Saturday, November 19, 2011

The New Winner of the Bloodwork Graphic Novel is......

Okay, on Wednesday November 16, we announced the winner of the Bloodwork Graphic Novel.  It's now Saturday the 19th, and we have yet to hear from the winner, even though we contacted her via email, and so we have decided to choose a new winner.  Why Patty didn't want to claim:

is beyond me, but this gives the opportunity to........

Congratulations Jennifer, you have 48 hours to claim your prize, and we hope that you enjoy the novel.

The Fades, Season 1, Episode 3

The dead can’t touch people, in fact being touched hurts them, maybe even kills them. So now they’re eating human flesh so they can fight back. And mac sums this up? “So far so pacman”. That line alone is worth a standing ovation.

In other news, strip rock, paper scissors. Y’know it’s novel and it’s quick but I don’t think it’ll catch on. But that’s a new side-effect to masturbation. Not quite as menacing as the hairy palms threat really.  It certainly beats A Wonderful Life’s method in giving an angel wings.

Other than angelic ejaculation, Paul is becoming so quickly wrapped up with Jay that he is ignoring other people – including Mac and Neil. I’d much rather have more of the main plot rather than kisses that kill the thought-brain. And Jay’s favourite film is Twilight alas, now I want a Fade to eat her. Then Anna got involved and I was cringing – but another angelic power kicks in – the power to silence extremely annoying siblings! Which leads to him being adorkably cute in convincing Jay he’s not scary weird. And yes, he is adorkable.

Friday, November 18, 2011

LJ Smith fired from her own series

In case you haven’t heard the news, it seems LJ Smith has been fired from her own books. Yes, her publisher has fired her. Any future Vampire Diaries books will be listed as “created by LJ Smith” but will not be written by her. This wasn’t a mutual decision, from what’s being said the series has been taken off her. I can’t imagine how much this must hurt her to have this taken from her. I’m not a fan (and, yes I most certainly do have to snark, in italics) but I wouldn’t wish this on any author and I only hope, for her sake, that at least she can use the name recognition she has gained to get a new publisher for a new series. I also hope that Renee will be the one to read it, not me

This all came to light with the now well publicised emails LJ Smith has sent to fans. Since there’s so many of them I’m assuming they’re correct, but still consider the source (and see? I managed not to suggest that if they’re fans they may be on some powerful hallucinogens! I can control my snark at times… but not often). I have seen several versions of this letter, sent to several different fans – so, while they could all be fabricated, I rather suspect it actually means LJ Smith is Severely Not Amused.

Review of American Horror Story, Season One Episode Seven: Open House

Instead of calling this episode open house, perhaps they should have named it record breaking fail as quickly as possible.  From a social justice perspective, all seven episodes of American Horror Story are deeply problematic for various reasons; however, Open House, takes it to a brand new level.

In yet another flashback, American Horror Story takes the viewer back to 1994.  Constance and Larry are seated together, and we learn that  protective services have plans to remove Constance's son Beauregard from the home, and charge her quite rightfully with child cruelty. Rather than face the consequences of her actions, Constance has Larry kill the child.  For the record, this is yet another example of ableism on the part of American Horror story. It seems as though this show is incapable of having a disabled character not only survive, but be treated with basic human dignity.  Even though Larry is more than aware that what he is doing is wrong, he pushes aside any guilt, because he loves Constance. 

At the obstetrician's office, Vivien is clearly anxious and actually asks the doctor if she saw any hooves. This of course stems from being told that she was carrying Satan's spawn in an earlier episode. When Ben looks at her strangely, the obstetrician tells him that what Vivien is asking is quite normal, and that every woman worries that she is carrying "a little devil". To that I can only add, really? It turns out that Vivien is having twins, and my guess is that one child belongs to Ben, and one belongs to the ghost that she had sex with.

Back at the house, Marcy is giving Joe Escandarian a tour of the house in the hopes that he will buy it.  She tells him that the house was "meticulously restored by a couple of the previous homos, homeowners".  Not to be outdone, Joe says, "f@gs have such a great eye for detail don't they?"  You would think that would be enough homophobia, but Marcy finishes with, "queer eye."  This conversation did not need to happen. It did not advance the plot in anyway, and I fail to see how having a house restored by two gay men adds value.  I am sick and tired of the homophobia on this show.  It feels like something they throw in because they think it's edgy, thus ignoring the fact that it is downright oppressive.  I am further disturbed by the fact that the character which Marcy is referring to, is played by Zachery Quinto, and this is the first time that Quinto has played a gay man. I worry that this will be a sign of the roles that will be relegated to GLBT people when they come out. 

When they enter the kitchen, Moira is there waiting with refreshments that she has made.  Of course, being a man, Joe Escandarian only sees the young Moira and he is instantly attracted to her.  When Escandarian says that he plans on digging up the gazebo and building a pool, Moira asks him how deep he is going to make it, because she apparently likes it deep.  Vivien and Marcy are clearly confused, because to them he is flirting with a very old woman. When Vivien interrupts to ask if he would like a tour of the house, he says, "actually I just have one more question. What's wrong with this place? This land alone is worth more than twice what you are selling for."  Marcy tries to deflect by claiming that Vivien is just an interested seller, but Vivien sets Joe straight, and lets him know a bit about the history of the house. It seems that though she was tricked into buying, Vivien is unwilling to do that to someone else.

After Joe leaves, Terry shows up claiming to want to see the house. Marcy tries to deny him by telling him that the open house is over, but he says that the flyer says from 4-6PM.  Marcy then counters by telling Larry that it is by appointment only.  Licking his fingers Larry says, "I see, it's because of my affliction isn't it. You know sometimes I wonder, if I knew how much I was going to be shunned, if I would have run back onto that burning school bus to save those children." I feel that Marcy is well aware who Larry is, because she quickly pulls a gun out of her bag and tells Larry to "put down the stemware".  When Vivien asks her what she is doing, Marcy responds saying, "A woman in my line can't be too careful, they're a lot of minority men in this city who would like nothing more than to ravage me on this counter top." I don't know about you, but at this point I was looking for a brick wall to bang my head against.  Of course men of colour are rapists touring the city for precious White female flesh. I know that some will feel that Marcy's behaviour is excusable, because the writers have gone out of their way to ensure that we know that she is vile, but that is not a good enough reason to justify the continual inclusion of isms. Nasty people can be very bigoted, and unless someone directly confronts them, it's a sign of their acceptance.

Vivien says nothing about Marcy's racism, but tells her to put the gun down, because she does not like them. Larry steps up saying, "yes Marcy, I hope that you are permitted for that, as I will be mentioning it in my lawsuit.  What you're doing is in direct violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act." With that, Marcy puts her gun away and they go on the tour.  There is a part of me that was happy to see a disabled character speak up for themselves; however, after all of the abelism on this show. it just feels like it was a convenient tool for him to get his way. 

That night, Vivien goes to bed with a woman's best friend, aka her vibrator, and she begins to fantasize. At first she thinks about Luke the security guard, and then switches to Ben. Finally, she ends up fantasizing about a man wearing black leather. This of course is the ghost that she slept with when she thought he was Ben.  This image frightens her, and she jumps up out of bed clearly disturbed.

In the bathroom, Violet is cutting herself once again, and Tate stops her saying, "stop mutilating yourself."  When she accuses him of doing the same, he tells her that he does not do it anymore. Tate asks Violet to promise that she will never cut herself again, and she agrees. Vivien tellsTate that her parents planned a family dinner, but Tate is distracted and asks if she believes in ghosts -  a ghost asking whether someone believes in ghosts.  Is that supposed to make the viewers mind shift and consider Tate to be deep?

At the dinner table, Violet is not eating and so Ben finally plays dad and suggests that Violet talk about her feelings.  It only took the man 6 episodes to stop thinking about his own problems long enough to remember that he has a daughter. Violet being Violet responds, "Like who I'm going to live with after you get divorced?  Is there a third option because both of you make me kind of want to kill myself. Is that what you guys are afraid of? Why else would you actually want to deal with a problem?"  Ben answers, "you never leave your room, you barely eat, these are text book signs of depression. We're very concerned Vi."  Finally, finally, Ben is acting like the therapist that he is' however, one conversation is not going to reach Violet after long months of neglect. Violet tells them, "Look, you guys dragged me all the way out here to save our family, then you decide to break up. You buy a house that I actually like, then you tell me that you're selling it out without even asking me what I want. So fine, I'm not going to off myself and you can go back to your policy of benign neglect." 

Review of Blood Bound By Rachel Vincent Book 1 of The Unbound Series

Vincent created a very interesting work in this book.  Basically, there are normal humans and there are enhanced humans.  One is born enhanced or one can have an infusion of enhanced blood to temporarily gain extra skills.  These skills include: tracking people through their name or their blood, binding (the ability to enforce a contract in which default can lead to pain or even death) the ability to walk through shadows,  blocker (someone who can hide the presence of a gifted person) and a seer (someone who can see the future as well as the repercussions of decisions).  As you might imagine these beings are very powerful and they are made even more so because the government refuses to acknowledge their existence.  This means that crimes committed by them don't get investigated by the police, thus giving them the ability to create massive underworld crime syndicates. 

Liv's problems begin when she is approached by Cam and Anne about a missing it child.  Cam is her ex boyfriend and true love whom she left in a lurch after being told by a seer that one of them would kill the other.  Anne is a former childhood friend whom she was accidentally bound to.  All Anne has to do to get her to comply is to ask her for her help.  It seems that someone broke into Anne's house and killer husband and now the widow wants justice. Anne chose Liv because she is one of the best blood trackers and because the binding means that she is unable to say no.

Everyone has secrets in this world and everyone has past actions that they are trying to hide.  How can anyone truly be responsible for their actions when they can be compelled to do anything at anytime? How can anyone ever be trusted? Even as Liv is being compelled by Anne she is simultaneously being compelled by Cavazos the crime bus to find his missing child. This is why it is hardly a surprise when both acts of compulsion lead to the same child.  

Paranormal Romance: Engorged, throbbing and fainting, Oh my!

'alot like LOVE.' photo (c) 2008, Jason Clapp - license:

This week we’re going to go for a lighter discussion point - one heavier on snark and giggles than major social justice issues. We’re going to talk about sex. Bad sex. Bad bad bad sex. The kind of sex that gives you a headache and makes masturbation seem like a good idea.

And oh, isn’t this a huge subject? Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy intersect a lot and it can be hard to figure out which is which sometimes. So, quite often we have run across a few books that have raaaaaather a lot of sex scenes per chapter (Laurell K Hamilton, yes we’re looking at you), though it could be argued that Hamilton did a bait and switch, because the first few Anita Blake books are legitimately urban fantasy, and then the rest fall squarely into the category of five cent porn -- actually maybe five cents is being generous.

One of my favourite tropes will always be the Anita Fug, which has always amused me ever since we first noticed it. Let’s face it, sex, if done vigorously, often leaves you sweaty and often covered in other substances as well. If you don’t clean up, there’s going to be a smell issue. Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake has sex a lot in the books. And in a lot of places - including many places that preclude cleanup. Off the top of my head I can recall her having a threesome in the car before returning to a concert, having sex in her office (that left her sopping wet to the knees and left a stain on the carpet) before going back to work and numerous occasions of her just chaining sex on sex on sex on sex. Let’s face it, she’s not exactly going to be fresh after all that - and I can’t help but read the rest of the book imagining the smell.

Of course, while Anita is certainly the worst offender, she’s hardly the only one (after all, several members of the Black Dagger Brotherhood get their jollies on in the bathroom and sure they wear leather, but the smell still clings) and there’s a lot of Paranormal Romance characters wandering around being all kind of fugly.

A Little Sookie to Start Your Day

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Are You Going Through Teen Wolf Withdrawl? Here's a Few Webisodes to Ease the Pain

Review: Lord of Misrule by Rachel Caine, Book 5 of the Morganville Vampires series

All out war is now tearing through Morganville. Bishop and Amelie have gathered their forces and their factions and are feinting against each other in an underground conflict that could literally tear the town apart.

Parts of the town are burning, others in ruin. Refugees are flooding to the few safe spaces and among them many humans are finally seeing a chance to throw off vampire control and are lashing out and rioting in rage. But not all of their anger is directed against the vampires – humans who are seen as collaborators are also being targeted and all pretence of rule of law is threatened. In such chaos of course Shane's dad has to come back to town.

Even without the riots, humans have to wonder what the future holds – which vampire master or none at all?

And if that wasn't enough – the stress is accelerating the vampires' disease. The more they remain under pressure, the faster the disease spreads and the more confused, frightened and uncontrolled the vampires will become. A cure becomes more essential as the battle heats up.

And there's a storm coming, extreme weather rolling in to add more chaos and destruction to the already torn town

Which Urban Fantasy Protagonist Gets on Your Last Nerve

As you know we love urban fantasy but there seems to be a conspiracy within the genre to make the female protagonist as irritating and useless as possible.  The following are a fair selection of protagonists who are: incapable of defending themselves, have master the art of making it about themselves, are queens of the most ridiculous plans conceivable, and are just generally speaking unpleasant people.

This is your chance to have your say on whom you believe embodies the worst example of female protagonists in the genre.

Sookie Stackhouse from True Blood

Elena from The Vampire Diaries

Bo from Lost Girl

Bella from Twilight

Cover Snark: Who Needs Clothing to be a Badass?

Publishers rely on book covers to catch the eye of readers. We are far more like to pick up the book and read a synopsis, if we are attracted to the cover. This of course encourages publishers to engage in all manner of fuckeries. What is perhaps most astounding about the inexplicably naked or partially naked woman, is that these protagonists are supposed to be strong independent women and yet sex is what is used to sell them to the public and not some other aspect of their being.


Now, what’s wrong with these pictures? Let’s take them one at a time.

The first picture is Mercedes Thompson. Mechanic and werecoyote. Now there’s a lot wrong with this image, but today we’re going to focus on her... wardrobe malfunction. Now, I can’t say I’m particularly familiar with mechanical processes, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t involve unzipping your jump suit down to the waist so you can show off your bra. Don’t you love how the image includes her holding a tool, because from her dress you would never know that she works in a garage.  It looks more like the beginning of a porn movie (I can’t afford to fix my car... maybe I can pay you some other way?” cue porn music!), than an image of a supposedly ass kicking independent woman.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Young Hollywood Interviews Evan Peters of American Horror Story

The Fades, Season 1, Episode 2

Ok… I am faintly bemused and had to check if I missed an episode because there seems to be information covered in the “previous episode” recap that wasn’t there in the previous episode. Maybe I missed it.

Anyway, we rejoin the action with the Angelics (apparently the word for the humans with odd powers) trying to stop the pissed off trapped dead ghosts (the Fades) from destroying the world.

One of the brain breaking parts about this series I’m going to have to try and get round is the way that death is not the end – after all it is all about dead ghosts, right? So while we had both Sarah and Helen die in the last episode, Sarah’s still walking around talking Neil. Unfortunately having Sarah hang around isn’t that damn useful since she’s an extremely fatalistic dead person. Not exactly full of hope and light – she is convinced that the end of the world is inevitable.

Review of Drink Deep by Chloe Neill Book 5 of the Chicagoland Vampire Series

Even though I have had issues with the first four books of this series, I was very excited to get my hands on Drink Deep.  When we last left the Cadogan vampires, Ethan was dead, having jumped in front of a stake meant for Merit and Merit was in a deep state of mourning.  I always knew that Ethan was going to be resurrected it was simply a matter of if Neill could write the story in a way that would seem realistic and compelling.

In the wake of Ethan's death, Malik has become the new master but the GP is threatening to disband the house.  The investigator demands a healthy diet for all vampires, cuts the blood rations in half and demands that vampires stop feeding from each and other and from humans.  Vampires are no longer allowed to congregate in groups larger than 10.  With all of the stress going on, somehow Merit has to find away to discover why the elements are not acting properly.  First the lake stops flowing and turns completely black and then the sky turns red.  The humans begin to believe that not all are the vampires responsible for the disruption but that they are potentially seeing Armageddon.

To solve the mystery of the imbalance Merit must visit, a siren, the queen of the fae as well as discuss the history of magic with none other than Tate. Someone knows the answer to what is going on, but can Merit find the answers before the final elemental sign becomes unstable?

Enter to Win The Twilight Breaking Dawn Celebration Package

Hello everyone, it's time for another exciting giveaway.  As you all know, Breaking Dawn part 1 hits theaters Nov 18, and so we thought in celebration, this months giveaway would be a Twilight extravaganza.  This is your opportunity to win:

Yep, a Robert Pattinson watch, a Breaking Dawn 2012 calender, and a Breaking Dawn tote (note: the third image, is the image on the tote bag).  This everything a twi fan needs to celebrate the release of Breaking Dawn Part 1.

To enter, you must be a resident of Canada or the U.S.

Wednesday Reboot: Twilight Eclipse

Well, Twi fans, the moment is almost here.  What better way to get ready for Friday's big debut of The Breaking Dawn Saga Part 1, than to recap Eclipse. The movie begins with Riley Biers being chased through the city by a very determined Victoria and quickly changes to Edward and Bella in a field on a beautiful sunny day. 

Though Bella is trying to study for an English final, Edward does his best to distract her, only stopping to ask her to marry him.  Bella quickly counters with "change me", and he agrees to change her if she agrees to marry him, calling it a compromise.  He tells her that where he comes from that is how people say I love you, and she counters with, "where I come from, at my age it says I just got knocked up." She follows that up by telling him that 2 out 3 marriages end in divorce, but ever quick on hes feet Edwards says, "I think you'll find the vampire/human divorce rate to be much lower."

This exchange is the first in the series, in which Bella is clearly thinking clearly.  She is absolutely write, marriage at that age is a recipe for disaster and her parents are living proof of this, the pressure that Edward continually puts her is just another example of his desire to control her.

When Bella returns home, Charlie tells her that he wants her to get some separation from Edward but in typical teenage fashion, she responds with, "he's in my life."  In a great compromise room, he agrees to end her grounding if she spends some time with her other friends, specifically Jacob, who is really hurting now. "I remember when that was you. When you needed a friend, Jake was there." 

After calling and getting now answer, Bella decides to go and visit him, only discover that Edward has purposefully disabled her truck.  "Bella, you have to understand, you're safety is everything to me." She tells him, "Jacob is not going to hurt me", but Edward responds with, "not intentionally, but the wolves have no control." She tells him that she has until graduation to Jacob but he responds with "I'm sorry" and faces forward.  So much for the spunky in control Bella.  This man has limited her movement and now seeks to control who she is friends with and how she does not see this as classic abusive behaviour and end the relationship right there is beyond me.  I suppose in Twilight world, abuse is okay as long as he says that he loves you.

The Winner of The Blood Work Graphic Novel Is.....

Yes, It's that time again.  One lucky person has won:

And the winner is.......

Patty Hagen

Congratulations, and thank you for entering.  Patty, you will have 48 hours to send us your mailing address, or will be forced to choose a new winner. You can reach us at fangsforthefantasy (at) gmail (dot) com

To all those who did not win, please do not fret, simply stay tuned for our next exciting giveaway.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fangs for the Fantasy podcast, episode 41

Another week, another instalment of our podcast, discussing what we've watched and read this week and also seeing which of us has suffered reading or watching the most painful content this week.

We continue our struggles with the Vampire Diaries, wonder exactly where the Walking Dead is going along with the American Horror Story, sigh over Secret Circle and consider the problematic erasures in Once Upon a Time, yet also discuss what we like about it and Grimm. We also discuss our new catch up series, The Fades. We also cry over the sheer horror of the CW defiling our beloved Hollows series

Looking at the books we've read we discuss Chloe Neil's Chicagoland Vampires, Rachel Vincent's series and Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampires

We also discuss the extremely problematic way many Urban Fantasy appropriates teh language of equality movements

And next week we'll be reading Gail Carriger's Blameless, book 2 of the Parasol Protectorate series

'The Walking Dead's' Robert Kirkman: More new characters, including Michonne, in the works

robert-kirkman-gi.jpgIf Robert Kirkman's excited, we're excited. About "The Walking Dead," that is.

Think of Kirkman as the man behind the curtain of the great zombie empire that is "The Walking Dead." He started writing the comic books back in 2003 and in 2010 helped adapt the story into AMC's most-watched series to date, which is now in its second season and already greenlit for a third.

"We're very excited for the third season because there's a lot of really cool stuff coming up in the story line that is going to be a lot of fun to adapt," Kirkman tells Zap2it.

But first, there's the rest of season 2 to get through. The 13 episode run will be taking a mid-season break after the seventh episode airs on Nov 27.

"[I]t is a bigger episode and there are some loose ends tied up, but I wouldn't want to say what just yet," says Kirkman, who hints that we may finally find out what has become of missing kid Sophia (Madison Lintz), who has been AWOL since the beginning of the season when she ran off into the Georgia woods. "But I will say to keep an eye out for that episode, it's gonna be huge!"

We don't doubt it. More importantly, Kirkman totally teased us with some intel about the second half of the season, which returns on Feb 12.

"There's definitely a slew of new characters that are going to be introduced after the hiatus," says Kirkman. "I wouldn't want to say who they are. They may be original to the show. They may be from the comic. I can't really say, but there are going to be some new faces coming up."

Fans of the comic books may have some suspicions about where things are headed. In the books, Rick Grimes' band of survivors next happens upon a prison that they see as a possible refuge from walkers. That's all we'll say. Well, that AND Kirkman does confirm that one of our favorite characters from the comics, the Samurai sword-wielding Michonne will be introduced to the show. Not necessarily this season, though.

Read the rest of the article here

Review of Black Magic Woman by Justin Gustianis Book 1 of the Quincy Morris Series

Because I seem to love reading things out of order, I have already done a review of Justin's second book in this series, Evil Ways.   In this book, we are introduced to Quincy Morris a sort of psychic investigator/problem solver, Libby Chastain his white witch friend and partner, as well as Dale Fenton an FBI agent, in the Behavioral Science unit. Each one of these characters has a very unique part to play in the story.

Someone is killing children by removing their organs while they are still alive.  Dale is desperate to find out who is responsible and so he manages to secure the help of a South African cop from the Occult Crime Unit named Van Dreenan.  At first their relationship is simply based on the respect that someone gives a fellow professional, but over time and experience, a level of trust is developed between the men.  Dale realizes that he must learn to give credence to the possibility of  the supernatural and he learns from Van Dreenan not only how real magic is, but that it can have deadly consequences.

My main issue with this story is that a significant section of the plot involved a White South African cop hunting down a Black African woman, who was a violent muti murderer. In an extreme display of White male privilege on page 80 Van Dreenan says, "Apartheid was what it was.  Neither of us can change history.  And now it is gone.  And neither of us need mourn it's passing". Speaking about apartheid so cavalierly and then quickly dismissing it's ongoing effects, is a sign of White privilege.  Though there is a burgeoning Black middle class, much of the division of wealth in South Africa still means that Blacks are largely impoverished, despite being in the majority.  An evil as great as apartheid should never be so easily dismissed, and while Van Dreenan may not mourn its passing, at no time did he acknowledge his personal gains because of it, much like many White Americans continue to fail to realize that though slavery ended some time ago, that they still benefit from unpaid labour of African-American slaves. You see, without infusion of African labour, the U.S. would not be the powerhouse that it is today, nor would these White South Afrikaners be able to live in such relative comfort, juxtaposed to the Black native population.  Saying "it was what it was," allowed Whites to simply confess their crimes in the Truth and Reconciliation commission, while Blacks received no justice. How can it be a thing of the past, when justice has yet to be served?  Fenton, the Black American cop does not even bother to call him out on his privileged language. When need not make a statement of agreement; silence is enough to imply acceptance.

Cecelia Mbwato is an umthakhati, "Zulu for witch or sorcerer. In Sotho, the name is baloyi." Gustianis makes a point of saying that not all who practice voodoo are bad people; however, the negative treatment of Mbwato makes him yet another author who is willing to construct it as negative, even violent belief system.  Van Dreenan chose to come to the aid of the FBI in part because of a personal vendetta.  I won't tell you what this is, but I do feel that it is absolutely necessary to point out that examination of the history of violence in South Africa, will show that Blacks have more often been the victims of violence and not the perpetrator, and this is especially true when it comes to policing -- yet this is not the road that Gustianis chose to embark upon. In this case, the White South African is the victim -- how absolutely unoriginal.

The White/Black binary was further displayed in relationship between Cecelia and White supremacist Snake Perkins.  Throughout the novel, Snake refers to Cecelia as nigger.  I know that this is common language for a White supremacist, but it was jarring to read.  At one point, I felt like screaming at the book, "yeah, I get it he's a racist, enough with the slurs already," because the use of the word nigger was ubiquitous.  

Once Upon a Time, Season 1, Episode 4: The Price of Gold

Beginning in fantasy world, we start with Cinderella this time – and an entirely new twist to the tale. Cinderella meets her fairy godmother – who is then killed by Rumpelstiltskin to steal her wand. Instead of a benevolent fairy godmother, a desperate Cinderella instead has to sign a Faustian bargain with Rumpelstiltskin for a future favour. Which, after all the wishes are granted and she has her prince, turns out to be her firstborn child.

In response, the Princes have a prison built in a mine to trap and imprison Rumplestiltskin – which works, but the consequences of it make Thomas, her prince, disappear until the debt is paid.

And in the real world Emma continues to stalk someone else’s son. I’m sure there would be some way for the mayor to get round this if she truly wanted to throw legal consequences at Emma. Instead she decides to make snarky comments about Emma’s multiple moves in the past. And because Emma helped find a coma patient last episode (well… followed the sheriff who found him) the sheriff decides to offer her a job as a deputy. Really, it takes this little to become a cop?

And we get to see real world Cinderella. A 19 year old cleaner and heavily pregnant single woman – a story that is very similar to Emma’s own past. I have to say I loved Emma’s speech here, and it was powerfully acted as well. Emma encourages Ashley (Cinderella) to change her life – so she does, she maces Rumplestiltskin (Mr. Gold) and steals from him.

Mr. Gold turns to Emma to find her – and Emma agrees to help her so the police aren’t called in. She meets the Prince – and his father who has convinced Ashley to sell the baby. To Mr. Gold. She has some great speeches for Sean (the prince) telling him to make his own choices – and she completely resists, challenges and slaps down his father who is shaming Ashley for being a teen mother. There’s a recurring theme of not judging her, not shaming her and how out of line people are to assume she’d be a bad mother.

Lost Girl, Season 2, Episode 8: Death Didn't Become Him

Lauren has sneaked Bo into her facility so Bo can meet her comatose girlfriend. I can’t think of a more awkward social situation, I mean I thought meeting the in-laws was supposed to be bad.

We have a same-sex couple! And they’re married and its casually presented as no big deal. Except that one of them is already dead. Great, the dead gays trope is established already. And now his body has been stolen. Donovan, the surviving spouse and an old friend of Trick’s wants Bo to help find the body of Christoph.

Hale again reports for sidekick duty to fill in for Dyson while he goes off to help Trick. He’s babysitting some fae bigwig’s daughter. I wish Hale would have his own separate plot lines, or, y’know existence but I’ve given up hoping. Get the guy a cape, he’s a perpetual side-kick.

Of course his life is complicated because a) the girl is extremely annoying and b) she meets Kenzi. Yes, Kenzi is not a great influence. And yes, this is a side-kick party. I think this is supposed to be the first steps towards Kenzi and Hale getting together as evidenced by Kenzi admiring the guy’s naked chest (to which I most heartily approve). But in general this whole storyline is just kind of superfluous. Though we did have an interesting insight into the fae society again when she offers to try and buy Kenzi.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Russel Tovey Is Leaving Being Human U.K, But Here's a New Season Promo for Being Human N.A., to Soothe the Ache

Considering the sad news about Russel Tovey leaving Being Human U.K. I thought that fans could use a bit of Being Human news to be happy about. The following is a promo for Being Human N.A season two. Yes, I cannot wait, The Vampire Diaries does not cut it in terms of getting my vampire fix,

The Fades, Season 1, Episode 1

This week we have a new series to catch up on – BBC’s The Fades. As usual we will have several episode reviews to bring us up to date.

We follow Paul and his friend Mac as they explore an abandoned shopping center for props for Mac’s horror film (or just to mess around just as happily). Paul is separated from Mac and runs into Neil and Sarah – Neil with a gun and Sarah with severe injuries. And something chasing and attacking them and doing something really freaky with Neil’s eye that is extremely creepy and way beyond Paul’s experience

The Fades are coming, the trapped remains of the dead growing increasingly more enraged. The Fades are becoming stronger, able to touch people, able to break through into our world, and more is coming besides – and according to Sarah and her frightening apocalyptic vision, they’re going to destroy the world  – a vision that is shared by Paul in his nightmares.  One of many which are prophetic  coupled with the ability to see the Fades that are hidden from everyone else

Review: Night Embrace by Sherrilyn Kenyon. Book 2 of the Dark Hunter Series

Talon is a Dark Hunter. Sworn follower of Artemis, he hunts down the soul devouring daimons that plague the world from his base in New Orleans.

And it's a major job. Mardi Gras is coming, which always attracts the daimons in droves. And to make things harder, the Dark Hunters who are supposed to be backing him up loathe each other – and him – making it even harder for them to work together than it usually is.

And there is an additional threat far above and beyond daimons. The Celtic god of war, Camulus, the Greek god of excess, Dionysis and the ancient Atlantean immortal Styxx have formed a pact together. A pact to reclaim their lost power and godhead by raising an entity far darker and greater than even them – though whether they can control it is another matter

And to complicate matters, Talon meets Sunshine. New Age hippy, naieve, scatty, carefree, loving, kind, independent – and immensely attracted and attractive to Talon. The soul of his wife resides in her body and his ancient love is kindled anew – but how can he keep her alive in the face of Camulus' vicious curse and his duty to Artemis?

The Walking Dead Season Two Episode, Five: Chupacabra

The episode opens with Shane, Lori, Carol and Carl stuck on the highway.  Shane discovers that they have stopped broadcasting about the refugee center. They watch as helicopters fly over Atlanta and drop napalm on the streets. This scene really struck me because what it represents, was the U.S. government giving up on its people.  Most Americans have no idea what it is to live in a war zone, and if the walkers didn't make the situation real to them, then watching the napalm fall most certainly did.  Everything that they had hoped, believed, built and dreamed was lost in that one moment.

When Lori wakes up, Carol is doing laundry, and she suggests to Lori that if everyone pitches in, that maybe they can get together and cook dinner for Hershel and his family.  Carol tells Lori that since she's Rick's wife that makes her their unofficial first lady. Isn't it enough that the men are struggling to be alpha dog without asserting hierarchy amongst the women?

Darryl decides to go to a higer area to see the entirety of the search grid.  Dale brings up the chupacabra and when they tease him about seeing blood sucking monsters, Dale asks them if they believe in dead people walking around. Apparently, Dale saw a chupacabra on a hunting trip.

Glenn is playing with guitar, when Maggie walks up and he tells her that he still has eleven condoms. Maggie responds by telling him that she sees eleven minutes of her life, that she doesn't know if she will get back.  He tells her to think about it, but she says that she doesn't even know if she like him. I have to say that at this point, I really like Maggie.  She feels no guilt or shame about what they did and firmly

Rick tries to engage Shane and brings up girls he used to date.  He says that the only way to get him talking, is to talk about the girls he slept with in high school, and of course, Shane who should be dead, immediately starts bragging to Rick, about all of the women that he slept with.  Finally, Shane looks at Rick and says, "we shouldn't be talking abou this stuff. That life is gone, and so is everyone in it. It's hard enough accepting what happened without digging up the past. Tell you nostalgia, its like a drug, it keeps you from seing things the way they are".  Shane asks him why they are searching for a girl that is most likely dead.  He tells him that after 72 hours you're looking for a body.  "Sophia only matters to the degree in which she don't drag the rest of us down", he says.  Is anyone at all surprised that Shane would see Sophia as disposable, considering what he did to Otis?  I think I was particularly disgusted with him that he tried to blame Rick for Otis' death, by claiming that he was lost because they stopped to look for Sophia. Rick tells him that he failed Sophia. "I think she's still alive and I'm not going to write her off".

Riding along, Darryl shoots a squirrel climbing a tree.  This serves as yet another reminder of how good he is in the outdoors.  He gets off his horse when he sees a doll floating in the river, but when he calls for Sophia, no one responds.  Darryl continues to ride along until his horse gets startled by a snake. He gets thrown and ends up pierced with his own arrow. Darryl struggles out of the water and ties off the wound.  He starts to hear noises in the bushes, but when he reaches behind him, he realizes that he does not have his crossbow and so he digs through the water to find it. He slowly begins to climb back up the mountain and you can see that each step is torture.

 Glenn confronts Lori, and she tells him rightfully, that it is none of his business. When Glenn notices that Rick and Shane are on their way back, Lori tells him that he cannot tell anyone.  Rick tells Lori that Shane wants to stop the search.  Lori is actually supportive and says that he is making the best decisions that he can, with the information that he has, and that she does not see soft in that.  I suppose, Shane who should be dead is actually getting to Rick. I don't get why he cannot see that Shane has an agenda.

Trying to climb further up the mountain, Darryl falls again.

Hershel confronts Rick, and tells him that one of his horses was taken without his permission, and Rick promises to speak to Darryl. Hershel then asks if they took Jimmy out, and wants to know if he thought he had his consent.  Hershel tells him that Jimmy is 17, and that he is responsible for him. He goes on to say that these things need to be cleared with him. Rick tells him that they need to work on their communication. Hershel says, "I'll control my people, you control yours".  It is clear that Hershel is very much into controlling his environment. 

When Darryl opens his eyes, he sees his brother, "why don't you pull that arrow out dummy you could bind that wound better", Merle says.  "Your the one that's screwed from the looks of it, you're going to die out here little brother".  He tells him that Sophia is missing, but his brother points out that he isn't looking for him anymore. He tells him that he is nothing but redneck trash to the group, and that "one of these days, they're going to scrape you off their heels like you was dog shit.  They ain't your kin". Merle tells him to shoot Rick in the face, and that nobody is going to care about him except him. Of course it turns out that Darryl was hallucinating. and the person he was talking to was a Walker.  When another walker comes out the woods, he pulls the arrow from his body and shoots it in the head. I have to say that this was an awesome scene.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Grimm, season 1, episode 3: Beeware

We open up with a tense scene. A man has got on a crowded tram with a long, suspicious bag, a bag that looks large enough to carry big guns. It is ominous and scary… and then he unzips it – cue passengers looking on in fear… and he pulls out a stereo that begins blasting out “YMCA” and everyone begins dancing.

 A note to people I may be sharing a bus with on the morning commute – if you’re going to bring a suspicious long bag – I’d much rather it be full of guns than a stereo for a sing-a-long.  Despite the lack of guns, one of the passengers is left on the tram when it empties – she is dead. I know how you feel, hon. I don’t think there’s enough caffeine in the world for me to deal with that first thing in a morning.

I have to say, it’s one of the more surreal beginnings I’ve seen on Grimm – or any show for that matter.

The Secret Circle, Season 1, Episode 9: Balcoin

It’s time for a new episode of Secret Circle! Will Jakes realise that working for Witch hunters is like a fish working for Captain Birdseye? Will a man on this show not be immediately entranced by Cassie? Will Melissa actually be allowed to speak? Let the angst and love triangles commence!

Cassie has taken the warning that was given to her from Calvin (before he sacrificed himself nobly for her) to Jane, her grandmother (my gods, is this common sense returning to them again? Asking her grandmother rather than asking random witches in the street?) UnfortunatelyEvil Parent #2, Charles, used a spell in the last episode to make Jane forget the whole murdering Henry and kidnapping her thing (and stole her magical bling) but the side effects seem to include forgetfulness. It seems to
Jake is there to find the hidden message Cassie and Jane missed – finding John Blackwell (really? The black practitioner bloodline has the surname Blackwell?) – Cassie’s father’s – family tree. She’s descended from the Balcoin family, one of the origins of dark magic that the Hunters thought they had annihilated. Apparently now it is confirmed that she does have Black Magic they can’t kill her and must go to the council instead… what, a guaranteed black witch needs discussion but any other witch is kill on sight? They also have to leave to take Jake away from the circle so he doesn’t come to his senses about the whole “witch working for witch hunters thing”. I’d like to think it was common sense and absence from a cult getting through to him, but it’s more Cassie’s blonde magnetism it seems.

Anyway, Adam and Faye are suspicious of Jake’s suspicious naughtiness, which would give me hope that someone is noticing the very obvious badness were it not for the fact that both of them dislike Jake because of jealousy reasons

Back to the witch hunters. Cassie’s just too dangerous to kill or leave behind, so they’re going to kidnap her and use her powers to their own ends like they do Jake! Ok, I think this takes a prize for being the worst plan and the most empty headed thinking we’ve seen on this show so far. We’ve already seen what happens when Cassie is kidnapped – and if she’s too dangerous to kill how do you expect to contain or capture her? Add in that the only reason Jake is helping them is because he has some strange idea about Witchcraft being deadly – all in all there’s not so much flaws in this plan as the plan is one great big flaw. But Jake does lure her outside by means of cunningly asking her to follow him. But they are spotted by Adam and Faye (see, jealous stalking does have a use!) and they know he’s a witch hunter! Scoobies unite!

And Jake tells Cassie about her super dark-magic powers and heritage. Also, Cassie has the Worst Poker Face ever. There is a show down, magic, action – actually it’s pretty well done though I still think the special effects budget could be better – and the Witch hunters head off into the distance

And Melissa is back! She gets like, 3 lines the entire episode. And she is joined by Holden, Melissa’s cousin who is here to cure her depression. Ok, new PoC character guys so let’s take bets: dead, villain or appears for 1 or 2 episodes before vanishing? Place bets now! The winner gets to fast forward through all the teen dramas.  Oh and wait, didn’t Melissa have a living mother not a father? Anyway it’s confirmed that now Melissa has a living father.

Faye is sad over her grandfather’s death and is giving her mother, Evil!Parent 1, grief over it. Given that she was the one who murdered Henry, I think any and all guilt extracted is richly deserved. The Evil!Parents are still snarking at each other over who gets to keep the magic bling (and, I have to say, YUM Evil!Prarent 2, Charles, can work a suit, yes yes he can)

Teen drama update. Jakes likes Cassie. Cassie likes Jake and wants to go on a date but is worried he doesn’t like her and is pulling away. And he says he doesn’t like her but he does really (and also looks good in a suit)! Faye likes Jake. Diana misses Adam. Adam (who doesn’t look that special in a suit, but then, that’s not a very nice suit) still pines for Diana and we’re beginning to get hints (oh gods no) of Faye and Adam together. Shoot me now. Oh, and new drama – Diana likes Holden! He’s been here 5 minutes and they’re already pulling him into the love triangles. It’s like an angst powered black hole. Sparky still doesn’t care

And the cliffhanger! There is another child of the Balcoin bloodline in the circle (DUM!DUM!DUM!)

Well it was better than last week’s. Though that’s not saying an awful lot. And finally some plot is advanced and teen drama was kept to a relative minimum. May it continue! Though I still don’t even know why Melissa is a character, she has a completely non-existent role. And I doubt very much Holden is going to live for long