Hope for “Once Upon a Time”?

The last season of Once Upon a Time had me very, very skeptical about the quality of the writing. To me, the Neverland and Oz plots seemed like half-baked debacles, and I cringed when they revealed that Frozen would be a key player in season 4. But you know what? They actually started out okay. The plot doesn’t seem forced or unnatural; the characters aren’t annoying, and it actually grabs your attention. I will be very happy if the quality of the writing only goes up from here.

I will also say that I like how Regina hasn’t gone all berserk yet. After the character development they gave her, I was really afraid they were going to undo it. But Regina is showing some restraint, which is a good thing. Here’s hoping she won’t give in to her dark plan and will fully become the good woman Henry believes she can be.

As a final note, the whole author subplot promises to be extremely interesting. It was my understanding that Pinocchio wrote the book or had some involvement in it. Are they going to suggest he got the stories elsewhere? Or am I off-base, and Pinocchio didn’t have anything to do with the book? It’s been so long since they covered that storyline I can’t remember.

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The Aftermath of “The Caretaker” *Spoilers*

Insert spoiler warning here.

I think this is my favorite episode of the season so far. It has everything–comedy, time travel, deep emotional conversations, the Doctor being gruff. And a shout of appreciation goes out to Adrian the Eleventh Doctor lookalike. Here’s hoping you pop up in future episodes.

The emotional content of this episode was especially loaded. The look on the Doctor’s face when Clara says she loves Danny is one of pure heartbreak; you can tell how betrayed he feels–like this:

Okay, wow, I was not expecting to include a Phantom clip. Perhaps I should start actually planning these reviews. But it’s true; the Doctor honestly felt betrayed by Clara’s declaration. “Humans. Will I never learn?”

Clara later admits that she loves both Danny and the Doctor (although the Doctor in clearly a different way), and she is not the first companion to do this in recent history. But what will come of this? Rose chose the Doctor; Amy chose Rory. What decision will Clara make? My guess is that if Moffat wanted to shake things up a bit, Clara will choose neither of them. If her departure is imminent, something will happen that will cause her to leave the TARDIS, but she won’t necessarily go off with Danny either because he’s dead or their relationship is toast.

And speaking of Danny, that flip over the Skovox Blitzer was AWESOME. He can stay.

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Hobbit Party!

…’cause there ain’t no party like a halfling party. ;)

Happy Hobbit Day! (Which may or may not be a day late, but it’s more or less the same.)

(Update: this was supposed to be published yesterday, but the stupid blog saved it as a draft instead of publishing it. I distinctly remember clicking the Publish button! GAAAHHH!!)

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Celebrate Tolkien Week!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of year again, that wonderful week-long celebration of all things Middle-Earth. It’s the best time to look back and remember our first time entering the Shire or the first time we gazed upon the mighty fortress of Minas Tirith. Middle-Earth is a land that feels as real as our own, which is why so many of us keep returning.

I may not be able to do my usual week-long postings for Tolkien Week this year, but I at least wanted to impress upon us all why Middle-Earth is so special–because, in a way, it encompasses everything we love about our own world and magnifies it to a much more epic scale. It shows us how we can overcome individual differences and unite to achieve a common goal…and it reminds us that even the smallest and most unimportant of us can be heroes.

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The Aftermath of “Time Heist” *Spoilers*

Spoilers, la, la, la…you know the drill.

I must say that I really liked the mystery aspect of this week’s episode–why did they erase their memories? Why did the Architect recruit them? Where is the TARDIS? Another clever time paradox was in store for us along with a startling revelation or two. Nothing was quite what we expected.

This episode’s assistants, Psi and Saibra, were a welcome addition to the TARDIS team. They were unique and had interesting backstories, and I hope they return for future episodes. Heck, I wouldn’t mind seeing them become permanent companions. One thing that I’m not entirely sure about, though, was the Rogue vibe I was getting off Saibra. Their powers are pretty similar, and they even found ways to suppress their powers at the end. This is not necessarily a bad thing; I liked the X-Men movies and thought Rogue was an interesting character–I just don’t want to see a character with as much potential as Saibra just be a copy of another character.

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The Aftermath of “Listen” *Spoilers*

Spoilers, blah, blah, blah, you know the drill by now. On to the good stuff.

“Listen” is one of the creepiest episodes of the series. It reminded me a lot of the immortal “Blink”, but its tone was much darker. It also seemed more, well…the closest word I can think of is philosophical. We faced our deepest fears, encountered some mind-blowing paradoxes (well, maybe they weren’t quite mind-blowing, but they still had me shouting, “MOFFAAAAAAATTTTTTTTT!”), and were treated to more of the ever-more-intriguing Twelve-Clara dynamic.

I must say that I am loving the new interactions between Twelve and Clara. Their exchanges remind me a lot of siblings–the way the Doctor will criticize appearance and boyfriends and Clara will tell him he’s being an idiot and to just shut up already. It’s like having a brother and sister in the TARDIS–they’ll pick and nag at each other, but deep down inside, there’s a lot of love there.

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Not Very Surprising

Some time ago, I reported that Norm Lewis, a.k.a. Awesomely Awesome Javert from the 25th anniversary Les Miserables concert, had been cast in the title role in the Broadway production of The Phantom of the Opera. Naturally, I was excited to hear this–Norm Lewis is extremely talented, so I was sure he would do a good job.

Now we have proof. Now we have a video excerpt of him and co-star Sierra Boggess (from the 25th anniversary Phantom performance) singing part of the title song.

Honestly, this didn’t surprise me in the least. These are two people known for their awesome singing; how could the video be anything less than stunning?

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