Category Archives: television reviews

A PONY! The Veronica Mars Kickstarter

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Okay, people. STOP. Whatever you are doing. Just STOP and RUN over to this link because we are finally going to get what we’ve always wanted from Veronica Mars: MORE.

I interrupt our regularly scheduled Buffyversary because of another tiny blonde with chutzpah — I found Veronica Mars after a few years of people telling me I ought to watch it. It aired while I was living abroad, so I didn’t get to fall in love with it until after the show was over.

And when I got to the end of season 3, I wailed, I gnashed my teeth, I ate an entire pint of Ben and Jerry’s and relentlessly shipped Veronica and Logan.

Okay, so maybe not quite that bad. Please believe me, please believe me. *cough*

Anyway.

The point is that the show was phenomenal, full of quippy one-liners and gut-wrenching moments and characters that smolder an awful lot, but appropriately and in a way that makes your heart just go pitter-pat-pitter-pat. (I’m looking at you, Jason Dohring.)

The show got canceled way before its time. In fact, it got canceled so suddenly that the finale was painful because it left so much ambiguous. And fans have been clamoring for a film pretty much since that day.

There’s only one problem. They kinda don’t MAKE feature films from canceled television shows. Unless you’re talking about Serenity. It’s been years getting to this point, and I think it’s only the success of Kickstarter as a venue for fundraising that has allowed for this to happen. Rob Thomas has tried multiple times to get the film off the ground the conventional way, but it hasn’t worked out. So he brought the problem to the people who loved the show: the fans.

Who would pay to see this movie? We would. I would, and I’m broke. But I’ll be donating to this project because I’ve waited so damn long to see this story go farther, and I trust the producers to do this in a way that will both create a new plot for the film and provide some final closure we never got from the show. Plus, Kristen Bell is just freaking adorable no matter what, and someone needs to get her a pet sloth.

In the time it’s taken me to write this rather short little post, the Kickstarter has raised another $100,000.

If you love Veronica Mars like I love Veronica Mars, get your arse over and donate. And if you are wondering what could have me so excited, maybe you ought to head over to the WB (just click here!) and watch the first two seasons. Then find the third season and watch that too.

This has to be massive vindication for the cast and crew of the show — and the fan response is just overwhelming. Why, yes. We DO want a Veronica Mars film enough to pay for its production ourselves. Take that, Hollywood execs.

Seriously. Get outta here and go show these folks some love.

What are your favorite Veronica Mars lines? Sound off in the comments! Here’s mine:

Veronica: Madison, you have something on your nose.

Madison: What, brown? Because I’m a brown noser?

Veronica: No, glitter. Because you’re a fairy princess.

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Bringing it Home: Season One of Supernatural

Supernatural

Supernatural (Photo credit: JMiu)

It’s Terror Tuesday, and though Supernatural isn’t a horror show, there are definitely some scary moments. At the behest of Kristin McFarland, I started watching the show a couple months ago, but it wasn’t until this week that I really dug in and marathoned most of the first season.

I finished the first season yesterday. I had a lot of thoughts, both while watching and since finishing (I also watched the season 2 premiere), and I thought I’d lay some of them out here.

First seasons of shows can be a little ishy, and in my opinion, the first season of Supernatural was no exception. Don’t get me wrong; there was a lot of good, and I certainly intend to keep watching, but there were some head-scratching moments that took me out of the story.

For those of you who have not watched the show, be warned that here be spoilers. Mmkay?

The premise of the show is that these two brothers, Sam and Dean Winchester, lost their mother to a demon at a young age. After this horrific incident, their father started hunting the things that go bump in the night and expecting his kids to do the same. When the show begins, their father has vanished, Sam is in pre-law ignoring the beasties and considering proposing to his girlfriend, and Dean shows up to drag him out of his safe life and back into the world they grew up in.

It’s a pretty solid premise. They start out with the goal of finding their dad, who left them a journal full of dirt on the less-appealing creatures that roam the earth.

At first, I didn’t see much of an arc. Most of the episodes were sort of one-offs with Dad’s whereabouts occasionally speculated about and the boys tackling various spirits, ghosts, and ghoulies. If that’s all there was, I don’t know that I would have kept watching.

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Like this episode, with the killer scarecrow. Erm, excuse me. Norse god Vanir. Supernatural (Photo credit: JMiu)

There were even a couple of pretty blatant Buffy rip-off episodes that made me borderline amused. For instance, the episode “Something Wicked,” which bears erm, striking similarity to a season 2 episode of Buffy (“Killed by Death”) in which a monster attacks and steals the life force of children in a hospital. Buffy’s even mentioned a couple times (by a pair of Jonathan/Andrew-esque nerds who run a paranormal website). Aside from that stuff, the Winchester boys take on some well-known legends, like Bloody Mary.

All that’s cute, but what kept me watching first was the chemistry between Sam and Dean and the fact that they kept growing more layered as the season progressed. Dean goes from good ole boy to a big brother I think everyone wishes they’d had, a character with deep-seated emotions and an over-arching need to feel needed. Sam goes from a scared college boy in denial to someone who takes up the yoke given by his father with pride and learns just how much Dean sacrificed to preserve even a little of his innocence.

The dynamic between the brothers is striking, poignant, and often downright beautiful. Their dad, John Winchester, is sort of the weaker link in the family, because the writers didn’t seem to give him much consistency, which made his changing decisions seem foolhardy instead of touching. The brothers talked about him as a hard-ass, but it’s clear moving through the first season that he loves his boys, because even though he’s told them to stay away from him, John pulls an Angel and lurks in the vicinity, watching them.

He tells them they can’t help, then he changes his mind. He goes from singleminded demon-destruction plans to making a deal with one (okay, so that’s episode 1 of season 2), and his character gets a bit muddy because of it. Either way, the one constant in John Winchester’s character is that he loves his sons.

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Supernatural (Photo credit: JMiu)

 

Though there are some odd moments, the occasional killer truck, and a finale that was less cliff-hanger and more “What on earth are you trying to do?” but overall I really enjoyed the first season of Supernatural.

Through the last eight or so episodes, they did a good job of raising the stakes and cultivating tension on the show. My only WTF moment at the end was the finale, which seemed to suffer from a severe lack of thought. Demon leaves them for dead and just goes on its way? No. If that demon wanted them that dead that much (which, hello, it did), I don’t think it would have just assumed they wouldn’t come after it again after smashing them with a Freightliner. That said, the premiere episode of season 2 would have made a much better wrap-up to the first season because it is what more definitively ended the arc of season 1.

So, Supernatural fans, I’ll leave you with the knowledge that I’ll continue on. I’ll also give you a chance to let me know which Winchester boy I ought to have a crush on, because I’m torn. Vote below!

When the Good Brother is Not

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VampireDiaries_Bookmark_Stefan (Photo credit: i heart him)

Earlier this week, I had a Twitter debate about the merits of Stefan Salvatore with my friend, her agent, and another friend who chimed in later. It took me a while to put my finger on what exactly my beef is with Stefan, because I’ve never liked his character much, and I certainly don’t like him with Elena.

Along the way, he’s been called the good brother.

And after a lot of pondering, I realized that my beef with Stefan is that he’s not that at all.

Here’s why I think that. This is of course, my subjective opinion.

He Betrayed His Brother

Before Damon got all murdery and rar, Stefan set a high standard of ugh. When the Mystic Falls council was closing in on the vampires in their midst back in 1864, Damon asked Stefan not to tell his father about Katherine. Stefan promised he wouldn’t.

Then he did. Not in as many words, but he gave it away, setting into motion his own transition and the events that would entomb twenty-seven vampires under the church for a century and a half.

Beyond that, the moment Stefan turns, the first thing he does is kill his own father. And that gets moving before he feeds. His next move is to force his brother to become a vampire against his will. I’ve always thought of that as a form of violation. Damon made a choice. Stefan violated that choice. That’s not to say that everything Damon did afterward was Stefan’s fault, but in a mythology where transitioning into a vampire magnifies whatever emotions you had pre-turn, Stefan magnified Damon’s hatred, his betrayal, and his loyalty to a vampire who had played them both.

Stefan’s Default Setting is Monstrous

When Stefan got turned into a vampire, he went all-binge, all the time. It took the Civil War and Lexi to drag his ass out of it. Every time he’s left to his own devices, he gets all super-murdery. He is almost incapable of maintaining his control. I don’t buy into the idea that he’s a good guy with a bad side, because I feel that absolves him from anything that happens when that bad side is in control of his actions.

He goes on a massive killing spree with Klaus. He murdered heaps and heaps and heaps of people before that. Ripped them apart. It’s not fine to kill a bunch of people just because he feels bad about it later once Lexi manages to force some feels down his throat again.

My point is that without external impetus (usually Lexi, later Elena), Stefan’s base nature is to be a mass-murdering fuckhead.

Sure, he survives on squirrels and bunnies when he’s in remission, but that never lasts long, and you never know what’s going to make him snap. There is a very big difference between compartmentalizing a bad part of yourself and controlling it. Stefan has never learned real control, and I do not trust people who have such disparate sides. It’s the same reason why I could never be a big fan of Angel — a person who could snap at virtually any moment and become a psycho killer does not make a good boyfriend. Period.

Stefan made a comment to Elena in Thursday’s episode where he said, “You don’t know what I look like when I’m not in love with you.” And he’s right. Here’s the kicker — show viewers don’t really know that either. Even with all the flashbacks to before he met her, we don’t know how he behaves in present-day Mystic Falls when he’s not in love with Elena. Even through all his running amok with Klaus, he was still in love with Elena.

He Makes Supremely Selfish Decisions

Stefan does what he wants when he wants to do it. He does tend to listen more to Elena’s choices (sometimes), but many of the decisions he’s made are only to create an end that he is okay with. Which is to say, he ignores the desires of others to do what he wants, and then he gets mad when they are upset by that.

This season, Stefan decided he needed to get the cure for Elena. First, he didn’t tell Elena about it. He decided what would be best for her without consulting her. Yes, he was acting on the knowledge that she’d never wanted to be a vampire. But that doesn’t make it right. He doesn’t seem to be able to grasp that people change, and once those changes occur, they don’t change back. Even if they do succeed in curing Elena of vampirism, she will be closer to the woman she was as a vampire than the woman who chose Stefan and went sailing into the river off Wickery Bridge last year.

In choosing that path, Stefan put everyone in danger by his reckless decision to force Jeremy to kill vampires. That scene is one of the most despicable things I’ve seen Stefan do. He knows how Elena feels about her brother. And yet he blatantly uses Jeremy to his own ends.

He Cannot Take Responsibility

Feeling guilt and taking responsibility are two completely different things. Stefan feels guilt for the people he killed under Klaus’s influence (and the body count he racked up before that), but he never really takes responsibility for those things. Instead he puts the blame on others by saying he went with Klaus for Damon. Damon never asked him to do that. That was Stefan’s choice. He also puts the breakup blame on Elena when he’s the one who went off on a murder spree, tortured her and her friends (both physically and emotionally), and all but told her to run into his brother’s arms. Then when she develops feelings for Damon, he throws a temper tantrum and displays probably the best example of middle school whinging I’ve seen in a long while.

Damon didn’t do this to him. Elena didn’t do this to him. Stefan might be heartbroken, but he has no one to blame but himself and his failure to reconcile the part of himself that he wants to be (the kind, gentle, not-a-murderer) with the part of himself he keeps giving into (the ripper who tears his victims apart and reconstructs them in fancy poses). Because he has never really learned how to be a whole person, his two halves have torn him apart. And instead of having the self-awareness to realize that, he blames his ex-lover and his brother. Who, by the way, spent a whole season trying to drag his ass back from where it fell over the cliff.

In Conclusion…

You can probably guess that I don’t like Stefan. I don’t think he deserves the title of the good brother. He acts abominably in many cases, and in deeper ways than does his brother quite often. Then instead of fixing it, of learning how to deal with the warring sides of his personality, he broods about it until he snaps again. I think what irritates me is that people label him as the good brother after being only introduced to the “good side” of him, and ignoring the rest of his history and personality does not make those things vanish. He can’t even keep that good side in control without outside intervention. Without Lexi and Elena and Damon, he’d probably be dead.

 

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