A Surprisingly Busy Half-Week in the Life of Carlie St. George

I have decided that, from time to time, I will subject anyone who reads this blog to posts about my actual life. Not too many, mind, because on a day-to-day basis, my life just doesn’t make for exciting, blog-worthy material, but last week was actually kind of busy for me, full of things that I had to wake up early and leave the house for. Obviously, I disapprove of that entirely, but I did have a pretty decent time, even if I spent an ungodly amount of it in the rain. (In California, we desperately need rain. Doesn’t mean I won’t gripe about it when I can’t even see the street I’m trying to cross through my exceedingly wet glasses, though.)

WEDNESDAY:

Mekaela and I left our warm, oh so warm, apartment to catch a ferry into San Francisco. Finding parking was its own adventure. Once in SF, we made our usual trip to Rasputin’s, where I bought four movies and three CDs for less than thirty dollars. (I specifically bought Identity for three bucks just so I could review it whenever I was in the mood. That movie, man. So much to talk about there.) We then made our way over to Japantown, where we got dinner and I bought myself a hat that I absolutely did not need. It was really cute, though.

photo-5

Then we went to the Main Event, or why we were actually in SF in the first place: an honest-to-God, live-action, interactive Escape the Room game. Mek and I were both really into playing Escape the Room games maybe ten years ago. The first one I ever played was either the Crimson Room or the Viridian Room, I can’t remember which. (Although I’ve now just wasted a good hour of my life playing them again. Dammit, Carlie.) But here, they actually stick you in a room with like ten other people and give you an hour to try and find clues and solve puzzles in order to escape and win.

Before we could play, though, we had to find the Escape the Room game. Like parking, this was its own adventure and took us considerably longer than it should have, considering we got dinner right across the street. (To be fair, it was dark and trickier than it sounds.) Mek and I were paired with another group of about eight or nine people who already knew each other, which was a little awkward initially but wasn’t a big deal at all once everyone started running around frantically. There was one guy who was kind of annoying because he wouldn’t listen to anybody and kept insisting we had to focus on this one thing when we really didn’t, but everyone else was super nice. Still, it’d be neat to go back and play a different room with more people I actually knew.

If you’re wondering if we were successful in our mission to escape the room by the sixty minute mark, let tell me you, friends: we absolutely were not.

escape

This is apparently not at all uncommon; in fact, only twelve out of something like a thousand teams have actually escaped in the allotted time. It is insanely difficult, but it was also a lot of fun. I definitely want to go back for their Escape the Time Travel Lab room, and I’m interested in checking out other games too. (There’s apparently a different company in SF where you’re stuck in a room with a zombie who’s chained to a wall, and every five minutes, the chain loosens up and extends a little further. Have. To. Try.)

After admitting defeat, Mekaela and I took the late ferry home, got some sleep, and woke up again for Thursday’s activities.

THURSDAY:

On Thursday, I accompanied my mom, my sister, and a few coworkers to watch my first ever professional football game.

me and mekmama

Here’s what you should know about my mom (on the right): she was born and raised in Oakland, and she is a HUGE Raiders fan. Anyone who tells you that girls don’t know anything about football, well, one, they’re obviously sexist assholes, and two, my mom (among many others) entirely disproves the theory. I like football well enough — I’ll get into games now and then, I generally don’t need people to explain the rules to me, and I always watch the Super Bowl — but I can’t give you, like, specific player stats, and the idea of watching football all day every single Sunday strikes me as incredibly boring. My mom, on the other hand, knows all those boring stats. She wins our family football poll every year, despite the fact that she won’t pick against the Raiders, even though they’ve been an objectively terrible football team for about a decade now. (I mean, they’re my team and all, and I will always vote for them, but the last time they were any good, I was still in high school, watching the most horrific Superbowl meltdown I had ever seen . . . although the Denver Broncos have clearly since taken the title on that.)

The game was a lot of fun. Tense as hell. The Raiders have a way of playing a solid game for the first half and then descending into a chaotic, sloppy messy in the second, and that was certainly true here. But — much to my shock and delight — they finally managed to pull off their first win of the season, leading me to immediately think of this scene (spoilers for Major League):

It definitely made sitting in the downpour worth it. That being said, I was very happy that I didn’t have to go anywhere the next day and could stay nice and cozy in my perfectly dry apartment.

FRIDAY:

Friday was my birthday party. (I don’t actually turn 29 until this Friday, but trying to make plans the day after Thanksgiving doesn’t usually go well.) Originally, I wanted to have a murder mystery party because I love those things — and also, November is my Mystery Month — but that didn’t work out, so instead I bought this game called Crack the Case that some of my CW friends were talking about. We also played a few rounds of Mortal Kombat vs DC, and then I got to attack a piñata with my tinfoil covered sword.

aftermath

Inside the piñata: candy, toothpaste, cough drops, condoms, a scary clown mask, and pantyliners. Thanks, guys.

It was less of a traditional piñata game — you know, where you’re actually blindfolded — and more me working out my aggression by attacking a giant skull with a big stick. Frankly, I think I should do this more often. It’s similar to the satisfaction you feel when you hit a baseball with a bat, only better because you actually hit the giant skull with the big stick, as the skull does not depend on you having adequate hand-eye coordination which you do not, in fact, have.

Also, my friend Spencer loves putting my face in photoshopped movie posters. He really only does this for me, and while the posters are always hilarious, I’m beginning to feel a bit disturbed by how many versions of me are scattered throughout the house, watching. Here’s the latest one:

unnamed-2

Oh yeah. I’m a badass witch hunter with a crossbow. That’s me.

Posted in MISCELLANEOUS | 2 Comments

The 2014 ‘Vote for Me, Vote for Me’ Post

So. Apparently, it’s that time of year when writers begin posting lists of their 2014 award-eligible work. I like to think of it as the “Vote for Me, Vote For MEEEEE!” time, but in truth, my expectations of garnering any such nominations are not high — the amount of awesome work out there is staggering, and I probably only read a quarter of it. (That’s a lie. Maybe an 1/8?) I like looking at other people’s lists, though — it’s a great way to catch up on stuff you might have missed — and I figured I’d post one of my own. With commentary, because that’s how we do things around here.

“We Share the Dark” – Shock Totem – January 2014

I wrote the first draft of this story before I went to Clarion West and rewrote it afterwards to give it, you know, shape. I’ll tell you guys this much: “We Share the Dark” wasn’t an easy sell. I didn’t want to give up on it, as it had some of my very favorite things — ghosts, banter, peanut butter, personal fears — but I had received a discouraging amount of rejection slips. Positive ones, yes, but still rejections. I might not have sold it all, actually, but a friend of mine — the awesome Helen Marshall — suggested I try submitting it to a specific horror market. The market in question ended up being closed, but it made me look at my own story in a new light, as I hadn’t thought it was nearly dark enough to be of interest to any magazine that primarily focused on horror. So I tried Shock Totem, and much to my shock and delight, they wanted it.

So, yes. This is the story that taught me not to pre-reject.

Such Lovely Teeth, Such Big Teeth” – Strange Horizons – March 2014

I’m particularly proud of this one. It turns out that I’m fond of many things that markets have grown exceptionally weary of: superheroes, for one. Zombies, for another. And, of course, fairy tale retellings. So it was pretty neat when I managed to sell my Little Red Riding Hood story, anyway.

Of course, the process of selling it was absolutely nerve-wracking. I had a good feeling about “Such Lovely Teeth, Such Big Teeth” while writing it — I was nervous, due to some of the subject matter, but I actually felt like I had a good chance with this one. Strange Horizons was the first magazine I submitted it to, and I was ecstatic when they said they were interested . . . only . . . they wanted a rewrite. Not unusual, and everything they wanted made sense, but the last story I got a rewrite request for (a zombie story, as a matter of fact) was ultimately passed on by a different market. It was, well. Crushing. So, the editors at SH were all super chill and supportive, and meanwhile, I’m having a nervous breakdown, thinking, “But what if you don’t like my rewrite? What if no one ever likes any of my rewrites? WHAT IF I NEVER GET PUBLISHED AGAIN?”

Thankfully, that didn’t happen. And I’m really happy with how the story turned out. Obviously, I have to do ALL the fairy tale rewrites now. (And, hopefully, I’ll have more to share with you on that score soon.)

Caretaker” – Shimmer – November 2014

Since I already wrote about “Caretaker” this week, I won’t add too much here. I will say that having struggled to write flash in the past — or really, anything under 4,000 words — I was really happy to be successful here, especially since Shimmer isn’t exactly known for publishing flash fiction. I will also say that Lois Tilton called my story “rather obscure” in a way that actually didn’t sound like a completely terrible thing. I mean, saying it was a compliment would be a stretch, sure, but she didn’t shred it to pieces, either, which is always awesome. (She also gave some love to some of the other fantastic stories in this issue of Shimmer. You should check those out, if you have time.) Plus, I’m a pretty literal person and my writing has always been (possibly excessively) straightforward, so “Caretaker” is a bit of a surreal and obscure departure for me. In and of itself, that kind of felt like a win.

Posted in WRITING | Tagged | Leave a comment

New Story Up at Shimmer!

Excellent news today. My story “Caretaker” is now available for free at Shimmer. The cool thing about “Caretaker” is that it’s a flash fiction and thus incredibly short. If you were to, say, make yourself a peanut butter sandwich and eat it as you read, there’s a more than decent chance you would finish the story before you finished the sandwich. It needn’t even be peanut butter, although obviously, it should be because peanut butter is amazing. (Unless you’re unfortunate enough to be allergic, in which case you have very valid reasons for disliking the stuff.) Still, feel free to make yourself a variety of clearly inferior sandwiches or even a bowl of tomato soup instead. The basic principle will remain the same.

Also at Shimmer: an interview where I discuss how my story came to be, the writing of this very blog, and many silly hats. Because I’m a ridiculous person, the interview is longer than the story itself. And if you’re looking for even more reading material, Alix E. Harrow’s “A Whisper in the Weld” is also available at Shimmer, and it’s a lovely story that’s well worth your time.

Posted in WRITING | Tagged | 4 Comments

“All Right, You’ve Got Me Convinced. I’m a Real Stinker.”

Mekaela and I have designated this November as Mystery Month, for reasons that I’ve already forgotten. So it seems the right time to jump back into those noir films I’m continuously behind on.

cover2

I like parts of Kiss Me Deadly. But it’s definitely not one of my favorites.

Continue reading

Posted in BLASPHEMIES, EPIC REVIEWS | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Scandal – How to Woo a Lady Back into Your Arms

So, I stopped watching Scandal last season for multiple reasons (poorly handled rape subplots, characters suddenly making no sense, torture scenes featuring face licking, etc). But while clearing out my drafts folder, I found this entry that I’d forgotten I’d written, and I thought it might be kind of fun to post it now, despite the fact that the events I’m mercilessly mocking happened over almost a year ago, which means that approximately 27,006 twists have already taken place to make such a rant completely irrelevant.

Still. I’m considering creating a new feature on my blog, a deeply irregular series of How-to posts based on anytime a movie or television show (new or old) causes me to wonder, “Wait, that worked? WHY? HOW?” and quiver in rage until somebody pacifies me with chocolate. Also, this gives you something to read while I continue working on my Kiss Me Deadly review.

With that in mind . . .

SPOILER FOR “VERMONT IS FOR LOVERS, TOO” AND ALL PREVIOUS EPISODES OF SCANDAL:

grant1 olivia1

Are you having relationship problems? Maybe you’re unhappily married and your mistress doesn’t believe you’re ever going to divorce your wife. Maybe this situation is compounded by the fact that you’re the President of the United States. And maybe you once also shot down a commercial airplane under orders, and a passenger on that plane was your lover’s mother.

You might think that killing your girlfriend’s mom is the death knell of your relationship, but fear not! We know a way to mend those broken fences with just a few easy steps:

Fitzgerald Grant: Hey, I’m summoning you to this super secret house in the middle of nowhere. You really should have told me that your dad was an uber spy, but enough of that. Look at this awesome fireplace.

Oliva Pope: You killed my mother!

Fitzgerald Grant: Seriously, check out these curtains. Did I do a good job or what?

Olivia Pope: I don’t care about curtains! I don’t care about this house! You killed MY MOTHER!

Fitzgerald Grant: But I built this house for you. I built this house for the future I thought we might someday share.

Olivia Pope: . . . take me now. Take me hard. I love you so much.

And there you have it, folks. If you want your special ladyfriend to forget all about the terrible things you did, up to and including killing her mother, just build her a house. Oh, and be sure to mention all the bedrooms you’ve created for the potential children you two might have together. She will melt before you like butter.

Any woman would.

Next time on How-To: Arrow teaches us how to become a better superhero by not only letting a mass murderer responsible for the death of your best friend go free, but swearing to defend said murderer at all costs from the terribly powerful and particularly vindictive King of Super Assassins.

Posted in TV STUFF | Tagged | 3 Comments

Top 10 Favorite Final Girls

Last week, a friend of mine sent me a list of someone’s favorite final girls. I eagerly clicked on the link — because lists plus horror equals yay! — only to find myself completely enraged by the inclusion of Marie from High Tension, which . . . no. I absolutely refuse to accept Marie as a final girl because she fucking isn’t one. The term is somewhat open to interpretation (as I’ll briefly discuss later) but seriously, no. That movie, I swear to God.

Moving on. I knew I’d have to make my own list of favorite final girls in response, which would be difficult because most lists include boring heroines like Sally from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre or Jess from Black Christmas. I like these movies, but unfortunately, final girls with actual personality is a relatively modern invention — and even modern horror regularly fails on that score. And as much as I felt like I should include Sarah from The Descent — for being, you know, all competent and kick-ass, I just couldn’t get past the fact that I really, really disliked her. So until I finally make myself give that movie a second chance, she’s out of the running.

With that in mind — and continuing my penchant for creating blog posts at least one week after time-of-the-year relevancy — here are my favorite final girls.

DISCLAIMER:

There will, rather obviously, be spoilers. In fact, there will be ALL the spoilers. Please don’t assume I’m kidding about the spoilers. Read at your own peril.

Top Ten Favorite Final Girls

10. Jenny (Renée Zellweger) – The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation

jenny

If you haven’t seen this movie, please understand: this is a terrible film. Do not rent this with the expectation that it will be good, or even vaguely coherent. It will not, and you will be highly disappointed. Even as a so-bad-it’s-good film, it’s . . . well, special. Leatherface alone, I mean, wow. And Jenny, by and large, is not a particularly great heroine because that would imply that she, or any of the other characters in this story, are well-drawn. Obviously, this is not the case.

Still, Jenny has earned a tiny spot in my odd little nostalgic heart. This is partially because TCM: TNG is the movie that introduced me to my love of mocking absurdly awful horror films. But it’s also because of this one moment, where Jenny — wearing the most hideous dress, complete with this weird silver fringe shit and one ridiculously large red flower  — tells Leatherface to “sit the fuck down and shut up.” The delivery is amazing. This is the sound my heart makes when I’m continuously surrounded by aggressively annoying people, and I kind of love her for it.

9. Allison (Katrina Bowden) – Tucker and Dale vs Evil

allison

In a movie where the hillbillies are the good guys and city kids accidentally leap headfirst into wood chippers, Katrina Bowden has the not-entirely-enviable task of playing the stereotypically sweet heroine straight whilst simultaneously making her likable at the same time. But she does a good job with it because I do like Allison. Her best moment in the whole movie is when she tries to do a sit-down therapy session with both Dale, our primary hillbilly protagonist, and Chad, our would-be hero and clear antagonist. It doesn’t work at all, of course. In fact, considering that it ends in three deaths and one cabin explosion, it could be considered a colossal failure, but hey, what’s important is that she tried, right?

8. Cassidy (Briana Evigan) – Sorority Row

cass1

Cassidy is your fairly typical final girl: she’s the nice girl in the sorority, the only one who wanted to go to the cops when a prank got their friend killed. (She’s also the first girl on the list who, technically, isn’t a final girl. Final girl and survivor girl are often used interchangeably, but I’m not sure a final girl actually needs to survive. Really, she just needs to be the last girl standing, but Cass isn’t standing alone: two other girls survive with her. But honestly, that’s generally allowed these days. That’s way more acceptable than the idea that Marie from High Tension is a final girl. Sweet baby Christ.)

The thing that makes Cass different from so many other final girls: she’s snarky as hell. Sure, she has a couple of dumb lines that I’d erase if I could. But for the most part, she’s funny and likable, and the chemistry between her and Leah Pipes makes this movie so much more entertaining than I ever thought it would be. (And obviously, Carrie Fisher doesn’t hurt either. Carrie Fisher should play the den mother in every sorority horror film from now on.)

7. Laurie Strode (Jamie Lee Curtis) – Halloween, Halloween 2, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later 

laurie

Laurie Strode is one of the few classic final girls I have on my list, and surprisingly, this mostly has to do with H20. I’ll have to give Halloween another chance at some point, but despite some truly awesome music, I never fully warmed up to that movie. (Though, to be fair, it has been quite some time since I’ve seen it.) I did like the sequel, but I barely remember anything about Laurie herself. I got absolutely zero sense of her personality in that film. In H20, though, we get to see what’s become of her after twenty years — has a kid, became a teacher, basically living in fear — and all of that pretty seemed believable to me. I’m all about the evolution of characters, and Laurie Strode’s worked.

Best moment, hands down, is when Laurie decapitates Michael. (We don’t speak of any later films in that franchise because they have ceased to exist. Such is the mighty power of my will. Think about that, and FEAR ME.)

6. Riley (Shanley Caswell) – Detention

riley

So, this movie is nuts. In a much better way than Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation, obviously, but still. NUTS. A surprising number of teens actually survive this movie (including the goth girl, which never happens), but since one of them is an alien and a handful of others travel back in time to save the world — or at least the school — that’s hardly the weirdest thing about Detention.

Every character is kind of a parody in this movie. We have jocks, hipsters, mean girls, nerds. Riley, our heroine, is a sarcastic, vegetarian feminist, and while the movie pokes some fun at her, like it pokes fun at everyone, I personally was never offended. (For the record: I’m sarcastic and a feminist, but not a vegetarian.) Riley’s very funny and likable, and she and Josh Hutcherson make great co-leads. I’ve never seen the actress in anything else, but I’d like to based on this alone.

Best moment? Well, I’m a sucker for the Dirty Dancing esque dance scene to “MMM-Bop,” but that just doesn’t sound very horror, does it? Well, too bad, because it’s what I have at the moment.

5. Dana (Kristen Connolly) – The Cabin in the Woods

dana

Dana makes for a very atypical final girl. When we meet her, she’s dancing without any pants on in full view of an open window. She’s also decidedly not a virgin, although the people who intend to sacrifice her and her friends more or less overlook that. Dana intentionally releases all the monsters trapped in the secret underground lair. She even tries to kill her own friend at the end of the movie, although to be fair, she is trying to save the world at that particular point. I can’t decide if hitting the big red button is her best moment — because it’s pretty badass and leads to the best slaughter scene ever — or if it’s when she apologizes for trying to kill Marty and agrees that maybe the whole world is better off without humanity. That scene is both funny and surprisingly sweet, and it is definitely one of my favorite movie endings of all time.

4. Ginny (Amy Steel) – Friday the 13th: Part Two

ginny

I haven’t watched them all yet, but of the Friday the 13th movies I have seen, Ginny is easily my favorite heroine, certainly more interesting than Alice (the girl who directly preceded her) and a thousand times less annoying than Chris (who came directly after). Ginny is smart and sarcastic and doesn’t take any shit from anyone, least of all her boyfriend, which, man. That’s such a refreshing quality in a horror movie heroine.

Also, if memory serves, Ginny is not a virgin, which is even more unusual, considering this movie was made in 1981. (Of course, this is also the movie where going out drinking totally saves one dude’s life, further proving that Part Two is absolutely the best Friday the 13th movie there is.)

Ginny takes Jason down with child psychology and a machete. And admittedly, this is a temporary takedown because Jason always has to pop up for one last annoying scare, but come on . . . you’ve gotta like a final girl whose weapons are child psychology and a machete, right? That’s pretty amazing.

3. Ripley (Sigourney Weaver) – Alien, Aliens

ripley

Ripley is the only final girl on this list who’s trying to survive an evil alien instead of a psychotic killer, but that doesn’t disqualify her from the running. In fact, Ripley is a fantastic final girl: one of my favorite things about Alien, actually, is that she’s a competent woman but decidedly not an action hero. Or, honestly, even the clear survivor girl. If you could somehow watch Alien for the first time without knowing anything about the franchise or the stars involved — good luck — it wouldn’t be immediately clear that Ripley is your protagonist. Which I think is kind of cool, actually. As a rule, horror tends to be an unfortunately predictable genre where you almost always know who’s going to make it and who won’t. But wouldn’t it be so much more interesting if you didn’t know those things? If watching a scary movie was like watching an episode of Game of Thrones or, come to think of it, The Walking Dead? Horror should really embrace the idea that anyone can die.

By the time Aliens came out, Ripley kind of morphed from an everywoman to a Big Damn Hero, but — much like Laurie Strode — I really enjoy the evolution of her character. Her trauma and fear makes her relatable, but her badassery is empowering and never feels out of character or ridiculous. There aren’t a lot of heroines like Ripley, which is unfortunate and why we need more female-dominated action films, not to mention horror movies with competent, realistic women — not just Nice Girls Who Never Do Bad Things.

As far as Best Moment goes, honestly. Do I even need to say it?

2. Sidney (Neve Campbell) – Scream, Scream 2, Scream 3, Scream 4

sidney

Hard core nostalgia for this one, considering Scream was my introduction to the slasher genre. Sidney was the first girl to criticize horror movies for being insulting and horror movie heroines, in particular, for being stupid. She punches Gale Weathers, which possibly isn’t a very mature response but is pretty funny, regardless. I’d been thinking that she was the first non-virgin to survive a slasher movie, but I’m actually pretty sure now that’s Ginny. Still, Scream changed the game entirely for horror, and Sidney ushered in a new line of horror movie heroines.

Her best moment is hard to pick. I love when she turns the situation around on Stu and Billy, donning a Ghostface mask and calling them on the phone. I also like when she kills Emma Roberts with a defibrillator in Scream 4 and creepily lies down beside her corpse. (That movie has so many problems, but I LOVE that creepy ass moment.) Still, I think I might have to go back to the original film, when Sidney shoots Billy in the head as he tries to come back for one last scare. That was pretty awesome, especially the first time you watched it.

1. Erin (Sharni Vinson) – You’re Next

erin1

I reviewed this movie only last week, so I don’t know I have anything particularly new or insightful to say here. But if you’ll allow me to briefly sum up: Erin takes out seven people in this movie, six of whom are bad guys and five of whom actively try to kill her at least once. She tries her best to keep everyone alive, and she might have managed it, too, if three of her supposed allies weren’t actually evil, money-grubbing bastards. Erin improvises, sets traps, and kills her attackers with all manner of weapons, including blenders. I can’t tell you how much I want to see a crossover fanfiction where she and a now grown up (and presumably much darker) Kevin McAllister defend their position with whatever they can find around the house.

I also really like that Erin’s not an obvious badass from the beginning, that she seems like a relatively normal, well-adjusted person who just happens to have grown up on a survivor compound. I like that her past helps her survive, is a part of her, but doesn’t define her throughout the entire movie. That’s a nice touch.

Erin’s best moment? No question. It’s gotta go to the blender kill. That was AMAZING.

Well, there you have it, folks. There’s my list, only one week past Halloween. Don’t see any of your favorite final girls? Think there were worthier contenders? Sound off in the comments below.

Posted in LISTS | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

2014 Fall Premieres: The October Issue

In the interest of saving time, I usually do not post an individual recap for each season premiere that I watch. Instead, I briefly (well, somewhat briefly) summarize my initial impressions for all the shows that air in the same month. Then I lump these impressions together into a single post. It’s all simple and orderly, see?

The problem, I’ve discovered, with this approach is that it doesn’t matter if the greater majority of your shows began during the first week  of October; you still have to wait for asshole shows like Elementary to come back on October 30th. So by the time you finally do post your season premiere thoughts, many of these shows are already four or five episodes in, and you’ve suddenly become that writer who’s dated their timeless work of love and self-discovery with references to beepers and “MMMBop.”

With that in my mind, here’s what I’ve got for the October shows.

SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Walking Dead

carol

I don’t have very much to say about this episode, other than it was awesome. Carol is such a badass. I love Carol. Please don’t kill Carol!

Seriously, I’m trying to come up with things to say that don’t involve how awesome Carol is saving the day. I was a little surprised, though not displeased, that nobody important died. Well, Penguin. Yes. Funny thing: I remember thinking, you know, this actor looks a little like Robin Lord Taylor, but I didn’t actually think it was him until I checked IMDb later. But everyone else is alive . . . for now. Even Morgan’s alive, tracking the group’s movements after the end credits. (I totally would’ve missed that scene, if I hadn’t gone looking for it because I’d been spoiled for Lennie James’s cameo. Are there regularly scenes after the credits? Am I consistently missing shit?) Also, Rick, Carl, and Baby Judith reunite, which is kind of cool, I guess, but far more importantly, Carol and Daryl reunite. I heart that scene so much. They are the best.

In fact, I think the only thing I didn’t like about this premiere was that very last flashback when the cannibals decided to become the butchers instead of the cattle, or whatever. Other than telling us that the giant dude was originally one of their captors, I felt like that scene gave me nothing I didn’t already know, and it felt like a weird note to end the episode on. But this is a pretty minor nitpick.

For an episode of The Walking Dead, this premiere was basically an upper. I fear for the rest of the season.

FAVORITE PART:

Carol and Daryl reuniting. But a close second place goes to Carol blowing up that propane tank.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

A

The Flash

flash

For the most part, I had a pretty good time watching this. Even with the mandatory CW pilot voiceover. (To my shock, the VO was actually funny for once. I could potentially deal with more of this.) Grant Gustin is very enjoyable as Barry Allen, and I look forward to seeing him in all of his CSI Jr. adventures. (Seriously, I know they’re skewing to a younger demographic than Arrow, but damn. Between him and Emotionless Science Girl and Surfer Dude Science Boy, I feel like all the superhero progress will have to stop for juice and snack breaks.) It was nice to see the “run, Barry, run” line finally, since that’s made me crack up through multiple promos. The ending was a solid twist, and I really like Jesse L. Martin a lot. At least, when he isn’t talking to or about his daughter.

Because, yes, my biggest concern about The Flash is the female characters, specifically, Barry’s unrequited love interest, Iris. (Who, shockingly, is dating Schmucky Cop.) I was actually liking Iris pretty well, until she made an impatient hand gesture for Barry to go chase after the guy who took her purse, presumably because this is a MAN’s job and never mind the fact that Gustin is as big around as my wrist. Real men run after purse-snatchers, whether they would be physically capable of stopping them or not.

And then Detective West (Martin) reminds his daughter that she isn’t a cop, and she’s all, “Because you wouldn’t let me,” and I’m like, “EXCUSE me? Are you a grown ass woman? What century are we in, you two?” This is made even worse when West tells Barry that he can’t tell Iris about his super abilities because he wants to keep her safe, which, how is this keeping her safe, exactly? Yeah, it’s not, so thanks for that fully unnecessary complication, West. (On the plus side, I was pleasantly surprised that he discovered Barry’s abilities so early.)

I’ll have to wait and see about Emotionless Science Girl. I actually didn’t mind her little speech, and I’d much rather her Lack of Giggles come from an emotional trauma, rather than any I-Don’t-Understand-Feelings-Because-I-Do-Science nonsense. Still, I’m not quite sold yet, either. And that’s about it for female characters thus far, unless we’re counting the protagonist’s tragically dead mother.

But this may improve with time. I hope so, anyway. This was a pretty fun premiere, and I have hope for this series. (Especially if there are more Flash/Arrow crossovers. That should happen, like, all the time.)

FAVORITE PART:

Oh, I can’t decide. It’s between Barry asking, “Lightning gave me abs?” and West saying, “Shut the hell up.” Although I did also like this: “Why the hell would God need to rob banks?”

TENTATIVE GRADE:

A-

Elementary

watson

When I initially read the setup for this season — with Sherlock coming back to New York with a new protégé in tow — I was not particularly interested. For me, this show is entirely about Sherlock and Watson’s relationship, and I wasn’t real excited to see a new player get in the middle of it, particularly if she and Watson were going to have awful cat fight friction.

However, I actually enjoyed this premiere quite a bit. I love that Watson is a competent detective in her own right, and that she has her own nemesis now. (I just assume Gina Gershon will come back at some point, despite going to jail at the end of the episode.) I like that Watson doesn’t automatically forgive Holmes for the bullshit way he left, but that by the end of the episode they’ve worked their way to some kind of (very tentative) middle ground. I didn’t hate Kitty like I feared I would, and while I’m not particularly interested in her backstory right now, I might eventually become so. And I like that Watson and Kitty had a nice moment, too, giving me hope that their relationship will not be all bitter and annoying.

FAVORITE PART:

Hard to say. I did enjoy the baton fighting, but I think I’m leaning toward the scene where Gregson interrupts Sherlock’s carefully crafted apology to tell him, in no uncertain terms, that they aren’t friends. There was something kind of awesome about that.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

A-

Arrow

arrow

Ah, Arrow. Right back to wildly entertaining me and wildly pissing me off, all in the very same hour. It’s really almost impressive, how easily you do this.

Why don’t I just break this down into The Good, The Ambivalent, and the Downright Sucky:

THE GOOD:

Non-Island Flashbacks. A welcome change of pace.

The whole city loves Arrow! I wonder how long this can possibly last.

Ollie and Felicity are openly acknowledging Feelings! Seriously, I wonder how long this can . . . oh, really, not that long, huh? (See also: The Downright Sucky)

People are moving out of Starling City because they’re tired of dying in crazy supervillain terrorist attacks. LOVE THIS.

Pretty much everything about Brandon Routh. He was ridiculously energetic and kind of delightful in his smarm. I look forward to seeing more of him.

THE AMBIVALENT:

Dear God, Ollie got dosed with vertigo AGAIN? If it happens one more time before Christmas, does he get a prize?

Why isn’t Felicity working at Queen Consolidated anymore? I don’t see why she had to leave the company just because Oliver’s out, unless she chose to step down to help out at the Arrow Cave or was fired due to rumors of her sleeping with the boss. Waiting to see if this is addressed.

Sara’s death: on one hand, I actually really like the shot of her falling, and I’ll admit, that’s one hell of a way to end your premiere and set up your season. On the other hand, godamnit, I liked Sara. After she survived second season, I actually thought she had a chance. And is there anyone in the world, ANYONE, who wants to see Laurel become Black Canary? Because I’m pretty sure that’s where this story is going, and at this point, I think I’d be happier if Felicity became Black Canary, and that doesn’t even make sense. (Actually, Thea would be pretty cool, assuming Thea isn’t the one who shot her in the first place.)

THE BAD:

Sweet Christ, it’s like Ollie can’t learn shit for more than twenty minutes at a time. One explosion, and that’s it? That’s all it takes for Ollie to be like, “Nope, I’m out. If wasn’t so busy HAVING FEELINGS, I totally would have seen this tracker.” Good lord, people. Must I quote Teen Wolf at you? Apparently, I must: “This whole women are a weakness thing is a little too Spartan warrior for me.” Ollie, you’re an asshole.

Also, Ollie overcomes the psychotropic drug simply by denying love. Which I guess would be an interesting inversion of the Power of Love, if I wasn’t so annoyed the above.

And I am SO NOT OKAY with Diggle basically saying, “Yeah, thanks for making this decision for me, Oliver. Before I was angry because I felt like hey, I’m a grown up, I should be able to make my own big life decisions, but now that I’ve seen this baby, I’ve decided that the white man was right all along. I can’t possibly have children and be a hero any longer.” Ugh.

FAVORITE PART:

Hm. Porcupine flatulence?

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B

The Vampire Diaries

alaric

I only watched maybe a quarter of Season Five before I got bored with all the convoluted drama, but I found out what happened in the finale (Alaric came back!) and thought I’d try out Season Six fresh. And so far . . . it’s okay. I’m not real crazy about drug addict Elena — and it drives me nuts that losing Bonnie doesn’t seem to really bother her — but I did love that her big goodbye speech where she decides to let go of Damon doesn’t work at all. Jeremy’s predictably boring. I’ll probably be more interested in Stefan’s storyline when he inevitably returns to Mystic Falls. Tyler’s pairing with this witch girl seems really forced to me, but maybe they set that up last season in all the episodes I didn’t watch? Their chemistry just seems really artificial to me, especially in comparison to the chemistry he had with Caroline. Not that it matters, really. We all know that Tyler will be gone in a month or two anyway to do some BS thing for half the season, like he always does.

The very last scene with Damon and Bonnie and vampire pancakes is pretty awesome. And of course, Alaric. He is the best. He has so many awesome lines. I’m so glad he’s back — although I rolled my eyes pretty hard at the fact that he’s teaching at the college now. Of course he is. This is like Mr. Feeny all over.

I have this feeling I’ll eventually end up dropping The Vampire Diaries, but this was decent enough that I’ll keep up for now. (But seriously, can we lose Mopey Pants Jeremy? He is so boring.)

FAVORITE PART:

Probably the pancakes. It was hilarious, and that whole scene was a great way to end the episode. But I also liked this: “Okay, so when I lost my human nature, I also lost my game.”

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B

American Horror Story: Freak Show

clown

Oh, this show. I really feel like I need to give a full season of American Horror Story a try, and I figured evil circuses would be the time to do it, but . . . I don’t know.

There are some really cool things about the premiere. I like the opener, although obviously it’d be a lot more effective if we didn’t already know that Sarah Paulson was playing conjoined twins. The opening credits are pretty cool. And I really like the split screen from the POV of the sisters, when one is looking in one direction, and the other is looking somewhere else. I thought that was pretty clever. I’m less into them being randomly psychic, but it’s not a big thing. I just rolled my eyes.

The clown is admittedly pretty creepy, too. Not subtle — American Horror Story is many things, but subtle is decidedly not one of them. Good God. The music cues, alone. (While I’m thinking about music: I didn’t actually recognize David Bowie’s “Life On Mars” when Norma Desmond Elsa started singing it — sue me — but I started laughing hysterically when Fiona Apple’s “Criminal” came up in the preview.) But I can deal with not subtle. What doesn’t work as well — and has been a problem for me with past iterations of AHS — mostly has to do with weird sex stuff. I’m well aware there’s no way to say that without making me sound like a prude, and hey, maybe I am one. But the scene with Evan Peters satisfying women with his lobster hands . . . it feels cheaply artificial to me, like it was added purely so that the shock value might convince me that this show is so daring and bold and breaks down all kinds of barriers, and I’m like, Uh, yay? AHS has always struck me as incredibly satisfied with itself, and I’ve yet to become entranced by it the way it clearly wants me to. And don’t even get me started on the it’s-not-gang-rape-if-I-enjoyed-it-while-stoned-off-my-ass subplot.

I’ve set the series on record, but we’ll see. It would hardly be the first season I’ve let rot on my DVD for several months before deleting it, unwatched.

FAVORITE PART:

I’ve never been very seriously coulrophobic, but that clown was fucking creepy.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B-

Constantine

constantine

First: I have not read the comics. I have seen the Keanu Reeves movie, and I enjoy it for the guilty pleasure that it is, but I wasn’t looking for this show to be that. Actually, I don’t know exactly what I was looking for, but this pilot? Wasn’t it.

Look, pilots are often rough. I’m not giving up on Constantine immediately. I’ll give it a little more time to find itself — but I’ll probably give it on this well before I give up on Gotham, partly because I’m a Batman nerd and partly because I think Gotham’s pilot showed a lot more potential. (It’s not an entirely fair comparison, though, because Gotham is already starting to slowly improve, particularly with “Spirit of the Goat,” which was actually pretty great.) On the positive side, Matt Ryan seemed decent enough and I’m curious to learn more about the monosyllabic, very-not-Shia-LeBeouff Chas, who manages to survive his skewering with very little difficulty.

But oh my God, the pacing of this episode was ridiculously rushed. And there are a lot of benefits to fast paced shows when they’re done well (the earlier seasons of The Vampire Diaries, the first season of Sleepy Hollow), but this was so stupid fast that I just couldn’t engage with any of it. Certainly not the main girl, who the show sets up as super important, only to replace her in the very second episode. (I haven’t actually watched it yet, but I know that’s what happens. Hopefully, this one won’t react to giant sinkholes by threatening to mace the first guy she sees, as if she thinks he caused the sinkhole in the first place.) I’m also not really feeling the angel, despite the fact that I generally like Harold Perrineau. He may become more intriguing over time, but right now his constant smirk is only getting on my nerves. It’s like his one facial expression. Oy. Where is Tilda Swinton when you need her?

FAVORITE PART:

The initial setup at the mental institution was kind of cool. Unfortunately, it just all went downhill from there.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

C

Posted in TV STUFF | Tagged , , , , , , , | 13 Comments