Year of Monsters: The Wolf Man

Hello again! It’s been a couple of weeks, I know. I’m afraid I’ve been distracted by work and new fandoms and the like, but today I return to discuss our last official Year of Monsters movie: The Wolf Man. This is one of the few Universal films I’ve actually seen before, although not since high school. At the time, I’d found it very boring.

This time, well. Maybe a little bored? But also amused, surprisingly sad, and–in one noteworthy scene–downright incredulous.

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Now Available At The Dark: “You Were Once Wild Here”

Friends, enemies, wayward strangers stumbling over this blog: I am delighted to announce I have a new story out today. “You Were Once Wild Here” is now available to read at The Dark!

If you are perhaps already familiar with my extensive 2019 oeuvre–it’s two stories, including this one–you might notice some similarities in my recent work: 2nd-person POV, for one; also, ace teenage protagonists. I’m extremely fond of both stories; this one, however, is much more noir in both plot and tone. If you happen to like psychic dreams, werewolves, cheerleaders, dysfunctional family dynamics, witchcraft, and murder, this might be something you’d enjoy. Official Radiohead pairing: “We Suck Young Blood.”

2019: Award Eligible Work and Recommended Short Stories

It’s that time of the year again: Award Nomination Season is upon us.

My own list of award-eligible works could not accurately be described as a list so much as a solitary bullet point. Nevertheless, I’m very proud of that particular bullet point:

Can you call your own story heartwarming? Is that a writer faux pas? Because, honestly, that’s how I like to think of it: a heartwarming sequel to a slasher movie. If you like stories that feature deconstructed horror tropes, found families, ace protagonists, violence, humor, and Feels, well, please consider making my day and checking it out.

ETA: Apparently, I was incorrect before; I have two bullet points. My story “You Were Once Wild Here” in The Dark will also be eligible!

I’m pretty fond of this one, too. It’s, IDK. Brick meets Teen Wolf? Read if you like neo-noir, werewolves, ace-lesbian protagonists, second-person POV, weird magic, and psychic dreams.

Moving on: I am, as always, forever behind on my short story reading. Nevertheless, here are some of my favorites from 2019, in no particular order:

1. “We Are Here To Be Held” – Eugenia Triantafyllou (Strange Horizons)

This story is weird and gorgeous and I love it. Complicated maternal relationships and how the way you’re raised feeds into how you raise your children. What you learn, what you forgive, what you stand firm against. A lovely story with a perfect conclusion.

The first time your mother swallows you whole you don’t really see it coming.

2. “Away With the Wolves” – Sarah Gailey (Uncanny)

This is a lovely story about chronic pain and learning to let go of unearned guilt, about putting your needs, health, and happiness above what society unjustly demands. Bonus joy for shapeshifters and positive female friendships.

I’m still me when I’m a wolf, even if I’m missing some of the things that other people think of when they think of me. Even if I’m missing one of the biggest things I think of when I think of me.

3. “As The Last I May Know” – S.L. Huang (Tor)

Breathtaking. A story about war and propaganda and putting a human face on weapons of mass destruction, literally. What’s wonderful about this one is that it doesn’t condemn or glorify; it’s not so much about what decision is made but how it’s made. It’s not whether the ends justify the means. It’s that choosing to go through with those ends should never, ever be easy.

She didn’t know how, after so many people had read what was in her heart, she could feel so much like she had no voice.

4. “Where Gods Dance” – Ben Serna-Grey (Apex)

A swift gut punch of a story. Full of grief and dark wonders. A story about the inability to recreate what you’ve lost.

If he screamed, I never did hear it. They all spoke so softly. Abiram was his name. Marked but unburied.

5. “A Catalog of Storms” – Fran Wilde (Uncanny)

Oh, this is just lovely. Fascinating magic, strong family dynamics, and elegant prose throughout. A fantastic read.

While Mumma and I are gone, the Mayor comes by our house and puts a ribbon on our door. We get extra milk every Tuesday.

That doesn’t make things better, in the end. Milk isn’t a sister.

6. “This Is How” – Marie Brennan (Strange Horizons)

I am . . . I don’t want to say that I dislike redemption stories, exactly, but I can be a bit wary of them. Redemption, I think, can easily be handled poorly, even irresponsibly. Forgiveness, too. But this is a dark and beautiful fantasy about repentance and mercy and transformation, and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

A cat may let her prey run for a time before she catches it again, but not a valravn. He keeps what he kills, and will not let the man’s soul go.

7. “The Answer That You Are Seeking” – Jenny Rae Rappaport (Lightspeed)

This one hit me. Maybe because there was a school shooting the day before I read it, or because I live in one of the cities listed in this article, or because there have literally been more mass shootings than days of the year here in America. It hit me because the prose is concise and striking. It hit me because the desperation is real.

It’s the lollipops that break you.

8. “How The Trick Is Done” – A.C. Wise (Uncanny)

I mean, look, I’ve been an A.C. Wise fangirl for years. I love pretty much all of her work, and this story–with ghosts and resurrections and stage magicians and rabbit funerals and murder–is just a wonderful read, about people learning to let go of their toxic relationships, about learning to define themselves in new ways.

“I’m a Resurrectionist.” Angie’s mouth twists on the words, but she can’t think of a better way to explain. “Death and I have an understanding.”

9. “The Tailor And The Beast” – Aysha U. Farah (Uncanny)

A queer Beauty and the Beast where it’s the father who offers to trade places with his imprisoned daughter? I mean, yes, please. Lovely and sweet and romantic AF.

A beast dwelt in the castle on the hill.

There was nothing so very strange or unusual in this circumstance; recently it had been tremendously in fashion. A witch couldn’t really hope to make her debut in society without imprisoning at least one troublesome young man behind stone walls.

10. “The House Wins In The End” – L Chan (The Dark)

L Chan writes fantastic ghost stories. This is just fact. His hauntings are creepy and unusual, and they linger in your mind long after reading. This one is full of memory and trauma and the long, lonely struggle of learning to put your ghosts to rest. A wonderful read.

This is not a haunted house story. This is what happens after.

Happy reading, everyone! If anyone has any other short story recommendations of their own, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

My Own Dream Show – A Cast of Characters

Last week, I asked for everyone else’s dream casts. Today I provide my own.

Instead of a team-oriented space opera, as I’d originally intended, I came up with the idea for a Twin Peaks-esque show, only with less icky rape and molestation stuff and more werewolves and random musical numbers. There will be a murder investigation. There will be iconic costumes. Lots of food. ALL the offbeat, deadpan humor. I’m not gonna lie, people: I think I’ve got a winner here. This is absolutely a cult classic that gets cancelled in its first season in the making.

A few disclaimers first:

The clips I’ve chosen do not always match the show I pulled the actor from. I didn’t pick a Chris Pratt clip from Parks & Rec, for instance, because I haven’t watched Parks & Rec. Other times I just liked a different clip better for that actor. I’m fickle.

Also, some clips may include SPOILERS. You’ve been warned.

Now! Introducing your Cast of Characters:

The FBI Agent. Also, The Unlucky Magnet For All Things Weird.

Allison Janney (The West Wing)

(The problem with embedding clips is that you never quite find the one you’re looking for. I was hoping for a specific scene with turkeys, but hey, I like this one too.)

The FBI agent fled this strange little town long ago, hoping for a life of normalcy and law enforcement and chain restaurant options; however, the strange and supernatural follow wherever she goes. If handed a simple home-invasion-gone-wrong homicide, you can bet that psychic clowns are somehow involved. Has long since accepted this, and basically everything else that happens. Weary and cynical. Will always make time for breakfast.

Quote: Yup. That’s a werewolf, all right. Look, I believe I was promised donuts?

The Small Town Cop. Charming, But Slightly Tortured. Also, Psychic.

Theo Rossi (Luke Cage)

(Ugh, forget about the turkeys. It is stupidly hard to find Luke Cage scenes with Shades in them on Youtube. This is probably not the representative example I would have given, but I didn’t have much to work with. You can find the “lawyer” scene here at the 7:05 mark, though, and that one always makes me laugh.)

The FBI agent’s liaison/local partner during this investigation. Does the majority of his casework by reading the cards, looking for omens, having creepy dreams, and speaking to ghosts, who unfortunately aren’t always as helpful as you’d expect them to be. Has far more hobbies than any one person could realistically have. Begins a romance with the ghost of the current murder victim.

Quote: The mime in my dream told us we’d find a clue at the old sawmill. Then the Dark Mime God came and punished the mime by erasing his mouth from existence . . . but that part wasn’t real, probably.

The Hot Mechanic Werewolf Ghost, AKA, The Murder Victim

Chris Pratt (Parks & Rec)

Doesn’t know who murdered him. Doesn’t know why anyone would, and is, all in all, pretty outraged by the whole thing. Otherwise affable. Appears in two forms: his Hot Mechanic form (jeans, dirty white tank, the perfect amount of sweat) and his Awesome Werewolf form (an actual wolf). Falls hard for the small town cop. Misses food.

Quote: I’m supposed to be eating tacos today. Everyone should be clear on that.

The Hotel Owner. Also, The Badass Pack Leader Seeking Vengeance.

Shohreh Aghdashloo (The Expanse)

Owns the only hotel in town. Courteous, elegant, and seeks rampant, bloody vengeance for the murder of one of her wolves. Frequently annoys her guest, The FBI Agent, by keeping tabs on the investigation. Never impressed by its progress. Dresses fabulously.

Quote: So, you see, I cannot stand about forever for your clumsy investigation to conclude. There is a throat out there, waiting to be torn out. My teeth will only wait so long.

The Eccentric Heiress. Possibly A Vampire.

Gina Torres (Firefly)

The richest woman in town. Easily owns half the land, and is fond of popping up at night to remind people of that. Her clothing is always expensive, no matter what she’s doing, and highly unpredictable: she might show up in a black dress and matching feather boa one day, a plush white bathrobe the next. Longstanding enmity between her and The Hotel Owner. Never leaves her mansion during daytime hours.

Quote: You absolutely must come to my party. I’ll just have your head if you don’t.

The Postman/The Guy Who Can Get It For You

Michael Emerson (Lost)

Only seen in his USPS uniform. Delivers letters and packages from the normal mail, plus whatever anyone else needs on the down low. Friendly, almost always willing to engage in small talk, but takes his job very seriously. Will become quietly, abruptly, horrifyingly violent if someone maliciously tries to interfere with his legal or illegal deliveries. Eventually revealed to be the right hand man of The Eccentric Heiress.

Quote: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night will stop me, sir. It was foolish of you to try.

The Local Witch Who Owns The Diner

Kate Mulgrew (Orange Is The New Black)

Plainspoken. Profane. Calls everyone hon or honey or sweetie. Has cast a spell on her restaurant that causes the patrons to talk about all their secrets and/or confidential business in public. Most customers aren’t aware of this, and the few who are put up with it because it’s the only diner in town. Wears an old fashioned waitress uniform with sensible shoes, and frequently decides for people what they want to eat.

Quote: Hon, I’ve worked here 30 years. I’ve seen some weird shit. I know when my customers need blueberry pancakes, and you don’t deserve them yet.

The Baker/ The Guy Who Automatically Makes Every Scene A Musical

Jesse L. Martin (The Flash)

Intelligent, funny, generally delightful. Frequently shows up to distribute baked goods in places that a baker really has no business being in: crime scenes, for instance. Also, funerals. Whenever he arrives, everyone spontaneously bursts into song. No one will ever acknowledge this during the course of the show.

Quote: There are vanilla cupcakes here/and mocha cupcakes there/it’s hard to deliver when there’s blood everywhere. 

(Look, don’t judge. If this was an actual thing, I’d hire someone to write better lyrics for me. It’s not exactly my forte, okay?)

The Investigative Reporter Seemingly Stuck In the 1940’s

Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire)

Favors trenchcoats, fedoras, suspenders, white tank tops, and cigars. Pants, too. Frequently speaks in hardboiled noir slang. Writes for the local paper and takes every article equally seriously, whether it’s the murder of a mechanic werewolf or how the next-door-neighbor’s cat came to be stuck in that tree. Enjoys appearing out of nowhere whenever possible. Also writes the newspaper’s horoscopes.

Quote: Scorpio, you weasel. You’re behind the eight-ball this week, all right. Better lay dormy somewhere until it blows over; otherwise, you’re liable to face some serious chin music. Avoid cinnamon.

The Town Librarian. Also, The Town Secret Assassin

Lena Headey (Game of Thrones)

Glasses. Dresses almost entirely in black. Ace/Aro. Leads a reading group of young girls from ages 4-17, exposing them to different types of literature, as well as the many different ways to kill someone. When in assassin mode, may vary wildly from Victorian elegant poisoner to exuberant punk overkill, depending on what the client wants and her general mood at the time.

Quote: Excellent progress, girls. Now, who can tell which poison Merricat Blackwood used in We Have Always Lived In The Castle, and the pros/cons of that particular poison?

The Bartender/Coroner. Eventually Undead.

Sarah Shahi (Person of Interest)

Owns and runs a bar called Autopsy Room Four. Does autopsies in one of the back rooms when the town requires one. Friendly, personable. Enjoys geeking out over things, especially baseball, virology, and Stephen King. Murdered during the first season, but mysteriously comes back to life in her grave and crawls her way out. May or may not experience cravings for human flesh.

Quote: Last round, everyone! Hey, I’m disappointed, too, but this bag of meat isn’t going to autopsy itself.

The Wandering Armchair Psychologist

Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy)

Chatty. Enthusiastic. Entirely too blunt. Has appointed herself the town’s therapist, and relies heavily on pop culture, particularly TV Tropes, for her evaluations. Whenever it becomes clear that an episode is going to primarily feature a main character’s emotional arc and/or backstory, the Wandering Armchair Psychologist will appear for a series of sit-downs with that character, whether he/she/they want it or not. Usually, not.

Quote: So, your father was horrifically dismembered and eaten by a flock of wereturkeys. Let’s talk about that.

The Stranger. Also, The Voice of the Audience

Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead)

No one knows who he is or anything about him. Pops up sporadically to either tell people that they’re doing something stupid and/or dangerous, or to help them come to a ridiculously obvious realization. Usually very dry, but every now and then becomes so aggravated with everyone’s stupidity that he has a full meltdown about it . . . before once again disappearing into the night.

Quote: Going there without calling backup, huh? Yeah, that won’t get you killed immediately.

I’m telling you, people: I want this show. I want it now. I already have possible theme songs in mind: “Jugband Blues” by Pink Floyd or maybe “Strange Days” by The Doors. Oh, the many unrealized dreams of the human heart.

And if you haven’t already done so, I’d still like to hear your dream casts. (Especially YOU, Mekaela! I let it slide last week because it was your birthday, but NO LONGER.) Feel free to comment here, or at the original post where I laid out the rules.

“Is There A French Word For Feeling An Overwhelming Sense of Urgency And Impending Doom?”

It is time, I think, to try and return to our regularly scheduled programming on My Geek Blasphemy. Well. Okay. Scheduling was never really all that regular around here and may stay even more irregular in the weeks to come, but regardless, I’ve written a review for every season of Teen Wolf, and despite a necessary delay, I’m not about to stop now.

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Oh, show. You started this season out well, anyway.

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The 2016 Book Superlatives (Length: EPIC)

It is time, my friends. Yesterday, I posted the list of all the books and graphic novels I’ve read in 2016, and today I will review them in my customary way: superlatives! (Clearly, a tormented piece of my soul will always be trapped in high school.)

To be upfront: the greater majority of my Book Superlatives are positive and/or silly because this is meant to be fun, and because I realized how shitty I’d feel if something I wrote ever got singled out as Worst Book Of The Year or something. However, there are some critical superlatives–Most Annoying Romance, for example–because I do look at these awards as (admittedly oddly formatted) reviews, and also because I’ve never not had multiple candidates for that particular category. I do, however, generally try to say positive things about a book even when I’m highlighting something particularly negative, which, honestly isn’t usually all that hard. There are often a number of things I like about even those novels that frustrate me: Most Annoying Romance, for instance, actually went to a book that I otherwise enjoyed quite a bit, even envied if I’m being honest, cause, damn that author can write.

If you are a published novelist who has somehow stumbled onto my little blog and don’t necessarily want to get blindsided by the possibility of seeing something negative about your novel, I totally get that: feel free to check out that link of stuff I read this year and see if any of your work is even on the table before making your decision. For anyone who is interested in reading, welcome! Today’s post will be full of super important awards like Favorite Sidekick, Chief Asshat, Book I Would Most Like To See As A Video Game, and Best Boo-Yah Moment. There will also be a list of my Top 10 Favorite Books of the Year, if that kind of thing interests you, and a list of my many, many favorite book quotes I read this year. God help me.

Shall we begin?

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MEGA Coming Soon-Ish: Not-So-Live From Comic Con

It’s been years since I’ve gone to Comic Con. I’m always deeply envious when it’s going on, but luckily, the internet provides some of the shiny without me having to get up at the crack of dawn for a 5:00pm panel in Hall H.

Here are a bunch of trailers that came from San Diego’s massive annual nerd convention.

Justice League

I did not like Man of Steel. I did not like Batman v Superman. But God help me, Justice League actually looks pretty fun so far.

I mean, I’m not totally getting my hopes up. It’s super early days and, to my eternal disappointment, Zack Snyder is still at the helm. There is still the serious likelihood that this will be another stupidly angsty, convoluted mess.

But I actually liked Ben Affleck as Batman in BvS, and I really enjoy his chemistry with Gal Gadot. Ezra Miller is working for me, so long as they don’t push that whole awkward nerd thing too far into the ground. And Aquaman, naturally, looks all handsome and manly. Disappointingly, we don’t see much of Cyborg, but overall it’s not a terrible first look. If the movie can create interesting team dynamics and remember to actually be entertaining (and, you know, make sense), I could be into it.

Wonder Woman

And speaking of promising . . .

I have a lot more hope for Wonder Woman, although I have to say that if I don’t like it . . . I might not be going to see Justice League after all, cause, like, I’ve already given this franchise two chances and been pretty disappointed with both films. Fourth times the charm kind of isn’t a thing.

This trailer is decent. I don’t know if I’m totally wowed by it, but I am interested. I definitely liked that moment where Wonder Woman’s all, “What I do is not up to you.” YES. More of this, please. In fact, all of this.

I admit, I’m curious to how they’ll treat love interest Chris Pine: will he primarily function as a typical love interest, or will he get to do more just because he’s a guy? The latter would kind of annoy me, but so long as Wonder Woman’s motivation doesn’t solely revolve around him (and the movie doesn’t solely focus on leg shots), I could be into this. I desperately want it to be good, anyway, considering if it’s not, plenty of people won’t just consider it a bad superhero film. Rather, people will use it as “proof” that female-led superhero movies are terrible and don’t attract audiences. But we’ll have to wait a while to see how that turns out.

Doctor Strange

It’s interesting. I have the same casting problems that everyone has already mentioned, but . . . hot damn, are the visuals in this stunning.

I’m sure I’ll see this movie. It has a great cast, and it looks both beautiful and weird. Marvel meets Inception, you know? But as much as I love Benedict Cumberbatch and Tilda Swinton . . . I wish they weren’t in this particular story.

The LEGO Batman Movie

I’m still worried that this is going to be a one-joke story that can’t fill up a whole movie, but this latest trailer does make me smile. LIFE DOESN’T GIVE YOU SEAT BELTS. Although poor Robin. Someday, Robin will get to be cool on screen. You know, when Michael Cera isn’t the one voicing him.

Luke Cage

I don’t think I have anything to say to this but DAMN.

I’m into it. I’m definitely into it.

Legion

Er . . .

I honestly don’t really know what to make of that. I know I watch basically every superhero show on television, but TBH, I didn’t really have any plans to watch Legion. A show about Professor X’s abandoned son who thinks he’s schizophrenic? Eh, no. Not my thing. Still, I figured I’d check out the trailer at least, and now that I have, I feel like I should at least check out the pilot. I like the cinematography, anyway, and it certainly looks . . . interesting . . . although I do find Dan Stevens’s American accent a bit grating.

So, yeah, I’ll probably try it. It could be entertaining, but if the whole show is about Am I Crazy/Am I Not? Yeah, I’ll probably fall out of it pretty fast.

The Flash (Season 3)

So, now we know what Barry did to the timeline.

Is it wrong that I’m still hoping this is all resolved in two episodes max? This could be temporarily fun, but please, please say we aren’t stuck in Flashpoint all season long. RESURRECT THE HARRY AND CISCO SHOW. Cause, yeah, this isn’t fully doing it for me.

Arrow (Season 5)

Eh. I’m always hot and cold on Arrow, often within the same episode, but this trailer is leaving me pretty much just cold.

I’m not particularly interested in New Team Arrow. Curtis, yes. Curtis can always stay. But that other dude seems annoying, and the girl . . . well, let’s just say that Artemis was my absolute favorite in Young Justice (well, her and Robin, anyway), so I’m far more likely to be critical of her. If they screw up Artemis, I’m going to be deeply  unhappy, and if I’m being honest, I fully expect them to screw up Artemis. (Her background, for instance, is already completely wrong.) Not to mention, I’m not really looking forward to multiple scenes of Oliver screwing up as a superhero mentor and everyone threatening to leave him and blah blah blah. (I just assume.)

I’m still planning to watch, just . . . I don’t know how many more seasons of Arrow I have in me.

Kong: Skull Island

All right, I think we’ve finally gotten past the superhero stuff.

I’ve gotta admit: with a roster like Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, Samuel L. Jackson, and John Goodman, this certainly has the cast to beat. And I like the general look of the movie. Still, my interest is middling at the moment: a rental, probably, rather than a theater visit. The last Kong movie didn’t do a whole lot for me, and I worry about the predictability factor: right now I’m predicting Goodman dead, Samuel L dead, a bunch of extras/minor characters dead, and Brie Larson, Tom Hiddleston, and their probable UST alone surviving to tell the tale.

This could be totally wrong, of course–in fact, I hope it is–but if not, I’m already yawning.

Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them

So far, I haven’t been able to muster up much interest in this, despite how much I enjoyed both the Harry Potter books and movies. This trailer, though, is the first thing I’ve seen that makes me think, Okay, maybe I could check this out. On one hand . . . I kind of feel done with the HP universe, like, I love it, I’ll revisit it, I desperately want to go to Universal Studios and visit Diagon Alley–but I also don’t feel a lot of need to see prequels, sequels, side stories, etc. On the other hand, magic in this particular time period is always kind of fun, and I could enjoy this.

Although. I must say that while No-Maj didn’t bother me so much when I first read it . . . it’s kind of jarring to hear it out loud. It just really does not sound like American slang to me at all, and I hope that’s not a consistent problem throughout the film.

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Well, this looks about as ridiculous as you’d expect a Guy Ritchie version of King Arthur to be.

I have no real plans to see this anytime soon, but I’ve got to admit: the trailer with its anachronistic music, super fast action, and 110% Guy Ritchie-ness did make me smile. Of course, I’m not a purist: Arthurian mythology, on the whole, has never done much for me, so I totally don’t care that Guy Ritchie’s probably going to mess it all up. And the cast is sort of fun: along with Charlie Hunnam, Djimon Hounsou, and Evil Jude Law, we also have Littlefinger, Roose Bolton, and Morgana . . . although, sadly, I don’t think Katie McGrath is playing Morgana here. Still, the actual story itself makes me just kinda shrug. I doubt I’ll pay theater prices for the experience.

American Gods

Well, shit. It’d be really helpful if I had Starz, huh?

It’s been quite some time since I re-read it (I’m trying to decide if I want to do it again before the show or not), but I picked up American Gods when I was, oh, 18? And I adored it. I’m so excited to see it come to life as a TV show. This is a pretty promising first look, and I’m very hopeful. I mean, the cast alone . . . damn. There are a ton of great people in it, but I’m just dying over these pictures of Gillian Anderson as Media. SUCH a lady crush right now.

I desperately want this show to be as awesome as it sounds. Please be awesome, show. Please be awesome like I know you can be.

Teen Wolf (Season 6)

Well, my friends. We have our first look at our final season–Teen Wolf is saying goodbye to us with Season 6, and much as I love the show, it’s probably time. Here’s to hoping it can end on a good note. (It’s always so sad when shows can’t.)

It looks pretty cool. I like the idea of a Big Bad that abducts and erases people from all memory. The story is Stiles-centric, which obviously appeals to me. And the Sheriff doesn’t remember him? NOOOOOOO! On the downside, we lost Kira and got Theo in return? BOO. This is not a great trade, in my book.

And finally . . . Dirk Gently

Oh, this looks kind of fun.

I’ll admit, I’m getting a little tired of that one genius detective character who does whatever they want and suffers no ill consequences. Still, this definitely looks offbeat and I think I was pretty much sold when Elijah Wood screamed, “I am NOT your Watson, asshole!” Plus, it looks like there are some interesting side characters (I’m already intrigued by the one kickass black lady near the end of the trailer) and . . . is that Richard Schiff? Hey, it is! YAY!

This trailer doesn’t really jive with what little I remember from The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, but it has been more than a decade since I read that book, so who knows. I’m sure I’ll try this one. I’m such a sucker for quirky detectives, although, historically, the weirder they are, the faster they get cancelled. (RIP forever, Terriers, The Unusuals, etc.)

The 2015-2016 TV Superlatives!

The time has come, my friends. The moment that maybe one person ALL OF YOU have been waiting for: the 2015-2016 TV Superlatives.

Rules are basically the same as last year, with a few little tweaks. To be eligible for these super duper prestigious awards, a show must have begun its season sometime between June 1st, 2015 and May 25th, 2016. This means that the first seasons of shows like Killjoys and Dark Matter (which came out last summer) are actually eligible for this year’s awards, as is the most recent season of Game of Thrones. Shows like Preacher, meanwhile, didn’t begun until after May 25th, so they won’t be eligible until next year. The only other shows outside this timeline that will be considered are shows that were completely unavailable to me prior to June 1st, 2015: Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, for example.

I’m gonna be honest with you, guys: I could have done a better job of keeping track of these things over the course of the last year. There’s been a lot of frantic scrambling over the past few weeks to try and remember things like, “Shit, who had good season premieres again? SEPTEMBER WAS SO LONG AGO.” I am dedicated to creating a better system for myself next year. (But I’m pretty sure I said the exact same thing last year, so. We’ll see.)

For those of you who–like me–primarily watch genre shows that never get nominated for shit: well, my friends, these are for you.

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Season Premiere Round-Up: 1/1/16-1/22/16

Loving TV, as I do, I found myself writing mini recaps/reviews of all the season premieres I watched last fall, up until December, anyway. Then I kind of forgot about it because, really, not much premieres in December. (Other than The Expanse, of course, because the executives at Syfy are apparently contrary bastards.) And I went right on forgetting it, too, until the other day when I was watching the third episode of Teen Wolf, Season 5B, and was like, “Oh, yeah. I was doing kind of a thing, huh?”

And so. A handful of season premiere impressions: some timely, some belated, and all, rather obviously, with SPOILERS.

The 100

100

Mek and I found The 100 last year on Netflix and quickly marathoned through two seasons. While the show started a bit slow for me (if I could have murdered Octavia and Bellamy in the first couple of episodes, I would’ve, and probably wouldn’t have wept for Clarke, either, if she just happened to, I don’t know, fall victim to a herd of rampaging wild deer or something), it definitely got SO much better, and I spent most of last year looking forward to a new season.

This is a pretty solid start, letting us know what all our characters have been up to for the past three months after the devastatingly brutal events of “Blood Must Have Blood, Part II.” Clarke has become everyone’s Most Wanted and, also, a redhead! (Disappointingly, it appears she’ll be going back to blonde soon.) Raven’s leg has gotten worse (which I’m happy about it because I love that it’s a continuing storyline, not just a bullshit Magic Heal). Bellamy has a girlfriend! (And I bet the Bellarke shippers are pissed.) Lincoln and especially Octavia are struggling with their identities as somewhere between Sky People and Grounders. And the gang goes on road trips and listens to the Violent Femmes! (I mock, but I actually enjoy CW’s anachronistic music for the most part, and this scene totally amused me. Also amusing: the kid who plays the piano at the end. Raven asks for a song, and I’m immediately like, “Oh, is this the infamous Montage Boy?” Turned out, it was. Also, apparently, a real musician whose stunt casting, predictably, went straight over my head.)

In fact, I only want one character to get brutally trampled upon and die in a stampede of angry rhinos now: Jasper, who has, unsurprisingly, not taken Maya’s demise very well and has become a suicidal drunk who’s mean to Monty. (He’s also shaved his head, which is obviously the second best Grooming Option for the Depressed, next to growing an Angst Beard. Surprisingly, it looks decent on him.) And the thing is, I get his trauma and I should feel sorry for him, but I’ve never particularly liked Jasper and his whiny “Only My Love Life Matters” approach to moralism, and seriously, anyone who’s mean to Monty DESERVES TO DIE. (I’m seriously hoping he gets more to do this year. Monty is the best. He deserves his own angst time, damn it.)

I’m kind of interested in the weird Jaha story because I want to know where it goes (presumably, he and ALIE will become the show’s Big Bad?), but anytime The 100 cuts away to him, I’m immediately like, “No, no, go back to the characters I actually care about!” But it’s great how much I’ve 180-ed on Murphy, who started life as a totally boring antagonist and now I’m very much rooting for. “I’m so out of here,” Murphy says, and yes, YES, Murphy. This is the proper reaction to Crazypants Jaha, the psychotic AI, and Johannes Brahms. (Of course, then he changes his mind because of a girl. Oh, Murphy. I am disappointed in you, buddy.)

FAVORITE PART:

I did love Murphy’s line, “Pain. Hate. Envy. Those are the ABC’s of me.” Still, my favorite part was probably when Monty unsympathetically threw the bucket of cold water at Jasper’s face. Here’s to hoping he upgrades that to a punch across the kisser next.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

A-

Agent Carter

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Yay, Agent Carter is back! “The Lady in the Lake” and “A View in the Dark” was a solid two-hour premiere, although honestly, I’m not sure how much I really have to say about it. Nothing about it seemed particularly ZOMG AMAZEBALLS, but I had a good time watching it regardless. It was nice to see Peggy Carter back in action, crisp and kickass and fashionable as ever. Punching everyone in LA seems like a fabulous hobby, and I would happily watch her take it up.

Also nice to see Souza (whose new, adorable GF, I’m desperately hoping, is not secretly evil), two strong female antagonists (especially Dottie! Hi Dottie!), and the return of Jarvis, bored out of his mind and occasionally chasing flamingos. I also quite enjoy Jarvis’s wife, Ana, although I am a little disappointed that Angie’s disappeared into the television void. And Rose, the SSR telephone operator/receptionist, has come to play! I’m super jazzed about that.

Wilkes, Peggy’s new love interest, has supposedly been killed, although I don’t buy it for a second. (Although, to be fair, I’ve been wrong about that kind of thing before. Still. An explosion that’s evaporated his body? Yeah, okay, guys.) And I’m kind of waiting to see where Jack’s storyline goes (though I’m not nearly as interested in him as I am in Peggy, Jarvis, and Souza). Is he going to become a bad guy, do we think? Or is he going to realize he’s joining Hydra and eventually get murdered for it?

FAVORITE PART:

Hm, I’m not sure. I couldn’t help but adore Peggy and Jarvis looking at the flamingo in the car. They’re just so charmingly . . .British together. I don’t know. Also, Rose telling Souza that he should tell Peggy about his girlfriend, and then offering him a snarky cookie when it ends up being too late. (And this exchange too: “Daniel, you’re a nice guy.”/”Oh, that’s just mean.”)

TENTATIVE GRADE:

A-

Teen Wolf

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Oh, Teen Wolf, how I have missed you!!! It’s lovely to have you back.

This is a solid season opener, although–like many of the season premieres–it spends most of its time setting things up, so you know the really exciting things are coming later. Scott has started the uneasy quest of getting the band back together after Theo so easily and thoroughly divided them last fall, and it’s not off to the best start, since his Super Angst is (likely) what’s preventing him from healing properly. (Like in Season 3A, when Derek was supposedly but obviously not actually dead. Can’t Heal With a Broken Heart was incredibly silly then, but it’s pretty much just canon now.)

I like a good deal about this episode: Scott and Stiles being forced to work together again (especially after Stiles throws Scott against a wall and slams him to the ground, which, not gonna lie, I kind of enjoyed watched), Scott offering to listen to Malia if she needs it, Mason’s reaction to Liam tearing a page out of a library book instead of using the copier like a civilized werewolf, and, obviously, all of Stiles’s stuff with his dad. (The repeated head injury/blackouts made me laugh a little–it’s really just a matter of time before this kid ends up with brain damage–but I totally adored the moment when the Sheriff woke up, so. I let it slide.) I was less impressed with the fact that all you need to do to find the Nemeton, apparently, is use your Werewolf Eyes, cause, seriously, nobody thought of that before? And I still think it’s weird that Stiles and Malia apparently broke up last season because that’s really not what I got from that scene, but all in all, I was pretty into the premiere.

Especially that last flash-forward, where Theo and His Evil Chimera Pack slow-mo walked into Eichen House to get Lydia, and a seriously pissed off hellhound came to meet them. Hot damn, Parrish. (Sorry for the pun. Heh, no I’m not.)

FAVORITE PART:

Oh, probably when the Sheriff wakes up. Sue me; I’m a sucker for Stilinski Family Feels.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B+

The Shannara Chronicles

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This isn’t bad, so far. Some things I like; other things, not so much. Shall we good/meh/blarg it?

THE GOOD:

Amberle. Of the three main characters, Amberle’s easily my favorite so far. I question some of her decision making skills (like, maybe we should talk to someone about these visions before immediately running away?), but I buy her badass moments, and I adore her silver elf-ear jewelry. (Seriously, I want these.)

Amberle’s handmaiden. Is she coming back? She oughta come back.

The cinematography/special effects. MTV shows don’t usually have a gigantic budget (hence the shitty green screens and often laughable CGI on Teen Wolf), but this show looks pretty damn great, especially given its network.

Ander. I like this guy, and I really hope he doesn’t end up dying or turning out to be a Big Twist Bad Guy.

Manu Bennett. Allanon is gruff and enjoyable, and it’s nice to see Slade as a good guy this time around.

The surprising amount of bloody violence. Maybe I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I wasn’t expecting Teen Wolf levels of violence from YA high fantasy. I’m happy to have been wrong and hope the gory fun continues.

John Rhys-Davies. Less because he does anything worthwhile (I’m basically just waiting for him to get horribly murdered) but because I like the actor.

THE MEH:

Will. When he’s going for comedic, I’m generally amused. When he’s going for emotional . . . yeah, I’m not quite there yet.

All the characters are . . . pretty damn trope-y. (Especially naive country boy Will and Ander’s annoying, I-Don’t-Trust-Druids-And-I-Wanna-Be-King-NOW brother.) Now, obviously, it’s extremely early, so maybe everyone’s going to end up subverting their tropes and end up in interesting places . . . but so far I’m not seeing much evidence to suggest that.

THE BLARG:

Eretria. I want to like her. I really do. Morally ambiguous thief girls? Totally my thing. But she didn’t strike me as tough or cutthroat or awesome; mostly, she just struck me as annoying and trying way too hard to seem badass. Perhaps the actress will settle into the character? I mean, there is definitely potential for growth. (Plus, she was Ofelia in Pan’s Labyrinth! Damn it, I want to like you SO MUCH.) It also probably doesn’t help that she and Will, who seem destined for one another, have about as much chemistry as a rock and bag of low-fat pretzels. (Eretria has far, far more chemistry with Amberle, so I could maybe be okay seeing them get together. Unlikely, perhaps, because I doubt that’s in the source material, but then again, this is MTV. The network gets a lot of shit from a lot of people, but they’ve done a pretty good job with gay and lesbian representation in their other shows, and I don’t think they’ll abandon that here.)

The annoying I-Wanna-Be-King Now prince. He’s not as serious of a problem for me as Eretria because I’m obviously supposed to actually like Eretria. But at present, he’s a one-note tool, and I have little interest in watching him snipe at his father and brother or betray his family and try to take the throne.

FAVORITE PART:

Hm, I’m not sure. Maybe the whole opener when Amberle wins the race? I enjoyed that. Also, whenever Allanon mocks Will. That’s obviously good, too.

Legends of Tomorrow

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You know how some pilots just scream PILOT? Yeah, that’s how watching this episode felt. It wasn’t terrible or anything, but it just felt so compressed, so basic. They had to spend a lot of time going over the character backstories for anybody who doesn’t regularly watch Arrow and The Flash, which makes sense, but I couldn’t help but feel that new viewers would still be like . . . wait, who in the what now? Meanwhile, the rest of us, presumably, just tuned out Hawkgirl and Hawkman’s reincarnation story because it was kind of boring and unconvincing the first time around.. (Yes, I remain bitter that we didn’t get JLU Shayera Hol. You’re my favorite, Shayera!)

My random thoughts:

A. Oh man, Stein is a DICK. Drugging someone so they’re forced to travel through time with you on an almost certainly doomed quest to try and defeat an immortal super villain, all so you can have a little adventure and meaning in your life? Wow, no. I mean, I forgive it because I like Victor Garber, but no. He owed SO MUCH more of an apology to Jax at the end of this episode.

B. I do like that not everyone is initially eager to jump on board because, like, dying isn’t fun. I also like that Captain Cold and Heat Wave tag along primarily to steal shit.

C. Much to my shock, Heat Wave actually made me laugh intentionally a few times. Could he indeed be turning down the TOTAL CRAZY just a little? Because if he does, I could potentially actually like him.

D. I was convinced that Rip secretly wanted Captain Cold, Heat Wave, and White Canary to leave the ship because, otherwise, it seemed like a monumentally stupid plan to leave them alone. Apparently, it was just a monumentally stupid plan. Worked for me, though: I love the scene with the three of them at the bar. How long do you figure before CaptainCanary becomes canon? (ColdCanary? WhiteCold? I’m not the best at shipper names.)

E: Finally, and unfortunately, Vandal Savage continues to underwhelm me as a Big Bad.

FAVORITE PART:

Probably that bar scene. Otherwise, one of these two Heat Wave lines:

“Deafness wasn’t one of the side effects.”

“Why did we become criminals?”
“Because we hate working and love money.”

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B

Galavant

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Honestly, I was shocked that this show didn’t get cancelled, and I wasn’t sure I was going to pick it up again. But a season premiere titled “A New Season aka Suck It, Cancellation Bear” was too hilarious to pass up.

Mostly, I’m in the same place I was last season. Some stuff cracks me up. I absolutely loved the opening song. And Galavant and Richard are fun to watch together. On the other hand, some of the humor feels tired and gets on my nerves. And my inner feminist sighed pretty heavily when Isabella, after mistakenly coming to believe that Galavant doesn’t love her anymore, decided to give up escaping her imprisonment/arranged marriage to her 12-year-old cousin because nothing matters if Galavant doesn’t love her. Like, really, Isabella? Really? It’s a fun enough show, and I will always be happy that Timothy Omundson has work, but even it miraculously makes a Season Three . . . I’m not sure I’m sticking around this time.

FAVORITE PART:

We didn’t actually see it, but apparently four pirates willingly walked the plank rather than hear the Galavant theme song one more time. Love it.

TENTATIVE GRADE:

B-