“Maybe if we do this, we won’t be able to hear how stupid the lines are!”
The most magical thing about being fantasy writer is that there are no limits to your imagination. Rowling created a world of wizards; Lovecraft invented modern horror; Le Guin sent us on incredible journeys to space.
And the writers of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland wrote a genie who has the power of invisibility but goes tottering along a mountainside in full view of his trackers after escaping from prison.
The decisions of each character in our weary cast are equally nonsensical as the show trudges toward the mid-way point. There’s the Red Queen, who chooses to manually track the genie’s escape like a hunter reading scats. Her alternative? She can point to a footprint and it lights up all the other footprints for her. But she only uses that at the very end of her hunt… because she believes in fairness?
Then we’ve got Alice’s father, who manages to be both bland and offensive at the same time. In flashbacks to Alice’s pre-mental ward days, we see her at home with her father and step-mother. Her father repeatedly asks her how long she intends to live with them. In fairness to poor Alice, the girl just reappeared after YEARS of being missing. She’s not a 31-year-old delivering pizzas and living in her mom’s basement. I think we can give her a little time to readjust.
Alas, no. Continue reading
So … can someone just cancel us?
I avoided watching the midseason finale of Beauty and the Beast because the episode before it was so insane, I was concerned that any additional shock to my post-Thanksgiving euphoric state would slip me straight into a coma.
I didn’t need to hold off. The midseason finale wasn’t shocking in any way. It was predictable, idiotic and disappointing.
Reruns of Big Bang Theory do better than new episodes of Beauty and the Beast, and the midseason finale — the time when you’re supposed to blow things up and leave us on a cliffhanger — demonstrated just why. The thrust of the plot involves the “confrontation” between Cat’s FBI agent dad and her beast boyfriend. When it comes time for Cat to decide to let Vincent kill her dad (which would have been a blessing; his character makes no sense) or let him live, she naturally opts to let her father live. Vincent, disgusted, retreats to a life with Tori, a fellow beast.
And guess what? We don’t care. Continue reading
“The rule of Gondor is mine, and no other’s, Mr. Crane!”
It’s nice to see Sleepy Hollow getting back to its roots by reintroducing the character of the Headless Horseman. It’s also nice to see the show shamelessly lift a plot point from Harry Potter.
In episode six, we discover that Ichabod Crane and the Horseman’s blood merged when they killed each other on the battlefield during the Revolutionary War. As a result, Crane and the Horseman are linked like Harry Potter and Voldemort. Neither can live while the other blah blah blah.
Crane functions as the horcrux, and he must either die or be purged of his Horseman-essence in order to break the link with the Horseman. Sound familiar? In order to purge him, Abbie goes on a quest to find the Sin-Eater, which is a very silly name indeed. She finds out that the mysterious Sin-Eater has been stealing the identities of condemned death row inmates to remain incognito. Not sure how that works since the store clerks might get a little suspicious of someone who’s using Ted Bundy’s credit card. Continue reading
Beauty and the Beast celebrated Thanksgiving a week early and, inadvertently or not, I suppose it made the audience feel better about spending the holidays with their family. Because at least your boyfriend won’t turn into a yellow-eyed hellbeast and attempt to ax murder your father nor will you have to witness JT and Tess kiss each other (retroactive spoiler alert: YEAH THAT HAPPENS).
Death. I choose death over seeing this again.
After you’re done spewing chunks at the horrifying thought of JT and Tess sharing saliva, let me add another hot visual: JT appears to be celebrating no-shave November by growing a neck beard. Come to think about it, Beauty and the Beast functions as a pretty solid anti-kissing PSA…
The episode begins with Cat and Vincent making out on her bed. Just as things are getting steamy, Cat decides to bring up the time that Vincent went all Temple of Doom and ripped the still-beating heart out of the chest of his enemy. Quelle romantique, Cat.
Cat and Vince proceed to have the world’s worst Thanksgiving when, over the course of a single afternoon, they manage to: Continue reading
“Help? Does anyone here know where this show is going?!”
Quick hits from yet another brain-melting episode of Reign, possibly the worst-written show in the history of the CW (the network that once green-lit “Valentine“):
- Queen Catherine’s rails at Olivia for not yet securing an engagement between herself and Francis. Yeah, just make yourself queen, you stupid girl. Clearly it is your lack of trying that’s getting in the way here.
- I cannot believe Bash didn’t use the opportunity of choosing a pagan sacrifice to violently murder Kenna. Will no one kill her? In this week’s episode, she throws a party to announce to her friends that she’s sleeping with the king. Who does that?! Maybe we are better off in a world with Grindr, a sexual experience that is quiet and modest by comparison. To placate Kenna’s unbearable jealousy toward the king’s former mistress, he surprises her by spelling out her name in giant candles. What, is he asking her to prom?
- Spending $4,000 per episode on Urban Outfitters belts is taking its toll on the show budget. This week, the thrones were painted on the walls. I’m surprised they didn’t make Queen Catherine do wall squats while pretending to sit. Continue reading
This week’s episode of Reign picks up right where the pilot left off — Francis is involved with another woman, Mary is frustrated and alone and Francis’ half-brother Sebastian is there to pick up pieces. Except this isn’t the second episode. It’s the fifth.
Welcome to do-over CW at its finest.
Remember the last four episodes? Please don’t. Forget the Portuguese prince and Francis’ successful courtship of Mary and Sebastian falling in love with a lady in waiting. None of it happened. Our new reality will allow us to manufacture storylines for at least another month!
No, look more constipated before you kiss him.
So Francis’ former love, Olivia, has returned to court. She’s our first French character with a French accent! Oh wait, she’s supposed to be Italian? But she’s Israeli in real life? Eh, close enough.
Olivia moves into the castle, putting Mary and Francis, who were doing so well last week, at odds once more. Thank GOD we have ANOTHER reason to delay the engagement. Because so far the king’s disapproval, the queen’s disapproval, a different engagement with a Portuguese prince, blood-hungry pagans in the forest, armed conflict in Scotland and prophesies from Nostradamus haven’t been enough. Maybe this blonde chick will do it (I give her three more episodes before she’s written off, never to be spoken of again). Continue reading
Here’s a bad sign: The most enlightening thing we learn in the latest episodes of Once Upon a Time in Wonderland is that Jafar got his hair relaxed in between episodes. I sort of miss Indian Lionel Richie. Now he’s going for the George Clooney circa 1990.
The fourth and fifth episodes delve into the backstories of our two villains, Jafar and the Red Queen. This is where its parent show, Once Upon a Time, excels. Regina is a great villain because, despite all her evil doings, her deepest desire is to love and keep safe her adopted son. She is nuanced and sympathetic.
Jafar and the Red Queen lack all such complexity. The most well-rounded thing about the Red Queen are her lips, BOOM had to make that joke. Continue reading
Just a little product placement PLEASE HELP US, APPLE. WE ARE SO BROKE.
A smattering of observations from a show that is hanging on by a wee thread…
- BATB hit a new low in nonsensical plotlines when, in episode four, super secret government agency Muirfield is revealed to be setting costly fires so that the city of New York will have to hire their special service to put them out. That is the worst evil plan I’ve ever heard of.
- While in the hospital, Vincent starts transforming into a beast. He’s going into full cardiac arrest, things are beeping, monitors flashing, and no one ever shows up to check on him. Guess he was in the hospital for people without insurance.
- Vincent gains some new memories back, including a flashback to when he was a firefighter. Vincent’s resume now includes: firefighter, doctor (which requires many years of school and residency) and Marine. Plus he’s been dead for a decade, in theory, which puts our fine hero at approximately 55 years of age.
- Cat keeps referring to attending her 10-year high school reunion as “me time.” Who the hell thinks of a high school reunion as fun, relaxing me time? Me time is when I wear PJ pants for 12 straight hours, eat half a pound of pasta on my own and watch 10 straight episodes of Once Upon a Time. Continue reading
“Hola, I am Prince Tomas of the El Pollo Loco. Why are you wearing the doily my grandma made for her end tables?”
On Monday, the CW announced it was booking Reign for a 22-episode season which can only mean the network has lost its damn mind. Reign ran out of ideas yesterday. This portends ill.
The primary narrative problem Reign keeps encountering is that it needs to put obstacles between Mary and Francis getting married. Initially, it set up the show with Francis as the womanizing, uninterested-in-Mary obstacle. Now, suddenly, he’s in love with Mary for no real reason so everything should be hunky dory for the nuptials.
But all CW shows are built around unfulfilled romance so the writers have begun desperately making up fictional royalty to keep the plot moving forward. It’s all kind of sad, really. It’s like watching a hurdler whose timing is off. Once you knock over that first hurdle, you’re just doing this for the rest of the race. Continue reading
Relevance is what separates great historical dramas from silly ones. Take, for example, HBO’s Deadwood, a show set in late 1800s but grappling with the perpetual problems of our age: creating structure out of chaos, governing an often hostile population, fighting to make real the American dream. Stellar historical dramas don’t speak only to their time; they say something about ours too.
This is what Dracula — a limited-run, 10-episode NBC special — is trying to do. So far, it’s been an awkward attempt.
Our Dracula, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, comes back from the (un)dead and starts a new life as an American industrialist living in England. He takes up residence at “Carfax Manor” (subliminally presented by CarFax.com) where he begins work as a … crusader for clean energy?
Dracula’s sinister plot to take down the wealthy British upper class involves — bear with it — creating a clean, cheap, wireless alternative to gas-powered electricity. It’s as if Ed Begley Jr. suddenly got really militant about his cause. And it feels way too modern to fit into this Gilded Age world. Continue reading