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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

2011 Season In Review (Mild Spoilers)

  As another television season ends I'd share my thoughts on what I liked and hated this year

 The ones to watch...

    One Tree Hill is definitely the little show that could. It has run 8 seasons, half of them under the threat of cancellation. It managed to stay fresh and interesting despite the loss of two of their most popular cast members. It managed to introduce new characters successfully without shoving them down our throats.

    I loved the Stalker Katie storyline, Brooke finally getting her happy ending, and the hit and run mystery. The only episode that really bugged me was the lame ass superhero storyline. Camp is one thing but it completely missed the tone of the show. I appreciate the show for sticking to continuity and not just flat out ignoring past storyline like a lot of shows do.

    Thankfully CW is giving the show another season for a proper send off. My only request more Dan Scott, the show is lacking without him.

   Desperate Housewives was phenomenal this season. It was definitely a nod to the first season with the return of Paul, Felicia, and Zack. And revisiting Andrew's hit and run storyline was a great choice. I miss Drea DeMatteo but was excited to see Vanessa Williams take her place. The problem is that Vanessa Williams doesn't do anything, she just stands in a corner firing out sarcastic quips. This woman is an amazing actress and needs to be utilized.

    I liked Paul's storyline, Brian Austin Green's arrival as Bree's newest boy toy, and the resolution of the hit and run storyline. The baby switch storyline was a bust and I am glad they swept it under the rug. Susan is getting borderline ridiculous. I know the writer's want her to be wacky but there's a fine line between funny and annoying. But all in all good season.

  True Blood hits it's pique of awesomeness last season. There was character development, intriguing storylines, and it's usual blend of blood, sex, and humor.

   Bright spots include the hiring of Joe Manganiello as the werewolf Alcide. I love how the character of Tara has been allowed to evolve past a bitter victim and into more of a bad ass.  James Frain was a hoot as Tara's psychotic vampire boyfriend, Russell, I almost wish they'd let him live. As a self professed member of Team Eric, I am thrilled that they are starting to move forward with their storyline. Also of note was exploring Sookie's darker Fae side.

   I was not fond of Jason's storyline but then I have never really liked him. Lafayette was utterly and completely wasted. Sookie being taken away by the fairies at the end was cheesy and Bill's "power struggle" just did not fit his character. Also way too much time was devoted to Hoyt and Jessica's relationship as well as Sam's prodigal family.

   True Blood returns June 26th on HBO. And you can view the new season's trailer here .

    On the fence....

       Glee is like that ex you can't quite give up. I should hate it. They employed Gwyneth Paltrow, my least favorite of all actresses. They couple swap so often that it's just irritating. And I'll be honest I can't stand any of the new characters. John Stamos was cool but underused. We need more upbeat story lines like last season and less angst.

       But every once in awhile, I get sucked back in only to be disappointed.

 Evicted from my DVR...


    The very thing that attracted me to The Secret Life of the American Teenager was it's complete ludicrousness. I found their refusal to take themselves seriously. But sadly the very same ludicrousness is what is driving me away.

   These characters are supposed to be teenagers but are concentrating more on babies and weddings than college or keggers. The show so did not need yet another teen pregnancy and the Ricky/Amy/Ben/Adrian love trapezoid is a snore. The others characters are not picking up the slack either.

   Plus there is a severe lack of Molly Ringwald, the very reason I watched the show in the first place. I just can't watch anymore.

   And there you have it. Questions? Rebuttals? Drop a comment.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Valley Ain't That Sweet

  I consider myself an open-minded person especially when it comes to reboots. I'll see my favorite horror movies rebooted even though I know I'll hate them. I was probably one of the few people who actually liked the new Melrose Place. And when my childhood favorites grow up, I want to be there for it.

  Sweet Valley Confidential was a good idea but poorly executed. The problem is that our much loved characters have grown up to be well, pricks. Sweet Valley was supposed to be the impossibly pleasant world we grew up reading, with logic and common sense put on the back burner.

   The series picks up ten years after junior year. Elizabeth is a suffering writer living in New York. Jessica is still in California having stolen Todd from her twin. (Yet again.) The twins aren't talking, they are not even Facebook  friends. Steven's gay. And almost everyone who ever left Sweet Valley has decided to move back. Oh and they use the word "fuck" way too often. Swearing is not a grownup trait.

   The characters are bitter, depressing caricatures of their former selves. No one is happy nor does anyone end up truly happy. Everyone is rich, successful, and inexplicably child-free. Jessica is so whitewashed she is boring and Elizabeth's angst gets annoying after five pages. Winston Egbert, the sweetest most popular character of the series is destroyed. It's like the author hated these characters with a burning passion and wasn't about to hide it.

   Let's talk about the author, Miss Francine Pascal. We're aware that she farmed off the series on ghostwriters so it makes sense that she may not know some of the details. And I doubt reading all the books was on her hit list. But they couldn't have hired a fact checker? Minor inconsistencies I can handle the mistakes in SVC are far from minor.

   For instance, Suzanne Devlin allegedly died from a car accident after she mixed alcohol and MS medication. But wait, that didn't happen, she survived the car accident and it turns our her MS was a misdiagnoses. Remember when Cara moved to London and Steven moved on with Billie. No, you don't, because the books completely gloss over that storyline. But the character of A.J. Morgan is just mind-bogglingly wrong.

  A.J. first appeared in the series as a sweet, Southern, redheaded boy who moved to Sweet Valley during junior year. He dated Jessica then quickly faded away after the author broke them up. Suddenly he morphs in a blond, bad boy, surfer boy who was in middle school with the twins. Characters names are even messed up, Lila's father and Mr Collin's son being two of the casualties. Seriously, a fact checker would not have been that expensive, there are major fans out there who would have done it for free.

   The book totally rewrites the twins/Todd love story. Apparently Jessica and Todd never hooked up until college, ignoring countless furtive love affairs from the previous series'. The book wants us to believe that Todd and Jessica were meant to be. They even have three different perspectives of their first meeting to drive the point home. Elizabeth's supposed soul mate is Bruce Patman who's been in love with her forever. Yes, Bruce, the same guy that tried to rape her in a previous novel.

  Finally, Sweet Valley, the chaste world of virginal teenagers incorporates sex in the series. And it isn't pretty. I don't want to think of Elizabeth's taut nipples, or her inexplicable crying during sex. Nor do I want the image of Todd watching porn to ever enter my mind again.

  I wasn't expecting classic literature just a proper, sweet, revisit to a book series that I adored as a kid. Not a melodramatic poorly researched abomination. No, Francine, just no.