Great Reads, Volume One: Mmmmm, Brains!

ZombieBlogBigger

So, it’s Halloween, and if you’re like most people, you’re in the mood for some brains – er, I mean, zombie stories. Below you’ll find some of my favorites – two fanfics, and one original fiction. This is the first in a series of posts where I’ll be recommending some great fic and fanfic from around the web. Future volumes will feature stories about animals, superheroes, time travel, werewolves, and many more topics!

If you have a fic you’d like to recommend for an upcoming volume of Great Reads, feel free to leave a link in the comments section. My only rule – it has to be someone else’s story, not your own. It should also be either fiction or fanfiction, and free to read. Length and subject matter are completely open, so go crazy!

In the meantime, go crazy reading these great stories. Oh, and if you really like them, why not take a moment to let the author know? Reviews are free to write, and priceless to the author who receives them. 🙂

Original Fiction

“The Former King of Fort Wal-Mart” by Brock Adams

One of my all-time favorite Every Day Fiction stories – the character is deeply relatable, and the plot is different from other zombie stories I’ve read, giving it a very fresh feel. Well, as fresh as you can get when reading about rotting flesh. Go check it out!

Fanfiction

Supernatural

“Decomposure” by paperbkryter

Not exactly a zombie fic in the traditional sense, but close enough. It’s dark, it’s creepy, and it’s hard to get that “dead” smell out after you read it. I’ve been following this author for many years now. If you’re a fan of either Supernatural or Smallville, then paperbkryter’s stories fall into the category of “must-read.”

The Mentalist

“Red Ruin” by ruuger

Yes, you read that right, there’s a Mentalist zombie story. The moment I found this, I just knew I had to include it in Great Reads. Not only is it different from any other Mentalist story out there, but it also has the same high quality and great characterization that make all of this author’s stories shine. Go fight zombies with Jane and Van Pelt!

 

Up Next: Movie reviews for X-Men: Days of Future Past and The Wolverine

The Race: October 2014 “Oldies vs. Newbies”

Pumpkins, pretty leaves, and premieres – doesn’t get much better than that, does it? Fall is upon us, and for network TV fans, excitement is in the air. New shows are prancing onto the scene left and right, trying to wow viewers with sizzling storylines and compelling characters. Meanwhile, veteran dramas are pouring on a fresh layer of intrigue, twists, and even character deaths, hoping to keep established audiences riveted. And me, well, I’ve got the easy job – sit back, relax, and enjoy the shows. 🙂

The Oldies:

Monday

Castle (10pm, ABC): How do you spell awesome? C-A-S-T-L-E! So far, this one’s really bringing it in a BIG way. They had a huge finale last season, and they fearlessly picked right up where they left off. Beckett reaching for the door handle of the burning car was so beautifully shot and performed. The emotion gushed from the screen. The mystery of Castle’s disappearance (and reappearance) is huge, complex, and more than a little bit scary. He didn’t want to remember? And what the heck happened to Castle when he was a little boy? My imagination will be having a field day until all truths are revealed. This is a great arc just overflowing with possibilities – they could easily take it all season, and I hope they do. In the meantime, I’m happy to watch Castle and Beckett get back into their mind-melding rhythm while chasing super creepy cyber-stalkers and invisible (pardon me, “cloaked”) murderers. (Side note: is this show starting to go more sci-fi recently? If so, I approve!) 🙂

Castle Score: 9

Tuesday

Supernatural (9pm, CW): Off to a rocky start, but getting better. The first two eps, at least, did not live up to my hopes. Of course, I did have insanely high expectations, so the chances of the writers living up to them were slim. The first ep seemed rushed and confusing. Too much was skipped over without explanation, and I spent the whole ep just basically trying to figure out the timeline and what was going on.

Dean as a demon wasn’t as much fun as I’d hoped, either. There were so many COOL storyline possibilities for Demon!Dean, but alas, he was a bit wishy-washy. The show seemed confused about which direction to take him in. He seemed basically human – but with a big old nasty streak – in the opener. He didn’t want to rescue Sam, but vowed to kill the guy who had Sam hostage. He also left Sam that note to “let me go.” So, some level of brotherly loyalty appeared to be intact. Also, Dean didn’t seem to know he was a demon. Crowley: “The Blade needs to be sated, otherwise…” Dean: “I know, I know, I’ll turn into a demon…” This was the most interesting thing about the opener – that Dean didn’t know he was a demon.

Then, as if that line had never been spoken, Episode Two came along. And here we have a full-on EVIL Dean, killing for sport, talking about ripping Sam’s throat out, flashing his black eyes at people and openly stating that he is a demon. Me: What the…????? So, some HUGE inconsistencies in the writing between the first two eps. Ep Three continued to embrace the horribly evil Demon!Dean from Ep Two, portrayed with devilish delight by Jensen. It was hard to watch, but Sam’s love and loyalty, along with some old Winchester family photos and emotional Season One music, kept me going til the end, when we finally got our Dean back. At this point, I’m just glad the demon storyline is over, Cass is temporarily mended, and things are back to semi-normal.

Last night’s ep, “Paper Moon,” continued the upward trend, with some nice brother moments and a good parallel storyline about two werewolf sisters. I didn’t love the episode “Bitten,” (see my review), but “Paper Moon” was pretty darn decent.

Supernatural Score: 7.5

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. (9pm (<-yes that is an issue), ABC): I might be able to forgive this show for the Ward mess…eventually. Not all caught up on my tapes yet, but loving Jemma as a spy, tortured!Ward in prison, Skye being trained by May, Fitz trying to recover, and Coulson, as always, holding them all together. Good stuffs.

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Score: 7

Chicago Fire (10pm, NBC): Wow, they just took away a good fifty percent of this show’s appeal by killing off one character. Yikes. I was SO looking forward to the premiere, and then they had to go and do THAT. Killing off Shay was a major no-no. Not only was she one of the few lesbian characters on network TV, but her relationship with Severide was so darn SPECIAL. Even if the actress wanted to be written off, I still, as a writer on that show, would not have killed her. I would not have burned that bridge, because there’ll never be another one like it. Platonic male/female relationships are a rare gem, both on TV and in real life. I’ll never forget watching an X-Files special and hearing Sheila Larken, the actress who played Scully’s mother, talk about the then-platonic relationship between Mulder and Scully. She said, “They are best friends beyond what lovers could be.” That always stuck with me. There is a different, and possibly deeper, form of love that runs between best friends than there could ever be between romantic partners. Boyfriends come and go, but best friends are forever. Remember when Severide was missing for like 24 hours, and Shay was the only one who bothered to look for him, or even really noticed he was gone? Remember when he said to her, “I don’t trust anybody in this world, except you”? Now he has no one, and my heart is smushed. Mourning the Shayveride…:(

Chicago Fire Score: 6.5

Wednesday

Chicago PD (10pm, NBC): Still an excellent police procedural that doesn’t shy away from embracing its dark side. First couple eps were a bit shaky, with too many twists and turns, too many suspects, making it easy to lose interest. Then things got better, with more personal storylines tied to the main characters, including Jay’s friend getting shot in the bar and Voight’s grandchild being threatened by some serious baddies. Kudos to this show for keeping Voight’s character just as twisted and borderline immoral as he was on CF. This is a guy who will maim or kill people, purely out of vengeance. This is definitely the same guy who tried to have Matt killed at one point. Sometimes you root for him, sometimes you cringe and turn away from the screen. Either way, it’s very consistent writing.

Chicago PD Score: 6.8

Friday

Grimm (9pm, NBC): Woo hoo! It’s finally back! This one came back swinging, just like Castle. An exciting first installment with lots of mixed emotions. Juliette is kind of happy about Nick’s condition. Can’t really blame her, but I hope she eventually comes to see that being a Grimm is a part of who Nick is, and a part of why she loves him. Monroe and Rosalie get major loyalty points for skipping their honeymoon to help their friends. Not at all surprising, but it still gave me the warm fuzzies. The octopus thing was pretty freaky. Anything with tentacles…**shiver** The big “oh no” moment came at the end, though. Please tell me they didn’t just kill off Sean. Seriously, someone please say that to me right now. Voice from corner: “They did not just kill off Sean.” Thanks, I feel better 🙂

Grimm Score: 7.6

Brand-Spankin’ Newbies:

Monday

Gotham (8pm (WAY too early for such a dark show), FOX): Growing up, I never really liked Batman. To me, the movies were very twisted and creepy. Too many shadows, too many bats, too gothic, too gory. As an adult, I feel pretty much the same. I will take Superman over Batman any day of the week, month, or year. I’ve never seen any of the newer Batman movies like Batman Begins or even (try not to gasp) The Dark Knight. Really the only thing that got me to tune in for the premiere was the fact that this is Bruno Heller’s (AKA The Mentalist creator’s) new show.

Watching Gotham, I have to say: I still don’t like Batman very much. Gotham has all the same shadows, gore, corruption and creepiness that make Batman such a turn-off for me. And yet…I’m still watching. Why? I like Jim Gordon. I like the actor. I like the character’s goodness, his determination to single-handedly turn around a dirty police department in an even dirtier city. And I really like the partnership between Jim and Harvey. Jim is as wholesome as they come, and Harvey is as close to morally bankrupt as you can get. They’re the odd couple, and it works, because you can see Jim rubbing off on Harvey, little by little. It’s a satisfying, often humorous, and occasionally downright touching thing to watch.

Gotham Score: 7.4

Tuesday

Forever (10pm (<- Oh noes! Timeslot conflicts galore!), ABC): Yay! Favorite new show! I liked it from the very beginning, but the moment that really threw me head-over-heels was when they revealed Abe as the baby Henry and Abigail had rescued from the concentration camp. When Henry kissed grown-up Abe’s head, something in my heart just ripped open and gushed. The relationship between the two men is part bromance, part father-son (with Henry as the father who raised Abe), and part son-father (with Abe, who seems older, as the father/caretaker worried about what will happen to Henry down the line). Super complex, unique, and utterly endearing. Henry’s flint-spark chemistry with his new partner doesn’t hurt the show, either. Nor do the hilarious worker in the ME’s office, the great premise which is just brimming with awesome storyline possibilities, and the fact that when Henry smiles, I do, too! This show is a WIN!

Forever Score: 8

Wednesday

Red Band Society (9pm, FOX): Liking this one. It’s very positive and hopeful, with some nice teen drama mixed in. I enjoy shows that shine a light on people helping one another, doing good things, making the world a little better. A lot of the lines make me laugh, and there are tearjerker moments, too. The most recent ep, focusing on Charlie’s story (with a nice side adventure between Kara and Dash), was my favorite so far. Getting very attached to the characters. The only problem with getting attached to a show on FOX is that the channel is very iffy here. One night I might sit down to watch RBS, and find a blue box waiting for me that reads: “No signal. Unable to tune to channel. Check antenna or try rescanning.” Nooooooooo!

Red Band Society Score: 7.5

Stalker (10pm, CBS): This one’s still waiting for me on tape, but I’m excited. I hope I love it. I want to love it. I already love Maggie Q – and Dylan McD – so why not?

September/October Winner: Castle

Runner-up: Forever

Way to go, Alphabet Network! 🙂

Still MIA:

Elementary (Coming back tomorrow night. Woo hoo!)

The Mentalist (Will return in January for a tragically short 13 ep final season…)

BATB (Is this a summer show now? Speaking of summer shows, how much did Unforgettable rock this year? Personal cases, emotional depth, adorable chemistry between Carrie and Al – I didn’t want it to end! So glad they revamped this and gave it another chance…)

Overall, I’m pretty psyched about this premiere season. I’ve never gotten into so many new shows at once. Can’t wait for more eps to gush/lament about! 🙂

Next up: Come back on Friday for a special Halloween treat – zombie stories! 🙂