What to Watch: iZombie

This is a little bit different than my regular binge post due to the fact only the first five episodes are available on Hulu or the CW website. I’m recommending iZombie because after Tuesday, the first episode will no longer be available to watch. CW is re-airing the first season right now on Tuesdays at 9/8 C. So take some time to spend on this “ZomComRomDram.”

1.) The Many Personalities Liv Moore Takes On.

Rose McIver is a talented actress. She takes on a new personality with every brain she eats, and it is fun to see the different character traits she is able to portray.

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2.) Opposite Gender Formula

The show has reversed genders with the normal formula many shows take on. The lead is a female zombie. They also have the ex-fiance, Major Lilywhite, who knows nothing about Liv being a zombie. Another thing that separates this show from other shows is Major gets his own story. One of the main problems with certain TV shows is the love or former love interest only being the background to support the main character. They do not get fleshed out. Major does get to be his own person.

3.) The Dialogue

Generally when a show has wit with a dash of pop culture I’m sold.

4.) Girl Friendship

TV is hardly ever without some epic bromance, but it is harder to find a good, solid girl friendship. Marvel TV generally has DC TV beat on this front. DC has gotten a bit better, but it still needs to take a step or more up. Peyton and Liv’s friendship is an excellent example of where DC/Vertigo is getting it right. The best part is they have not been involved in a love triangle.

5.) Guy/Girl Friendships

As much as I cheer on girl friendships, I cheer on guys and girls being friends just as hard. I love it when I get a sense of equality between a guy and girl. Where they don’t have to have a crush or unrequited love on the other character in order for them to interact. There needs to be a good representation of these friendships, and this show has them.

6.) Ravi and Major

While the other two types of friendships are important to me, I cannot ignore this friendship. I don’t know if this friendship was always planned, but the chemistry between Rahul Kohli and Robert Buckley is terrific.

7.) Veronica Mars Cameos

Because you know it is going to be a party anywhere Ree-shard Casablancas shows up.

8.) Dr. Ravi Chakrabarti

Ravi probably gets the MVP award. The man is a delight and the optimism he shows throughout the series is great. He is Liv’s personal cheerleader, and a Major lover. This is a friend you will always want in your corner, and wish nothing but happiness for him.

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Most Anticipated Top 5 Mid-Season Premieres

Happy 2015! I am incredibly excited for the mid-season premieres, but there is a part of me is filled with sorrow at the same time. Two great shows are taking their final bow, and will be greatly missed once they are finished. However, let us rejoice the fact they get to end the way they want to end.

The first show is Parks and Recreation. It is the last show from NBC’s golden Thursday night comedy left (still on NBC). They decided to make a time jump into the year 2017, and I have faith this show has been able to handle the transition. The rest of the world is slowly finding out this cast is amazing, but we have already known this for at least six seasons. It is time to ‘Treat Yo Self’ to final season of some of the greatest characters on TV. – Premiering: Tuesday, January 13th, 8 P.M. – 9 P.M. on NBC (two shows/per week)

 

 

The other show ending after this season is Justified. I know without a doubt this show will end with a bang. My only fear is either Raylan Givens, Boyd Crowder, or both will finally die. These two are the definition of frenemies. Two boys who grew up together to dig coal with each other, only to be on opposite sides of the law now. It was always great to see them play for the same team, but it wouldn’t be a final season without seeing them pitted against the other. – Premiering: Tuesday, January 20th, 10 P.M. on FX

 

 

Then we have new and upcoming shows I wish all the success for. They show promise, and I deeply hope I will not be disappointed with them.

The first is Marvel’s Agent Carter. Someone at Marvel studios is showing intelligence by creating a show about Peggy Carter. Marvel has many great female characters who all deserve to shine, and I hope this show proves they need to focus on the female characters in this universe just as much as the male characters. Women are heroes. They are intelligent people who can kick butt. (I also jumped for joy when I found out the Russo brothers were directing a couple of episodes) – Premiering: Tuesday, January 6th, 8 P.M. on ABC (two hour special; will air at 9 P.M. in the weeks to follow)

 

 

Galavant. The one thing that made the finale Psych hurt a little bit less (it still hurts) was Timothy Omundson coming back to my TV screen. What makes it even better is seeing him turn from a goes by the book detective to the evil king (If you haven’t watched Psych, I would suggest watching a couple of episodes before watching this show.) What makes it even better is Vinnie Jones plays his henchman. Also, Magnitude Luke Youngblood will say more than “Pop! Pop!” in the show. And let’s face it, you will probably see ‘All about that Sasse (Joshua Sasse plays Galavant)’ at least once before the show is half way through. – Premiering: Sunday, January 4th, 8 P.M. on ABC

 

 

iZombie. How is it The CW is becoming the network most of my favorite shows are on? The number has gone from only one show I watch (Arrow) to three thanks to the premieres of The Flash and Jane the Virgin. I will admit the number one reason why I am so interested in this show is because Rob Thomas is the creator. The man gave us Veronica Mars. It also doesn’t hurt I enjoyed Rose McIver when she played Tink on Once Upon a Time. Premiering: TBD

Favorites of 2013: TV Characters

Merry Christmas (or as Penny from Miranda would say, “Happy What I Call Christmas”) to all of our dear readers who celebrate the holiday. Today is all about characters, so here are our favorite TV Characters of 2013!

Abbie Mills and Jenny Mills

{Sleepy Hollow}

char_abbiejennymills

Jenny: Corbin said, that one day, you’d be back. When you were ready. Asked me to find a way to forgive you. I said I didn’t think I could.
Abbie: I’m sorry that it took me so long to find you.

The Mills sisters, despite being estranged for years, manage to make working through their past issues while saving the world look manageable. That they’re quicker witted than their male counterparts is simply a bonus. —Moff

Alice Morgan

{Luther}

character_alicemorgan

Yes, she may be a murderer, but her loyalty to Luther is wonderful. She is an intelligent woman, and she always makes an episode of Luther even better. —Becca

April Ludgate

{Parks and Recreation}

char_aprilludgate

“Leslie said it was a ‘come as you were in the nineties’ party, I assumed it was the 1690s.”

April has slowly grown up over the past few years, and it has become more obvious over this last season. She still has her Keep Away demeanor, but the loyalty she has for her friends is genuine. —Becca

Carlton Lassiter

{Psych}

char_lassiter

“I have one speed, and it is full throttle.”

Lassiter is finally a happy and well-adjusted adult, thanks in large part to Juliet and in small parts to Shawn and Gus. He’s more relaxed, open-minded, and willing to compromise than he was when we first met him, and he’s become an even better cop thanks to Shawn forcing him to stay sharp. —Kerry

Diane Buckley

{Trophy Wife}

char_dianebuckley

“Oh, relax, it’s just some light catfishing.”

The wives of Trophy Wife are sort of like the Hogwarts houses: who you relate to says a lot about your personality. Most people seem to favor Jackie, the second ex-wife of leading man Bradley Whitford, but me, I’m a Diane girl through and through. (I’m also a Hufflepuff, if you were wondering.) She clearly loves her kids, but she also wants the best for them. She is passionate but calculating, strong but practical, and above all, she gets stuff done. —Kerry

Donna Paulsen

{Suits}

char_donnapaulsen

“If you were ever lucky enough to have me, you wouldn’t want to share.”

This season of Suits did some not-so-great stuff with Donna, but she still came out of it looking classier and stronger than any other character on television. —Kerry

Felicity Smoak

{Arrow}

char_felicitysmoak

“Never meet your heroes, right?”

It says something about an actor when a one-time appearance turns into a recurring role. It’s even more remarkable when that actor goes from recurring to series regular. The quirky, bright IT girl has won several hearts, saved countless lives, and helps humanize Oliver Queen. —Becca

Jemma Simmons

{Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.}

char_jemmasimmons

“I can’t be a part of your bad-girl shenanigans. I like following the rules and doing what’s expected of me. It makes me feel nice.”

When the show started off, the focus was on Fitz-Simmons, but the show gradually began to separate them. Now they are Fitz and Simmons, and Simmons has my heart. The episode “F.Z.Z.T” made me cry (which I hardly do) because of the way Elizabeth Henstridge plays her role. —Becca

Joan Watson

{Elementary}

char_joanwatson

“I think it’s sad that you’ve given up. I think you have a lot to share, if you cared to. I shouldn’t be the only one who knows you.”

Joan Watson set herself apart from traditional representations of the World’s Greatest Sidekick in season one, but she’s quickly becoming the fulcrum around which the show revolves without being anyone’s girlfriend, wife, mother or mistress. That’s nice to see both for Dr. Watson and for a woman in a mostly male ensemble. —Moff

John Diggle

{Arrow}

char_diggle

“I’ve been meaning to tell you, it really weirds me out to no end the way you refer to yourself in third person like that.”

Any scene with Diggle in it is a good scene. —Becca

Leslie Knope

{Parks and Recreation}

char_leslieknope

“No one achieves anything alone.”

It’s difficult to picture a scenario in which Leslie Knope doesn’t top my list of favorite characters. —Kerry

Marcus Bell

{Elementary}

char_marcusbell

Sherlock: “Have you always been this observant? I’m asking that quite sincerely. I was wondering if exposure to my methods had helped you in any way.”
Bell: “Actually, before you came along, I had never closed a case before, neither had the rest of the department. Most of us were thinking of packing up, leaving, letting the city fend for itself.”

Bell is such a great detective that Sherlock has taken to referring to all other detectives as “Not Bell.” Two of my favorite episodes of Elementary are Bell-centric ones (“Details” and “Tremors”) and I always look forward to his one liners to Sherlock. —Kerry

Oliver Queen

{Arrow}

char_oliverqueen

“The world doesn’t work anymore. It broke a long time ago, but it was like you were the only one who noticed. That makes you angry, and you’re afraid that that anger is going to burn you up inside if you have to live in the world one second longer knowing that you could do something to fix it.”

Oliver’s really come into his own since Tommy’s death, choosing now to save the city through non-murderous means. He still lives two (sometimes three) lives but now that he’s more removed from Laurel, he’s more three-dimensional and sympathetic. He’s still struggling to trust people, and thanks to the flashbacks to the island, we’re starting to realize why. —Kerry

Robin Scherbatsky

{How I Met Your Mother}

char_robinscherbatsky

“I’m Sparkles, bitch!”

I love Robin, and I relate to her so much this season. I just wish we didn’t have to see every excruciating hour of her wedding weekend, but hey, that’s not her fault. —Kerry

Rosalee Calvert

{Grimm}

character_rosaleecalvert

Rosalee Calvert may have started as a one-off, but the decision to make her a series regular was inspired: She’s a source of wisdom, knowledge and reason on a show that routinely asks its audience to suspend disbelief. —Moff

Sara Lance

{Arrow}

char_saralance

“No woman should ever suffer at the hands of men.”

Sara Lance managed, in a handful of episodes, to make a memorable impression as a variation on a classic comic book character normally inhabited by her sister, Laurel. But Sara made the role of Black Canary her own, and I can’t wait to see her return to Starling City. —Moff

Sarah Manning

{Orphan Black}

char_sarahmanning

“Art, if you’re hearing this, you found a body. It’s not Beth. It’s me. My name is Sarah Manning and you’re about the only person I trust to figure the whole thing out.”

Sarah is the most practical and level-headed of the clones, focused solely on keeping her daughter, Kira, safe. I think she’s my favorite because her main instinct is survival. She’ll do anything to protect the ones she loves. —Kerry

Slade Wilson

{Arrow}

char_sladewilson

“I’m sorry… for not telling you how I really feel.”

Former A.S.I.S. agent, island survivor, unlucky in love, and that accent? What’s not to love?! Kerry

The Cannon

{Back in the Game}

char_thecannon

“No, Gannons, we inflict pain, and then we laugh!”

Rude, brash, drunk, and definitely not in touch with his feelings, The Cannon was an oddity on TV this season. There was no one quite like him, because while he said and did all these terrible things, he knows it’s his fault that he’s unhappy. He clearly loves his daughter and grandson, so I’m sad we won’t get to see what happens with them. —Kerry

Tinker Bell

{Once Upon a Time}

char_tinkerbell

“I may have lost my wings, but I haven’t lost my dignity.”

There hasn’t been a whole lot for me to love on this season of Once; I was never a fan of Peter Pan in any of its various forms, so the idea of a whole arc set in Neverland made me wary. I especially dreaded the introduction of Tinker Bell, because I was sure this show would ruin that sort of complex female character. While this Tink has a backstory firmly entrenched in the Enchanted Forest, she still manages to be the best side character to join the show this season. The actress who plays her, Rose McIver, deserves most of the credit. —Kerry

Later today… Our favorite supporting characters from movies!

A long time ago, they used to be friends. Sort of.

Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers for the most recent episode of ABC’s Once Upon a Time, “Quite a Common Fairy.”

With a show like ABC’s Once Upon a Time, it can be difficult to say what it does best as the execution of the story telling can vary so wildly between one episode and the next. Last week’s outing, “Lost Girl,” chased (and missed) every beat it had, and the character development was uneven at best, and perplexing at worst. But then an episode like “Quite a Common Fairy” comes along that, while not spectacular, had several solid moments of character development and plot points that push the Neverland arc forward.

The episode managed to juggle five interlocking storylines without too much confusion. (Although I would prefer an episode which doesn’t require me to switch locations every other sentence when I’m emailing Kerry and Becca about the story’s action.) The A Plot(s) this week was the story of Regina’s history with Tinker Bell and how their past affects the current search for Henry in Neverland. The B Plot concerned Neal’s attempts to travel from the Enchanted Forest to Neverland, while the C Plot revolved around Mulan’s unresolved feelings for Aurora and the D Plot (Yes, a D Plot.) involved the beginning of Henry’s indoctrination by Peter Pan in Lost Boy philosophy.

The A Plot, or Plots as is more apt, both concerned the relationship between Regina and Tinker Bell. As much as the current events were intercut with flashbacks to their initial meeting and interactions, both their past and their present were given nearly equal time. In sum, Regina and Tinker Bell met when the latter saved the former’s life and offered to help Regina find a Happy Ending grounded in True Love, rather than revenge on Snow White.

Regina’s insecurity and unwillingness to let go her anger had three unintended consequences: She continued toward self destruction; she set in motion Tinker Bell’s “defrocking” as a fairy; and she may have ruined the life of her new True Love. These consequences eventually result in a confrontation with a now powerless Tinker Bell in Neverland.

Regina’s storyline in this episode managed to accomplish what much of Season 1 and 2 tried to achieve: It took a fan favorite character and gave her depth in showing a plausible cause for sympathy. Her insecurities have long been hinted at, stemming mainly from her combative and manipulative relationship with her mother, but Regina’s failure to embrace love and happiness crystalizes how she internalized her mother’s message that she was merely a pawn and not worthy of a meaningful inner life.

As much as Tinker Bell’s motivations are not shown to be purely selfless, she is perhaps the most selfless of those trying to ‘help’ Regina. Where Regina’s mother was trying to fulfill her own thwarted ambition by securing for her daughter the successful future she had been denied; and Rumpelstiltskin played a long game to finagle a way to find his missing son, Tinker Bell is shown as wanting to both build her own reputation and help Regina start fresh.

That Regina is given Tinker Bell’s help after she admits to frustration with a loveless marriage and a stepdaughter she blames for her unhappiness and who she finds insipid is interesting because it casts her later failure to cross a threshold between her current life and her past in a new light. Regina has categorically refused in previous seasons to place blame for her first True Love’s death at her mother’s feet, where it belongs, because she spent the better part of her life believing that if she simply did what was asked of her, she’d be worthy of her mother’s love.

Compounded by her mother’s habitual emotional and physical abuse, it was easier for Regina to blame Snow White for her sweetheart’s death. Likewise, her perception of a healthy relationship is skewed, given her father’s devotion to his indifferent wife and the secret and furtive nature of her first love.

In short, she is frustrated in her marriage because it lacks genuine passion or unwavering devotion that, to her, are the hallmarks of love, while she is unwilling to commit to learning mastery of magic or leaving her husband, despite being safe from her mother, because she can’t recognize that she now possesses the agency she was previously denied.

And when she is offered the opportunity to put that agency to good use by Tinker Bell, she hesitates before fleeing because she is equally afraid of finding happiness as of learning she is inherently unlovable or unworthy of joy and stability. She is a woman caught in her present because she cannot let go of her past or embrace the uncertainty of her future.

 

However, perhaps the most authentic moment for Regina as a character in this week’s episode was when she reached into her own chest and offered her heart to Tinker Bell to destroy when they find each other again in Neverland.

Arguably, she does so to prove to the former fairy that revenge will not satisfy the gaping hole the loss of magic left in Tinker Bell’s life. Tinker Bell, who is shown grungy, tattered and living a subsistence lifestyle in disgrace, is tempted but reconsiders when Regina explains that it was not the loss of magic that sent Tinker Bell on a downward spiral but her loss of confidence. It’s a statement rich in irony, given the nature of their initial meeting: Then, it was Regina who felt not only powerless but helpless, while Tinker Bell chose to believe in her. Now, it is Regina who must convince Tinker Bell she is not as black-hearted as herself and can still claim a worthwhile future.

Still, Lana Parilla’s performance in this scene gave Regina an edge of desperation she’s lacked in previous life-or-death situations. In this instance, where Regina feels she might manage some good by saving someone else – and after she has effectively taken herself out of the search for Henry and given Emma an implicit order to find the boy at all costs – it’s possible to believe Regina is ready to embrace death as her future, regardless of whether she’ll be happy.

And Rose McIver, as Tinker Bell, deftly walks the line between power mad and powerless, even when she holds her enemy’s life in her hand.

The B Plot, in which Neal convinces Robin Hood to let him use Hood’s son as bait for Peter Pan’s Shadow, in hopes of hitching a ride back to Neverland, finally gave Michael Raymond-Jones more to do than sputter, yell or look abashed.

He channeled a little of Robert Carlyle’s performance as Rumpelstiltskin as he persuaded Hood, adding an interesting layer to the idea that Rumpel, as the Dark One, wasn’t so much changed by near limitless power as he was corrupted by it, in that it stripped him of his inhibitions and made him infinitely more shrewd. Perhaps, if we’re very lucky, Rumpel will learn of Neal’s plan or will otherwise see something of himself in his son, which is certain to be entertaining given Neal’s insistence on being nothing like his father.

But, frankly, the importance of the B Plot is how it contributed to the C Plot, wherein fans of the Mulan/Aurora pairing were given vindication – and then their hopes immediately squashed. Upon hearing Neal explain his concern about missing his chance with Emma, Mulan politely turns down an offer from Hood to join his Merry Men, explaining she can’t accept his offer without knowing if she has left anything unfinished with those she loves. She returns to Aurora’s castle, presumably having been gone several days, and immediately seeks out the ginger princess.

Jamie Chung nails every emotional beat of her scene with Sean Maguire’s Robin Hood, displaying pleasure at Hood’s praise of Mulan’s tactical skills without seeming like she’s flirting or fawning, while she conveys utter heartbreak when Sarah Bolger’s Aurora drops the baby bombshell.

It’s unlikely this is the last we’ll see of Chung and Bolger together, but it’s a powerful moment for the show to potentially imply, especially given its “family friendly” nature.

However, Chung and Maguire have an easy rapport that should make Mulan’s addition to Hood’s Merry Men a welcome change when the show revisits the Enchanted Forest.

Next week appears to be the first climax of the Neverland arc, which presumably will include some sort of denouement of the Henry and Peter Pan D Plot introduced this week. Pan’s attempts to indoctrinate Henry fell flat this week, though the former’s reasoning that Henry is the real savior, not Emma, was an interesting, if not wholly effective, tactic. Coupled with Neal’s return to Neverland and the potential for Emma and him to present Henry with a united front should make for an hour of TV that isn’t a complete hot mess. Assuming, of course, KitsoWitz didn’t stick their fingers into the plot and swirl things around too much.