Let’s deal with some of the smaller big stuff first, before we get to that. And relationships up first, because they’re only big stuff for the intense ‘shippers among us. But, boy, was this episode just chock-full of romance! (Be prepared for overuse of couple names.)

First up, Rebekah and Matt. This was perhaps the tamest of the four main love affairs featured in the season finale. It was notable only because they’re finally embarking on some sort of relationship after two years of build up. But it’s more of a friendship than a romantic entanglement, so fans of this particular ‘couple’ will have to wait a little longer for the money shot. Though we feel as though the ‘money shot’ isn’t even necessary. Rebekah’s swiftly changing personality, her sacrifices and sweetness, were not lost on Matt and romance is sure to bloom, if a little reluctantly. What can we expect from this new pairing? Well we’re not sure. Claire Holt, who plays Rebekah, is signed to the cast of The Originals. Will we be seeing Rebekah and Matt exploring life in New Orleans, or will some tragic falling out drive Rebekah to her brothers and Matt back to tending bar in Mystic Falls?

Next we have Klaroline, and perhaps our Continue reading