Category Archives: TV
I’ve started watching the 1998 TV show Charmed and I’m loving it! It’s about three sisters – Prue, Piper and Phoebe – who one day find out they are descendants from witches and destined to be the greatest ones that ever lived. Hence, they’re The Charmed Ones. With the help of The Book of Shadows and their powers, they have to fight demons, ghosts and warlocks in order to ‘protect the innocent’.
Nothing about the concept is revolutionizing, but it’s still pretty cool. I especially love the girls’ powers – Prue can move things with her mind, Piper can freeze time and Phoebe has premonitions. I love how random and unrelated they are; it’s a nice break from the usual ‘elemental powers’.
Charmed is a really funny show, but in a more… subtle way. The comic relief usually lies in the little moments – one liners, ironic comments, unexpected reactions, sarcasm and the way three protagonists say ‘Oh my God’. Actually, a lot of the show’s charm lies in details. That, and the very likable main characters. I find the way Piper throws her hands when freezing time, Phoebe’s smile and how Prue sometimes looks down to avoid eye contact adorable.
I finished the first two seasons in a matter of days and I’d say the second was better, just because the plot was a bit more cohesive. During the first season, most of the plots have been a bit predictable, unrealistic or have even had anti climactic resolutions – but for the most part, that’s been fixed in the second season.
One other cool thing about this show is that after the opening sequence, we get about 20-30 seconds of shots of San Francisco (that’s where the action takes place) with good to great music playing in the background; music that adds to the show’s awesome ’90s feel. Apart from that, there have been a number of musical guest stars featured during the second season, such as Dishwalla, Janice Robinson and The Cranberries! I can’t believe they featured The Cranberries – I love them!
One thing I do wish I’ll see in the next seasons is story arches that stretch over several episodes. Also, I think it would be interesting if the show had some mysteries that needed deciphering (on that note, my guess is that there is something going on with the cat the sisters got at the beginning of the show). But all in all, it’s quite an addictive show and worth checking out!
I’m excited about Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs. Favorites and have been ever since they announced it! Normally, I would be opposed to having yet another season with returning players, but this is different. The first Fans vs. Favorites season of Survivor was a smashing success and my all-time favorite season, so I’m glad they decided to reuse this format. Secondly, all returning players are first time returnees – which is a welcomed change – and there are some surprises among them. Overall, I’m more than happy with the choices made.
The 10 fans I don’t really care about right now, although judging from what little footage I saw, they seem to be not fans, but super fans – always a good thing. But, the returnees:
Erik Reichenbach from Survivor: Micronesia. The guy who made one of the dumbest moves in Survivor history by giving up Immunity and being voted out that same night. I liked him enough and it will definitely be interesting to see if he can make a new name for himself.
Corinne Kaplan from Survivor: Gabon. I really hated her during her season and to this day I think her final comments to Sugar were cruel and inappropriate. That being said, I’m excited to see her come back, because whether or not she’ll try to maintain her Evil Queen status, she’ll make for great television.
Brenda Lowe from Survivor: Nicaragua. This is my least favorite season of Survivor, but Brenda’s cool (and eye candy). She played a good game the first around and I can see her making it making it far again.
Francesca Hogi from Survivor: Redemption Island. This was a BIG surprise and she’s probably the contestant I’m most excited to see return. She was the first one voted out in her season, but she made a big impression. She was hilarious and seemed to know how to play the game, so I really hope she gets to stick around longer this time.
Andrea Boehlke from Survivor: Redemption Island. I don’t know what to say about her. She played a pretty passive game last time and unless she plans to change that, I will probably not be rooting for her. Even though she’s likable enough.
Phillip Sheppard from Survivor: Redemption Island. Why are so many of the returnees from this season? Did they absolutely have to bring Phillip back? Was he not annoying enough the first time around? I can’t stand the guy. If he makes it to the merge, I will be pissed.
Dawn Meehan from Survivor: South Pacific. Dawn was one of my favorite players from South Pacific, but I’m not sure that says much. Much like the seasons preceding and following it, I didn’t like it at all and didn’t find the players to be particularly likable or memorable. I’m afraid she might fade to the background, especially if the fans have strong personalities.
John Cochran from Survivor: South Pacific. I don’t remember how I feel about this guy (see? Unmemorable players). I may have liked him in the beginning and ended up rooting against him? I’m on the fence about this one.
Brandon Hantz from Survivor: South Pacific. Of course they brought him back. Of course. I wonder if they pondered bringing back Russell himself and ultimately decide they wouldn’t be able to get away with it and went with the next Hantz. He was one of the worst things about South Pacific and I hate that he’s returning. And again, why so many people from this season? And why didn’t they bring Christine back? She was great and likable and the only reason she went out early was because of bad luck.
Malcolm Freberg from Survivor: Philippines. Malcolm’s awesome and I’m really happy to see him return! I’ve always said that if Survivor: Philippines had one flaw it was that Malcolm and Denise couldn’t both win the million dollars. I’m happy he’s getting a second shot!
All in all, there are some bad apples in this pile, but I’m not letting that upset me yet. I can’t wait for the season to premiere this February. Here’s hoping it will be at least as good as the first edition of Fans vs. Favorites.
The episode kicked off with more battle scenes and Merlin riding towards Camlann. Once he got there, Merlin sent a few lighting bolts, which pretty much ended the battle. Mordred fatally injured Arthur. Arthur killed Mordred. Merlin took Arthur in the woods and revealed he’s a sorcerer. At this point, we’re only ten minutes into the episode and I’m like ‘what’s going on?’ I had honestly thought it will take most of the episode to get to this point, but I was glad for the quick succession of events – especially considering how well they’ve used the rest of the time.
So, let’s talk about Merlin and Arthur. What a wonderful thing their friendship has turned into! More has been achieved in this episode than in these last two seasons combined; Arthur has grown a whole lot and Merlin finally displayed his wisdom in an innocent, pleasing way. The scene in which Merlin revealed he has magic, although a bit out of the blue, was awesome and Arthur’s reaction excellent. Uncertainty, fear, rejection and betrayal were all emotions that took over him upon hearing the news and I felt Bradley James did a great job of portraying them.
Most of the episode focused on Merlin and Arthur’s journey to Lake Avalon, where Merlin hoped to heal Arthur’s wound, and Arthur realizing the implications of Merlin being a sorcerer. It truly was wonderful to watch them interact. Merlin and Arthur’s chemistry has always been one of the best things about this show and it really shined in this last episode. There were a lot of great moments between those two: Merlin lighting a fire using magic in front of Arthur, Merlin feeding and taking care of Arthur like he’d been doing since the beginning, and of course, Arthur and Merlin’s final moments together. While the death of Arthur was to be expected, I still had a glimmer of hope the writers would keep him alive. They didn’t, and it was still one of the saddest moments in the entire series. Merlin called for the dragon one last time (and for once, it made sense that he screamed his lungs out), the dragon took them to the lake, where a tearful Merlin sent Arthur off in a boat. Like I said, it was an incredibly sad and well-done moment.
Meanwhile, Gaius traveled back to Camelot and informed Guinevere and Gwaine that the hot blonde (Eira) was a traitor. They gave her false information about Arthur’s destination to throw Morgana off-course before executing her in public. Gwaine and Percival rode out to meet Morgana and I was legitimately scared that she will die at the hands of two of the most boring and useless characters in the series. I would have been so mad if Percival had been the one to kill her that it would have ruined the entire episode, so I’m glad that wasn’t the case. Morgana knocked them both unconscious, tied Percival to a tree, tortured Gwaine into revealing Arthur’s destination and then left him to die. Sweet. I only wish her death scene had been a little less rushed.
There were a lot of other great moments in the episode: Gaius saying goodbye to Merlin, Morgana killing that man in a fit of anger and surprisingly enough, most of Gwen’s scenes. I almost couldn’t believe how mature, strong and competent she acted after she got back to Camelot. My favorite scene with her was when Eira was captured. ‘You didn’t betray the King; you can go to your death safe in that knowledge.’ This is what she should have been like after being crowned Queen, and not a pathetic creature whose sole purpose was to stroke Arthur’s ego every now and then. The scene in which Gaius confirms to her that Merlin is a sorcerer was also very sweet.
All in all, it was a fantastic end to the show. I’m not sure how I feel about the final scene, but I think I liked it. As I had anticipated, I’m already nostalgic and missing the show. I’m so not good with endings.
S0 now what? How do I fill this newly formed hole inside me? By watching Camelot! 😀 It only has 10 episodes, but my hope is that it will help make the transition to a Merlin-less* life easier.
*It will never really be completely Merlin-less, though. 😉
But for now… one last time:
Well, I have to give the penultimate episode of Merlin mixed reviews; I mostly enjoyed it and thought it was one of the best of the season… but is that saying much at all?
The episode started with an awesome scene in which Morgana demonstrated her latest (and last) plan of attack on a poor sorcerer – she used a magic leech to suck out his magic and intended to do the same to Merlin. It was a great opening and Katie McGrath did a really awesome job – as usual. I kind of wish we’d been told of this leech during one of Morgana’s earlier attempts to find out who Emrys is.
A masked guy planted the magic leech’s box in Merlin’s room and after he got home from the pub, where he used his magic to beat Arthur at backgammon, he was taken by surprise by the creature and lost his magic. That’s all fine and dandy, but can we go back to him using it to beat Arthur at a game? That’s something the immature Merlin from the first or second season would do… where’s all the wisdom he’s supposedly gained since? Anyway, because Merlin didn’t die after the leech’s kiss, Gaius assumed Morgana’s plan failed, even though he knew nothing about the creature. That’s not like him at all.
Morgana’s men then proceeded to attack a village, defeat what guards and Knights there were and take over. Gwaine fell for this hot blonde and took her back to Camelot, where after a pointless, boring Council, Arthur decided to strike back and end the war with Morgana once and for all. Meanwhile, Morgana forged a blade using her dragon’s fire breath and gave it to Mordred. I’m glad they writers were putting some thought into this last plan of hers; it almost made up for the countless times she’s been made to look like a fool.
Speaking of Mordred, though, I feel like his entire arch was handled the wrong way. Throughout the season, he’s been portrayed as this honest, loyal friend of Arthur that Merlin didn’t trust on the basis of some prophecy. In the end, he turned to the dark side not because he always intended to, but because Merlin hated him and wanted him gone. That just feels cheap and I wish they came up with better reasons for his actions.
Back to the episode. Since Arthur and his army will meet Morgana at Camlann (or something), which is the place where he’s supposed to die at the hand of Mordred, Merlin made up some excuse not to go with him and traveled to the Crystal Cave to see if he can get his powers back. The scene in which he breaks the news to Arthur was brilliant and I loved it. Now that it’s the end of the series, the writers have stopped messing around with their relationship and started moving it along, which is great. I loved everything from how Arthur took it and the effects it had on him throughout the rest of the episode. This was one of the highlights of the episode.
After reaching the Crystal Cave, Merlin encountered a surprise: Morgana. Turns out the hot blonde worked for Morgana all along and had told her about the Cave. So instead of killing Merlin, she just trapped him in the one place where he could regain his powers… and only after being mildly injured by Merlin, who’s barely yielded a sword before. *Sigh.* Really? Why do the writers insist on making her so incompetent and stupid?
Merlin had a breakdown (great scene) and passed out. When he woke up, guess whose ghost was there to help him out? His father’s! The father who had only appeared in one other episode, the father Merlin’s never really known, yet has always looked up to like no other. I’m sorry, but what about Lancelot, who died for Merlin and had a much bigger part in the story? What about the girl Merlin fell in love with in season two? Gwen’s brother? The dragon? I know it’s not dead, but it would still have been a better choice.
But no, we got his father instead. This is the first thing he told Merlin:
“Dead or alive, real or imagined, past or present… these things are of no consequence. All that matters is you heed the words of your father, who loves you.”
WHO talks like that? Then he went on about how Merlin is magic and the world is magic and Merlin is the world… I’m so frustrated because this scene could have been a great one, and instead we got a cringe-worthy monologue from a character nobody cares about.
Meanwhile, Gwen gave Arthur another one of her dramatic speeches about how he’s great. She really has been insufferable since she’s become Queen. Morgana launched her attack, but Merlin was able to warn Arthur about it. The scene in which he delivered that speech was another strong one. Grim, spooky, haunting music, an uplifting speech… I loved it. Then the battle commenced and we got some awesome part-slow-mo shots of Arthur fighting. They’ve used this technique before, but they really nailed it this time!
The episode ended with Mordred trying to find and kill Arthur and Merlin emerging from the cave as the old, red robed sorcerer. Why the old sorcerer? It’s the end of the series and the main character can’t reach his full power unless he turns into a grandpa?
For better or for worse, we only have one more episode until Merlin ends and I’m already nostalgic. Despite these last two seasons, I’ll still miss the story and the characters. Here’s hoping the final episode knocks it out of the park!
I am here today to complain about how the quality of Merlin has decreased over the last two seasons. Actually, it was rather abrupt: it has decreased over the course of the first episodes of season four, then it never got up to par again. Granted, Merlin has never been a show without faults, but I feel like the ones it had were easy to overlook during the first three seasons. Then, the show was more than enjoyable, in spite of its simplistic plot. The characters were all very likable and it was interesting to see how they developed and how the relationships between them evolved.
I should probably mention what Merlin is, at this point. It’s a British TV show that premiered in 2008 and retells the well-known Arthurian legend. Wikipedia says it differs from the actual legend on many points, but I don’t really know the legend that well, so I can’t say what’s different. Anyway, the show consists of five seasons, the fifth one also being its last and ending later this year. It stars Colin Morgan as Merlin, Bradley James as Prince/King Arthur and Katie McGrath as Morgana (who, may I say, is awesome).
Now, as I was saying the first three seasons were light, enjoyable and occasionally funny not because they were flawless, but because they had enough good things to make overlooking the bad easy. However, starting with the fourth season, the bad just kept multiplying and the good all but disappeared. In terms of plot advancement, all season four did was kill Uther and marry Arthur and Gwen in the end. So basically, two episodes out of thirteen. The rest of them? Useless. The same old stories that have been told and retold during the first three seasons, the same boring talk and empty promises.
Also, what have we gained from the addition of The Knights of the Round Table? Absolutely nothing. All the knights are one dimensional characters. There have been attempts, sure, to make them more interesting… but when you only have 13 episodes to tell the story of the season and you waste quite a few of them with boring and predictable plots, then when you do try to develop your secondary characters, it just doesn’t work out. I know they’re part of the legend, but in all honesty that screen time could have devoted to Morgana. She’s been given all this power and yet she’s been continuously made look like an imbecile. Why couldn’t the writers come up with a decent evil plan for her?
By the way, I’d like to point out that the Knights of Camelot are the most useless form of organized army(?) I have ever seen. They’re a complete waste of space; the whole of Camelot could go unguarded and it would make no difference whatsoever. The amounts of time people have sneaked out and into the castle, out and into the city, out of the prison… it’s really embarrassing. I also have a strong dislike for the way Merlin calls for the dragon: why does it have to be so ‘RAAAAAARRRWW!!!1!!’? Honestly, every time he calls for it he screams as if his life depended on it.
I’ve said that during the first three seasons, one of the best thing about the show was watching different relationships evolve and change. Sadly, that went out the window with the premiere of season four. One that was particularly hard to watch was Merlin and Arthur’s. There was a scene at the end of season three where they sit on the stairs of the palace and talk about stuff. That, to me, was the point where their relationship was blossomed to its fullest. To this day I feel like nothing short of Merlin revealing he has magic could add to what they had then. Yet, for the entirety of season four, that relationship was shoved in our faces at every opportunity. They would often take it a step back so they could throw some sort of ‘big moment’ that would move it along to the same point. So frustrating to watch. And then of course, the two-part finale of the season was a carbon copy of the previous season’s – which was highly disappointing and underwhelming.
Now, with season five… it’s been the same, maybe worse. We started with an underwhelming two-part premiere where nothing happened. Actually, nothing at all happened this entire season – nothing that affected the plot, at least. Gwen’s brother died, but I don’t care. Gwen was brainwashed, but I don’t care because she’s been cured. Morgana has been plotting to kill Merlin and Arthur and I just don’t care because she’s still being portrayed as an imbecile and we’ve seen this before. (Sidenote: this is something that always bothered me about the series – the amount of times Arthur or Merlin nearly died) Then there was just so much filler, Gaius has all but disappeared, Gwen has been more annoying than ever, Mordred was useless and with only two episodes left, I’m disappointed.
The ONLY redeeming quality of the season was the ninth episode, ‘With All My Heart‘. This is the episode where they cure Gwen and I have to say I was on the edge of my seat. I really thought she was going to die… partly because I thought I had read a spoiler. In spite of that, I felt it was suspenseful, that demon-lady looked cool & creepy and Merlin and Gaius provided some good-old comic relief in quite a few scene. For once, Merlin and Arthur’s relationship was not shoved in our faces and instead they focused on Arthur and Gwen; I felt the moment they shared near the end was genuine and sweet. Overall it was an enjoyable episode and it reminded me of the early ones. So I give the show major credit for it.
We have two episodes left and I’m not sure what can they do with them, but I’m still hoping against hope that they can pull it off and go out with a bang. Maybe I’ll write a post about them; I tend to get melancholic.
After a great season finale, Shane&Andrew WON the second season of The Amazing Race: Australia after running a brilliant final leg. Out of the three final teams, I was rooting for them the hardest, so I couldn’t be happier with the outcome. It’s true that for the first half of the season, they’ve been kind of invisible. But as more and more of my favorite teams got eliminated, they filled in those shoes. They won me over when they first handed out that kangaroo toy to a kid in Turkey.
While I was delighted the Cops won, I was sorry to see the Twins self-destruct. They probably are the most consistent team on all TAR seasons I’ve ever seen – they placed in the top 3 on 10 out of 12 legs and that’s impressive. Major kudos to them as well!
Also… just as sweet as Shane&Andrew winning was Paul&Steve losing. Oh, the joy of seeing them walk two hours instead of taking a taxi! The joy of Steve not guessing Paul’s answers during the jail challenge! The divine joy of Paul being beaten by everyone else at the final Roadblock! In the end, they finished second, after which Paul gave a speech about how he tried to run the race with honesty and integrity and cried. Was anyone impressed by that?
In the end, all is right with the world again. This has been a fantastic season and I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly! I’m looking forward to the next one, despite the year long wait.
P.S. I really wish they’d make two seasons per year. These first two seasons have kicked Seasons 19 and 20’s asses so badly and on so many levels it’s incredible.
If you had told me after the first episode of TAR: Australia that these three teams will be the Final Three, I would have laughed in your face. I never imagined Shane&Andrew making it past the midpoint and I was quick to stereotype the Twins as ‘the blond girls’ since Sam&Renae placed so well last year. But I’ve really grown to like both these teams and I’ll be delighted to see either win.
Steve&Paul on the other hand… they came in first five times in a row, so there is a real and frightening possibility that they might actually win. I’m not sure how I will take that, given that I almost feel physical pain whenever Paul speaks. Why couldn’t he get acute laryngitis and leave Steve to do all the talking? He seems like a fun, nice guy to be around. How is he friends with someone who has a pathological urge to brag about Every. Single. Thing. He. Does. is completely beyond me. Would Paul winning be enough to ruin the season? I don’t think so, but it would surely end it on a bitter note.
As for Joseph&Grace, I’m sorry they had such a bad exit. I don’t think they were the best of people, but they definitely were one of the most entertaining teams this season.
Looking forward to the finale!
At first, I’ve resented the Summer Olympics for pushing TAR: Australia back two weeks, but now I’m glad it’s happened this way. Not only we get the remaining three episodes in three consecutive days, but now that Lucy&Emilia have been eliminated, we only have to hurt for two days – not weeks.
It was rather obvious they will be sent packing from the first few minutes. Not only the first words they told the camera were along the lines of ‘being grateful for what you have’, but we knew from the sneak peek that there will be quite a few physical challenges this leg. Skiing, riding an electric bull, climbing a frozen waterfall, getting a clue out of an ice sculpture… not exactly those two girls’ strong points. However, they never gave up – not that anyone expected otherwise – and left the same they raced this entire time – positive, optimistic and with smiles on their faces. They’ve been two rays of sunshine this entire season and it was awesome!
To make it that much better, they completed a challenge Steve&Paul didn’t. Big, scary Paul, who can do ANYTHING couldn’t locate the backpack, yet the sisters did! Paul got beaten by Team Turtle. Sweet. Very sweet. (While on the topic of sweet things, let’s all mock Steve&Paul for being complete idiots during the last challenge and falling to fourth place. It warms me on the inside.)
So. My Ideal Final Three is all gone, none of the teams made it to the Final Three. A slight regression from last season (Sam&Renae made it and it was obviously just because I rooted for them *sarcasm*), but I’m cool with it. I think all three ran great races and I wish to see them all return for the All-Stars version I’m hoping will be made at some point in time.
But before that, we need to pray to all gods and saints that Steve&Paul get eliminated next.
All teams caught the same flight to Vancouver, Canada, where Paul&Steve and The Cops decided to go for the only Fast Forward of the Race. Both teams knew whoever got a cab first will eventually take the Fast Forward. Shane&Andrew have never had any luck with taxis so far, so sadly it was Paul&Steve who got a cab first, completed the Fast Forward (which required them to pose nude) and made it to the Pit Stop in first place. Paul bragged about it and was as unlikable as always – so nothing new there. I guess the only good thing to come out of this is that we didn’t have to watch them for the entire episode.
The first challenge the teams faced was to decipher a nautical phrase using the International Maritime Signal Flags. Lucy&Emilia were, of course, hilarious: ‘<Beam me up, Scotty!> is not a nautical phrase’, is what Lucy said at one point. They struggled a bit with the challenge, though not as much as James&Sarah, who had already gotten a rough start to the day.
The Detour (a choice between Tumble and Toss) didn’t affect any of the teams’ placements with the exception of Shane&Andrew. On that note, I’m really impressed with how far they’ve come – I never expected them to make it past the midpoint and they’ve also grown on me over the past few legs. Also worth mentioning about the Detour is the fact it showed yet again what a beautiful relationship Lucy and Emilia have. Lucy was virtually useless at the Detour (she managed to fell in the water after only putting one feet on the log), yet Emilia was nothing but encouraging and positive about it. She didn’t seem to be bothered at all. They’re amazing!
The Roadblock posed some problems for the Italian sisters and Joseph&Grace, but in the end they didn’t matter, as Sarah&James couldn’t make up the time lost during the leg or compensate for their lack of money. They arrived at the Pit Stop in last place and were eliminated. I’ve had mixed feelings about them the entire season. For the most part, I thought Sarah was irrational and crazy and I wasn’t impressed by their bickering and fighting. However, there were times when I felt sympathetic towards them or when I thought ‘Sarah isn’t all that bad…’ and this episode was one of them. I actually was a little sad when they were eliminated, but it came down to them and the Italian sisters, so overall I was more than pleased with the outcome. (And I loved their mini speech about how they’re going to know each other until they’re 85 and all, cause I’m pretty sure I read last week that they’ve broken up already.)
Now we have a three week wait before the next episode, courtesy of the Summer Olympics. Further proof that sports are bad.
(I’m just joking, of course. Sports are good. Go, sports!)
Unbelievable. Another one of my grim premonitions turns true as we lose Sticky&Sam on The Amazing Race: Australia. Not only that, but with Lucy&Emilia being the only team from my original three selections still in the Race, I’d say the chances of having someone to truly root for in the Final Three are pretty slim. The preview scenes for next week show Lucy having a breakdown, so I’m open to the devastating possibility of losing my three favorite teams in a row. Which would be terrible.
But back to Sticky&Sam. I’m incredibly sad, disappointed and frustrated. Why did they have to get lost? Why didn’t they ask for directions sooner? Why did they have to get lost in Paris? Why couldn’t someone else screw up, like Paul&Steve? Now they have the best shot at winning, which would really put a damper on this season. I always thought Sticky&Sam would at least make the Final Four, so I never worried much about them – this makes their elimination a little harder to accept. The remainder of the Race will not be the same without these two, that’s a fact.
I could go on for a few paragraphs about how this is unfair, but I don’t see the point. Besides, I’m putting that energy to good use: hoping and praying they’re brought back in the event of an All-Stars season. I mean… they have to come back, right?
In the meanwhile… go Lucy&Emilia!
P.S. The fact I didn’t collect a quote from the episode for the title can mostly be attributed to the anxiety that took over me a few minutes into the show.