cordelianne: (Veronica/Logan flashback making out)
Whenever I have a bad day, like today (thanks PMS, excessive heat, really painful blisters and work stress), I try to focus on things that make me happy. So I decided this would be the perfect time to share my list of favourite kisses on television!

My Ten Favourite Kisses on Television )
cordelianne: (Default)
I’ve decided to do something completely original and inventive to recap 2005!! ... Okay, not really. Like Entertainment Weekly, TVGal, Watch with Kristin, etc I’m compiling lists of the best – and the worst – of 2005.


Best Moments of 2005 in TV (ahem, I’m using a very loose definition of “moments”)

1. Veronica Mars’ renewal and awesome season one finale. VM has been a bright spot for me this year.

2. The media’s response to Hurricane Katrina. The heartfelt, active and horrified response of the media to this situation was a nice counterpoint to the tragedy of the event.

3. What sophomore slump? It’s great that VM, House and Grey’s Anatomy are having impressively good second seasons.

4. Bright & Hannah kiss in the Everwood season three finale. This was particularly satisfying because of how their relationship developed organically throughout the season. It’s also damn cute.

5. Buffyverse actors return to TV. James Marsters on Smallville, Charisma Carpenter on VM, Alyson Hannigan on How I Met Your Mother, David Boreanaz on Bones, Christian Kane on Close to Home and Nicholas Brendon on the sadly canceled Kitchen Confidential.

6. The news that Scrubs is returning to TV in January. It’ll be on NBC Tuesdays at 9pm and 9:30pm.

7. Lorelei tells her mother We’re over in mid-season 5, then a few episodes ago reassures her You haven’t lost me. I love the complexities of the relationships on Gilmore Girls.

8. Veronica and Logan’s first kiss on VM. Best.Kiss.Ever.

9. The reunion of Jin & Sun and Bernard & Rose on Lost. Oh man, the tears were flowing for that moment.

10. Uchenna and Joyce win the Amazing Race - you could just tell that all the other contestants were happy also, it was such an air of celebration. It was great to watch really really nice people win.


Worst Moments of 2005 in TV

1. Joan of Arcadia not renewed. I still have much bitterness towards CBS for canceling such a thought-provoking and nuanced show about spirituality.

2. Tom Cruise. Tom Cruise and Scientology. Tom Cruise and his sudden expertise in post-partum depression (despite being neither a doctor nor a medical/drug expert). Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Tom Cruise and couches. The list could go on and on.

3. Sophomore slumps. It’s been disappointing to see Lost and Desperate Housewives, shows that were so original and compelling in their first seasons, struggle in their second seasons.

4. Watching the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina. Or should I say, lack of response.

5. Arrested Development and Kitchen Confidential canceled. There may be a silver lining for AD because it could be picked up by Showtime!

6. Paris Hilton. To quote from Joan of Arcadia: Now, who decided I need to care about Paris Hilton?

7. The return of Fear Factor to primetime. (Thanks to my brother for this providing this item on my list!)

8. The “War on Christmas” or should I say “the talking point created by the Christian Right who are freaked out by the fact that there’s other religions and faiths than Christianity.”

9. The brilliant Everwood being put on hiatus again by The WB so a reality show can be aired.

10. The Amazing Race: Family Edition and its incredible suckiness. I’m excited about the real Race returning in February: interesting looking contestants who will actually be traveling around the world!


Best Movies in 2005

1. Brokeback Mountain. A beautiful love story that’s well-acted, beautifully shot and continues to resonate days later. A brilliant and ground-breaking movie.

2. King Kong. This is what blockbusters the movie experience should be: good story, edge of your seat action, interesting characters, good acting, homage to old movies, good use of special effects and touching scenes.

3. Serenity. This movie is clearly made with passion which creates an amazing movie: it has love, hatred, and grief as well as action, humour, excitement and creepiness on a big screen scale. Firefly lives!

4. A History of Violence. It's a deceptively simple story that examines the violence that's underneath the surface of everyone. Definitely one of the best films of the year.

5. Batman Begins. This is pretty geeky, but I loved how coherent the story is - it's very tight storytelling (I really hate the sloppy storytelling and continuity that's in a lot of movies, particularly ones with significant CGI). It’s also a kick-ass superhero movie!

6. Walk the Line. This is more than just a biopic of another musician who started off poor, became famous for an innovative sound and struggled with drug addiction because of the love story at the heart of the film. This isn't cutsie romantic comedy love story material, this is a painful, intense and hard love story that's captivating to watch.

7. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. This is a great adaptation of the book, because it retains the significant aspects of the story while moving along at a fast and engaging pace. It was so good it got a friend to read all the novels.

8. Jarhead. A compelling war film that has no action scenes (unless you count the troops watching war movies). Excellent acting, beautifully shot, thought-provoking and relevant to today’s conflict.

9. Crash. An impressive yet flawed movie, the most notable flaw is how the multiple storylines are resolved. What's great about the movie - I optimistically hope - is that it encourages dialogue around racism and self-analysis of personal racism. Content aside, the acting is excellent, the shots beautifully done, and the scenes just blend together seemingly seamlessly.

10. 40 Year Old Virgin and The Wedding Crashers. As much as I love teen movies, it’s been great to have actual adult comedies. Neither of these movies are the best movies I’ve ever seen, so I've combined them as one item because they’re both damn funny movies that don’t have to shy away from adult topics.


Best TV shows of 2005

1. Veronica Mars. This show really is "the New Buffy" - it's intelligent with excellent dialogue and a smart, independent and fun heroine who's the centre of an enthralling universe of mystery, suspense, humour, pain, drama and often a combination of more than one of the above. To quote Joss Whedon Best.Show.Ever.

2. Gilmore Girls. Although Gilmore Girls is no longer the cozy and reassuring dramedy it used to be, it has grown up and is now successfully exploring the painful issues of becoming an adult and how this changes family relationships.

3. Everwood. Whenever I watch an episode of Everwood I always declare it The Best Show on Television. It has consistently high quality episodes with complex characters and storylines.

4. Arrested Development. This is the type of show that makes me laugh so hard that milk sprays out of my nose (if – you know – I actually was silly enough to drink anything while watching AD). Definitely the edgiest and funniest show on TV.

5. Reba. This show draws from the tradition of old-fashioned family sitcoms like The Dick Van Dyke Show but also has clear influences from the more cutting-edge Roseanne. Reba deals with lots of serious issues really well – weight gain and weight loss, adultery, alcoholism, depression – however it’s not a serious drama because it succeeds is finding the humour in these difficult and painful scenarios.

6. Grey’s Anatomy. I never would have guessed last year that this show would have made my list. It’s gone from being good soapy fun to a show with increasingly well-written episodes and smart/interesting story decisions (ie. Having Dr. McDreamy’s estranged wife stay and be a likeable character).

7. My Name is Earl. It's definitely one of my new favourite shows. It has a great premise (Earl discovering the concept of Karma and now trying to make amends for all the bad things he's done) that has resulted in interesting and funny episodes (eg. trying to make up for faking his own death to break-up with a girl, or kidnapping a woman to help her quit smoking).

8. Doctor Who. For some reason I didn't expect the show to have such a fabulous combination of fun, heart-wrenching drama, suspense, and interesting stories. It’s so hard waiting a whole year for the new season. I’m very excited about the special The Christmas Invasion airing on Boxing Day at 8pm to 9:30pm on CBC.

9. Entourage. Overall I love this show because it has heart - it really feels like these 4 guys are good friends. They may tease each other but they ultimately look out for each other. Also, how can I not love a show that has Jeremy Piven’s deliciously sleazy agent say Hug it out, bitch?

10. How I Met Your Mother. One of the reasons I’ve declared that there’s a “Sitcom Renaissance”. Definitely my favourite new sitcom this season (ie. half-hour comedy with a laugh track). It has sustained its funny from the pilot and it does over-the-top really well. It’s also has excellent writing and a very good cast.

11. Everybody Hates Chris. A very funny and smart new approach to the family sitcom (ie. no laugh track). Race issues and racism are explored in an intelligent and humourous way thanks to Chris Rock’s excellent narration.

I’m very impressed that I contained myself to ten items for each category, except for the Best TV shows and I’m very pleased that I only exceeded by one item! I’m now excited to compare my lists with Entertainment Weekly’s (I purposefully didn’t look at it before created my lists)!!


Right now I’m at my parent’s place in Kingston having a relaxing Christmas Eve! I slept in until 1pm!! We decorated the house and tree last night so it’s all festive, and there’s a tray of yummy treats to snack on. My mom sings in a United church choir so we’ll be attending a Family service and then the midnight service tonight. Right now I plan to do a little more livejournal reading and work more on my screenplay. I LOVE that I brought my laptop with me, and that my brother has set up the house for wireless internet!!! Yay to my younger and very technologically capable brother!!

Happy Holidays everyone!!
cordelianne: (Default)
My television can still surprise me. Now I'm not talking about shocking twists and surprise endings, because these devices rarely surprise me anymore (not that I don't enjoy a good twist). It's mostly random things that are catching me off guard right now.

Here's what's actually surprising me:

1. Lost isn't dead. I wasn't loving the 1st couple of episodes so it wasn't until Wednesday that I watched "Everybody Hates Hugo" and "...And Found". They may not have provided big answers, and there was still a music montage ending, but both episodes were good tv.

I enjoyed the glimpse into Hurley's slacker past. And of course, I loved the Sun and Jin meeting - so adorable! I also liked the fleeting glimpse of who I'm assuming are the Others.

2. There's a good chance of romance for Reba this year! I didn't expect to be so excited by the minister telling Barbara Jean that he likes Reba.

Also, bonus surprise points for casting Patrick Fabian as Reverend Parks because he's sexy, nice and interesting on Reba whereas he was jerky and mean on Joan of Arcadia as Gavin Price (the vice-principal).

3. The Amazing Race: Family Edition sucks. I figured it wouldn't be as good as previous seasons and was disappointed about the lack of diversity but I never expected it to be this bad and boring.

Having the teams go to a giant office chair and a gas station for clues seems more like a scavenger hunt organized by dorky parents instead of the Amazing Race. Oh yeah, and why are they STILL in the U.S.?!!

4. I'm laughing at sitcoms (note the plural use of the word sitcom!), instead of being confused when I hear a laugh track. Both How I Met Your Mother and Out of Practice consistently make me laugh out loud.

Neil Patrick Harris is always fabulously sleazy, Alyson Hannigan is cute and Jason Segel is very entertaining (especially the scene of him dancing). Out of Practice also has an excellent cast. Wait, you mean actors need to be able to deliver their lines, not just look pretty?!!

5. There's a lesbian on tv who looks like a real lesbian, and not a super femme straight woman. Obviously there are lots of femmy queer women but there's also lots of dykes who dress like Paula Marshall's character (Regina) on Out of Practice: funky jeans, a t-shirt with fun patterns layered over a long sleeved top. Very cute!

6. Smallville had a good pop culture reference!

Aquaman: “I don’t travel with an entourage.”

This is a reference to Entourage because on the show Vince is cast as Aquaman.

Of course, there's still stuff that doesn't surprise me:

1. Veronica Mars rocks! It's definitely my favourite show. I really enjoyed the last 2 episodes especially Charisma Carpenter's character's annoyance with Veronica (the hand gesture is excellent) and Logan's "Veronica Mars has accused me of evil.[Logan twirls an imaginary moustache.]" hee hee

2. Everwood continues to kick ass (not literally though). My heart ached when Ephram was tempted by the piano (I love that temptation comes in the form of a piano on this show). Everwood also delights me with excellent scenes containing unexpected pairings, eg. Hannah and Jake. Also I love weirdly obsessive Harold!

To the show runner: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for Rose’s cancer being gone!!!

3. Gilmore Girls has entertaining episodes - Sores and Boils Alley! - even when not much happens. One of the things that Gilmore Girls has excelled at it making small issues into good and fun tv.

4. James Marsters is an excellent actor. With much enjoyment I re-watched all of his scenes on Smallville. He just pours his whole self into a character, and it pays off. I don't like Milton Fine as much as Spike, but I'm very interested in the character and excited to see what his real plans for Clark are.

Also, the promo for next week's episode of Smallville has James Marsters say: "Clark, there's no such thing as vampires." ha!

5. I still love Buffy the Vampire Slayer!! I just saw parts of "The Replacement" and it made me so happy. I love how slobby!Xander and Anya hide behind suave!Xander when Toth attacks. Also, these lines always make me laugh:

Both Xanders: "Kill us both Spock."
Giles: "Yes, he's clearly a bad influence on himself." (I suspect that could also frequently apply to me!)

Here's some of my favourite quotes from tv recently:

Bright: “You’re like a social black hole. All light goes into you and dies.”
Ephram: “First of all, it’s not certain whether light is conscious so it can’t die ….” (Everwood 4:3) Love the geekiness!

Gary: “I hate her.”
Vince: “Then you may be sending mixed signals by making out with her.” (What I Like About You 4:4)

Lorelei: “Of course, the Norma Rae reference was only in my head and everyone was very confused.”
Michel: “Yes, it happens a lot with you.” (Gilmore 6:6) Sigh, I can totally relate to Lorelei.


Oh, good news, it looks like Alyson Hannigan will guest star in a November episode of VM (Charisma Carpenter will also guest star)!!
cordelianne: (Default)
I've never been that hip about music. I was the kid who grew up in Kingston and didn't know who the Tragically Hip were when I started high school (the Tragically Hip are Kingstonians like me). I used to only find out about a hip, cool or ground-breaking musician/band if one of my friends clued me in. But now I can actually pretend that I'm tuned into the music scene, all thanks to television.

I recall the days when it seemed like only Dawson's Creek would prominently use songs in montage sequences but now it's become commonplace. Television is now one of the key advertising venues for new albums or singles, and it's getting way less subtle than previously (which is impressive because Dawson's Creek had many good qualities but subtlety was never one of them). Did you enjoy the song you just heard in this week's episode of The O.C. or Smallville? Wait until the episode's over and we'll tell you the artist, album name and suggest that you buy the album on our website.

Sure it's starting to feel that television episodes are just advertisements for new albums or singles, and that we don't need well-written conclusions if we end with a music montage, but there's also some positives. A lot of cool music is reaching a wider audience. So even though major artists like REM (who I like, don't get me wrong) practically sponsored an episode of Smallville, the increased focus on music means that smaller artists and bands are also getting noticed by viewers.

Here's some musicians I've been introduced because of television (keeping in mind that I'm really really out of it about music):

- Franz Ferdinand: So technically I'm already a fan of Franz Ferdinand because I own and love their self-titled debut. However, I kept hearing this awesome song on television shows and was dying to know the song title and artist's name. After fruitless searching on the internet, I had a brainwave and realized the addictive song I'd heard in the first few minutes of the Threshold premiere and in the promos for Everwood is the new Franz Ferdinand single "Do You Want To." As a result of the song's connection to both tv shows, I now am excited about buying the new album this Tuesday (October 4th!!!).

- Death Cab for Cutie: Sure Seth Cohen's coolness has faded as the seasons of The O.C. pass, but Death Cab is blossoming. I didn't think it could be possible but I actually like Plans more than Transatlanticism. Also I noticed that Death Cab has been high on the charts which means that they're reaping the rewards of their television exposure.

- Postal Service: Okay, I actually had been loving Postal Service before hearing "Such Great Heights" on Veronica Mars, but it was only after seeing it on VM that I bought the album.

- Avril Lavigne: Now even I had heard of Avril Lavigne, but hearing her song "Take Me Away" on Joan of Arcadia made me a fan. I loved "Take Me Away" so much that I searched the internet to find out who the artist was, and was taken aback that it was Avril Lavigne (I'd been avoiding Avril because I wasn't impressed by her pseudo Punk thing). I now own the album that "Take Me Away" is on and enjoy quite a few other songs.

- Kim Richey - I bought the Angel soundtrack CD mostly because of her beautiful song "A Place Called Home" (the other reason for the purchase was motivated by my Buffy/Angel verse fandom). This is a good example of excellent use of a song montage to end an episode because the song perfectly evokes the character's grief and the solitary state of the characters on the show: "Someday I'll go where there ain't no rain or snow. Dream of a place called home." I don't think that this lyric is played in the episode ("Shells"), but it also perfectly describes the journeys of all the characters, including Fred: "I'd rather walk a winding road, rather know the things I know, see the world with my eyes, no regrets, no looking back, no good-byes." The reason this song worked (other than that it's an awesome song) is that it wasn't a gimmicky montage (yes I'm talking to you One Tree Hill, The O.C. and Smallville), rather it perfectly fits into the episode.

- The Dandy Warhols - Thanks to Buffy and VM I not only know who this cool band is - it was awesome to understand why my film prof talked about The Dandy Warhols in his lecture on postmodernism - but I also enjoy them.

- Modest Mouse - Another indie band that's been working for years and is finally getting noticed thanks in part to exposure on shows like The O.C. "Float On" always makes me feel better if I'm down about the state of the world.

- Damien Rice - My discovery of Damien Rice was a serendipitous television event. I initially mistook "Delicate" for Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" that was played in the season finale of The O.C. Season One (please remember that I am really really unhip about music), so decided to check out Rice's whole album. I then realized that I'd heard him on Joan of Arcadia and as I sorted out my confusion I became a huge fan of Damien Rice.

As much as I also really love Jeff Buckley's cover of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" (see I now am more knowledgeable about the song), the song is becoming a cliche. It was used in the ending montage of House's 2nd season premiere (lessening an otherwise excellent episode), and it isn't even the 2nd time "Hallelujah" has been used in the final montage of an episode. According to Daniel Fienberg at Zap2it.com:

"The effect [of "Hallelujah" playing on House's premiere] was probably similar to when Buckley's cover of Cohen's "Hallelujah" was used for heartbreaking closing montages on The West Wing, Without a Trace and The O.C. all within the past couple years. The song pops up again for the same purpose in the new movie Lord of War. ... Buckley's recording of the song is the perfect showcase for the late singer's fragile voice and it's made all the more haunting by his premature demise, but seriously, this abuse has got to stop. Playing "Hallelujah" has become the equivalent of showing a dead kitty cat. Need some gratuitous tears? Cue up the Buckley. Why bother working for it when you can let the soundtrack do the work. ... Forget about saving Katie Holmes. Save Jeff Buckley."

This very similar observation was also made by Dalton Ross in the September 23/05 issue of Entertainment Weekly, who additionally observes that Lost, Six Feet Under and Resucue Me have also succumbed to music montage. Ross suggests that "Keep this cliche up, and viewers may start creating their own montages - by channel surfing."

Sure television columnists - like Feinberg and Ross - and people obsessed with tv - like me - have noticed the music montage cliche and over-dominance of music on television shows recently, but have most other viewers? Do the people who tune into a few shows a week get upset that there's often music montages or that only Beck's music is played during an episode of The O.C.? Do they care about the extended/gratuitous U2 concert on Entourage? Perhaps, like me, people are pleased that they're also getting some exposure to music in an interesting way (instead of mindlessly watching music videos for hours on end, not that I've ever done that, ahem) and maybe discovering some cool new musician or band that'll become their new favourite. For example, I think it's neat that Saigon, an up and coming hip hop artist who's about to release his first album, is being showcased on Entourage as an up and coming hip hop artist.

So if I start hearing Arcade Fire or Stars on television shows (I think that a Stars' song may already be in a commercial), I'm going to be excited that excellent Canadian indie bands are getting more exposure. Hey, Canada's already getting name dropped by Green Day (they mention Toronto in "She's a Rebel") and Death Cab (Calgary's mentioned in "I Will Follow You Into the Dark"), so let's also get more play for the numerous excellent musicians of Canada! As a friend pointed out about Death Cab's popularity, they've worked really hard so it's nice that it's paying off and they're getting recognized. Let's hope that the increasingly spotlight on songs on television pays off for more deserving artists.

So I say, bring on the music montage, bring on the purchasing plugs at the end of episodes if it keeps introducing excellent and hard-working artists to a wider audience. Of course, that doesn't mean that every episode has to end in a cliched music montage, I also want to keep getting well-written episode endings, like on Gilmore Girls, that rely on good writing to create an effective and compelling conclusion. .... Now please imagine that a heart-warming yet intelligent song is playing to conclude my entry.
cordelianne: (Default)
I love that there are Buffy reruns on during the day (1pm on Razer and 3pm on Space) so I often catch parts of the episodes (normally while I'm working out and getting ready for work). Bad Eggs (2:12) was on today, and even though it's kind of cheesy I'm always entertained by that episode. One of my favourite moments on the show happens in that episode when Giles, Buffy and Willow discover that Xander has boiled the egg he's responsible for:

Giles: Technically that would be cheating, yes?

Xander: No! It's like a short cut. You know, when you run a race?

Buffy: That would also be cheating.

Willow: You should be ashamed.

Giles: I suppose there is a sort of... Machiavellian ingenuity to your
transgression.

Xander: I resent that! Or possibly thank you.

Xander's response is perfect - it's exactly the right response to being told that you're employing a Machiavellian approach. I'm also entertained by his attempt to explain away his cheating.

Today when I was declaring my love for Entourage and saying that it's one of my favourite shows, my co-worker accused me of having 4,000 favourite shows, and that for something to be a favourite it should be the only one. To that I say, Ha! Yes, ha! She's missing out on all my fun. I love having lots of favourite things - it's fun to enjoy a diversity of things! For a while one of my friends was re-watching all the Buffy episodes and whenever she'd tell me the episode she'd just watched, I'd declare "that's one of my favourite episodes!" It became a running joke with us.

Although I watch a lot of shows - and have a lot of favourites, they fall into different categories/my own version of genres:

Show or Shows I Will Always Love:
Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly

Newly Canceled Show - and Thought-Provoking Show on Spirituality - that I Miss:
Joan of Arcadia

Newest Obsession:
Veronica Mars

Every time I Watch this Show I Declare it to be the "Best Show on Television:"
Everwood

Favourite Dramedy and Show that I Forget the Characters Aren't Real:
Gilmore Girls

Favourite Character Drama:
Lost

Favourite Sci Fi Series - and Political Commentary:
Doctor Who (the new one)

Favourite Reality Series (and only one I watch):
Amazing Race

Favourite Comedy that Makes Me Cry (and Laugh):
Scrubs

Favourite Comedy that Shocks Me by Its Daring (and Makes Me Laugh):
Arrested Development

Favourite Comedy About Friends That Makes Me Laugh:
Entourage

Favourite News (ahem, Fake News) Show:
The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

Even as I write this list, I'm concerned that I'm leaving out shows that I love. Should I have also included My So-Called Life in "Show or Shows I Will Always Love"? What about Freaks & Geeks, Roseanne, Northern Exposure, and Kids in the Hall? Okay, maybe I do have a problem with loving too many tv shows, oh well. I think I'll watch some re-runs of the Amazing Race, one of my favourite shows!

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