My Heart Can’t Take It

I firmly believe that the 2014-15 television season just might be the death of me. Barreling toward the season finales with the added pressure of sweeps, the drama and angst on almost every show I watch seems to be at an all-time high this year. I have watched while holding my breath, hands clenched together, nervously bouncing my knee, hoping that things turn out the ‘right’ way by the end of the hour. Too many times it hasn’t. I’m not sure that my heart or nerves can take much more this season.

Let’s take a look at the shows I watch (just a warning – it’s a lot), starting with Sunday night and moving forward through the week –

Once Upon a Time – The villains led by Mr. Gold (Rumplestilskin) are trying to turn Emma evil. Emma, the savior, the person who broke the curse over Storybrooke, might be evil? Now that we know Zelena (the Wicked Witch) is involved, I think we can assume that things in Storybrooke are going to get worse before they get better,

The Originals – Klaus has been daggered by Elijah. Evil Aunt Dahlia wants baby Hope turned over to her. And newly reunited sister Freya just might be helping her. Dahlia also seems to be starting a war between the vampires and the werewolves. I’m not sure New Orleans is prepared for that.

The Flash – Barry Allen, The Flash, has learned that his mentor, Harrison Wells, is not who he claims to be. Instead, he is the Reverse Flash (AKA Eobard Thawne) and is from the future. When we last saw Barry, Cisco and Catilin they had discovered the hidden lair of Eobard Thawne within Star Labs. That won’t make the Reverse Flash happy. I forgot to mention, the Reverse Flash killed Barry’s mom many years ago. That certainly puts a damper on a friendship, doesn’t it?

Agents of SHIELD – Phil Coulson turned himself over to, as we like to call them, Fake SHIELD. He is working with Grant Ward, who can’t be trusted, again. Just as Coulson thought he was getting Skye back, she was snatched again. Fake SHIELD needs to be taken down, I’m just not sure how that will happen.

Arrow – This was hard to watch this week. In order to save Thea, Oliver turned himself over to the League of Assassins and will be the next Ra’s al Ghul. As I watched Oliver and Felicity together, I couldn’t help but wonder if it was the one and only time that would happen. It wouldn’t be the first time Oliver has pushed Felicity away ‘for her own good.’ What will be the fate of the Arrow?

Supernatural – This is one of the two shows that I absolutely have to watch live. After nearly a season of Sam trying to find a way to remove the Mark of Cain from Dean, he is getting desperate. Being willing to work with Rowena can certainly be called desperate. The Winchester boys are known for the raging codependency. I think we can count on Sam doing something to sacrifice himself in some way in order to save Dean. We saw that this week when he was willing to bleed himself dry in order to retrieve the codex from the Werther box.

The Vampire Diaries – Also known as the other show that I must watch live. We have known for three and a half weeks that Nina Dobrev (Elena) is leaving the show at the end of the season. That is devastating for season seven, but first we have to get through the rest of season six. Will Damon and Elena take the cure? Won’t they? My guess is that she will, he won’t. The writers also seem to be setting up the big bads for next season – Mama Salvatore and her traveling companions, the Heretics. I think that in the fallout of Elena taking the cure and the Heretics arriving in Mystic Falls, Elena will die or be forced (or compelled) to leave Mystic Falls.

Wow! That is a lot of drama and I didn’t even touch on the shows I’m behind on, Bones, The Blacklist and Person of Interest. Every year it seems to be a game of one-upmanship in the sweeps sweepstakes. I wonder what happens when they’ve killed off/written off all of the main characters. How will they keep our interest then?

Here is the flipside. I am still watching every single one of these shows. Obviously, the powers that be haven’t pushed me, as a viewer, too far. Yet. I do have my own personal list of viewer deal breakers. As long as they stay away from those, I’m in for the long haul, however bumpy the ride might be.

All Things Must Come to an End

It might be a little extreme, but I think that a series finale can forever cement or forever taint how you feel about a show. At least that is what I thought before I began to prep this post. I fully intended to have examples of my most and least favorite series finales. I sat down with my laptop, earbuds and a list of finales to rewatch, ones that I loved along with ones that I hated. I opened Netflix, pulled up the first one on the list and settled in for a day of revisiting some of my favorite shows.

It was while I was watching one from my ‘hate’ list that I realized I didn’t hate it as much as I thought. The same thing happened a second time and then a third. My list of hated series finales was getting shorter with each one I watched. With only one finale left on my ‘hate’ list, I had to change the focus of this post.

With some time and distance, I was able to find something to appreciate in each of the finales I rewatched. Are there aspects of some of them that I still hate? Absolutely! I don’t think there is enough time or distance to change that, but at least now I can watch them without cringing or grinding my teeth.

So, here are the six finales I watched, in no particular order. The one left on the hate list? I didn’t watch it. Even after almost eighteen years, I just couldn’t make myself do it. If you’re curious about which finale I consider the worst of all time, I’ll reveal it at the end.

Here we go:

  • Chuck (episode – Chuck versus the Goodbye)

When I watched this episode live, I hated it. I was completely crushed that Sarah Walker had not regained her memories. She and Chuck Bartowski were supposed to be together for the long haul, in my opinion. How could that happen if she didn’t remember him?

Watching again this week, I was reminded of the things I love about this show. Chuck got to be an awkward nerd and as well as a spy. Sarah and Chuck, in their search for the bad guy, Quinn, were able to revisit scenes similar to some of their first cases. Morgan finally stood up to John Casey, proving that even he had grown up over the course of the show. Casey had to admit that he was better with his team, Chuck, Sarah and Morgan, than he was without it.

I’ve watched this finale several times, always disappointed, okay, angry, that we didn’t know if the kiss between Sarah and Chuck on the beach triggered her memories. Watching this week, I realized it didn’t matter. Sure, having her memories back would be the ultimate happy ending. Even without them, I think they found their way back together.

  • Star Trek: Enterprise (episode – These are the Voyages)

Often, when a show is not renewed, the powers that be try to pull together a finale that ties everything up in one neat little package. That is what happened in the case of Enterprise. While the three modern Star Trek series (The Next Generation, Deep Space 9 and Voyager) all enjoyed seven year runs, Enterprise was cut off at four. The finale that Brannon Braga crafted has always felt weak and rushed to me. Presenting it as if it were part of an episode of The Next Generation as an object lesson for Riker has been the driving force behind my hatred for this episode.

However, watching it again, when I looked past that aspect, I found several things I actually liked about it. The six year time jump allowed us to see the progression of the friendships of the crew, the first deep space explorers from Earth. It served to provide one last mission for the crew before the NX-01 Enterprise was decommissioned. Captain Jonathan Archer, one of my favorite Star Trek captains, was recognized for his contributions in the founding of the Federation.

  • How I Met Your Mother (episode – The Last Forever, pts 1 & 2)

When this aired, nearly a year ago, I was furious. We had spent nine seasons hearing the very long story of how Ted met the Mother. We watched him fall in and out of love with Robin. We became convinced that Robin and Barney belonged together. Then, this episode aired, took everything we thought we knew and flipped it upside down.

I really liked the time jumps, checking in with the gang as the years went by. All too soon though, we jumped three years and Barney and Robin were divorced. We had just spent an entire season that revolved around their wedding weekend, yet the marriage only last three years. Disappointing, but not hate worthy.

Rewatching it this week, I enjoyed the episode until I got to the point where the Mother, Tracy, is dying. Really? I watched for nine years and just as we are starting to see Ted and Tracy together, she dies. That was followed by Ted and Robin seemingly getting back together after we’ve been convinced that is not what they want. I might have enjoyed most of the episode while watching again, but the last seven minutes never should have happened.

  • Friends (episode – The Last One, pts 1 & 2)

This is one of my favorite series finales of all time. Everything ended just as I wanted it to. Monica and Chandler were moving to the suburbs with their twins. Phoebe actually found someone who could deal with her special kind of eccentricity in Mike and was smart enough to marry him. Joey was still Joey, and I love him for that. My favorite part of the episode? Rachel got off the plane. After ten years of on again, off again, Ross and Rachel found their way back together in a way that was perfectly them. I wouldn’t change a thing.

  • Angel (episode – Not Fade Away)

Poor Joss Whedon. He went to the network for an early renewal and got shot down. I imagine that he had to scramble for an ending to this great series. My only complaint about this finale is that the setup felt a little rushed to me. Other than that, I love it. On that final day, when Angel gave everyone time to spend however they wanted, it not only gave the characters closure. It gave us viewers closure, too. The ending was perfect, the story was complete. Whatever happened when they walked out of that alley was a new story.

  • LOST (episode – The End)

LOST is one of those series that people either really love or really hate. It’s polarizing. I don’t think that it’s possible for there to be middle ground where this show is concerned. I am a huge fan of both the series and the finale. I actually wish I had chosen this finale for this post. It has been a long time since I’ve watched the series and my memory of the events leading up to the finale was a little fuzzy. Because of that, I’m not really going to comment on the symbolism in the episode. I’ll save that for a later post. I do have two comments now on the finale. First, I loved that they all needed each other in order to be able to move on. Second, the mirrored scenes that opened and closed the series, focused on the opening and closing of Jack’s eye, were brilliant, in my opinion.

That’s it, just a quick look at the finales of some of my favorite TV shows. Trust me, if I did a post on all of my favorite series finales, we would be here for a very, very long time.

Oh yeah, the one finale that was still on my ‘hate’ list? That would be the Seinfeld finale. Admittedly, I was never a big fan of the show. I only watched because my husband did. There were episodes that I like, but the finale left a bad taste in my mouth about the series in general.

When Fandoms Attack

This past week has been, well, let’s be honest. It’s been hell. I’ve watched not one, but two fandoms turn on themselves. They’ve attacked on producers, writers, and actors. When that wasn’t enough, they turned on each other. People who have a common interest have been more interested in abusing each other and tearing down what brought them together in the first place.

It’s a funny thing about digital communities and social networking. It’s all so anonymous. There is no guarantee that any of us are who we say we are. That anonymity can be very freeing, allowing us to interact with people or say things we might not otherwise. It can make even the meekest of people the bravest person on the planet. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. I know it’s pushed me out of my comfort zone. As recently as two years ago, I never would have considered writing fan fiction or a blog. Now, I do and enjoy both. I’ve happily gone from a lurker to an active participant.

Unfortunately, there is a downside to that anonymity, that freedom. In some people it seems to be the permission they need to turn off their inner filter. I was raised to believe that there are just some things that you don’t say. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for freedom of speech. I just think it’s possible to speak without being abusive.

This week, it has seemed as though anyone with a differing opinion has been treated like fresh meat in a pool of piranha. The attacks have been swift and brutal. I’m sure the people attached to the shows, the actors, writers, producers, have brushed off these attacks without a second thought. They have placed themselves in a position of being on the receiving end of negativity as well as the adoration that comes with celebrity. It doesn’t make it right. Sadly, it is just part of the job.

I’m more concerned for the average fan, especially the ones who still enjoy the show and are attacked and ridiculed for admitting it. It sickens me to see the lengths that some people will go to all in the name of being a ‘good fan.’ I long for the days when we could all get along, when our fandoms were almost like Nirvana, placed where we could happily coexist. Instead, what I have witnessed this week could be better described as hell on earth for those being attacked, for those not getting onboard with the mob mentality.

In light of the atmosphere surrounding two of my favorite fandoms, I have reverted to my lurker status. I’ve unfollowed a few, muted a few and mostly just kept to myself. I’m back to being a fandom of one. For the most part, I’m okay with that. I resent that I don’t feel as if I can be free with my opinions, because honestly, I’m mad, too. I would like to commiserate with those that share my opinion. I’m just not willing to attack everyone else along the way. So, I’ll just sit on the sidelines, waiting for things to calm down before I wade back in. I’ll stick to expressing myself in the ways I’m most comfortable with – a little fan fiction here, a little blogging there. I’ll play it safe, because when this drama passes (and it will) and the rabid fans have moved on to the next crisis, those of us on the sidelines will be ready to take the field again.

And the winner is…

Pivot. Moistmaker. Transpondster. Holiday Armadillo. The meaning of the box is threefold. What kind of crazy-ass clowns came to your birthday? Gum would be perfection. Viva Las Gay-gas. How you doin’? We were on a break!

If you recognized any of those quotes and catchphrases, you know that my absolute all-time favorite sitcom is Friends. It is the one sitcom that I can watch anytime, anywhere, any episode. Twenty years after it premiered, it still holds up. The pop culture references and technology might be dated, but if you strip those away, the show is still very relatable in 2015.

From the writers to the ensemble cast, even the creative episode naming scheme, NBC had a hit from Day One. Chandler’s quick wit and snarkiness, Ross with his awkwardness and ability to embarrass himself in any situation, Monica’s competitiveness, Joey’s lovability, Phoebe’s quirkiness, Rachel’s growth from spoiled little rich girl to mom and career woman, all of these things and more kept me tuning in week after week.

Because Friends was such a huge part of my life for ten seasons, my kids have grown up hearing Friends references on an almost daily basis. Since Netflix added the series this past January, two of my sons have watched it. No. 1 Son has watched the complete series and is already planning on going back and re-watching his favorite episodes. No. 3 Son is midway through season 9, watching when his class schedule allows. He’s amazed that he can give me an episode title and I can tell him that this, this and this happened in that one.

Sharing my love of this show with the next generation makes my heart happy. These two guys each have their own fandoms. Lucky for me, some of their interests overlap some of mine. Many of our best conversations are about one fandom or another. It’s not that we are talking about ‘The One with Chandler in the Box.’ It’s the other things that come out while we’re talking about that. That’s what makes me happy. Anytime my twenty-six and nineteen year old sons share part of their busy lives with me, I come out the winner.

Some days you need a happy ending…

Today is definitely one of those days. I looked through my favorite TVD stories on FanFiction this morning in search of a happy ending. Unfortunately, nothing really grabbed me. When I did try to read, I was easily distracted, which made reading near impossible.

I lost count of the interruptions when I realized what was distracting me. My muse, bless her heart, already had a happy ending in mind. I just needed to pay attention to her. So, I did.

The result is Hope’s Reward. Give it a read. Let me know what you think. If you have any favorite Delena fics, please, share them!

Seemingly Impossible Task

Today’s announcement that Nina Dobrev will be leaving The Vampire Diaries at the end of the season has truly floored me. I suppose I should have been expecting it and maybe I was on some level. I’ve read the rumors over the last several months that things were not unicorns and rainbows on set. Frankly, I don’t care about the actors’ personal lives. As long as everyone shows up and does their job in a professional manner, I’m a happy camper. I just want to see twenty-two episodes of my shows each season.

I’ve spent the last several hours trying to figure out how the writers get us from Point A (episode 6×17) with a happy Damon and Elena to Point B (episode 6×22) where Elena dies or leaves town or whatever the writers have planned. The path totally escapes me, although I can’t help but wonder if this is why the cure is back in play.

Even harder for me to envision is what season seven will look like. I consider Elena to be the central character around whom the show was built. To move forward without her seems like an impossible task. However, I have to have faith that the producers and writers will deliver, otherwise I’m just crushed.

So, I anxiously await the final five episodes of season six and plan to mourn the loss of Elena during the summer hiatus. When October rolls around and season seven premieres, I will be sitting in front of the TV, excited to see what season seven holds for the residents of Mystic Falls.

Any theories, anyone? Please share!

Wandering the Paths, part 1

I like to knit while I binge watch shows on Netflix. It keeps my hands busy, while letting my mind wander. Not wander in the sense of spacing off or not paying attention to what’s on the screen. Instead, I make connections and see patterns that I wouldn’t otherwise. It’s almost like a kind of freedom, if that makes sense. My biggest ‘aha’ moments come at those times.

I’d like to say that what follows fits into the deep thought category. Sadly, it doesn’t. This could better be described as some things that I found interesting or funny while binge watching The Vampire Diaries.

  • It’s amazing that none of the kids are alcoholics by the age of twenty. There appears to be no legal drinking age in Mystic Falls. Access to alcohol does not seem to be hampered by the fact one is a minor. It certainly seems to flow freely at the parties the gang attend. I could be wrong about this, but I think that even in the current season, they are all minors, except the Salvatores, of course.
  • Kids on this show aren’t allowed to have parents. Elena and Jeremy lost their parents prior to the pilot. Elena has also lost her birth parents. Bonnie’s father is dead and her mother is a vampire, so technically, also dead. Tyler’s parents have both been killed. Matt’s dad seems to be an absentee deadbeat, while his mother actually listened when Matt told her to leave and never come back. That brings me to Caroline, who as of this season has lost both of her parents. These kids have had to raise themselves.
  • How have any of the kids graduated from high school? They spent more time out of class than in it. Where were their teachers and parents? Oh, that’s right, their parents are all dead. And the teachers? Even Alaric didn’t seem to nag them about showing up to class.
  • Why does anyone stay in Mystic Falls? It’s a seriously screwed up town. It was even way before the Salvatores came strolling back. (see 1 & 3 above) The council really does not do a good job of hiding all of the supernatural activity. How many animal attacks can one town have?

So, there you have it, a look at paths my obsessive brain likes to wander. I can’t help but be curious if I’m the only one who thinks about these things. Next time, I’ll have the rest of the list.

Just a Baby Vamp

I am new to The Vampire Diaries, like baby vamp new. My husband on the other hand, has watched since the beginning. He tried for years to get me to watch, but I was steadfast in my refusal. I wasn’t ‘into’ vampires. I hadn’t read the Anne Rice or Twilight books. There was no True Blood, Buffy or Angel for me, either. 

At least, that was true until two years ago. I had discovered Bones and was completely obsessed. Surprise, surprise. That led to watching Buffy and then Angel, thanks to David Boreanaz. I thought that would be the extent of the vampires that I allowed in my life. 

Wrong. My husband, who can be very sneaky, started watching The Vampire Diaries when I was in the room. Little by little, it caught my interest. I picked up on little bits of Damon and Elena’s lives and wanted more.

This is where I can thank Netflix for my obsession. I binge watched seasons one through five in a week. Yes, a week. I bought season six on Amazon Prime. I think there were seven or eight episodes at that point, which I quickly watched. I immediately went back to the beginning watched it all again. And again. And again. You see where I’m going with this, right?

Here’s the thing with watching the same one hundred twenty plus episodes in a constant loop for a month or more – I found myself wondering about this aspect or that. It was never anything earthshattering, no theories about upcoming plot twists or interpretations of characters. Just some observations that I eventually compiled and emailed to my dear friend, Lisa, who shares my TVD obsession, just not to the same degree. (thank goodness!)

I’ll be sharing in those observations in my next post or two. Stay tuned.

A little about me…

fan – an enthusiastic devotee, usually as a spectator; an ardent admirer or enthusiast (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)

I am a wife. A mother. A knitter. A writer. A geek. And a fangirl. I freely admit to having an addictive personality. When I find a new interest, I am all in (read obsessive). That obsession is what has brought me here.

I am a fan of many things. I think we all are, whether it’s a sports team, a movie, book or a TV show. We all have those things that we enjoy.

My first memory of truly being a fan occurred at the age of ten. My father took me to see Superman: The Movie. Christopher Reeve as Superman flew across that huge screen and I was hooked. Unfortunately, at that time there was no internet. I wasn’t into comic books. I had to wait until Superman II and then Superman III were released to really feed my interest. (We don’t acknowledge the existence of Superman IV in our house, for obvious reasons.)

My fangirl tendencies didn’t really take hold until 1987 when Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered. I was all in. I rented the older Star Trek movies, saw the new ones as they were released. I watched each new Star Trek series as much as possible, but with small children, it was difficult. Over the years, I’ve become enthusiastic about other shows, movies and books – Firefly, Harry Potter, Chuck, X-Men, Alias and too many others to name.

Fast forward to the Netflix age, which makes binge watching a complete season over a weekend more than just possible. It’s my reality. Watching this episode or that, just to pick up on some minutiae that I missed during my first, fifth or tenth watch is my normal.

Funny thing about watching over and over again. I have developed my own interpretations and theories about each of my obsessions. One of the great things about being part of a fandom is the opportunity to share those ideas and discuss them. The downside of being in a fandom is the negativity that sometimes seeps in. Some days I just need to be a fandom of one.

That brings me to the purpose of this blog. Sometimes the thoughts in my head just need a platform upon which they can see the light of day. This is my platform.

More thoughts, theories and interpretations to come…