Monday, July 08, 2013

Stuff for a Monday

I used to do these jumbled posts all the time, and haven't done one in a while, so here's a brain-dump of Stuff Nikki's Been Up To.

Vampire Diaries Season 3
So, I watched the entire third season of TVD in a week. Booyah!! For someone who barely has time to watch four hours of TV a week, this was a major, major accomplishment, spurred on by two things: One, that I'd taken the discs out of my beloved library (I love the London library SO MUCH) and they were due back in one week, and two, that the season was SO FREAKIN' AWESOME. I have a long and complicated history with TVD. I watched the first episode before it even aired, and thought it was just OK. I thought Stefan was like Angel (once-bad vampire gone good, broody, heavy brow), and Damon was like Spike (still-bad vampire but deep-down he's good, cute, witty, a thorn in the side of the other one, both love the same girl). Couldn't much stand Elena. Her best friend was a witch (Willow?) and of course along the way there's a werewolf and the ditzy friend (who was never a Cordy; I loved Caroline right from the start). Of course, THEN I discovered that TVD was based on a series of book that predated Buffy, and that these ideas were formed independent of Joss Whedon's show. But I just couldn't help but think it was a far too serious vampire show with absolutely no sense of humour, and therefore I couldn't get into it. I gave up. Everyone else in the office I worked at loved it. One friend of mine started writing amazing books about it. I tried again after they told me I HAD TO. I watched up to about episode 16 of season 1, and nope, just couldn't find it. Where was the humour? The darkness? A female protagonist that wasn't a damsel in distress? Couldn't do it. I realized I was becoming a social pariah in the office. A year later, I tried again. Nope. Continued to listen to the chatter in the office and wish I could be a part of it. A year later (now no longer in the office, so I was doing this for myself, kids), I was determined to figure out what all the fuss was about. Finished season 1, pretty good ending. Then watched season 2. It took a few tries out of the library, and I finally finished it, and I enjoyed it a lot more than season 1 because it had gotten more complicated and the characters were tighter and I was really starting to warm up to these Salvatore boys. And I could just ignore Elena because there were so many other more compelling characters. And Caroline continued to rock it. I put season 3 on hold and waited an eternity for it to come in. Knowing it was going to take a while to get it back, I dug in my heels and was determined to get through as much as possible.

And OH MY GOD it was amazing. I couldn't stop watching it. Kids are outside playing? TVD. Off at swimming lessons? TVD. I had the added bonus of my husband being away for the second week in a row, so I'd get the kids into bed and bomb through two or three episodes a night. The Originals were stunning (love love love them), the love triangle got complicated and more exciting, Elena was just a little less annoying and I actually felt for her because I know she means well, and I was emailing my friend who writes the books, who I think was happy that FINALLY I'd come around and realized the goodness that had been in front of me. And then she introduced me to Price Peterson's photo recaps and they were awesomely hilarious. I still think the show could do with a dose of humour, but it definitely had its moments in S3. Damon stepped up the taunting of his brother to very funny levels, and Klaus has a dry sense of humour that I adored. By the end of the season, I could find a line or two from each episode that made me chuckle, if not laugh out loud. And the season finale featured a stunning final scene, edited so beautifully to bring together a tragic flashback sequence overlaid with a similar event in the present, all with Sigur Ros quietly playing over it. GORGEOUSNESS.

I am SO happy that I recorded all of S4 on my DVR all season, and it's waiting downstairs for me. Problem is, I watched all of S3 on my computer, pretending Mommy was "working" all week. How do I get away with actually watching the TV? Hm.

Monsters University
I went with the kiddos last week to see Monsters University, with all of us being big fans of the first one. It was a lot of fun, although I think the first movie was stronger. Also, knowing that that movie ended with the message that (SPOILER) the screams don't actually create half as much energy as laughter, it rendered all of the scaring school and scream-inducements kind of flat. But there were a few scenes that made us all laugh out loud, including a hilarious fraternity initiation that goes terribly wrong (my son was killing himself laughing) and Goodman and Crystal were great. Oh, and also, the moment the alpha male from the top fraternity showed up and began talking, I recognized Nathan Fillion's voice IMMEDIATELY. I had no idea he was in the movie, and he's hilarious. Basically Captain Hammer in a university.

Love Is All You Need
My best friend and I started hitting the London rep cinema once a week in the fall, until we ended up putting yoga on that same night and now could only do that instead, so it's been a while, but we ended up at this Susanne Bier movie. We've been a fan of her work since her Dogme 95 days, when Sue and I would go see all the Danish and Norwegian flicks at the Toronto Film Festival every fall. This one is far more mainstream (and breaks almost every Dogme rule), about an English businessman (Pierce Brosnan) who is in Denmark running a Danish company. His son is about to marry a girl whose mother has just discovered her husband is cheating on her, after she has spent a year in chemo treatments to fight breast cancer. They all go to the wedding, Brosnan meets woman, etc. etc. A fun story, and where I'd like to say it's predictable, it actually isn't. There are lots of little twists and turns along the way and I really enjoyed it. What was particularly interesting is they didn't make Brosnan speak Danish, even though every other character speaks it. So in many conversations, he's speaking English, they reply in Danish, he nods and replies in English, etc. That way you just read the subtitles for the Danish, but they didn't have to teach Brosnan how to speak in jerky Danish for the movie. And it really works well.

Nurse Jackie
In addition to The Vampire Diaries, I've been marathoning Nurse Jackie. The seasons are quick, so it doesn't take long to get through 12 half-hour episodes, and I've blown through the first two seasons in no time. My library (love you, library!) has season three for me, and I'm picking it up on Tuesday. If you haven't seen this show, get it. It's addictive (no pun intended) and fun, and sad. I always thought it was a comedy, but it's a drama with comic moments. It handles even the deepest crises with some humour but a lot of delicacy, and it's a brilliant show. And Edie Falco proves she is bad in NOTHING.

I have a lot more on the go, but I've rambled on long enough for now! Perhaps more next week. :)


Marebabe said...

I always enjoy these posts on what you’ve been up to lately. The only thing we’ve seen in common is “Monsters University”, which was pretty wonderful. I’ve just finished watching all of “Downton Abbey”. It took only a few weeks, and I watched the S3 finale yesterday. So now I’m waiting for its return next winter, like the rest of you. It is super-sudsy, and I love it!

Rebecca T. said...

I can't tell you how happy I am you finally have hopped on the TVD bandwagon! It's funny, though - Naomi saw the second season before she saw the first season and she's told me that she doesn't think she would have liked it if she'd started at the beginning, but she could appreciate the first season more having seen the second.

And Marebabe - DOWNTON ABBEY! Oh my goodness I can't even handle the way the third season ended and I'm VERY curious to see what they do in S4!

Marebabe said...

Hey, Rebecca! Since this post seems to be the place for people to share “What I Did on My Summer Vacation”, I saw recently on Facebook that you were waxing enthusiastic about seeing “Much Ado” AGAIN. And it STILL hasn’t opened in any theater in Wichita. I checked online to see when it might, and all I found was a theater up in the Kansas City area that is currently showing it. I’m seriously considering rounding up my sister-in-law and a couple nieces and doing a Road Trip if it isn’t coming to Wichita pretty darn quick! I find the current situation unacceptable.

Nikki Stafford said...

Mary: the rep cinema where I saw the Pierce Brosnan movie had a poster up! I could let you know when it comes here and then you and your sister-in-law and nieces could make a trip to Canada!! You have a place to stay, and... it's Canada!

OK, maybe not. :-D But the offer is always open!

Nikki Stafford said...

And YES my husband and I marathoned Downton Abbey over about a month and loved it. Didn't like the end of S3 (contrived) but I still love the family and the adventures and when it was over I thought, "Well... NOW what?!" ;) And then I discovered another BBC series called "Call the Midwife." If you haven't seen it, I highly recommend it to both of you; it's fantastic!!!

Marebabe said...

Dear Nikki: Thanks all to pieces for the invitation! I guess you know it’s a tempting offer.  I’m surprised that you’re still waiting for the wide release of “Much Ado”, seeing how the world premiere was in Toronto. And thanks for the red-hot tip about “Call the Midwife”. I’ve heard praise for it from other friends and critics. I wonder if it’s on Netflix? Back in May, I started up a Netflix account so I could watch the new season of “Arrested Development”. So far, that’s all I’ve seen on Netflix. I should browse around and see what else there is.

Rebecca T. said...

Marebabe: I WANT to see Much Ado again, but it was only showing in a theatre near me for 1 week, which I happened to manage to hit. It's got the combined Shakespeare stigma (no one will want to watch it!) and the Whedon stigma (why does Hollywood hate him? WHY!?)so now I just keep sighing and checking obsessively for a DVD release (no news yet).
Nikki: I've seen the books for Call the Midwife, but haven't had a chance to check it out. It does look interesting. And yes, I agree that the end of DA S3 was contrived, but I blame that on Dan Stevens who I am now not a fan of. I'm sure there were things we didn't hear about, but I don't understand why he left when the show probably only has a year or two left before it isn't going to be supportable (without some MAJOR overhaul). Just the aging alone is already problematic.
Marebabe (again): (gee I'm being chatty tonight) Netflix is my best friend. I've been watching Fringe with my Mom, Dad, and sister and I'm so in love with the show it's driving me crazy to have to wait for them to watch the rest of it.

Marebabe said...

@Rebecca: I like chatty! :) Regarding Netflix, I’m sure I’ll like it better once we have better computers at our house. I have fabulous speakers on my computer, but my version of Windows is too old and creaky to play Netflix videos. The only computer in our house that will work with Netflix is Larry’s laptop, and the speakers on it remind me terribly of a pocket transistor AM radio circa 1968. Also, one of the reasons I love DVDs is the bonus features. I finished S3 of “Downton” on Sunday, but I’m still enjoying the behind-the scenes stuff. I doubt very much that Netflix includes these wonderful treats.

I’m still going to finish my rewatch of “Fringe”, but I got sidetracked with “Arrested Development” and then “Downton”. I will soon pick it up again and finish S2, and then get S3 and “September’s Notebook”. (Yay!) Speaking of expanding my DVD collection, whether or not I ever get to see “Much Ado” in a theater, I’ll be the first kid on my block to have it on DVD!

Colleen/redeem147 said...

I'm glad the Originals have their own series - so I can avoid them. ;)

Damon is the MAN! Well, vampire.

Why do they make the verification words so hard for humans to read?

Suzanne said...

Marebabe: You might consider investing in a Roku box for your television so you can watch Netflix that way. They aren't very expensive considering how wonderful it is once you have it. My husband and I seem to watch most of our tv that way now. We have caught up on so many great series that way. Vampire Diaries was one of the first we watched that way.

Rebecca: We just started Fringe, too, but are only a few episodes into it. We are really liking it.

Nikki: I can't wait to see how you feel about Season 4 of TVD.

Marebabe said...

@Suzanne: Thanks for the suggestion. I'd never heard of a Roku box. Is that a thing you can get at Best Buy, or someplace like it? (Actually, never mind. As soon as I typed that question, I realized I could surf the Internet for information. Amazon springs to mind.)

Suzanne said...

Marebabe: if you need help with how it works feel free to contact me on Facebook. Remember we became "friends" on FB after the great Buffy rewatch.

Marebabe said...

@Suzanne: Thanks for the offer. And of COURSE I remember friending you on FB after the Buffy rewatch! :) I've got a whole roster of friends that I've never met face-to-face, but who I got to know right here on Nikki's blog.