windinthemaples: A lane of red maple trees in riotous fall color. (tvd:  I'll save you)
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The Vampire Diaries
Season Four of The Vampire Diaries is underway and I'm still loving it. Some of the cast pairings, in terms of who gets scenes with who--not necessarily romantically, are switching up which makes for a really interesting dynamic on such a big ensemble show. Is anyone else up-to-date and watching the show every week? My favorite weekly recaps are done by [ profile] woodwitch, at her blog. I don't always agree with her, but she has a great sense of humor, is fiercely loyal to the show without being slavishly accepting of the missteps and plotfails, and she often says what I'm thinking about the episode developments. And, you know, she's really a fun writer to follow no matter what she's talking about.

Because I have Hulu Plus and a teething-instead-of-sleeping baby, I started watching Arrow--a new series based on the Green Arrow. He was never on my comic book radar, so I have no preconceptions about the show, the character, or anything. I'm three episodes in and still on-the-fence about whether it will earn a regular place in my TV watching habits. The set-up is pretty simple--wealthy playboy is shipwrecked on an island for five years, presumed dead by everyone. The show starts when he is discovered and brought back to not-Gotham-City,where his family are Trumplike titans of business.

And there are some standard comic book tropes thrown in--the transformative life experience, the seemingly effortless construction of a top-secret high-tech super hero lair, expert tailoring of a leather/pleather fighting costume, the clueless love interest, and the gee-shucks alter-ego with a suspicious tendency to disappear from places just before things get interesting.

I'm just not sure if the cast, as a whole, is interesting enough for a series or if I can handle a 'new bad guy every week' format. What I love is that intercut with the present day are memories the main character has of his castaway days on the island. I, a sucker for all things survival and deserted island-y, want to see how a douche of a guy with minimal lifeskills survives and changes when he finds himself somewhere money doesn't buy him a pass (or even a sandwich). How does he go from his entrenched entitlement to a corruption-fighting superhero? I love that the answer to that might be strewn out, a little thread of insight at a time, episode to episode. So for now, I'm holding out hope for the show to grow on me. Anyone else watching it?

Beauty and the Beast
And, with all the cross-advertising on the CW, it was inevitable that I found myself watching the relaunch of Beauty and the Beast, too. I'm a sucker for Beauty and the Beast myths--my love for Damon and Elena evidence enough--so I was drawn into this one. I like that the 'beauty' is tough but it seems she is tough enough to defend herself for only enough time for the beast to show up to save her time and time again. Like, thank goodness he got there because she was going to eat it but geez--he could be a little speedier with his swooping in.

But really, this is probably going to drop off my watching list pretty quickly. I don't see the appeal of either main character and I can't quite figure out why I should value or even believe their instant chemistry. The man is gorgeous. Nothing beastly about him, unless he gets HULK-MAD but otherwise, this isn't the story of looking past the cover. No, he's gorgeous and he's intelligent and he's been cursed by the military like a lot of vets I know. He can't let other people see him, not because he's hideous or terrifying, but simply because he is supposed to be dead and can't be caught out and about, hale and hearty.

So it isn't Beauty and the Beast so much as it is Beauty and the Fugitive. If you've seen it--what do you think? :)


Other than that, I've been catching up on past episodes of So You Think You Can Dance and Master Chef here and there. (Don't tell me what happens, please.)

What are you watching? :)

Date: 2012-10-27 05:59 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I am watching the new all-stars season of Project Runway! And a lot of stuff my parents watch. Major Crimes just finished up its season (omg I have such a girl crush on Mary McDonnell that I will probably re-watch the whole of the remake of Battlestar Galactica again, for like the fifth time) but I am still making my way through old episodes of The Closer.

And, of course, MLP:FIM on YouTube! Yay!

Date: 2012-10-28 12:57 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I haven't watched Project Runway since we left Chicago, but Daniel and I used to love watching it together over dinner. The idea of an all-stars season may bring us back to making time for it!

Date: 2012-10-27 01:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have been watching Vampire Diaries and I've watched two episodes of Beauty and the Beast. For me, Vampire Diaries is still pretty, but the plot this season hasn't really pulled me in yet. I'll keep watching though. Beauty and the Beast, I'm kind of with you, the chemistry isn't totally there.

Other than that I've been watching Walking Dead (if you can call peeking out between cracked fingers watching). I've seen two episodes so far and it's brutal this season. I started watching Dexter, because Sean wants to--last season was so awful that I said I didn't want to watch this season. This season is an improvement over last season, but we'll have to see where they take it. Mos Def was the best thing about last season and they killed his character off way too early.

Other than that we've watched a couple premiers for new shows, um Revolution and something about a submarine and another about a betrayed secret agent on the run and couldn't get into any of them.

Date: 2012-10-28 01:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I haven't gotten back into The Walking Dead this season yet. I don't have cable, so it involves paying iTunes for the episodes and--well, I'm too busy watching free shows right now. Come this winter I'll probably have a marathon. :) But that show is so scary, I have to watch it on my computer with headphones on so that Graeme won't accidentally hear the (TERRIFYING!) soundtrack. :D

I've never seen Dexter.

Oh! I forgot about Revolution. I, sucker for all things desert islandy and nuts and bolts survival, had hopes for that, too. Daniel gave up, pretty much immediately, because of the whole science-doesn't-make-sense aspect. It drove him *crazy* that some random things would stop--even combustion engines. I don't know why these things have to become all Lost and magic and conspiracies and whatever instead of sticking to a basic premise like, "Holy shit, our global population is about to take a terrific swan dive because nobody, anywhere, has electricity." Why doesn't anyone ever make *that* show--where suddenly doctors have to operate back in the Dark Ages, with knowledge but little to no equipment or manufactured drugs--where local communities have to pull together because there is no shipping or transportation options to make your new world anything *but* a local affair. Instead it's like Lost and Hunger Games had a weird Fireflyesque baby. I'm just not sure how long I can hold out there and hope for interesting insight into their real-life problems, outside of militia and military dictatorship filling the voids left by government.

Date: 2012-10-28 02:00 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Both Walking Dead and Dexter (and Breaking Bad too actually, though that's not on currently) are things I never ever would have watched were I not watching with Sean. He wanted to watch these things, they are incredibly violent... But at the same time I have to admit that (mostly in the case of Dexter) they are amazingly scripted, have incredible casts, and push boundaries of tv, and make you care about people you normally wouldn't care about.

All that said, I would not suggest that you in particular watch Dexter, it can be incredibly disturbing.

For me the show Dexter is a special exercise in fascination and frustration. I read the first two books in the series the tv show is bases on. The author made it exceptionally crystal clear that Dexter is a complete sociopath, which makes the books both repellent and strangely interesting, in the way that watching aggressive insects is interesting. The show chose to depart from that in incredible and credulity stretching ways. Put very simply Dexter (as played by Michael C. Hall) is not a sociopath, he is an emotionally damaged victim, with low emotional affect and stunted social abilities, who has an obsession with blood and death and is also a vigilante. But he does to limited degrees show empathy and guilt, which a true sociopath couldn't and allows repeated ego assaults to occur without raging, controlling, anger or punishment which a true sociopath could not. The vigilante aspect cannot be down-played in the tv show, it is really the central controlling plot line. In the books Dexter is not motivated in the same way.

For me, there is something strangely satisfying about some vigilante plot lines in shows and movies. Sean is obsessed with them and has honestly watched every single vigilante movie ever made and some of them are just too way out there for me. However, I guess there's this dark aspect in me that I won't let myself consider ideas like that in real life, but there is something weirdly satisfying about seeing vigilantism in some tv and movies (like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo).

But Dexter troubles me deeply if we consider as something other than a comic book. Harry, Dexter's father, rather than getting him help, turned him into not just a vigilante but really in so many ways, a monster, but as the show progresses and we see that Dexter is clearly not a sociopath, then Harry's actions become about his own dark fantasies and has closed Dexter off from any possibility of a normal life.

Date: 2012-10-27 05:26 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I've been watching The Vampire Diaries, New Girl, 2 Broke Girls, and The Big Bang Theory. I finally figured out how to use the DVR so I tape everything and watch them when I can, but I have to admit, Thursday nights at 8:00 find me in front of the TV tuned into the CW. ;)

I haven't been watching as much reality television as I have in the past. I have kind of been watching Breaking Amish as well as Ghost Hunters and Long Island Medium. None of these I plan on watching and will just watch if I happen to catch it on if I'm surfing.

I have not had any desire at all to watch Arrow or Beauty and the Beast. The girl who plays the "beauty" annoyed the hell out of me when I used to watch Smallville, so I can pass and not think I'll miss anything.

I wish I had fancy cable because I would love to be watching True Blood and Game of Thrones! So sad.

Date: 2012-10-28 01:13 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I miss cable, too! At some point, when they cooperate with iTunes, I'll catch up on True Blood and Game of Thrones. I hope. :D

I'm so glad you're hooked on The Vampire Diaries. Have you watched all the episodes from the last seasons or are you just joining? I didn't know you were watching it. :D

Date: 2012-10-28 01:29 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Yep! I've seen everything that TVD has aired. I'm totally up-to-date. :) I love it!

Date: 2012-10-28 01:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Oh! Then we shall have to discuss, at length, this show. :D

Sometime after I get my butt off the internet and plan for this Samhain ritual and party today. Ahem. *zoom*

Date: 2012-10-28 05:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I just finished watching the last bit of Ringer & Secret Circle. Man, I really enjoy CW shows when they get launched but I would love to see them take themselves less seriously. And maybe they could flesh out character development and storylines including magical objects instead of just racing through from one enchanted item/curse to another. It's like they have really good ideas but just burn through them without really letting us enjoy them.

I did end up really liking Secret Circle... I really liked the character of Diana, actually, even though normally the in-charge-do-good kind of girl isn't one of my favourites. I was kind of curious as to where the second season would have gone. ♥

Date: 2012-10-28 05:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Also, I need to get caught up on Vampire Diaries... I made it to about halfway 3rd season I think! I hear a rumor of Elena's new incarnation and I'm kind of interested in that. :D

Date: 2012-10-29 11:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have the first episode of Arrow but haven't yet watched it. I've been so busy that I decided I'd hold onto it in case I get bored, but won't go out of my way to watch it.

I was losing interest in TVD last season but this season has gotten back on track. Using Klaus sparingly plays to his strengths, and Caroline, who used to be my least favorite character, is fast becoming my favorite. She's Stefan without all the angst. A genuinely "good" vampire.

I've also been loving this last season of Fringe. I'm sure you're not watching this one, but it's always been consistently good. However, this season, since it's the last, they've gone all out and really upped their game. It's crazy and great. The only new show I started watching is Last Resort. The pilot was amazing (sort of a Hunt For Red October vibe) and the following episodes have been pretty good too. I'm just not sure how they'll sustain an entire series on the premise (nuclear sub is ordered to fire and disobeys orders becoming instant enemies of the state).


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