News, Reviews and More!

Hey, all – sorry I’ve been offline for so long! Lots of stuff going on right now – some good, some bad. I’ll try to catch you up! Okay, so the news first:

Publications

I read a werewolf novella by Joshua Werner and loved it so much I just had to write a review! My review of Rampant can be found in the May issue of Bloodbond, a werewolf-, shapeshifter- and vampire-themed magazine published by Alban Lake Publishing. The other content in the zine is all fiction, poetry and artwork pertaining to shapeshifters and vamps, so if you’re as crazy about creatures of the night as I am, be sure to check that out!

Up next: I have two stories coming out this August in Chicken Soup for the Soul books! Yay! The first story, “One Step at a Time,” is about my cat Sputnik’s miracle recovery from a severe health crisis. That can be found in Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cat Really Did That?, which will be available on August 8. The second story, “Out of the Mouths of Strangers,” is a bit more humorous and includes MANY embarrassing moments from my junior high and high school years. That one will be published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Kind of America, which comes out on August 29.

 

Movie Reviews

In other happy news, I was fortunate enough to see THREE superhero movies in the last several months. Here’s what I thought of them:

Logan

A good movie, no doubt. High-quality and well-written. I do question the need to make this an R movie. I’m not sure that was the right way to send off the character (at least Hugh Jackman’s version of him). Wolverine has many younger fans who wouldn’t be able to see this film, and therefore wouldn’t be able to say goodbye to their favorite character. My other main issue with Logan is that it isn’t a well-balanced film. This is one of the most depressing movies I’ve seen in recent years. Virtually every character dies. And before they do, the majority of them suffer from physical and mental illness, as well as torture at the hands of their enemies. There is very little humor, and very little hope. The tone is dark and stays that way throughout, rather unrelentingly. Also, the f-word is overused. When I hear it that many times in a row, at a certain point the writer in me starts thinking, Couldn’t you have come up with a better, more creative expletive?

Despite everything, this still was a really good movie. Definitely worth seeing, but I’m not sure I’d want to own it. My suggestion: rent it when you’re in a good mood. If you’re already feeling low, this movie will only bring you down further.

Wonder Woman

To be honest, I wasn’t even sure I wanted to see this movie. Now, I can’t imagine NOT having seen it. Wonder Woman is pure magic. Unlike Logan, this movie is perfectly balanced, with just the right mix of hope, humor, action, romance and sorrow. This is the first female superhero movie to come along in…geez, I don’t even know how many years – and it delivers in a BIG way! Just seeing those powerful Amazon warriors training on their horses in the beginning of the film…I got chills. I didn’t even know how much I needed this movie until I saw it. No matter what your gender is, I promise you will leave the theatre grinning and hoping the next Wonder Woman movie is coming out sooner rather than later. Readers of this blog should be glad I don’t have a lot of time right now, otherwise you’d be getting a 5,000-word post raving about Wonder Woman.

My suggestion: See it!

Captain Underpants

I had the pleasure of seeing this movie with all three of my nephews, and I really enjoyed it. Though much of the humor is of the bathroom variety (as you can guess from the movie’s title), the core story of friendship between the two main characters is touching. As a writer (and a big superhero fan), I loved that the MCs are an author and an illustrator who created their own superhero and publish their own comic book. The fact that they get to see their creation come to life before their eyes – something any writer would give up their pinky toe to see happen – only adds to the joy of this film.

My suggestion: If you’ve got kids between 7-11 years old, take them to see it! They won’t be disappointed, and neither will you. ūüôā

TV Reviews

No, no, I didn’t forget about the TV shows! That would never happen.

Last season, two shows tied for first place: Limitless, for being so friggin’ awesome in its first season, and Supernatural for being so friggin’ awesome in its ELEVENTH season! Both shows demonstrated amazing creativity and I had such a great time watching them that it was impossible to choose. I give them both a 9.5 score for the season. Runners-up included my old love, The X-Files, as well as the sparkly newcomer, Lucifer.

Some friends of mine were disgruntled about TXF, as it seemed the network might just be drawing us in with Mulder and Scully, only to reboot a new version of the show starring the recently introduced characters of Miller and Einstein. Personally, I’m withholding judgement until this actually happens. The last time I checked, Season Eleven was listed as a “sure thing” – with the original cast – so we’ll see. I do like the new characters, but Mulder and Scully need to be the stars. Always.

This season I had to make some sacrifices and only watched a few shows religiously. Among those were Lucifer and Supernatural (duh). I loved the mom-drama on both shows, but in the end, Lucifer won out for just being incredible from start to finish. Last year was a little hit-and-miss for me, but this year was DYNAMITE. There was much more focus on the supernatural elements of the show, and the emotions were running a lot higher this year, too.

I’m glad they at least established the beginning of a romance between Chloe and Lucifer. When shows wait too long to introduce romantic interest between the leads, the characters can get stuck in the friend zone. Then, if the writers do decide to put them together down the line, it’s very awkward. (Castle was one show that got this right, while The Mentalist waited too long). The characters don’t have to be together all the time – we just have to know there’s some attraction between them.

Oh, and the Lucifer finale? I just have one word: WINGZZZZZ!!!!! Also, Lucifer gets mega-points for not killing off any beloved characters in the finale. Unlike Supernatural :(. Um, some of those people can come back…right? Please???

Elsewhere on TV: Chicago Fire: We needed more time to get to know Anna before they killed her off. Grimm: Why the heck did they cancel this amazing show??? Emerald City: Too caught up in the glitz of its concept to deliver on an emotional level. This is Us: If you’re not watching it yet, start now! Great show, with many alums from other shows we love, including Smallville and Supernatural. Plus, it’s not getting cancelled anytime soon, so you can watch without fear.

Novel Update

Some of you may recall that I was in the process of editing one of my novels. Last time I posted about it, the book was at 150K words. Now, thanks to an awesome writing partner (and her equally awesome son), the manuscript is at about 106K and still shrinking. That’s down from 300K, people! Cutting your book IS doable.

For more help on cutting words from your manuscript, check out this post:

http://www.rachellegardner.com/how-to-cut-thousands-of-words/ 

Loads of great advice in the comments, too, along with a wonderful quote that sums up the cutting process:

“Every word you cut gives its power to the words that remain.” ~ Cathy’s brother

Wish me luck in getting my book down under 100K, and I hope to be back soon with more news, reviews and other goodies!

~Gretchen

 

Five Lucifer Fanfics (and One Fanart) to Get You Through the Hiatus

So, Lucifer‘s been on hiatus for a hellishly long time. And we’ve still got two-and-a-half weeks to go before the Prince of Darkness returns on May 1st. Feeling antsy? Missing your favorite fallen angel? These five devilishly good fics (and one gorgeous fanart!) will get you through the rest of the hiatus:

There’s No Music in Hell by Solo’s Falcon
Summary: The murder of a priest leads detective Chloe Decker to a secluded abbey to investigate. Having Lucifer as her partner proves to be both an asset and a liability. But keeping him on a leash is not her biggest problem. Dealing with her growing attraction towards him is. While they struggle with their feelings, a threat lurks in the shadows determined to bring the Devil to his knees.

Damnatio Memoriae by Ice Queen1
Summary: Chloe tries to solve the riddle that is Lucifer Morningstar. Dan even manages to help. When mysterious ritualized killings start showing up, Chloe suspects Lucifer may know more than he lets on. Problem is, she doesn’t know what she thinks she does. Lucifer Whump. Chapter 21 is rated M for violence at readers’ suggestion, but remainder of story is T.

Cecidit Angelus by Ice Queen1
Summary: When Lucifer is picked up wandering the highway alone at night with no memory of who he is or how he got there, he’s brought to a mental hospital. The poor staff has no idea what to make of him, and unfortunately, neither does he. Another patient by the name of Constantine may be able to help – or maybe he’s just as crazy as he is.

A Conversation – Long Overdue by Skaoi
Summary: A guy walks into a bar…stop me if you’ve heard this one before…

Anything Brighter by Black Hawk
Summary: All the coy smiles and misdirections that Lucifer has come to rely upon don’t distract Chloe from the handful of moments she has happened to catch him unawares. The eerie tightness in his dark eyes when he thinks no one is looking twists something inside of her in response.

Lucifer Morningstar (fanart) by TricksterKat209

Enjoy!

See you on May 1st, my fellow Lucifans!

Shower Them With Books

Bookshelves 1

Once you’ve been to a few baby showers, you get to know the drill–pick out a gift from the registry, buy a cute (and unnecessarily expensive) card to go with it, then show up at the appointed time ready to watch the mom-to-be open oodles of packages containing bottle sterilizers, diapers and impossibly small socks.

So, when the invitation for my cousin Sarah’s baby shower arrived in the mail, I for the most part ignored the adorable jungle animals smiling up at me and focused solely on gleaning the pertinent info: time, date, location, and stores where the parents had registered. I was almost finished skimming when something near the bottom of the invite caught my eye:

“In lieu of a card, the parents ask that you bring a book inscribed to the new baby.”

A little thrill of excitement shot up my spine.

Being a writer, this idea naturally held way more appeal for me than simply picking out a bib from a list of three pre-chosen patterns. This was a book. Any book we wanted. This was freedom.

As the shower date approached, my mom and I eagerly tossed titles back and forth–books we’d loved as young children, stories that had captured our attention and held it hostage in the best possible way.

Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

Where’s Spot?¬†by Eric Hill

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

There were so many wonderful choices: funny books, sweet books, educational books. Books with bold colors. Books with flaps to lift and fabrics for chubby little fingers to touch. Even books where the pictures pop up right at you!

Though it seemed impossible to narrow the field, I eventually selected Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney. Mom chose Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig. Then we got to work planning the perfect wording for our inscribed messages to the baby. As is typical of authors, we both wrote several drafts before finally etching our words in permanent ink inside the book covers.

The whole ride to the shower, I was half excitement, half nerves. I couldn’t wait to see what books the other guests had chosen, but at the same time, I was a little worried, too. What if the baby got not one but five copies of Guess How Much I Love You? After all, an inscribed book is a nonreturnable one. Mom pointed out that with young children, having extra copies of a favorite story is a good thing–pages get ripped, flaps get torn off, corners get chewed on. I knew she was right…but still, I fretted. Giving a duplicate book seemed like showing up to prom and noticing someone else wearing the same exact black spaghetti strap dress as mine.

As soon as the gift portion of the shower got underway, however, I quickly saw that my concern was for naught. With every new gift my cousin opened, there came a different book title. There was indeed a hungry caterpillar, and a bunny in need of patting. But there were also books about tractors, bears, princesses, giraffes, elephants and every other thing you could imagine.

I actually got a little teary, realizing that we’d all chosen different books based on the different things that had touched us and shaped us throughout our lives. We’d all been moved by reading–not in the same way, but in a hundred different ways, and that just made it all the more beautiful.

In my case, I grew up surrounded by books. With two teachers for parents, it couldn’t have been any other way. As a child, I sat curled in the silence of our basement for hours, aching at the bittersweet ending of Princess by Carolyn Lane, a tale about two cats–one tame, one feral. My bathwater went from toasty to frigid without me even noticing as I lost myself in the adventures of Alec Ramsay and his magnificent Black Stallion. My breath steamed the windows of our Jeep as I devoured Dick King-Smith’s Babe: The Gallant Pig start-to-finish on a rainy afternoon. During a late-night power outage, I sat huddled in the bathroom, candlelight and a book called The Great Green Apple War by Barbara Klimowicz the only two things keeping my gnawing fear of the dark at bay. For months when I was a young teen, I actually slept with a dog-eared copy of Geary Gravel’s novelization of Hook under my pillow, so in love with the story of a grown up Peter Pan that I felt certain I’d never go a day of my life without rereading at least a few of its pages.

And that’s just a small sampling of my childhood. My journey as a budding young reader.

Gazing down at all of the baby’s new acquisitions, I knew I was looking at the start of a brand new adventure. A new life to be molded and inspired, a new imagination to be kindled–maybe by one of the books given this very day.

Didn’t matter if it was my book, or one about a kitten, or one about a train. Something would start that fire, ignite that passion for reading. And, once lit, this little girl’s life would never be the same.

Good luck getting all that from an overpriced greeting card.

 

The Race: Burning Hot and Burning Out

RaceImage

First off, a mega-sized THANK YOU to those who braved the frigid weather back in February to visit our event at PetSmart. Special moments included seeing a picture of my favorite kitty Teagan with her new mommy, watching a partially blind dog named Jack Sparrow go home with his new family, and meeting some fellow Supernatural fans (woo hoo!)! Also, great big hugs go out to my buddy Zach – AKA, the one-man sales team – and to Tara at Furget Us Not Rescue for continuing to fight the good fight! ūüôā

And now, moving on to a LONG overdue update on the status of our favorite shows. Some of them have been burning hot all season long, while others have completely flatlined. See how they all rank heading into the finales! (Note: iZombie and The X-Files have already completed their seasons, so they are not listed here, but they will definitely be included in the final 2015-2016 season report.)

Burning Hot

Limitless (Tuesday 10pm, CBS): Favorite new show of the season! The writers really dump buckets of creativity on every script, making each episode an epic adventure. Whether it’s an ep told from alternating perspectives, a giant kiddy-show dinosaur named Josh-O-Saurus Josh replacing scary words with nice ones, or a comic-book themed ep complete with breathtaking illustrations, this show isn’t afraid to take risks, smash through boundaries, and pull out all the stops to deliver the most entertaining content on TV. Brian Finch has earned his place as one of my all-time favorite characters, and the rest of the players are brilliant as well. One of the best things about this show, for me, is the way the story carries right over from one ep to the next. It’s not a bunch of stand-alone procedural eps with an occasional nugget of mythology thrown in to boost ratings for sweeps. This show progresses the storyline in every single ep – something one of my other great loves, The Mentalist, failed to do. I remember being fairly bored through a lot of the eps, because the Red John ones were basically the only ones where things actually happened. Not so on Limitless. Kudos to the writers and cast: you now own a piece of my heart. Be gentle with it (i.e. don’t kill off Brian or Rebecca in the finale)!

Score: 9
Status: Not Renewed Yet (And I’m starting to getting that bad feeling again, just like with Forever…Please say it ain’t so…)

Supernatural (Wednesday 9pm, CW): Um, I’m just going to come right out and ask: Is Kripke back? ‘Cause seriously, this show is at least as good as it was when he was in charge. If not – gasp – even better. I don’t know what it is about Season 11, but everything is just clicking. We’ve got the scary (freaky rabbit in “Plush,” Lucifer’s eyes glowing from the shadows of the cage), the feels (Rowena’s confession to Crowley before her neck got snapped stole my breath, the scene with Bobby and Dean staring at one another in “Safe House” froze me in my seat, and I can’t even talk about “Red Meat” yet – still too raw from that gut-wrenching Romeo and Juliet-type moment where Sam comes back alive just as Dean is falling dead…just OMG), the crazy levels of creativity (a touching episode about imaginary friends that had me thinking about it for days afterwards, an ep entirely from Baby’s perspective (coolest thing EVER), a wonderful juxtaposition of Sam/Dean and Bobby/Rufus working a case in different time periods – it just goes on and on), and of course the LOLs – Sam: “So, you’ll beat Amara, and then what?” Lucifer: “Move to LA, solve crimes?” ROFL. I haven’t bought a Supernatural DVD since Season Six, but Season Eleven is definitely going on my birthday list.

Score: 9
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017 (Whew!)

Lucifer (Monday 9pm, FOX): SHAY LIVES! Well, not exactly, but it’s still great to see Lauren German rocking a leading role over on Lucifer. This one is definitely my newest obsession (I’m already reading fanfic for it!). I feel weird saying this, but Lucifer is almost like a nasty version of Forever. I mean, look at the similarities – handsome dark-haired immortal with an accent teams up with tough female detective? In the pilot, he even got shot trying to protect her and she witnessed it (or thought she did)…Ring any bells? So, maybe that’s why I like it so much. Of course, other than being (mostly) immortal, Lucifer is not anything like Henry Morgan. Henry was deeply compassionate whereas Lucifer revels in being as shallow as possible. However, there is a deeper storyline of redemption below the surface of Lucifer and that’s what caught my eye. I like Lucifer best when he’s being real and honest, rather than just cracking jokes and pretending he doesn’t give a crap.¬† The idea that even the devil himself could somehow find his way back to the light – that resonates with me. Can’t wait to see where this one goes – especially with the new twist of Chloe being the one who makes him mortal!

Score: 8.5
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017 (YAY!!!)

Still Sizzling

Supergirl (Monday 8pm, CBS): I was kinda on the fence about this one when it first started up. Not anymore! Supergirl has become a real highlight for me – I really look forward to it. The characters are far and away what make this show for me – the stories might occasionally be a little hokey or cheesy, but I don’t care, because the performances carry the day. When these characters hurt, I hurt for them. When they succeed, I cheer for them. The ever-pithy Cat Grant always plants a smirk on my face, and Kara is a girl you just have to love and root for – her upbeat attitude and genuine compassion don’t give you a choice. The special bond between J’onn J’onzz and Alex and Kara makes me teary sometimes – just so sweet. I’ve always loved the Martian Manhunter, even back on Smallville. Just a wonderful character, and I was wigging out when they started to reveal that’s who Hank really is. I geek out completely whenever Clark makes an appearance, even if he’s just texting back and forth with Kara, giving his cousin some support. I love that Superman has a role in this universe, but that he respects Kara’s right to be her own hero and handle her own problems. Favorite eps include the one about how women are expected to deal with their anger in the workplace, and the one where Kara had lost her powers. “Falling” was also cool, but painful to watch. Great homage to Superman III in that ep, as well, with Kara flicking the peanuts in the bar. This show reminds me of Lois and Clark – not just because Dean Cain is on it, but because it gives me the same kind of hopeful feeling. Keep up the good work, Supergirl cast, crew and writers!

Score: 8.3
Status: Not Renewed Yet…

Gotham (Monday 8pm, FOX): Getting darker by the minute. Still utterly compelling, but I’m not sure how much more gruesome depravity I can take (A madman ripping a cop’s throat out with his teeth? Penguin feeding that lady her own kids?). Also, I didn’t like the corruption of Jim’s character, having him kill Galavan like that. Wish the show hadn’t gone there. It made sense, and it was believable, I just wish they hadn’t. Gotham is topnotch, riveting entertainment, but I don’t know if I will stick with it next year. I didn’t miss it while it was off the air, and that’s pretty telling. The finale might make the decision for me.

Score: 8
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017

Chicago PD (Wednesday 10pm, NBC): PD is rocking it, big time. Great stories all around. I don’t even care that much that Adam and Burgess broke up – it wasn’t really going anywhere, anyhow. And she and Roman are kinda cute together…;) This show packs a gritty punch with every swing. The emotional connections between the cops and the victims are a special highlight. Antonio’s tears over a murdered child (and his near-hysteria over the killer’s complete lack of remorse) got to me big time. The crossovers with SVU are just as crisp as ever (I was scared they might go away when Med came on board). Speaking of which, the only ep that fell a little flat was the crossover with Med – too much courtroom, not enough action. The tie-in with Voight’s wife was excellent, though. Keep it up, PD!

Score: 8.4
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017

Heating Up

Chicago Fire (Tuesday 10pm, NBC): Much better!!! This show is totally back to the quality of eps we saw in the first two seasons. Fire is once again must-see, and I couldn’t be happier (I just wish it wasn’t on opposite Limitless!). They’ve really gotten better at having one central storyline in each episode, such as Sylvie’s stalker or Severide trying to find out what happened to that little girl found dead in the chimney. Also, the ep with them all trapped in a building with several mass shooters was especially emotional. Only complaints: 1.) Severide still gets to have no long-term friendships or romances (yes, I get that he’s friends with Matt, but sometimes the show gets dumb and makes them enemies, so the Matt-Sev bromance is never a sure thing), 2.) Don’t make characters act out-of character just to create stories (e.g. Chili’s sudden-onset emotional/behavioral problems (yeah, I know her sister died, but they wrote it like she’d had severe problems way before that), and Herrmann callously insulting Freddie, despite knowing Freddie’s history), 3.) When you make the villains so¬†totally despicable, e.g. the old Alderman, they become caricatures.

Score: 7.5
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017

Grimm (Friday 9m, NBC): After a rocky and super-depressing start, this one quickly got back on track and once again became one of the most flat-out entertaining shows around. I *HEART* Grimm! They had some real poignant moments of grief early on in the season – e.g. just a quiet scene of Nick, lying in the dark, staring up at the ceiling. You could just feel the mix of emotions – the loss of his mother, the loss of Juliette, but also the newness of being a father and the bizarre budding relationship with Adalind (of all people!). I’m still not quite sure what to do with their romance (if you can call it that), but I don’t hate it, and that’s something. Eve is an awesome new character – can’t wait to see where things go with her. We finally got a glimpse (I think) of her showing actual human emotion in the last ep when she displayed protectiveness toward Nick. Then we have the mystery healing stick, Wu growing closer to wolfing out by the hour (Btw, my local NBC station totally preempted the Lycan ep, without warning, and I had to hunt it down online – not cool, NBC. Not cool at all.), Adalind morphing back into a Hexenbiest, Black Claw gaining ground all over the world, and (oh please no) my beloved Sean possibly helping the bad guys win. This show is rocking right now.

Score: 7.8
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017

Cooling Off

Castle (Monday 10pm, ABC): Hard to believe this show was one of the top dogs in my rankings last year. Long hiatuses have essentially killed Castle for me. I’m entertained by the episodes, but that drive to watch is not there anymore. I don’t rush home to make sure I see it. If I miss 15 or 20 minutes of the beginning, it’s no big deal. Also, I’m not thrilled that they tied Castle’s amnesia into the LockSat (sp?) storyline. It was probably a smart move, plot-wise, but it left me a bit flat. I do like the British chick that sometimes helps them with the investigations. She’s cool.

Score: 6.5
Status: Not Renewed Yet

Elementary (Sunday 10pm, CBS): Still a great show, but the strength of my desire to watch it is pretty low, just like with Castle. If I make it home to see Elementary, then awesome. If I don’t, then **shrug**. I do like Sherlock dating the Aspie girl – that’s a nice story. Also, the b-plot with Sherlock helping the struggling ME was very sweet and emotional. And I loved the episode “Hounded” – great homage to The Hound of the Baskervilles. I actually wish they’d do more of this – modern interpretations of the original material, the way Sherlock does. They can obviously do it well, so why not?

Score: 6.8
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017

Colder Than My Toes

Chicago Med (Tuesday 9pm, NBC): To be fair, I’ve only seen one full episode of this show – the one that was part of the three-way crossover with PD and Fire, after Herrmann got stabbed. The show was very sloooow. And booooring. A lot of manufactured, unnecessary drama between the docs and the firefighters. A medical “mystery” so predictable I was actually hoping I was wrong, just so I’d be surprised. I guess I’m used to House, where there were always a bunch of twists and wrong turns before they correctly diagnosed someone. As it was, the Splenda Guy was by far the most interesting part of the ep. Hope they kept him on. I’ll probably never find out, because I’ll be happily watching the INFINITELY more entertaining iZombie over on The CW. I wish nothing but the best of luck to Chicago Med and its fans – but “The Chicago Trilogy” will remain a duet for me.

Final Score: 5 (ouch!)
Status: Renewed for 2016-2017

 

And on we go to the finales! ūüôā

The X-Files: X Reasons to Love Season X

Mulder

(Yeah, I got a little carried away with the Roman numerals. Guilty as charged.)

I.) Mulder and Scully are back. Yes, both of them. As my fellow Philes know all too well, only about half of Season Eight’s episodes contained Mulder, and he appeared in just one episode of Season Nine – the finale. Note to TV writers everywhere: The truth is out there, and the truth is, when your series completely revolves around the lives and struggles of your two main characters, don’t try to continue without one of those characters. It’ll end badly. The last few seasons of The X-Files were hard to watch. Sure, there were some gems here and there, but for the most part, many fans (myself included) were watching out of loyalty, not out of love. Season Ten has brought the love back. I feel a thrill of excitement as I perch on the edge of the couch cushion, too eager to sit back and relax, lest I miss one single second of the newest installment.

II.) It’s authentic. This isn’t some Dark Shadows reboot that would make fans of the original series cringe. This is the real deal – original cast, original writers, and Mark Snow on music – just as it should be. They even used the good credits, the ones from Seasons 1-7, and not the cheesy, fakey-looking ones from after Duchovny left. When I heard The X-Files was returning, the very first question out of my mouth was: Is this a remake, or a revival? I’m not sure I could’ve watched new actors try to take on the iconic roles of Mulder and Scully. Thank goodness we didn’t have to!

III.) Skinner. I don’t know exactly when it happened, whether it occurred gradually over the course of the series or if it was a more dramatic, sudden shift after Mulder left, but at some point along the way, you couldn’t have The X-Files without Skinner. We need him like we need Mulder and Scully themselves. They love and trust him. We love and trust him. Skinner has Mulder and Scully’s backs when no one else on the planet does. The one major change made to the credits this time around was the addition of Skinner’s badge (in cool, vintage black-and-white glory, of course). As soon as his beautiful, bald head appeared, I nodded my approval wholeheartedly.

IV.) A clean slate. No matter how much you loved the show’s mythology, you have to admit that at a certain point, it just got WAY too complicated. I truly and honestly believe that by the end of the series, the writers themselves could not have told us how each piece fit into the puzzle. We had at least three species of aliens (the green bloods, the black bloods, and the alien replacements (those things with the metal vertebrae)), plus two different alien viruses, not to mention all manner of human-alien hybrids. We had an Alien Bounty Hunter, numerous Jeremiahs, and a bunch of really old, pampered white dudes who liked to sit in a smoky room and dictate our planet’s future with overly cryptic, sometimes nonsensical dialogue. Year by year, season by season, more layers were added to the conspiracy, until, like an unstable wedding cake, it eventually toppled. The writers knew this (note how they even poked a little bit of fun at their own writing in “My Struggle”). The viewers knew it. The critics knew it and stated it loudly. This time around, The X-Files is playing it smarter. This time around, the writers have wiped down the chalkboard with a wet sponge. They’ve scrubbed away the tangled mess we were left with after nine seasons, and written one word in its place: Experimentation. The aliens aren’t trying to take us over, after all – the government is. It was the government all along. They have many ways in which to accomplish this, as outlined in the first ep of Season Ten. The only thing we don’t know is, why are they experimenting with alien DNA? What role does that play in the grand scheme of world domination? Giving Mulder and Scully one complex and personal question to answer, rather than ten thousand tangentially-related threads to follow, is a wise move, especially since they only have six episodes in which to solve the mystery.

V.) The Cigarette Smoking Man. Okay, yes, he’s as much a part of The X-Files as Mulder, Scully and Skinner, but COME ON! How is that dude even still alive? Didn’t we see a missile physically blast through his skull? I suppose it could’ve been an alien replacement that got nuked, and not the REAL CSM, but still. A little bit ridiculous. And yet‚Ķa little bit right, too. No matter how hard we try to banish evil, it still manages to waft, smoke-like, up through the cracks. So, even as I was rolling my eyes at his return, I found myself grinning all the same. After all, what is The X-Files – or any fictional universe, for that matter – without a true nemesis?

VI.) Cool FX! Way cool! The X-Files always strove to be cutting edge with its visual effects, aiming to make a small movie each week, rather than just a TV show. Seeing The X-Files FX team get to play with all the current technology, stuff that simply wasn’t available thirteen years ago, is like getting to watch captive dolphins jump and splash in the ocean for the first time. The alien and spaceship in “My Struggle” were top notch, as was the vividly realistic gore in “Founder’s Mutation.” I fully expect more eye candy – both sweet and disgusting sour – throughout the rest of the season.

VII.) Heart and soul. Right from the start, The X-Files was about way more than alien abductions and scary monsters. It was about two characters on a quest to find the truth. Many times, that quest cost them dearly. Mulder lost his parents. Scully lost her sister and daughter. Both Mulder and Scully have been shot, abducted and experimented on. Both of them had to give up their only son to keep him safe. With each new loss, each new trauma, the characters became closer to each other and we, in turn, became closer to them. Mulder, Scully, and all the people they connect with along the way, are the true heart and soul of this series, and Season Ten hasn’t forgotten that. Far from it. Whether it’s Scully’s raw emotion at hearing a stranger’s clinical recitation of her relationship with Mulder, or a series of poignant scenes depicting “what might have been” if Scully and Mulder had kept their son, this show still knows full well that the humans (not the monsters or the aliens) are what keep us coming back for more.

VIII.) Continuity. The slate may be clean, but that doesn’t mean all the history, all the things Mulder and Scully witnessed and experienced, never happened. Longtime viewers will enjoy the familiar sight of triangular experimental crafts built with UFO technology (like the ones featured in “Deep Throat” and “Dreamland I and II”), and the image of a little girl breathing underwater, which instantly brings to mind the hybrids snoozing in tanks in the “The Erlenmeyer Flask.” Even after all these years, it pays to be a fan who really watched closely. ūüôā

IX.) The LOLZ. Aw man, how much have I missed Mulder and his dry one-liners? Is there a number higher than infinity? A friend once commented that without Mulder, the humor of the show took a nosedive, and he was so right. Scully and Doggett together? It was like having two Sams on Supernatural, rather than a Sam and a Dean. In any partnership, you need one straight man, and one joker. Mulder is back and witty as ever as the joker, and I can’t help snorting with laughter every time he says something like “Obamacare” or “Why would I want to watch this jack-ass?” or “I blacked out around the time his eyes popped out of the sockets.” ROFL! Keep them coming, Mulder – I need more lolz in my life.

X.) The Awe. As I sat down to watch last Monday night, I thought to myself: How freaking amazing is this? How many more times in my life am I going to get to sit down in front of a TV screen and watch a NEW episode of The X-Files? This is the show that helped me forge lifelong friendships. This is the show I watched in high school when I was working on take-home calculus tests. This is the show that introduced me to fan fiction in college. I’m thirty-five years old, and the series that wowed me in my teenage years is back on, showcasing front and center every reason why I fell in love with it in the first place. A fangirl can’t get much luckier than that.
ūüôā

Hungry for more X-Files mania? Go check out my friend Carbonated Beverage Drinking Man’s awesome reviews of the new season:

http://azachofalltrades.tumblr.com

The Race 2015-2016: First Looks (Plus: 2 Comic Cons This Weekend!)

RaceImage

Okay, so most of our shows are back and trying their darnedest to keep us tuned in. Attention spans are shorter than ever, and the competition has never been higher. Let’s see which shows are delivering, and which¬†ones are floundering like salmon on the beach:

MONDAY

Gotham (Fox, 8/7c): Wasn’t sure how this one would be without Fish, but I’m actually really digging it this year. I HATED the massacre at the police station (seriously, how many break-ins, shoot-outs, abductions, attacks, etc¬†do they have to have before they get some decent security¬†???). I hated that the female police boss got killed off (I REALLY liked her – and TRUSTED her, too). But the rise of the MANIAX was cool. Barbara as a total psycho is cool. Galavan’s insidious rise to power has been awesome to watch, as is Nygma’s inevitable descent into madness. The new police boss is admirably bad-@$$. I’d follow him into battle. I love his idea for the task force.¬†He really seems legit, too – which means he’ll likely a.) get killed off in the next two eps or b.) turn out to be in Galavan’s pocket or something. I sincerely hope not. The good guys need a break. Big time. Actually, some of the bad guys need a break, too. Never thought I’d say this, but poor Penguin. Geez, his mother was the only thing that kept him sort of tethered to humanity. And what about the Joker getting offed? Did not see that coming, and that’s what’s so great about it! One of the down sides to doing a prequel-type show is that everyone basically knows that certain characters, e.g. Bruce Wayne, are safe from death because you know they have a future in the comics. Well, Gotham went and gave the rug a good, hard¬†pull, toppling¬†viewers onto their butts by killing off someone we assumed would go on to become a legendary Batman villain. Smart move, and very cool. Overall,¬†Season Two¬†is even¬†more compelling than Season One. The multiple Penguins in the last episode was a stroke of brilliance. And, on a more superficial note, melikes Jim’s hair this season. Melikes it a LOT. My main complaint about Gotham this year would be too many massacres, etc. How many have we had so far this season? Three? Four? Maybe five? Crikey! Tone it down, or you’re going to turn off viewers. At least try to limit it to one shootout per episode. That’s more than enough.

Score: 7.5/10

Supergirl (CBS, 8/7c): I watched this show for two reasons: 1.) Because I freaking ADORE superheroes and 2.) Because I read that this show would be about positivity, light, optimism and¬†GIRL power. It definitely lived up to its description. Very bright, very hopeful, very female-centric. The viewing experience was pleasant. I smiled a lot. The special effects were on the upper end of today’s TV standards. The main character, Kara, was cool, although I was surprised by¬†how little she used her powers¬†before deciding to be a hero. You can FLY, and you just…DON’T?? For years? Because….? Also, why hasn’t she been helping people prior to this? Just because Superman’s on the job doesn’t mean the whole hero thing is covered. If my state has one firefighter, does that mean we’re all set? We don’t need any more, because that guy’s got it covered? Of course not! There can never be too many heroes, and thankfully Kara has realized this. I just wonder why it took so long. (Maybe too much discouragement from her sister?) On the non-critical side of things, this show has a good cast of characters, the special highlights¬†being Jimmy Olson and Cat Grant. Cat is just too funny – the ultimate horrible boss. Jimmy is by far the most intriguing character on the show –¬†mysterious and charming. I¬†am drawn to him like an Iron Man magnet to a stainless steel fridge. As far as bad guys go, Owain Yeoman (AKA Rigsby from The Mentalist) made an interesting one! How weird to see him as an evil alien with a spiky scalp! Bet he had fun in that role. ūüôā I haven’t seen the second ep yet (it’s on tape), but I was happy with this show overall. I like the¬†cheerful, happy-go-lucky¬†vibe that’s so rare on TV these days (just look at Gotham). Also, not sure if it’s a stylistic choice or a rights issue, but they never call Superman by his name – they always just say “he” or “him.” Whatever the reason, it’s cool. I like how they never show his face, either. My main nitpick would be that the writing was a little too straightforward, a little too on-the-nose without leaving much up to interpretation. I like a bit of subtlety and subtext. I like to be challenged intellectually. But pilots are tricky, and I’m definitely willing to give this one more time to win me over. Here’s hoping the next ep has a little more complexity. And if it happens to¬†feature a lot of Jimmy Olsen…well, I would not be complaining about that, either.

Score: 6.9/10

Castle (ABC, 10/9c): Ah, Castle. AKA¬†the final ABC show I’m watching. After Forever’s cancellation, I wouldn’t touch any of ABC’s new pilots with a ten-foot-long PVC pipe¬†(it helped that none of them looked appealing anyway), but I’m still loyal to¬†Castle and will continue to watch until it finishes its run. So, how’s it doing this season? I tuned in to the premiere a few minutes late, and didn’t have a freaking CLUE what was happening. Which was actually okay, because it made me empathize with Castle as he tried to piece things together. It was exciting and a bit dark (baby tarantulas dumped on Castle’s face, followed by a suffocation bag put over his head,¬†is a bit outside the normal tone for this show – then again, I heard there’s a new showrunner in town). Overall, it opened strong, and my only nitpick was that Beckett didn’t have quite enough motivation to leave Castle. Or rather, to pursue the case which caused her to leave Castle. I was watching with my mom and she was like, “This is out of character for Beckett.” I agreed. I get where they’re going with the whole “she obsessed over her mom’s case for years, it finally got solved,¬†but that need to obsess doesn’t go away and now she has to focus that energy on some new conspiracy.” I get that, and it’s valid, but she LOVES Rick. She’s been happy with Rick. Plus Castle’s stepmom (can we say awesome bad@$$ chick???) had the case under control. There was no reason not to let her handle it. If Beckett had agreed to lay off the case, been on her way home to Castle, and then his stepmom’s car exploded with her inside it, THEN Beckett has a¬†reason to say, “Now I’m the only one left. I HAVE to do this, or there won’t be justice.” They didn’t take it to the level necessary for her to leave Castle – they fell one step short, making it hard to buy. However, looking past that, I do like the situation as it stands. The separation, the pheromones, the LONGING. Great stuff, and just the little jolt Caskett needed to keep from getting too snooze-fest. So, good idea, imperfect execution, still enough to keep me watching. P.S. That episode with “The Nose” was hilarious and proof enough that the new showrunner can do a lighter ep, which is the staple for this show.

Score: 7.9/10

TUESDAY

iZombie (CW, 9/8c): Aaaaaand the wonderful parade of Liv’s shifting personalities continues!¬†Big kudos to actress Rose McIver for delivering believable and highly entertaining performances week after week. It can’t be easy to play a character who’s absorbed a basketball coach’s go-get-em attitude one day, a fashion diva’s high drama and style sense the next, and an amateur musician’s hankering to compose¬†and perform country songs¬†the day after that. And she still has to keep the core personality the same. It may be hard as heck to play the role, but it’s fun as heck to watch. Also enjoying: Blaine as a un-zombified baddie, Peyton’s return, Clive’s budding relationship with that FBI (???) lady, and Ravi’s continual support of Liv during her 1,002 weekly attitude shifts. Oh, and Liv and Major are back together!¬†Is it wrong that this makes me sooooo happy, even though dark times must surely be a-comin’? I mean, I know it can’t last. I know she’s got to find out about Major’s extra-curricular activities as a zombie-hunter – and this devastating news will come well before they get to celebrate their¬†golden anniversary. But can’t I just enjoy it while it lasts? For however short a time that is? Please? They’re just so cute together. Especially now that he knows why she acts weird and different all the time. Speaking of Major knowing things, he also knows what he’s doing is HORRIFICALLY wrong. He’s a murderer. If he thought zombies were just soulless, man-eating monsters, it would almost be forgivable. But he’s dating a zombie. He loves a zombie. He knows it’s at least possible for these beings to have moral, non-violent existences. It’s at least possible that some of these zombies are obtaining their brains in ways that don’t hurt anyone. Some of them may be monsters, but some may very well be decent people. He also knows there will potentially be a cure in the near future. The scenes of Major killing these people are so graphic and awful…How will he ever be able to live with himself? How will Liv, when she finds out? It’s true that she makes him a better person, and for now he’s actually being smart and lying about not finding any new zombies, but the damage is already done. Even if he never kills another one, he’s still a murderer. And to what end? To protect Liv? They know she’s a zombie. They plan to eradicate ALL the zombies. They’re going to get to her eventually, anyway. **Sigh** Anywhoo, the show’s pretty great this year. The cases are interesting, Liv’s personalities are interesting, and the romance is oh-so-good while it lasts. Also, what are they going to do with Liv’s blood? I have no clue, but it’ll probably be awesome, because almost everything on this show is!

Score: 8.6/10

Limitless (CBS, 10/9c): Ah, my new love. I saw only one commercial for this before it aired, but somehow I knew it would be “the one.” I could just tell it had certain elements that would appeal to me, e.g. a prodigy-type leading male with a tough, gun-toting female partner. Not only didn’t Limitless disappoint me, it totally soared above¬†all expectations. By the end of the pilot, I knew I’d found my new “thing.” The main character, Brian Finch, is essentially a loveable loser. A guy in his late twenties with no real job, and a band in which he is the only remaining member. He is the black sheep of the family, the only one who hasn’t yet found his way in life, and is just kind of floundering while everyone else has achieved the expected level of¬†success and happiness. Despite his lack of ambition, Brian is good-natured, gentle, and genuinely cares about his family. I love him already. Then his dad gets sick, and Brian gets a special “pick-me-up” pill from one of his old bandmates. Suddenly, Brian has access to every single brain cell, making him a temporary super-genuis. He uses the power to solve the mystery of his Dad’s condition, and later solves the murder of the friend who gave him the pill. I.e. Brian uses his power to help people he cares about. How¬†rare is that? Throw in the FBI, a mysterious senator, blackmail, more murder, secret injections, and a truly AWESOME partner, and you’ve got one heck of a show. Brian has great chemistry with his partner, Rebecca. She’s one of those people who’s effortlessly cool, and probably the only person at the FBI who actually gives a crap about Brian. Not as someone who’s being studied, or someone who’s a potential liability, but as a person. He, in turn, trusts her, and has shown he’s willing to lay down his life rather than betray her. Their partnership is already at the point where they’re randomly letting themselves into each other’s apartments. They can only get closer from here. (Until she finds out about the shots, that is…) Other characters of note include Brian’s dad (with whom he has a special bond), an FBI boss with questionable motives, Rebecca’s FBI partner Boyle (hoping he’ll land on the side of the good guys, but too soon to tell), the senator’s ultra-creepy henchman, Sands, and two bodyguard/warden-type dudes that Brian calls “Mike” and “Ike” because even with perfect recall he can’t remember their names! But the one who really carries the show is Brian himself. He’s extremely relatable, extremely entertaining to listen to (he narrates every episode), and hilarious to watch. The actor, Jake McDorman,¬†is just so frenetic – you can see all the wheels turning – doubly so when he’s on NZT. I could watch this guy¬†dusting shelves for a week¬†and not get bored once. One time I was really tired when the ep came on, and I thought it’d be a miracle if I stayed awake (don’t worry, I was recording it), but then NZT-Brian made this Claymation-type¬†video that was the most hilarious thing I’ve ever seen on TV, and I was wide awake in minutes. The same thing happened again this week–I was getting drowsy as the show opened (hey, days are long and 10pm shows are hard for me!), but within seconds I was totally engaged. I¬†was like, “OMG, he’s doing Ferris Bueller’s Day Off!” and sleep never crossed my mind again. It’s that good. Also, they do really cool stuff with the lighting, showing the juxtaposition between times when he’s on NZT and when he’s off of it, and they have really creative, funny ways of¬†demonstrating how Brian’s mind works and how he gets his information. Fans of Forever, Castle¬†and The Mentalist will LOVE this show! Check it out! </gushing>

Score: 9/10

Chicago Fire (NBC, 10/9c): Decent so far. Not shout-from-the-rooftops great or anything, just decent. The reason for Severide’s demotion seemed stupid and insufficient to strip somebody’s rank. You’d think a really¬†heinous offense would have to occur for that to happen, but no. Just some random, bad luck events that had nothing to do with Severide personally. Whatever. His new girlfriend turned out to be a loser, too, so this is a great season for Sev, so far. If only he had a BEST FRIEND to turn to…Anyway, glad the strip club storyline’s wrapped up – did anyone else totally KNOW Voight had Casey’s back? I so did. I was like, “The police cars are going to pull in right….NOW!” and they did. Predictable, but not in a bad way. Cruz on Squad is cool. New captain? Seems a little weird. I don’t know what to make of him, but he bothers me at times with his attitude. The people harassing Molly’s need to GO AWAY. Immediately. They suck. If a bar’s noise is going to bother your baby, then here’s an idea: don’t move in near a bar!!! Geez…Also, re: the arson thing: haven’t we kinda been there, done that? Like multiple times? Hope they put a new twist on it. Speaking of new things,¬†I was SO¬†excited about Matt and Gabi’s baby…but then that went very wrong this week.¬†Utterly heartbreaking on many fronts, but probably the best ep so far – Herrmann did indeed know the perfect thing to say to Gabi, and I’m sure many eyes were not¬†dry at the end of the ep on Tuesday night.¬†Overall, things on CF have been okay. I’m still watching, but, except for¬†the¬†most recent ep,¬†I’m not being “wowed.” We need more powerful, emotional storylines like the ones that got us hooked in the first place.

Score: 6.8/10

WEDNESDAY

Supernatural (CW, 9/8c): Isn’t it nice when one of your favorite shows demonstrates why it still deserves to be one of your favorite shows? No relying solely on viewers’ loyalty to keep them tuned in – not this year. Supernatural is bringing¬†their best stuff¬†to the table and pulling up a chair. The Darkness is cool in all of her forms. I like how she eats souls – hey,¬†maybe she’s related to the Dementors! Instead of looking for info on her in the archives, Sam and Dean should probably¬†just pick up some of J.K. Rowling’s works. ūüôā Seriously, though, Amara is scary because no one really has an idea what exactly she is, what she wants, what she’s capable of once she reaches adulthood. The angels don’t know. The demons don’t know. Sam and Dean definitely don’t know. Having a scream come from the cage containing Michael and Lucifer was a great way to show just how dangerous and terrifying this thing is. And now this seriously evil being is on the loose, feeding, growing, and developing a weird, creepy bond with Dean that just can’t end well. Great storyline that can easily carry us through the whole season. Other notes: Loved the eerie, Walking Dead-type vibe of the infected town and hospital in the opener. I liked the young police officer they met and bonded with – she got killed off way too soon. I was planning to complain about the way she acted once her soul was removed – how she just instantly went psycho and killed her gammy. I thought this contradicted with how soulless Sam acted in Season Six. Sure, he might’ve killed you, but not for nothing – he was logical and had reasons for everything he did. He was a sociopath, but not an instant, murderous lunatic. So, yeah, I was going to complain about that inconsistency, but I actually thought they covered the topic pretty well in the last ep. They pointed out that different people react differently to having their souls ripped out (understandable – it’s a HUGE trauma, after all), and now there is also the implication that Amara may not just be taking out the souls – she may be planting a little seed of herself inside the empty vessel. The Borden-obsessed guy, Len, said he felt something hatching out inside him – something “dark, with wings” (massively cool description, by the way). I think this was a piece of The Darkness left inside him, starting to taking hold. Interesting also that the crazy soulless babysitter still had compassion for the little boy – she shouldn’t have been capable of that…should she? Hmmmm. Nice¬†shake-up having The Darkness be involved in what started out as an apparent ghost story. Cool twist,¬†writers! My favorite ep so far this year, though, was the “were-pire” ep from a few weeks ago. Unexpected and tender brother moments in the car. A quiet, real conversation between the boys. An absolutely gorgeous dream sequence between young John and grownup Sam – the way that was shot just took my breath away. The black clouds streaming past the windows of the Impala. The way young John has so exquisitely captured Jeffery Dean Morgan’s accent and speech patterns. The close-ups of their eyes – wow. Just wow. And that was¬†only at the beginning of the ep. After that we got an interesting case with a monster we’d never seen before, mythology advancement even though it was a standalone ep, some riotously funny action/fight sequences between Dean and various foes, a head in a cooler (because life just isn’t complete without one), and Impala love up to the moon. I mean, yeah, it definitely hurt to see Baby get smashed up like that, but to have Sam call her “home” at the end, it was worth it. Sam’s general attitude this year also deserves mention: “‘Saving people’ means saving ALL the people.” Right on, Sammy! I loved his speech to Dean in the opener, and I don’t always love the speeches. Sometimes they run around in circles and don’t really end up saying anything, and you figure the writers just needed to kill some screen time. But this speech mattered. It meant something, and I like that it has been referenced since then. My only issue with Sam’s new philosophy is that he didn’t have a good plan for carrying it out – at least not in the premiere. It’s fine to want to save the infected people. Noble, even. But hiding in a closet and then, when the rabid¬†berserkers¬†break in to kill you,¬†just standing there saying, “Please, let me help you” isn’t a strategy. It’s suicide. I blame the writers for not having him act smarter. The Sam I know would’ve worked out how to knock them unconscious or something. He had a whole hospital full of drugs and medical equipment at his disposal, for pity’s sake…Anyway, just a minor nitpick for what has otherwise been a wonderful season so far. Keep proving yourself, Supernatural, and we’ll have a Season Twelve in no time.

Score: 8.9/10

Chicago PD (NBC, 10/9c): Is PD rocking it this year, or what? This show just keeps unchaining the awesome and letting it gush out all over the screen. All eps have been strong so far. Intriguing cases, compelling interpersonal drama. I’m already warmed up to Lindsay and Jay. They’re gorgeous together, and my hopes for Severide/Lindsay (or Severide/anyone, for that matter) went down the tubes ages ago, so why not get on board with Jay and Erin? The love is clearly there between them (you could see it when she came to rescue him in the first ep), and the chemistry sizzles like¬†pancake batter¬†hitting the frying pan. Consider my ship converted. And as for my other ship: Dang, Ruzek, why’d you have to fail the push test? Grrrr. Just show the girl how much you freaking love her and tell her you want to marry her TODAY. And just¬†when¬†things seemed to be getting back on track, the¬†uninvitied houseguests arrive, lol. Al’s new daughter is a character, isn’t she? “I love fettuccini alfredo!”¬†I’ve always enjoyed that actress (she’s been on both The Mentalist and Supernatural). Would love more scenes between her and Al and the rest of the gang. I’m kind of glad he didn’t look at the paternity results – they already had a real relationship, so what was he going to do if she wasn’t his? Just ditch her? I don’t think so. What an awful thing for his wife and other daughter to go through, though. I do think the wife could handle it a wee bit better, but I’ve never been in that situation (thankfully) so who am I to judge? She probably just needs time. Her heart is broken, as is mine after Roman’s little friend died unexpectedly. I think that is probably the worst, when you are thisclose to being able to save someone, and then you can’t. The special day they gave him as the police chief was truly touching. I know folks pull off these special experiences for terminal kids every day, and I just want to say thanks to anyone and everyone who has ever¬†contributed to making a sick child’s dream come true – it means the world to them, even if it only¬†lasts a day.

Score: 8.5/10

THURSDAY

Heroes Reborn (8/7c): I shouldn’t really be one to judge this show, seeing as I was never a big fan the first time around. Of the original series, I watched the end of Season One and all of Season Two. I didn’t return for Season Three. I believe I stopped watching¬†because the only character I actually liked (the flying man, played by Adrian Pasdar) got killed off. However, the commercials for Heroes Reborn were just so darned cool, I had to at least give it a shot. The verdict: It’s entertaining. The stories are interesting. However, it has the same issues that put me off the original series: this is a big-cast, plot-driven show. I like me a smaller-cast, character-driven show. My feeling is that people who liked the original series will enjoy this reboot, but since no one particular character stole my heart this time around,¬†Heroes Reborn is not for me.

Score: None

The Player (10/9c): The commercials looked cool, so I decided to sample. The concept is intriguing and different. I like the lead actor. Some of the stories are neat. However, for whatever reason, I just didn’t feel that connection to the main character. We didn’t synch up, and I had no emotional investment in the episodes. My rule about TV is that if I don’t love the show, or at the very least one of the characters, then my time is better spent elsewhere. I hope others do connect with¬†The Player – it’s a creative concept that’s fairly well executed.

Score: None

Elementary (10/9c): I have to say, I caught a few eps of Sherlock over the summer, and it was¬†FANTASTIC.¬†Like,¬†off the charts. Elementary will really have to be that much better this season in order to impress me, now that I’ve seen its competition in the Holmes department. So, how was the premiere last night, you ask? So far, so good. A strong, character-centered episode with an interesting case on the side. I like how kind everyone was to Sherlock after what he’d been through – you know it can’t last, though. Soon enough he’ll be annoying the crap out of everybody again :).¬† I feel bad that they’re fired, but I thought they weren’t even getting paid anyway, so how¬†much will this really hurt them? Do they even need to¬†consult for an official law enforcement agency? Can’t they just take private cases like Castle does? That’s typically what Sherlock does in the original stories, anyhow. Private citizens come to him and hire him to solve things. Occasionally those cases intersect with police investigations, but not always. I think Sherlock and Joan will be fine on their own, and kudos to her for staying loyal to him when he needs it most. She also gets the best line of the week: “What’s the hardest you’ve ever been hit?” And she said it so calmly, too! Utterly perfect. The guy totally deserved it after what he said. And it apparently worked, because Sherlock’s dad actually showed up! Can’t wait for next week! ūüôā

Score: 7/10

FRIDAY

Grimm (9/8c): Only one ep in, so it’s too early to be overly judgmental, but frankly it was kind of a downer – just like the end of last season. I didn’t really even feel like I was watching Grimm. It wasn’t fun or especially exciting. I just felt bummed out. Nick was¬†chasing after this FBI chick alone, while everyone else stood around doubting his story and his sanity. His mother’s head, his lover’s body and one of his best friends were all missing (and still are). Nick was drugged, attacked, and lost one of his only sources of info on how to find Trubel. Adalind almost lost his baby during labor, and he couldn’t even be there. Really the only highlight for me was that the baby lived, and the sweet moment where they named him Kelly, after Nick’s mom. I think this show needs to be careful right now – there is such a thing as “too dark.” You really need a balance of bad events and good events to keep viewers tuned in. Too much misery, and fans¬†will walk away. There was a time when ER had like five negative stories going all at once, including the terminal illness of one of their most beloved characters. They lost viewers. As did Lois and Clark when they kept the main couple unhappy and separated for months on end. People will wait for happy endings and storyline payoffs, but they won’t wait forever.

Score: 6.5/10

 

And the winner is……..Limitless! Woo hoo! You had me at “resorbed twin.” ūüôā

Runner up: Supernatural! Keep it up, guys! Let’s shoot for Season Twelve!

 

More goodies and news for my fellow fans:

Remember: You heard it here first! (Actually, you probably didn’t, but I was nice enough to remind you!)

TV NEWS

The X-Files returns to Fox this January for a six-episode event. One of the perks of watching Gotham live is getting to see X-Files commercials. So far, I’ve seen three different versions. There’s a¬†really short live-action ad which just has Mulder, Scully and Skinner (<-YES!) with some dialogue to the effect of “I can’t do this alone” “I need you” “I’m here.” Then there’s an animated commercial that basically recaps previous events on the show in an artsy, highly stylistic fashion – it has the black oil alien virus and the Cigarette Smoking Man, etc. It’s really cool. And then there’s another live-action one with WAY more clips; there’s all kinds of crap going on in that one and it just looks as exciting as all get-out. Look for it online if you haven’t seen it yet. It’s must-see.

Billed as the third show in the “Chicago Trilogy,” Chicago Med comes to NBC on Tuesday, November 17th at 9/8c. The show will feature characters like Jay’s brother, Severide’s high school friend, and that psychiatrist dude they’ve been aggressively inserting into storylines on Fire and PD for the past few weeks. Did I call it or did I call it? Just wish Amanda Righetti was on the cast , too…

Forever comes¬†out on¬†DVD soon – probably pre-Christmas in the US – and will¬†feature lots of deleted scenes and (presumably) other¬†extras. Can’t wait to add this one to my collection. I am going to watch the crap out of those DVDs! My love for Forever will never die, and my hope for its return will never waver. As fans, we have to just keep asking for what we want. Eventually, they’ll get fed up and give it to us. Futurama came back years after cancellation¬†– with the original cast. With The X-Files, heck, it’s returning after what, decades? Heroes was just reborn, and Unforgettable has more lives than ten cats put together. Forever¬†WILL return. We just have to keep asking, that’s all.

COMIC CONS

If you happen to be in Michigan, and happen to be a huge comic book/superhero fan like me, there are at least two events guaranteed to entertain you this weekend:

Comiquecon is all about GIRL POWER. The event takes place this Saturday from 10am to 7pm at the Arab American National Museum¬†in Dearborn, Michigan. Tickets are $10 in advance, $15 at the door. According to the Detroit Free Press, this event will “focus on the role of female creative artists and fans in the world of comic books and graphic novels.” Sounds awesome, right? More info here: comiquecon.com.

Fantasticon is all about girl power, guy power, and every other power there is. Takes place this Saturday and Sunday at Gibraltar Trade Center North. Hours are 10am-6pm on Saturday, 10am-5pm on Sunday. There will be costume contests. More info at: fantasticon.net.

Have fun! ūüôā

 

 

 

 

The Race 2014-2015: The Results (Dun-Dun-Dun…)

RaceImageWell, it happened. Not sure I wanted it to happen, but it did. This year, a new show raced past old favorites to clinch the top spot. Not that this will shock the pants off of anybody, but that new show was Forever. I fell noggin-over-feet in love with the pilot, and my adoration only grew bigger and brighter over the course of the season. ‘Course, then it got CANCELLED, and I still don’t know what to do with that horrible decision on ABC’s part. The fans have been fighting for the show like pissed off cats all summer long, but a few days ago Forever‘s creator, Matt Miller, basically told us it’s all but over.

Forever wasn’t the only loss, either. Far from it. Other victims of the “axe” included Stalker (CBS), Red Band Society (FOX), Battle Creek (CBS), and – one of my all-time favorites – The Mentalist (CBS). In other words, it was a bloodbath out there!

But this review isn’t about what happened after the season ended. It’s about the awesomeness we got to watch while our shows were still on the air.

So, in that spirit of celebration, I give you the final results of this year’s 2014-2015 TV season, ranked from highest to lowest.

Forever: 9/10

This one just grabbed me. Right from the get-go. And it held on tight all season long. The commercials really didn’t do Forever justice (probably a big part of the ratings issue). While the ads (which became rarer as the season progressed, and non-existent at the end) focused on mundane case-of-the-week details, the true beauty of this show is in the small moments between characters, the richly-textured flashbacks, and the clever way in which past, present and future weave together for a character who has all the time in the world.

There are too many phenomenal individual scenes to list them all, but some end-of-season highlights include the final showdown in the tunnel with Adam, the touching moment when Henry learned that the slaves had not died because of him, Henry and Lucas’ final scene together in the lab, Jo and Henry saying what they mean to each other in the car, and Abe’s poignant search for his missing mother.

But the biggest, most epic scene for me was when Henry actually physically found Abigail’s remains at long last. It was just pure, straight-up heartbreak as he ran down that slope, flashing back to all of their moments together over the span of their relationship. Such a beautiful and well-developed love story, resolved in a powerful and satisfying (if utterly devastating) way. If Forever doesn’t come back to life on some network, sometime, in some form, it will be a crime.

The Mentalist: 8/10

As evidenced by the copious amounts of fanfic I’ve written for it, this show has been one of my absolute faves for years. It wasn’t easy to say goodbye, but we knew it was coming (unlike Forever, grrrrr) and we at least got some decent closure. Both the writers and the actors did a fantabulous job of making viewers fall in love with a whole new team at the FBI. Wylie was an instant favorite, Abbott morphed from dangerous adversary to amazingly loyal friend, and Michelle quickly won over our hearts by being her own woman – a real woman who made mistakes, learned things from them, and improved as an agent. Her Cho-worship was pretty endearing, too. If I were on that team, I’d be fangirling Cho, big-time. He owns cool.

Of course, we did lose Michelle. I have mixed feelings about that creative decision, because it didn’t serve the purpose I expected (driving Jane away from law enforcement for good). I guess her death was just something to remind us of the darkness in life, and how you can eventually step out blinking into the sunshine and feel warm again.

The end of The Mentalist‘s 7.5-year run was warm. It made me feel good. I loved the revival of the fake psychic stuff in the final eps. Not sure about the wedding, though – it seemed too soon for Jane and Lisbon to tie the knot, seeing as he had, seemingly just days before the wedding, decided to leave town (and wouldn’t even return her calls!). Also, they hadn’t resolved a major, deal-breaker issue in their relationship: Jane wanted Lisbon to quit the FBI due to the danger of her profession.

Nonetheless, as RedFi over on the Paint It Red Forum aptly pointed out, it was like the show came full circle – when we met Jane, he’d lost both his wife and his child, and when we left him, he had a new wife and child. A whole new beginning. Also, Simon Baker acted the freakin’ crap out of that scene where he found out Lisbon was carrying their child. Wowza. He looked unearthly beautiful in his wedding attire, too. That vest really brought out his eyes in wonderful ways. Lisbon looked gorgeous, too (loved the dress!!!), but Cho was clearly in the bathroom when she picked out that veil/headpiece thingy. Not sure what it was supposed to look like, but it missed the mark by about fifty yards.

In the end, The Mentalist left us with a fresh new start, all options wide open. It left me with a smile on my lips, a feeling of hope in my heart, and a strong hankering to write lots more fanfic.

It also left me asking, “Why?” Because, as my mom kept loudly repeating over the course of the season, “This is still a great show! Why are they taking it off?” Why, indeed?

Realizing The Mentalist had been on for seven-and-a-half seasons made me also realize that this is the first time in all those years that I fell in love with a new show (Forever). Great TV, for me, is that rare. There are so few shows I would write fanfic for…

…And two of them just went off the air. Wonder how long it’ll be before another great rises up. And how quickly it, too, will get cancelled in favor of mindless, cheap-to-produce reality junk.

ūüė¶

Supernatural: 7.9/10

At least this old battle-horse is still in the race! I honestly don’t know what I’ll do when Supernatural is gone. No need to think about that now, though – my final remaining “fanfic show” will happily be back next year for its eleventh season.

As for Season Ten: strong overall. The beginning was a bit on the rocky side, but after that I was a pretty satisfied customer. The theme for the year was obviously “family” and the writers found interesting and creative ways to carry this over to all of the different characters. Cass went on a quest to locate and help his vessel’s troubled daughter, Claire. Crowley, meanwhile, had to deal with his hilariously horrible, literal witch of a mother, Rowena. And of course, Sammy spent the whole season trying to save Dean, which just fills up our glasses with delicious brotherly love.

One thing that tainted the whole family vibe – Charlie’s death. I didn’t see the necessity of killing her off, and I sure as heck didn’t like it. Also, it happened in a stupid way. Stupid deaths are just the worst. AlsoX2, I didn’t fully believe that it happened (still don’t) because of the way they didn’t show it onscreen. I would not be surprised (just really, really elated) if she showed up next year, our bad@$$ hacker with the D&D tattoo, returned from having faked her own death.

As it was, I couldn’t even cry at her funeral. I felt like an emotional pancake – totally flat. Something about the way it was filmed, maybe? Or just the fact that I didn’t completely “buy” the death? I don’t know. FYI, I actually didn’t cry at Bobby’s death, either (hey, stop throwing stuff at me!). It’s not that I didn’t love him. It’s just due to issues of how the episode was written/filmed. Bobby’s coma was compared to two different situations: Dean’s coma (from which death was the only escape) and Rufus’ coma (from which death seemed like the only escape, yet Rufus found a way to wake up and survive). When Bobby flat-lined, I didn’t think there was anything necessarily final about it, because the ep didn’t do a good job of making that point clear.

Anyhow, back to Season Ten – some stuff I LOVED from the last few episodes: Sam trying to kill Crowls, and Crowls busting out with the red eyes and saying how he loved every minute of being evil. **happy sigh** Great stuff. Also, everything with Cass and Claire – that was really touching. The Stein storyline was also clever and very cool.

One nitpick: Dean should not have been able to whup Cass’ butt so thoroughly in their fight! Especially without the blade. So, what the crap was that? Maybe Cass was letting Dean win to see how far he’d go? Not sure.

And of course I hated Dean being horrible to Sam (“It should be you on that pyre”…Damn!), Dean letting another hunter die, Dean almost killing Cass, etc, etc. I know the mark was poisoning Dean, but it still hurts. Guess that’s how Sam fans felt in Season Four, when Sam was all meany-pants. I feel your pain now, Samgirls!

The finale itself was good. My only complaint here would be that this was the first season finale that didn’t seem EPIC, you know? It mostly just felt like a regular episode. The whole “darkness” thing was cool, but it should maybe have been touched on earlier in the season so it didn’t feel like the writers were just pulling it out of their…well, you-know-where. I did love Dean saving Sam and killing Death (major repercussions, anyone?). Oh, and Cass – you better not kill Crowley, okay? We need the King in Season Eleven!

iZombie: 7.9/10

Though I don’t think iZombie could ever take Forever‘s place in my heart, this new CW offering is definitely a balm on my cancellation wounds. I was already looking forward to this show before it aired, thanks to a synopsis in TV Guide‘s special Comic-Con issue last year. I am happy to report that iZombie did not disappoint. In fact, it rose above my expectations in surprising and wonderful ways.

Two moments in the pilot episode when I knew this show was something special:

1.) When Peyton (Liv’s roomie) said something like, “I know I should have just written you off by now, but…you’re my freaking heart, so, if you could step up?”

2.) When Liv looked surprised upon hearing that Ravi was trying for a zombie cure. And Ravi said, “What, did you think you were going to stay this way forever?” Awwww.

Sometimes this show – which typically oscillates between comical, creepy, and outright disgusting – has these moments of such pure heart that it makes my breath catch and brings actual tears to my eyes.

More cases-in-point:

-Liv holding the hand of her dead college friend while Ravi begins the girl’s autopsy.

-Lowell’s sweet mouthing of “I love you” before getting his head blown off on a suicide mission.

I hated that they killed him, btw. He was one of the real highlights of the show. Lowell and Liv were SO great together – zombie love!!! Also, he shouldn’t have had to die. Liv just totally choked in front of the sniper rifle – first time I ever felt truly disappointed in her.

Overall, though, a very strong first season. The finale wasn’t quite as epic as I wanted (not sure why – they really pulled out all the brains – er, stops). There were major revelations, people turned into zombies, zombies turned back into people…I don’t know, I guess I just thought it would end with Liv locked up in a Max Rager lab or something.

Still, some really good cliffies for next season. (And yes, thankfully, there will be a next season).

Only thing I hate about this show: it looks really real when they’re eating the brains. Like, it makes me almost puke. I feel a little nauseous right now, just writing about it – no joke. Fewer brains next year, please! My stomach can’t take it!

Castle: 7.8/10

Looking back on the epic season opener (and all the hopes and expectations that sprang from it), I have to say this season ended up in the “good” category, rather than the “phenomenal” one. I confess to feeling a little let down by the partial explanation/resolution of Castle’s disappearance. Not sure if they’ll ever pick it up again, but there’s definitely more story to tell on that front (we still don’t know how he got shot). At least we got to see the case that made Castle become a mystery writer – been waiting for that all season long, and it didn’t let me down like the other storyline did.

End of the finale was a bit anticlimactic, though. Maybe because they didn’t know whether they were coming back. Those either/or season/series finale thingies are always tricky.

Unless you’re Supernatural, and it’s the end of Season Two, and you manage to pull out a masterpiece of an episode that gives impressive amounts of closure while launching some great new storylines at the same time. Still my all-time favorite ep…**happy sigh**

Back to Castle, though – my wish list for next season: more storylines that shake up the status quo (e.g. this season’s arc about Castle becoming a private detective), more scifi-themed eps (e.g. the invisibility suit, the parallel dimension artifact, the simulated mars mission, etc), and please,¬†please don’t kill off any major characters! Thank you!

Red Band Society: 7.8/10

Another one bites the dust. It did go out with style, though: Jordi found the courage to go through with his surgery, Dash fell for his “unicorn” (and realized he could never harm her), the whole society rallied around Leo (especially Emma, who completely let go of the whole Kara/sex thing and showed herself to be a hero of a friend), Kara and Hunter’s love story spanned the gap between life and death, and Charlie TALKED!

Favorite exchange:

Hunter: “One day, you can take your kids to Paris, and it’ll be for a good reason. You can tell them what I did for you, and what you did for me.”

Kara: “What did I do for you?”

Hunter: “You lived.”

Awwwwwwww.

And of course, the ending was perfection: A new patient entering the pediatric ward, scared and alone, about to join the Red Band Society.

Wish this one could’ve gone on. Shows with real heart and soul are becoming an endangered species these days…

Grimm: 7.6/10

Man, this show had a much higher rank for most of the season. The last few eps got very dark, though, with Juliette sailing past the point of no return. She actually let Nick’s mom get decapitated. Not just killed, decapitated. Holy $#!T. And then Trubel killed Juliette with a crossbow (still hoping she’s not really dead). I don’t think Juliette was actually going to kill Nick, and the presence of those agents makes me suspicious that something else was afoot. Maybe the actress (Bitsie Tulloch) wanted off the show, though…

(Why????)

Up until Kelly’s murder, I was loving dark!Juliette and her awesome new powers. But now I’m just sad.

Only bright spots in the closer:

-The little girl escaped the Royals

-Sean lives, and he’s no longer harboring a murderous spirit in his body – yay!

Still, overall, a total bummer of an ending. Nick holding his love’s lifeless body…Waaaaayyyy too dark for me. Hope next season’s a touch brighter. Note to writers: this is supposed to be my fun show. If I want to be depressed, I’ll watch Supernatural‘s Season Five ep, “Abandon All Hope.”

Chicago PD: 7.5/10

Prepare to witness history. For the first time ever, CPD‘s final season score is higher than big sister CF‘s. PD was just plain stronger this year. The crossovers are special highlights, but even the regular eps are more focused than CF‘s and when CPD kills a character, they do it for the right reasons. I HATE that Nadia’s dead, but I don’t hate the show for doing it, because the resulting storylines were good – Erin’s downward spiral, Trudy’s fight to get Nadia recognized, etc. Plus the fact that Nadia was a beloved supporting character, not a beloved lead.

I do have an itty-bitty confession to make though. I haven’t actually seen those two eps (SVU¬†and¬†CPD) where Nadia meets her horrible end. I have them on tape, it’s just…every time I go to watch them, I think it’ll make me too sad…

(Miss you so much, Nadia!)

So, maybe it isn’t even fair for me to rank this show. In fact, it almost certainly isn’t. Nonetheless, a trusted fellow fan has told me the eps are heartbreakingly excellent and I don’t doubt her.

PD was all strength and no weakness this year, plus they added a little touch of joy at the end to lighten things up and make my shippy heart all aflutter: Burgess and Ruzek got ENGAGED!!! WOO HOO!!

They even got their own ep, earlier in the season – well technically it was a Burgess and Roman ep, but Ruzek was worried about her, and that’s how she and Roman got saved! Romance. Yum. Good stuffs.

P.S. In that same ep, did anyone else want to see where Jay got tazed? :/

This show really has it all – heartbreak, love, violence, and the funnies. Congrats, CPD, on outshining your big sis!

Gotham: 7.4/10

Gotham probably deserves a higher rank, but to be honest, I don’t enjoy this show that much. It’s gloomy and super-violent and easily more disgusting than the brain-eating on iZombie. Barbara butchering her own parents (Btw, is she dead now, or just knocked out? Methinks dead.), that crazy girl snapping bird bones, Selena shoving that guy out the window, Penguin making that old married couple fight each other to the death (or pretty much anything else Penguin does)? All of it equals a big, fat EW.

And yet, despite its grotesque nature, I am compelled to continue watching. Gotham makes you need it, even when you don’t want it. But…will it still be the same gripping drama next year, without the vital presence of Fish?

I’m not sure, but I’ll definitely tune in to find out.

Elementary: 7.3/10

Still a good, entertaining show. I enjoyed many of the eps this season, but the “personal” ones are the ones that make me sit up and pay attention, and once again, there were too few of those. I’d love some more continuity and ongoing storylines that span between eps, so it’s not just a long line of stand-alones.

The high points:

-Kitty and her storyline
-Andrew’s murder and the subsequent fallout, eventually resulting in Joan moving back in with Sherlock (they’re better together)
-Artificial Intelligence ep, Settlement $ ep, Zebra ep (yeah, I know they weren’t zebras, but I don’t know how to spell what they were)
-Sherlock’s budding friendship with his sponsor Alfredo
-Ep where Sherlock had to revisit a case he handled at the height of his drug abuse days

The finale was strong, and very personal – definitely suited to my tastes (and hopefully a glimpse of things to come next season!). The end was super-dark, though, and I wasn’t sure if Alfredo was still alive after transport to the hospital (I couldn’t read the text on Sherlock’s phone) and I really needed to KNOW if Alfredo was alive (I think he was?). Also, the end was a bit ambiguous for me. I’m guessing that Sherlock succumbed to his addiction after holding out for the whole episode. They never showed him take the heroin – just the aftermath. The whole thing was horrible (yet very compelling and well-written), taking Sherlock to all of those places, making him find the girl dead like that, when her brother already knew (great twist, btw).

So, after some interesting (and not-quite-as-interesting) standalone eps, we’re now back firmly in character-driven territory. Despite a mediocre score for Season Three, next year looks HIGHLY promising.

Meeting Sherlock’s dad at long last? I vote “YES.” Hope it happens for real. Other wish list items: Moriarty’s return, Watson gets to do more medical stuff, Mycroft’s return, more personal stories for Gregson and Bell. Oh, and Alistair comes back from the dead. I know that last one can’t happen, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

Chicago Fire: 7.2/10

Yeah, I’m being mean to this one right now, putting it in dead last. I’m just still not over Shay. And now Peter’s gone, too! It’s like, first the writers pulled out the show’s heart, and now they’re slowly dissecting it!

Yes, Severide is still may favorite character on either of the Chicago shows, but it’s hard when you can’t get attached to anyone involved in his storylines – they all just leave, in one way or another. The man is a freaking island. (And I want to build a bridge there, dang it!)

At least I don’t feel so bad about Lindsay dumping him anymore. Apparently she just likes dumping guys (ask Jay, he’ll tell you all about it).

Aside from major, BELOVED characters leaving, another thing this show suffers from is misleading advertising. I noticed it several times over the course of the season: ads showcasing one minor scene and making like the whole episode would revolve around that scene (two notable examples: the Severide Gets Trapped on a Train Episode and the Severide Gets Crushed Inside a Van Episode). If you’re wondering which eps those are, I don’t blame you – both situations were brief, quickly resolved, and NOT the focus of the whole episode.

I’d love to blame the people who make the ads, but in this case I can’t. The issue, unfortunately, was that many of the episodes didn’t really focus on any one particular rescue, event, or storyline – there were just a bunch of minor ongoing storylines and random rescues scattered throughout.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that this show has so much continuity, and that storylines carry over from ep to ep, but each episode should also be a complete story in its own right. This is where PD has a big advantage – being a procedural, they follow one case from start to finish every episode. Fire can’t do it quite so neatly without having a MAJOR disaster every episode (unrealistic), but they could probably do it better than they have been.

Good examples of eps this season include the explosion in the ER (although having Jay’s brother black tag Severide was a little stupid – there were few serious injuries and TONS of docs around – no need for black tagging in that situation). Nonetheless, it was an emotional, complete storyline. Another good one was Herrmann’s ep where he bonded with a little boy’s father, then found out the father was BAD NEWS. I love Herrmann.

So, more eps like that. Oh, and the one that started the most recent crossover event (that I haven’t watched the last 2/3 of)! That one was really good, with the guy who thought he started the fire having a breakdown and almost killing himself – and Gabby saving the day! Great stuff, and for once CF wasn’t the weak link in the crossover chain.

Wish list for next year: More “complete” episodes (but still keep up with the great continuity), bring back Peter, bring back basically anyone in Severide’s life, and don’t you dare kill off Matt (The undercover story is ridiculous, btw. Why? Because firefighters don’t go undercover! He’s not a cop! He has no training! Grrrr.)

So…there you have it. Hopefully I didn’t forget any important episodes or details, but knowing me I probably did. If so, feel free to point it out in the comments section. In the meantime, I’ll be busy basking in my summer shows, Beauty and the Beast (Thursday, 8pm, CW) and Aquarius (David Duchovny! Thursday, 9pm, NBC).

Don’t forget to tune in next fall for all of our returning faves. And if your fave got cancelled, at least know you’re not alone. Lots of other fans are bumming with you. And really, that’s the great thing about being part of a fandom – you always have someone to talk to about your latest obsession, and you never truly have to say goodbye. After all, the best shows will always live on in message board discussions, fanfiction and art, and, most importantly, our hearts.