Once Upon a Time 4×1 “A Tale of Two Sisters”

Well, I caught up on “Once Upon a Time” just before its new premiere and…I’m still not sure what I think about it. On the one hand…

The Good:
1. Elsa’s character remains intact. After her ominous arrival last season from Rumple’s “I’m-scared-of-this” vault and emergence over the last great evil-Zelena’s-dark magic symbol, I feared for the integrity of her flawed, but good heroine personality.
2. This is one of those episodes where everything looked just as it should. This is very important for a show dabbling in iconic images and moments, but from everything “Frozen” to dancing with Belle, this episode was charming to literally watch.
3. We don’t have to go back to the past again! Yay! Personally, I found that storyline in the last two episodes too much stalling for too little payoff, especially since it’s pushing at Regina in all-too-cliche ways.
4. The mention of Netflix was a funny meta touch.

However, the other hand is weighed down with…

The Bad:
1. Finding ‘The’ author of fairy tales??? That’s just not a good idea and my folklorist heart is already pained. I suppose the most acceptable solution would be to find Disney himself, but…then we’ve got a whole other kettle of meta fish happening that’s just too close to home for magic to keep off the fishy smell.
2. Can everyone just stop messing with Belle already? Just STOP IT. One of the things I liked about last season was how she got to call out her tormentors and remind everyone just how raw a deal this crazy optimist, of all people, got in previous seasons. STOP MESSING WITH HER, I DON’T CARE IF SHE DOESN’T KNOW.
3. Obviously Henry is the best option for Regina-company and deterrent right now and it’s plain stupidity and selfishness that keeps Emma hounding her personally to try and prove that she was right.
4. Look, I’ve been trying to reconcile myself to Hook/Emma for an entire season now and having a hard time of it, having Emma share my hesitation is not helping.
5. If an enchanter comes to claim that hat and dares to call himself Merlin without being the most awesome character ever I will hate this show.

Also, I’m not sure which category this goes in, but according to that timeline, the powers of True Love and pixie dust thought that Regina and Robin should get together before she became the full-fledged Evil Queen who messed with Marian, which has to mean that it thought they’d make a better match than Robin and Marian IN THE FIRST PLACE, EVEN! I’m not sure what to do with that. One voice is crying out-don’t mess with Robin and Marian, it has to at least be history!, while the other is saying hah-see, Marian never really should have gotten him to begin with, go Regina! It’s confusing. What do you think of that?

Of course, we still have those nitty-gritty questions to get into about predictions for this season…

The U(gly U)nknown:
1. Will Anna’s journey in the Enchanted Forest run her into more wolves in the form of Red? That is my greatest hope right now.
2. Will Belle get pregnant with a boy they’ll name Chip as a tribute to their love?
3. Perhaps instead of the author we can get Scheherazade who’s been telling these stories to her sultan? That would be cool. Correction, that could be cool. Could also be a big mess, but at least better than finding any kind of author.
4. Can we count Mickey Mouse as an author? o.O
5. It’s probably all going to have to do with Roland and him getting attached to a savior-Regina with her this time, isn’t it?
6. So are Hans and his brothers “waiting to pounce” ruling the roost back in Arendelle? Or did they follow Anna and trap her to try and get her to marry Hans/one of them a la Penelope in the Odyssey? I do like the image of Sven helping to break that up eventually. Or, could be both!
7. This also makes me think that Ariel and Eric and their island is reminiscent of Calypso, the sea’s daughter, and her lovers’ island, no?
8. Which brings me to Hercules and how on first hearing Regina had a second soulmate, I thought of him. He likes dark women, doesn’t he? (Plus, he could have wanted a tattoo of the lion he defeated.) It would be fun if they could have at least a fling.
9. Who wants to bet that “the truth” about Elsa and her powers is that she really has a different father than Anna does, or was adopted from her sister or something, which will make her actually related to Enchanted Forest folk? After all, this show is nothing if not incestuous! See: Hook, chasing after his stepson’s babymama, etc.

Well, those are my thoughts. What are yours? Any predictions-without spoilers!-or speculations to share?

Top Ten Literary Adaptations to Detest

The follow-up list is here! These cinematic incidents do not do justice to their books. Feel free to join in and grumble about those films that make you groan or shout, “That’s not how it goooes!”

Top Ten Worst Literary Adaptations:

1. “Ella Enchanted”
-I still remember staring at the screen in shocked horror as this Anne Hathaway monstrosity hacked away at Gail Carson Levine’s wonderful work.

That's not how it woooorks!

That’s not how it woooorks!

2. “The Dark is Rising”
-I still feel the whirl of anger and disbelief whirling whenever I think of this film that not only completely changed the whole point of the story, but randomly made the main character a twin! A TWIN! Will Stanton needs no twin! Arrrgh!

3. “The Other Boleyn Girl”
-This film took an intricate, sister-driven plot and boiled it down to….Henry VIII as an Eric Bana-shaped dick. Why bother?

4. “The Lightning Thief”
-This film simply pretended that a small tangent of the book’s plot was really the entire story. Not cool, although I did like Uma Thurman’s portrayal of Medusa.

5.”Eragon”
-Not even Jeremy Irons could save this movie from its massive stupidity.

6. The Masterpiece Theater version of “Mansfield Park” from 2007 with Billie Piper
-It was so boring.

7. The Masterpiece theater version of “Sense and Sensibility” from 2008
-Totally ruined Marianne’s character for me.

8. “The Little Prince” TV show from 2010
-“When the evil Snake passes through the galaxy and extinguishes the stars, the Little Prince leaves his asteroid to save the universe from doom.” The fox is always his pet and is there for comic relief and to reference the occasional French word! If they’d just made their own cartoon it wouldn’t be too bad, but whyyy drag Le Petite Prince into it, why??

9. The 1998 “Phantom of the Opera” or “Le Fantome de l’Opera” from Italy with Julian Sands
-This Phantom looks fine; his issue is that he was raised by opera rats and is telepathic with them and Christine. I know, it sounds so bad that you expect it to be hilarious, but it’s not even that! This level of craziness is still, somehow…boring. Really boring. I don’t even know.

See?  Rats!

See? Rats!

10, Sortof. This one breaks the rules as it is only an adaptation of a previous film instead of a book, but when talking about bad, flabbergastingly untrue works, I must mention “The Truth About Charlie,” 2002 remake of the Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant classic “Charade.” As those who will know me can attest I still can’t think of this film without hissing under my breath because it changes so many damn things. It’s absurd. I cannot properly explain without spoilers, but…NO! Nononononono. No.

Well, now that that’s off my chest, what about you guys?

Top Ten Literary Adaptations

This week’s Tuesday Top Ten by http://thebrokeandthebookish.wordpress.com/ is about favorite movies and TV shows. My rules are that they have to be literary adaptations of books that I have read, and they cannot be plays because that’s a different type of adaptation!

Top Ten Favorite Literary Adaptations:

Obviously,
1. is “The Princess Bride,” the first movie I could ever proclaim was truly as good as the book, as William Goldman wrote both.
Princess-Bride-movie_572

This is closely followed by the best miniseries adaptation,
2. “Pride and Prejudice” on BBC, with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. How ardently I admire and love it!
lydialooney_mooney

Third comes my favorite movie trilogy adaptation,
3. “Lord of the Rings”-It does not come in pints, but I would gladly find you a box!
lotr

Then the longer television show based on a book series,
4. “Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot” series with David Suchet and his little gray cells.
poirot

Next, my childhood favorite,
5. “Winnie the Pooh” the old show with the narrator who introduces himself, because what’s better than pouncing and chasing honey?

This movie I wish I’d had as a child, but it still took me right back to it because I’m pretty sure this was my 11-year-old self’s spirit animal:
6. “The Golden Compass”-I know it’s different than the book, but I don’t mind things being different animals so long as it’s good, and this was gorgeous!

In another nostalgic favorite, we visit what I maintain is still the best “Emma” adaptation I’ve seen in
7. “Clueless”-and if you disagree, Whatever!
220px-Clueless

Another film noted for its great snarkery is
8. “Stardust”-This film I enjoyed more than the book-who’s not won over by Captain Shakespeare?

In 1989, this version of
9. “Phantom of the Opera” just hits all of the intense, wild notes in the book that Andrew Lloyd Webber leaves out. It’s insane, there’s time travel, face-stitchery, and whips…I just really like it.

Lastly, for me this miniseries really brought to life
10. “Jane Eyre”
janeeyre

So, what are your favorite adaptations? If you can only think of scurrilous representations that you hate, there shall be a follow-up list shortly!

Nikita 4×2 “Dead or Alive”

Okay, I just have some quick thoughts I need to jot down. They do include SPOILERS:

1. One, I totally cringed when Nikita and Michael started talking about their relationship issues during an operation, just like everyone else. However, the reason it’s okay and not just shoehorned in like so many other shows, is that it is totally in-character for Nikita to choose that time. Knowing she’s about to shoot Michael, even metaphorically, would bring all her guilt to the fore. When she’s not physically next to Michael and feels in control is totally when Nikita would be most willing to share her feelings. And knowing that physical separation, together with the fact that there was no real hurry or danger, made it not the utterly stupid thing that airing up those issues during missions usually is. (I’m looking at you, Ichabod Crane.)

2. I do not believe Birkhoff is cloned. Of all the characters on this show, Birkhoff has shown himself the most adept at hiding from the Division head honchos when hiding is what he wants, and as the tech guy instead of a field guy, he’s been constantly surrounded by people since back in last season. Reeallly don’t think that Nikita’s framing would lend itself to him so much as stepping outside for coffee, so no chance for him to be nabbed.

3. I love Amanda’s face when she believes Nikita is Finally actually turning into her.

4. Framing Alex seems more satisfying for Amanda than actually a good move for The Shop. She’s got a Cinderella Story and lots of documented charity behind her, that’s not a personage the public will be swayed against so easily.

In any case, I can’t wait for the end where Ryan will be set to run the new government, Owen will die having chosen who he wants to be, and shows she can actually be a partner, not a leader. These are my predictions-my main hope is that Birkhoff will get a happy ending, but I’m not holding my breath.

Lost Girl 4×1 and 4×2

Okay, it took me a bit to figure out my thoughts on the beginning of this season, but I do have them:

SPOILERS

On Kenzi:
-I don’t mind the storyline with her sparkle cream, but at the end of last season she was discovering she had potential to become a Real Fae, not this fake thing. Was that just totally switched out for the sparkle cream? Did I miss something where that was taken care of, cause last season she had to cover up her arm I think and now she’s definitely not. Cause that lack of consistency is something I am NOT alright with. What’s up with that?
-I maintain that Kenzi makes everything awesome, always, but….these first episodes keep putting her in situations designed to make female leads likable and entertaining (suddenly having to take care of a child, becoming a dirty dancer…) and Kenzi doesn’t need to be made likable or entertaining-she’s already the best thing about the show! So-why??? It seems like she could be rocking things so much harder if they just stopped throwing things at her and let Kenzi be Kenzi. In “In Memoriam” she was even acting like a faux-Bo half the time! No more mixing-even when Kenzi was Dyson they knew she needed to be Kenzi! That is what works.

On Bo:
-I understand that her pregnancy needed working around, but right from the beginning of “In Memoriam” I was begging them to not do the cliche cliff-hanger of only seeing one last shot of the protagonist’s face….and that’s what happened. Other than that there hasn’t been enough of her to have thoughts, so she had better be allowed to bring it next time, is all I can say.

On Selene and Endymion:
-I’ve been waiting for more Greek myth references on this show, but this seemed like the tamest possible way to do it. What’s with this playing safe thing, Lost Girl? That’s not what I think of with you.
-Eddie was fun but I wanted to know why he needed to know so much about emotions in order to try and do his job. Was it just a cover for his obsolescence or does he know of some sort of theory about love that can help locate people that could maybe be learned by others? What? It just seemed like it was all there for Dyson’s big speech and I like to see characters all having their own motivations.

On Aife:
-So, Trick’s whole thing about Aife going crazy again because she remembered losing her daughter is clearly crap since she did remember Bo even when no one else did. Is this a show inconsistency or is Trick just lying about stuff? Also, why has no one gone to ask her more things about Bo’s dad yet?

On Tamsin:
-Little Tamtam pleases me, but she needs to stop hogging the Kenzi.

Others I am simply having to wait and see, as I haven’t seen enough to judge current Lauren, Cleo, or Vex lines. What do you guys think?

The Flavor of “Reign”

So, this was the biggest surprise to me, but…I love this show! I know, I shouldn’t, I study history and it is wildly inaccurate, but here’s the thing: it’s so wildly inaccurate that it’s not even pretending to be a real history show. So long as it’s not really an imposter to history, I see no point in hating something for not being right and I believe “Reign” falls in this category for very important reasons:

Dolorous Crystal Bodychain on Adelaide Kane CW Reign

(SPOILER FREE)

1)They play modern music. Anything with modern music is either not pretending to be history at all or is absolutely rotten. This show is so far from pretensions to reality that I actually enjoy the soundtrack, as it goes rather well with what the show actually IS.
2)The costumes are ridiculously off. This is the second of the main two things that all audiences are most likely to pick up on and as they often are not even vaguely accurate, this is the second big thing that lets the show off the hook. Particularly as these wildly inaccurate confections are glorious.
3)Within the first 10 minutes we are informed that ghosts will be a major part of the plot. Which brings us to-
4)What “Reign” actually is, is A GOTHIC MYSTERY ROMANCE. With not only ghosts, but a Blood Woods, and angsty music (I told you there was a reason it works for me.) Only instead of being stuck wandering around a dark, deserted manor, we get treated to the bright, lavish, scheming court when not roaming secret hallways or communing with spirits. And instead of putting up with Bronte-type heroes, we get a variety of moral centers to choose from in the male part of the cast. The revelation that a Gothic mystery romance was actually what I was watching actually managed to explain the most egregious historical crime for me, as it was relevant to the whole lifestyle and plotlines of the story as opposed to the specifics of Queen Mary: There are nowhere near enough extras. And while it is still laughable that Mary is often wandering about alone with no other living souls about, servant, guard, or otherwise, now I know why-because that’s what has to happen in a Gothic mystery romance, It all makes sense! Although occasionally they actually draw attention to the absence of guards for a plotline and it is still hilarious, but hey-what they’re actually doing is something where this lack of people is necessary, where modern music works, and where court life actually meshes with Gothic ghosts. That is Amazing and I deeply appreciate it. I think you should, too.

I should admit that it helps that I have never met a version of the actual Mary, Queen of Scots that I found particularly compelling in this period. On the other hand, if you like the actual historical Mary then knowing what would eventually happen would just make a show depressing. “Reign” not only has a heroine who appears to actually make the most sensible decisions she can in her circumstances most of the time, but as she is clearly not historical there is no need for such sadness! This one could be hypnotized into marrying her second husband! Or be switched with a body double right before her execution by the ghost! Her future is wide open! Which is how a good Gothic mystery romance should be-free to make crazy revelations at any moment. I like that. Especially when Mary’s supporting cast include a girl who’s basically an earlier Jane Bennet without a Lizzie, a girl determined to hold the sexual revolution back then, and Susan from the Narnia movies.

White Queen 1×7 “Poison and Malmsey Wine”

FINALLY, this show has joined the ranks of a proper history soap opera! The costumes are looking up, they took a moment for simply a beautiful nature shot, they left room for some mystery…it has arrived. This is definitely my favorite episode so far.

SPOILERS:

-Margaret Beaufort, turns out you just needed things to Do other than mope around about your son and Lancaster in order to enliven the screen. The baby thing in itself and as your way in was dumb, but you went for it and by golly, anything that makes you stop bellyaching and start spying and speaking with dignity is excellent. However, it would have been that much better if you’d been seen subtly scaring off the other maid before she asked the queen to leave court, so it would be clear you’re still backstabbing and scheming away.

-David Oakes, your Juan pt. 2, the English One ends as outrageously as I had hoped. From the moment I saw you stroking your dog while watching brother-sex I was worried about the relationship. I was relieved to see it ended in a superstitious death. Also, I shall go ahead and give you credit for brainwashing Isabel for that year we didn’t see-getting her so afraid of Lizzie she could have died of voodoo-inspired fear was quite the accomplishment. Still a big fan of your hissyfits, but seeing one start with you in a bull mask was a special treat. Also, choosing a colorful way to go literally gains my approval.

-Edward…I love your lion outfit. Why do you keep whoring around and pretending to go to war so much when you’re obviously way too tired to make any kind of decent decisions ever and merely bend to wife, brothers, or the letter of the law without much foresight or zest? The year has not been kind to you, has it? Perhaps you’ve already got STDs and that accounts for it.

-Anne, why does everyone else get new clothes but you remain stuck in the one plain silhouette ALWAYS? I feel like this episode had you wanting to jump ship to Revenge, wanting to destroy someone for your fallen family member, clearly not knowing everything, needing Victoria’s advice about controlling powers that be instead of just having to choose a side…yeah, you’d fit RIGHT in. And they’d liven up your wardrobe, too.

-Elizabeth, I feel for you. One snarky comment about your womb being able to beat up everyone else’s womb and suddenly court is exploding in your face. What I’d like to know is how everyone somehow realized you were responsible for the storm that killed Izzy’s firstborn-don’t think that’s ever been comprehended before and it had no realization moment. However, storming after George in front of everyone served no useful purpose except to show off your sparkly gold dress. This is a schemey political show and you’ve got witchcraft-why bother to go after him yourself? It’s the least interesting choice. Your problem here seems, in fact, to be that you are too direct and honest. You let everyone know how you feel, you’re consistent, and you try to come at problems head-on. These are not the most useful problems from a TV perspective, but you’re doing them with flair.

-Richard, I am glad they let you speak up for George. On the other hand, your dealings with Anne are becoming too focused on dark looks. Your best moment really was when you got to blow up at your mom over her favoritism. Also, you at least have been paying attention to the foreshadowing. Please, let that not be played out as a self-fulfilling prophecy instead of actually your decision.

-Dear show, see how that works out for everyone when there’s not absolute clarity about a suspicious death? That’s what we’re looking for. That and more present complexities instead of filling in with repetitive foreshadowing. And more masquerades/intriguing scenery. Take note!

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