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Once Upon a Time: 7×01 Thoughts and 7×02 Predictions!

I promise I’ll get back to non-Once Upon a Time/TV-related content eventually, but there’s just too much stuff to think about, and I want to write it down for posterity!

Last week we talked about the new season of Once Upon a Time and how it was a reboot and a new beginning for the show. (Queue tears for the loss of Jennifer Morrison on the show, but excitement for new stories!)

But basically, we’ve known very little about what actually is going to take place this season or how Emma exits the show (Death? Break-up? No!) But between the first episode of season 7 and the preview images and promo for episode 2 (the one-off episode that Jennifer Morrison agreed to return for), I think I’m getting a better idea of what’s happening, and I’m FREAKING STOKED!

First, let’s talk about the first episode of this season. My first thoughts post-watch were mixed and confusing. It was Once Upon a Time, the show I love. But for a show in it’s seventh season, it had a lot of exposition for a season opener.

But that’s when it hit me that this is a pilot episode. It’s a pilot for this new world and new story and new characters. It’s definitely based in our original OUAT mythology, but this episode is setting up more than a season. It’s essentially establishing a nearly new TV show. Same mythology, but mostly different characters and slightly different execution.

I can understand why this might totally turn off some fans. It’s like getting a spinoff or sequel series labeled as the original series. If you weren’t expecting it, I could see it being jarring. But from what I’ve been observing on social media since season 6 ended, is that people are in two significant camps. They either love the show for it’s unique take on fairytales and will follow it wherever it goes (I’m here!) or they have a very narrow view of the way the show should function (mainly with respect to its seasons 1-6 main characters and the state of their happy endings) and had abandoned ship with the announcement of Jennifer Morrison leaving the show. They might have decided to watch the first few episodes to see where it goes, but I think with the pilot-like feel of episode 1 and what I suspect is going to happen in episode 2, they may not be returning.

And honestly, that’s okay. I think (although I certainly don’t know at this point with only one episode under our belt) that the OUAT creators are going to honor the journey we went through in seasons 1-6 and season 7 is very much a new, slightly unrelated journey.

I will say that I’m excited for this new and untraditional Cinderella. She definitely captured my heart as soon as she knocked out Henry and commandeered his motorcycle! Also, the new adult Henry played by Andrew J. West was a pleasant surprise. While I feel like we’re going to have reintroduce ourselves to this adult Henry a bit, I feel like in the first episode he navigated the line between likable hero and irritating, clueless grownup who doesn’t believe in fairytales that harkened back to Emma in the pilot. (Especially with his “Really?” at the troll under the bridge. Like mother, like son!) Also, a standout is Alison Fernandez as Lucy, Henry and Jacinda’s daughter, who’s taken over the “little kid who remembers, but everyone just thinks she believes too hard in fairy tales” mantel from Henry. She has been amazing on Jane the Virgin as young Jane, and she’s just as innocent and beautiful on OUAT but with a much larger role! So I’m excited to see where she’ll go!

Now for what I think might happen in episode 2 and how Emma’s absence will be explained. First take a look at this picture:

OH MY GOODNESS DOES THAT HAND TO BELLY MEAN WHAT I THINK IT MEANS?!?!?

So I’ve been torn about Emma/Jenn leaving the show. On the one hand, I’m actually glad to put Emma’s story to rest (because she has been through A LOT!), but on the other, I’ve been afraid that in order to explain her absence in this time jump, they were going to have to kill her off or have she and Hook break up so that he could be caught up in the curse because there’s just no way that if Henry were in trouble that she wouldn’t be out looking for him and certainly wouldn’t be separated from her true love in a curse!

But with the promo suggesting that there are somehow TWO Killians and this photo suggesting that she and Hook are expecting a baby, I think I’m getting a clearer picture of what’s going on. We were introduced last season to alternate universes as Regina’s Evil Queen half had Emma sent to a Wish Realm where the Dark Curse had never been enacted. We met AU Robin there who Regina brought back with them, though later it turned out he wasn’t quite the original Robin and not really fit for this world. Eventually, when Regina accepted her Evil Queen side and gave her some of her good heart, and eventually sent she  her to live in that Wish Realm. So essentially, we know that alternate universes exist in OUAT mythology and there can be multiple versions of the same person. I don’t know if it’s a Wish Realm or perhaps Killian is the only Captain Hook in the different storybooks, but I think they’re going to introduce an AU Hook and he’ll be the one left in the Cursed World with Henry and the others. And Emma and original universe Hook will return to Storybrooke (or wherever!), have a baby, and continue living their “happy beginning.” I imagine there will be some conversation between Emma and Henry along the lines of, “It’s my story/journey now” and the torch shall be passed.

From a show writer’s perspective, I think this makes sense. We don’t destroy the true love story that was built over several seasons, and we now have a new single Killian Jones to pair off with someone because if we’re being honest here, there was no way they were going to continue with Colin O’Donoghue on the show and somehow keep him single. This is primetime TV we’re talking about and romance sells.

So…these are just my hunches (and maybe a little bit of hopes because I don’t want Emma to die!), but I think we’ve been given enough clues that I’m on the right track. This does open up the question of whether the Regina and Gold in Hyperion Heights are also AU versions of themselves. We know Regina already has a doppelganger in the Wish Realm so could it be the Evil Queen running Roni’s instead? As for Mr. Gold, while it seems unlikely that Rumple would actually let himself get caught by a curse, it’s also just as difficult to imagine there being any other Rumple, but Rumple himself.

Whatever it turns it out to be, we’ll just have to wait and see!

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Once Upon a Time: New Season, New Storybook!

If you haven’t seen it already, you need to check out my Emma Swan cosplay from yesterday’s new video. I am in high excited gear for the new season of Once Upon a Time premiering tonight on ABC at 8 PM! So excited that I felt like this was the perfect time (and maybe the last time it would be relevant) to finally realize my dream of cosplaying Emma Swan.

OUAT’s season 7 will begin with a big absence as it’s main character for the last 6 seasons is leaving the show. Emma has always been my favorite character, and I’m sad to see her go (and admittedly, curious as to how they’ll explain her exit from the show), but I’m also incredibly excited for this “reboot” as we now recenter with adult Henry as the hero of a new storybook world and curse!

OUAT has been in need of a good reboot in my opinion. At first it was always exciting to go to a new “land” every season (e.g. Neverland, Oz, Camelot), but I suppose, the gimmick got old especially when it stopped seeming as important to the story. I love exploring new Fairytale lands and characters, but if you look at season 6 and the introduction of the “Land of Untold Stories,” we were actually there for such a short period of time and it seemed like more of a device to throw in some extra characters for one off stories rather than full arcs. Things just started to feel rushed, I guess. I like diving into the backstories of characters, but it started to feel somewhat disingenuous, especially since new fairytale characters only seemed to be brought on to somehow further the story of the main cast (i.e. Emma, Snow and Charming, Regina, Hook, Gold, etc). One and done style, basically.

But that’s enough negativity! Because despite my gripes with the show, I still love it. And I have hope that maybe a reboot with new characters will lead to deeper character exploration and more interesting (or rather, less convoluted) stories!

So What Do We Know So Far?

We’re jumping into the future when Henry’s older (29, perhaps?) and has experienced new storybook worlds on his own, but somehow has fallen prey to a curse that wiped his memory.

And it’s up to his daughter Lucy, much like Henry’s original mission with Emma in season 1, to make him believe again!

We’re in a new land with new versions of characters we’ve seen before: Cinderella, Alice, Tiana from the Princess and the Frog so that gives me hope for even more takes on those fairytales.

Also, no more Storybrooke, Maine! We’re now in Hyperion Heights, Washington, just outside of Seattle. We find our characters under a new curse, seemingly instituted by Cinderella’s evil stepmother and somehow Regina, Hook, and Gold have been caught up in the magic too!

Also, Henry drives a (August’s?) motorcycle and it’s AMAZING. (I love this picture of Cinderella in her big, poofy ball gown on the back it with Henry!)

Should You Be Excited or Scared?

I saw a lot of super negative comments when it was announced that OUAT wasn’t ending after season 6, but instead rebooting itself after Jennifer Morrison’s exit. “Once Upon a Time is done for me after season 6!” “How can you get rid of the main character and expect people to keep watching!?” And yes, it’s extremely sad to see Emma/Jenn go, but the great thing about a show like OUAT with an ensemble cast and based on fairy tales, is that it’s completely possible and logical for a new hero to take center stage. As long as the show doesn’t negate any of the journey we’ve been on for the last 6 seasons in doing so (i.e. breaking up Captain Swan when they were supposed to be true love; killing Emma without any sense of a happy ending, etc), I feel like change is good!  I feel like there are definitely still stories to be told. (That’s one reason I’m super excited that Zelena got added back to the cast since I feel like there’s still some sister bonding that Regina and Zelena need to do!) And while sad to see some of our favorite characters go (i.e. Charming and Snow, Belle), I think it will give the show more room to breathe and develop new characters and stories!

OUAT has had so many great characters they let fall to the wayside because I think they’d overextended themselves story-wise and focused too heavily on side stories for the main cast. (Some of my favorites were Mulan, Aurora, Ruby/Red Riding Hood, and Ariel! Plus whatever happened to the rest of Camelot’s townspeople?) But hopefully with a pared down cast, new characters, and a new curse and set of main heroes, I think we have the possibility of finding a new OUAT groove!

But then, it also might not work at all. And that will be sad, but okay too. I’m just excited that we get more OUAT and to explore new worlds. So here’s to another season of magic and mayhem!

I really hope this hand to hook action from a sneak peek photo means that Killian and Emma are still going strong!

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Fall 2017 TV Show Round-Up!

Somehow the summer has slipped away from me, and it’s fall again. Even though I’m sad to see the warm weather and beach days replaced by cooler temperatures and Halloween candy, fall does bring one of my favorite parts of the year: new seasons for my favorite TV shows! I’m always excited to see what creative minds have cooked up for my favorite characters and worlds. So let’s dive into some of my favorite shows (and shows I’m considering trying out this season) and see where we left off!

The Mindy Project

Tuesdays on Hulu starting Sept. 12

I’m such a fan of The Mindy Project. And I’m sad to see it in it’s final season, but I’m so glad it didn’t get canceled without any kind of closure. Last season was an interesting one with a lot of changes and the deeply felt absence of Danny. But I think the show did a great job of moving past that absence and onto more interesting topics and development of characters. Basically, I don’t know what to expect from the Mindy Project anymore and that’s the best part!

We ended last season with Mindy getting engaged to Ben (seemingly the “Happily Ever After” she’s always been pining for) and open this season with her already married and living that “Happily Ever After” that turns out to not be all that fun. The Ever After part isn’t what makes an interesting story, so where does a show about typical romance stories go from here? I have nothing but high hopes for this final season!

The Good Place

Tuesdays on NBC starting Sept. 20

Okay, if you’re not watching The Good Place then you are MISSING OUT! Kristen Bell. Ted Danson. Lots of death jokes. A healthy dose of cynicism. Absurd happenings. And it’s about the good side of the afterlife…right?

I haven’t felt a connection to a comedy show like this in a long time.  It’s a show about morality and good deeds, but it is SO MUCH MORE. And hilarious. And weird. And like The Mindy Project, I don’t know what to expect around each corner, which is what I really enjoy in a TV show.

I won’t give you a rundown of how season 1 ended just in case you haven’t seen it yet. (If not, go binge it on Netflix now!) If you have seen season 1, then you’re probably just as excited for what season 2 has in store for us!

(NOTE: Between writing this blog and posting it, I got to watch the season 2 premiere and it is EVERY bit as amazing as I had hoped. I am SO excited for this season!)

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Tuesdays on FOX starting Sept. 26

Last season ended with the OMG moment of Jake and Rosa actually being (wrongfully) convicted and sentenced to prison! We’ve had dire season finale’s before (like when Jake and Holt had to go into the witness protection program last year), but there always seemed to be an obvious resolution (aka “Catch the Bad Guy”). But this particular ending feels much more out of their hands since they did their best detective work and still got outsmarted. And now they’re in jail.  So it looks like it might be up to the rest of the team to figure out how to right this wrong and bring them home!

While I have pretty good faith that the Nine-Nine team is up for the task and Rosa and Jake won’t be spending too long in prison (I imagine, 3 or 4 episodes? I think that’s how long Jake and Holt were in Florida.) I do think it could give the show an opportunity to breathe and highlight the rest of the cast. One of the biggest issues I’ve had with Brooklyn Nine-Nine in the last season or so is that Charles Boyle’s character has become something of a caricature of his original self. He offers a lot more than physical comedy gags and being the butt of every joke. Can we bring back a little more heroic Charles, please?

This is Us

Tuesdays on NBC starting Sept. 26

Bring on the feels (and the tears) people! I am so ready for this! From the moment I saw the trailer for season 1 last year, I knew something special was happening. And not a single episode disappointed me. (In fact, I’m not sure if there was a single episode I didn’t cry in!) This is Us is a masterful show of emotion. I’m so invested in all the characters and what their stories have revealed so far. I’m afraid for what’s going to happen to Jack (because Milo Ventimiglia! *swoons*) I’m excited for anything and everything that involves Randall/Sterling K. Brown because he is a powerhouse on that show! And I love Kate like a sister, like myself. I connect with her insecurities on an intense level.

Basically I am SO READY for season 2!

Once Upon a Time

Fridays on ABC starting Oct. 6

Since OUAT season 6 wrapped up the main storyline with Emma Swan and we’re now jumping forward in time AND getting a new main character and storybook characters, I thought I’d save all my thoughts for its own dedicated blog post. Just know that while I’m sad to see so many of my favorite characters go, I’m excited for a new storybook and a revamp on the formula!

Riverdale

Wednesdays on The CW starting Oct. 11

So I waited until Riverdale was on Netflix over the summer to watch it, and OH MY GOSH I AM OBSESSED WITH THIS SHOW! It’s full of beautiful people and a sexy darkness without the supernatural element that was so customary for The Vampire Diaries. There’s murder and intrigue and mystery and plucky heroines trying to investigate and save the day. Basically it’s amazing, and Fred Andrews better not be dead! But whether he is or not, we’re definitely in for another amazing season.

I do worry about it falling into a sophomore slump like many shows do, but from everything I’ve seen so far, I have nothing but high hopes for higher stakes and more interesting stories. 

Jane the Virgin

Fridays on The CW starting Oct. 13

Jane the Virgin has a special place in my heart. I’ve loved it since the beginning and this last season was a rollercoaster. Jane and Michael got married! Michael got shot before they had sex! Michael didn’t die and Jane eventually got to lose her virginity! But Michael died from complications of that original gunshot wound. And it broke all our hearts. Even those who weren’t particular Jane and Michael shippers, I think we all knew the importance and sweetness of their relationship.

Then with a three year time jump, a fling with a sexy boy toy, and questioning whether she still had feelings for Rafael, I was actually a bit exhausted by the end of the season.  I enjoyed the time jump (it was needed!) But it also felt like something that should have happened between seasons and not midseason. Ultimately, it left the second half of the season feeling oddly disjointed for me as some episodes felt like filler while others were incredibly poignant.

I still have high hopes for this season though. Though the new promo leaves a bit to be desired in terms of what’s actually going to happen this season, I love Jane the Virgin for its wittiness and snark and telenovela charm.

 

What about NEW shows coming to your TV/streaming service this fall?

Also if you’re interested in NEW shows this 2017-2018 season, here’s what has caught my eye! (Though honestly, I already consume a fair amount of content. It’s probably going to have to turn out to be a breakout hit for me to add something else to my roster!)

The Good Doctor (Mondays on ABC starting Sept. 25) →  I’m a sucker for Freddie Highmore. He’ll always be the amazing musical prodigy from August Rush for me and so the idea of him being another savant/genius makes me especially intrigued. I also don’t have anymore medical dramas right now since I gave up on Grey’s Anatomy a few seasons back. I never really forgave them for killing Lexi and Mark. And after Derrick died…my heart just wasn’t in it anymore.

The Bold Type (Available on the Freeform app and Hulu) → So technically this was a summer breakout hit, but I wasn’t quite convinced at the outset to watch it, but after seeing several previews and reading about the buzz it was creating, it’s left me wanting to get on The Bold Type train. Since there are only 10 episodes, I’ll probably binge it sometime this fall in hopes of a second season!

The Gifted (Mondays on FOX starting Oct. 2) and Marvel’s Runaways (Tuesdays on Hulu starting Nov. 21) → So I have a thing for kids with superpowers stories. (I blame Disney’s Sky High and Static Shock honestly). Both of these shows have the kids with power premise although they seem like entirely different shows. The Gifted has the mythology behind X-Men and political allegories while still being a family drama. Marvel’s The Runaways seems ensemble and friendship-focused.  I’ll be interested to see how they’re received and whether it would be worthwhile to watch an episode or two and see if I like it!

Kevin (Probably) Saves The World (Tuesdays on ABC starting Oct. 3) → For some reason, I’ve always been intrigued by shows that explore Christian mythology. Joan of Arcadia and The Returned are a few that come to mind. Kevin (Probably) Saves The World has gotten my attention for this reason too as Kevin touches a meteor and then finds himself being able to see an angel who tasks him with learning to be selfless in order to save the world (or something along those lines.) I might give it a chance if I have some free time. We shall see!

The Shannara Chronicles (Wednesdays on Spike starting Oct. 11) → So technically this show isn’t new this season. But I did think it was dead since it premiered in 2015 for one season on MTV and then went on a weird year long hiatus but was never officially canceled. And yet, here we are! It’s now got a new lease on life for at least a season on Spike. I love a good fantasy show and though Shannara is by no means perfect, it intrigued me enough to stick through the whole first season. So I am excited to try out season 2 and see what a new network has to offer!


Any new shows this fall that have you hyped? Something you think I should check out? Let me know in the comments! I might just watch it and review it on my YouTube channel!

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Fandom Toxicity

Do you have a favorite TV show, book, video game, YouTube channel, or movie? Does it have a passionate fandom?

Fandoms are really interesting to me. I’ve always been a “fan” of things, and I love many of the things that super passionate fandoms create. I loved reading Harry Potter fan fiction in high school when it was at it’s height. I love watching Delena (The Vampire Diaries) and Captain Swan (Once Upon a Time) romantic moment compilations on YouTube. I love looking at fanart of Sailor Moon or Mario or Zelda or Disney characters. I love consuming much of the amazing thoughts, art, and tributes that my favorite fandoms produce, and even contributing to the fandoms myself as I sometimes write about my predictions or hopes for my favorite TV shows here on my blog and on YouTube.

But not everything that passionate fandoms create is beautiful and happy.  I’ve been noticing lately that some of my favorite fandoms have a creeping layer of toxicity under the surface that I’m rather disappointed with.

What seems to be happening is that fans have SUCH a vehement connection to a show/movie/game/character/creator that they feel a sense of ownership over it.  So that when something happens that doesn’t fit with the narrative that they cling to, there is a violent backlash.

To illustrate this a bit, take the Once Upon a Time fandom. I’ve written about the show on the blog here a bit so you know that I love this show. You should also probably know at this point that I have a bit of an addiction to reading online comments (see this vlog for the full confession). Combine these two together, you get me realizing that a show with a lot of distinct storylines and characters opens itself up for some EXTREME rivalry. Like there are people who love Regina and the Evil Queen and who ship Regina and Emma (not just as amazing friends and co-moms like they’ve become on the show but an actual romantic relationship despite there being no signs on the show of such a possibility so far). There are those who love Emma and Captain Hook together and those who think Hook is “trash.” There are those who desperately want Rumple and Belle to find a happy ending and others who think it’s an abusive relationship. Differing opinions on who should be the main focus of the show or who should end up with who is totally normal when it’s an ensemble cast. But if you hang out on Twitter or Facebook or even the Once Upon a Time Wiki long enough, you’ll find people pretty violently attacking each other for their opinions! That’s not what should be happening in a fandom! Isn’t it supposed to be a place where you can share your mutual love for a thing?

Many times it extends to the actors or writers themselves with attacks on their character or physical appearance or spreading questionable rumors about “who’s dating who” or “who hates who” among the cast. A few good examples here come from the Pretty Little Liars fandom (which as a whole I think is actually less toxic than many of the other shows I love, but I suspect it’s because fans have been kept in the dark so much about what’s actually going on). When Sasha Pieterse who plays Allison, the notorious “dead girl” on which the show was based around, ended up not being dead and became a regular on the show, fans attacked her weight viciously, wondering if she was pregnant when in fact, she’d simply grown up (she’d filmed the pilot episode when she was only 13, the youngest of the all the “Liars”), filled out, and discovered she had a hormone imbalance. Similarly, fans speculate on riffs happening between the PLL actresses, claiming that because Troian Bellisario (Spencer), Ashley Benson (Hanna), and Shay Mitchell (Emily) have posted photos together that they are somehow on the outs with Lucy Hale (Aria).

It just makes me wonder, why are some fans are so obsessed with something that they take it beyond just enjoying it and celebrating in a community of like-minded individuals to the point of critiquing every aspect of the story, the creators, or the actors.  Is it because they think they could do a better job? Is it because love turns into misguided ownership? Is it because the immediacy of social media has given the impression that fans have more control over a piece of art than they really do?

Fans and fandoms, of course, have a big voice in the content they love in this digital age, but it’s still up to the creators as to how much control they actually allow fans to have. You can’t just yell about something on social media because it doesn’t fit your “vision” and expect something to change. If you really want it to be different, make fan art or fan fiction.  Create your own version to satisfy your burning passion for a thing. You’ll probably find someone else who enjoys it!

But all the outrage isn’t helping anyone. It just makes for a toxic environment in a community that’s supposed to be about shared passion.  Respectful debate is one thing. It contributes to the awesomeness of fandoms because obviously we’ll have differing opinions, but letting it devolve into hate and trolling and rumor spreading to either hurt other fans or the very people who make the thing inspiring the fandom is just a waste of the potential that fandoms have.

Communities of people who have a shared passion are incredibly powerful. Spread the love, friends! Not hate!

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What Will Happen in the World of Fall 2016 TV? // Vampire Diaries, Once Upon a Time, Jane the Virgin, The Mindy Project

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It’s that time of year again! We’ve waited months to find out what happens to our favorite characters. Will they make it through whatever awful trauma the writers put them through back in the spring? Will contract renewals and/or budget cuts factor into the story that we all know should happen but fear won’t? Well, I’m super excited for some of my favorite shows to be returning to their regular weekly schedule.  All my absolute favs ended with some serious drama so I’m wondering what will happen, but there are also some new shows I’ve been seeing promotions for that seem intriguing. What better way to get into the fall TV season spirit than to do a little recapping and surmising about the season to come?  Let’s do this! (But be warned, this post will contain spoilers for those of you who haven’t caught up on the latest seasons. Pin it for later, when you’re prepared!)

The Mindy Project

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I wanted to start with something light. The drama that The Mindy Project left us with wasn’t life or death, but our loveable and crazy main character was left in a sticky situation between having just slept with her ex, Danny, in an elevator and coming home to find that her potential new suitor Jody has bought her an entire apartment. Then there’s also the extra stressor of the audience (though not Mindy yet) knowing that Danny is getting married!  All in all, it’s not looking too good for anyone in this quirky love triangle.

I’m really interested in this season because 1.) I absolutely HATED Jody at the start of the season. He was such a male chauvinist stereotype. But slowly…somehow he became my favorite character. I had always been a Mindy and Danny shipper until the first half of this latest season on Hulu. I understood Danny’s Catholic quirks and his aversion to marriage after a failed first marriage and a rough childhood after being abandoned by his father. But once Baby Leo was born, his prejudices and assumptions started revealing themselves and I stopped feeling like he was right for our wildly independent heroine Mindy.  And Jody continued to surprise me throughout the season with his investment in Mindy’s fertility practice and later his friendship with her despite having vastly different personalities. So while I know Mindy will weather whatever relationship storm started brewing at the conclusion of last season with her characteristic optimism and craziness, I feel like this light-hearted show has raised some serious questions about women and our relationships with men and their ingrained ideas of masculinity and femininity.

Once Upon a Time

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I am the biggest Captain Swan shipper, and while I have my issues with last season’s Dark Swan and Underworld arcs (or at least their executions, I felt like the ideas were wonderful but maybe misused a bit), I’m so happy that Hook and Emma are finally both back to their old selves and no longer in imminent peril (for the moment).  For season 6, all the previews have been hinting at getting back to more of their season one style with new characters (Aladdin and Jasmine, etc) and flashbacks. My hope is that rather than the one-off episodes they’ve been doing with new characters recently (e.g. Hercules and Meg? That was such a waste of amazing characters!), we’ll start to integrate some new characters into the story and have their past/stories actually influence the plot of the season rather than serve as a vehicle for the plot of individual episodes. Aladdin being a previous savior is a really interesting concept, and I like the idea of delving more into the savior mythology. (At this point, we know a fair amount about the Dark One mythology but not its opposite, the Savior).  Also, I’d really like to see a struggle for Emma where she isn’t either debilitated (like when she first became a Dark One or when she was first understanding her powers in the Frozen arc) or too headstrong to listen to anyone (like the Neverland arc).  I want to get back to the Detective Emma of season one.  I love her loyalty and her passion, but I’m also tired of seeing her wear herself down trying to save EVERYBODY. I hope that the failed Savior history of Aladdin will help Emma realize she can’t save everybody. That it’s not her job.  She can certainly try to do good in her community and help people when she can, but not to the detriment of her health or the safety of her family and friends.

Plus I want a Captain Swan wedding. I feel like they were hinting at that in the season finale with the Emma and Hook’s reunion kiss in front of bridal shop.  Although I do keep wondering about the feasibility of that hook as their romance progresses. I feel like sharp objects are not something you want to keep in your marriage bed.

There’s also the Regina/Evil Queen storyline which is exciting in it’s own right.  We can now get back to the awesome EVIL-ness of the Evil Queen without losing all of Regina’s character development. While I am still miffed about Robin being killed off (but honestly, he was just arm-candy at this point, another misuse of an amazing character), I want Regina to continue her journey of redemption to prove 1.) She doesn’t need a man/True Love to be happy/successful and 2.) She can overcome her demons.  But I’ll definitely enjoy all the destruction that the Evil Queen is going to cause in the meantime.  We need a truly evil and challenging villain for a change.

Jane the Virgin

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Is Michael alive?!?!?!  Man, Jane the Virgin is amazing at leaving a season with an extreme WTF moment.  Mateo’s kidnapping in Season 1 and now Michael being shot in season 2.  I will say that I’ve been a Rafael shipper since the beginning, but I fully supported Jane and Michael’s marriage and love for each other. I feel like Michael really “manned up” in the second season and decided that he loved Jane no matter what. In season 1, I had felt they weren’t a good match because he wasn’t ready for a child, or rather, he wasn’t interested in raising a child that wasn’t actually his and certainly not co-parenting with someone who your fiance/wife has obvious chemistry with.  But seeing Michael with Mateo this season really melted my heart. Whatever his original misgivings about the situation, you can tell that Mateo is just as much Michael’s child as he is Jane’s and Rafael’s. So even though I feel like a Jane and Rafael pairing would be wonderful, right now, Michael + Jane is obvious.

The previews seem to suggest that he didn’t die on site (which is good!) but there’s still the fear that he will die later. What if he’s stuck in a coma? What if he doesn’t wake up? What if he wakes up but has memory loss or has a completely different personality? (This is in the vein of a telenovela, you know).  Plus I just love Brett Dier (the actor who plays Michael) and I would hate the idea of him not gracing my screen every Monday night!

Then there are the other problems we were left with at the end of season 2: Petra is trapped in the hospital with a debilitating “disease” caused by her evil twin who’s now taking over her life and Xiomara has found out she’s pregnant with SOMEONE’S baby (Rogelio? Esteban?) While the question of Michael’s fate is the most pressing issue on my mind as the new season begins, I feel like Petra and Xiomara’s predicaments are far more interesting in terms of where the season will go and what impacts they’ll have on all the characters.

The Vampire Diaries

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And finally The Vampire Diaries with it’s heartbreaking final season.  We left season 7 with a return to the norm in a way (only really the core characters remain alive, Bonnie isn’t in anymore imminent danger, and the Huntress is gone for good), but with the empty space that Damon and Enzo left after having been consumed by the Evil Vault Monster in the Armory.  On the one hand, we know they’re not gone for good so no deaths to mourn.  But on the other hand, we know that we seem to be facing the ultimate Big Bad as Damon and Enzo (bad boys in their own right) have become minions of Evil Herself.  There’s not much we know about this upcoming season. It’s mostly just rumors flying about Nina Dobrev reprising her role for the finale and fears about whether they’ll really be able to bring Damon back from this final dark turn.

In terms of things I’d like to see, if Nina Dobrev is coming back, I’d really like to see Katherine Pierce be somehow connected to the Evil Vault Monster.  She was sucked off into darkness instead of crossing over to the Other Side so her character still has potential to return.  However, I would NOT be satisfied if Nina’s return only came in the form of Katherine and not with at least one happy-cry worthy Delena scene to end the show with.  I’d also like to see Matt have a happy ending. He got SO CLOSE last season, but then it all got stripped away and he turned kind of bad which I wasn’t a fan of.  The one thing about Matt Donovan–the resident human of the gang–is that he’s inherently good. He’s always changing sides to try to help as many of his friends as possible. It’s made him do some questionable things, and you can tell that weighs on him heavily, but he’s the most loyal character I’ve ever seen.  And then there’s the hinted BIG DEATH that will happen mid-season, and I’m scared for that. We’re down to so few characters, and I don’t think I could handle parting with any of them.  For someone in this very small crew to die would feel like such a waste when the series is almost over!  They almost made it through!  I’m not even taking bets on who it will be. Imagining it being any of them breaks my heart.
So there are my favorite fall shows and what I’m feeling/hoping/fearing!  I felt like there were some really intense season endings in the spring so I’ve been anticipating this season renewal for a while!  What are your favorite shows and what are you excited for when they come back on this fall? Tell me in the comments! While I honestly don’t need any more shows to watch, I’d love to know your hopes and fears for your favorite shows!

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An Open Letter to the Captain Hook Haters

Hook 1

Season 5 on Once Upon a Time has been an interesting one. Rather than exploring new characters or settings in a way that drives the story forward, Camelot and the Underworld were somewhat relegated to backdrops for the drama of the core Once characters to unfold. In Season 5A, we went to Camelot where Emma battled becoming the Dark One. In Season 5B, we traveled to the Underworld to save Hook and attempt to reconcile the consequences of 5A. After this week’s episode “Firebird” and with only 2 episodes remaining, we’re left wondering if everything in Season 5 has been for naught as Captain Hook was left in the Underworld by the end of the episode.

This surprising development is either devastating for Captain Swan shippers or a moment of glee for the Hook haters. While there are two episodes left in the season and I doubt the writers of Once would permanently kill off a character that creates so much passion in its fans (whether from love or hate), I want to address some of the problems that I’ve had with Season 5 which despite the fact that I’m absolutely a Captain Swan shipper, I actually lay the blame on Hook for.

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First, let’s look at the Dark Swan arc. While it was extremely compelling of a reason for us to believe Emma’s full descent into the Darkness came from not being able to let Hook go and making him a Dark One too, I found both of Hook’s Dark One transformations to be very bland. In Camelot, when he first became the Dark One, he mostly just seemed angry that Emma wouldn’t let him die, but it didn’t feel particularly “Dark.” In truth, Hook has never really been a dark character. He’s definitely been painted as a villain in various flashbacks, but not in the same manipulative and heart-wrenching way that Rumplestiltskin has been. No, Hook has always been the more human villain. He’s been motivated by greed or weakness or revenge, but he’s always just been a man looking out for his own skin first and foremost. Which in the world of Once Upon a Time, if you’re not self-sacrificing, it’s hard to be classified as a hero. (But then…these are fairytales we’re drawing from.) So because Hook has always been such a human villain, it felt forced for him to immediately succumb to the very supernaturally characterized Darkness which apparently feed his anger toward Emma. But then even though he’s supposed to be consumed by Darkness, Emma’s able to wipe his memory which somehow stops the Darkness (?) until Zelena returns his memory and he falls right back into that weird Dark One persona. Honestly, it doesn’t make sense. How can having your memory wiped stop you from being THE DARK ONE? That seems counterintuitive, at least in terms of Once lore.

And of course, right at the last minute, Hook decides to fight the Darkness and sacrifice himself to save everyone. While I found that scene very compelling and redeeming for a character that’s always been very selfish and placed in the “villain” category, the motivation didn’t make any sense. I would have liked to see that ending with a much more compelling storyline as to what transformed Hook into the Dark One. Not just “Hey, I’m pissed at my girlfriend for trying to save my life but in the process making me something I hate.” I mean, you get over it. She saved your life.

Hook's "Feelings" for Emma

So that’s Season 5A which as a Captain Swan shipper started out really amazing with Hook fighting for Emma like a true hero, but then took a dive into “I don’t know what’s motivating the characters anymore.” Season 5B is a direct result of what happened in 5A where once again Emma just can’t let go and brings her family to the Underworld to try to save Hook. Killian almost takes a back seat this half of the season as if the writers are apologizing for the out-of-character chaos they put him through. He does have his shining moments—like having Father/Boyfriend bonding time with David by using his enchanted hook to replace Snow’s name on a headstone—but overall he was either still angry at Emma (which REALLY?) or placed on a backburner as a the doting boyfriend.

Hook 3

So while I’m a passionate Captain Swan shipper I do understand the Hook Haters, but I feel like the problems stem from the misuse of his character by the writers in trying to force certain storylines (and torture Emma apparently) rather than Killian being a bad character all together. He’s got a lot of potential as the most realistically redeemable male character on the show, but I feel like he gets pushed into certain boxes each season/arc that don’t fully utilize his history. Like the writers are still testing whether he’s a good fit for the show. And I feel like when there was the best opportunity for exploring both the good and evil and sides of his character (i.e. the Dark Swan arc), they either wrote themselves into a corner or ran out of time and forced him into a confusing caricature of himself. Hook deserves better! Captain Swan shippers deserve better! But really fans of the show deserve to have fully developed storylines that take the time they need play out rather than forcing huge character developments in a few episodes in order to fit a show’s well-established formula.

Poor Hook being consumed by the Darkness that is Hollywood greed as his character gets destroyed.

Poor Hook being consumed by the Darkness that is Hollywood greed as his character gets destroyed.

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One Year of Novel Writing: Month 12, Chapter 12

Novel Writing 12 - 1 Twelve months, twelve chapters, and I DID IT! I wrote every month! I finished all twelve chapters! I came out of 2014 with twelve more chapters in my book than I had in 2013 or the years previous, and that is an incredibly great feeling to have. I’m really proud of myself for making a goal like this and keeping to it for a whole year. Looking back it doesn’t seem like all that long or all that grand of a task, but I know when I started it back in January 2014, it looked like a mammoth undertaking. But now I know that it’s completely something I’m capable of.

And that’s why in 2015, I want to go a step further. I don’t want to just write one chapter a month. Even though that task was difficult to complete, I still feel like pushing myself for a slightly harder goal in 2015 will be beneficial. Now, I haven’t decided to do anything crazy like a goal of “Write Every Single Day for the Whole Year.” (Tried that for a month, and as we all know, it made me less likely to write.) I actually want to give myself a little more freedom while also giving myself a deadline. For now, I won’t have monthly deadlines of one chapter per month anymore. But I have deadline for December 31st to complete the (very!) rough first draft of the entire book! This is actually an even better goal for me than 2014’s novel writing goal because finishing this book—this story I’ve been so enthralled with since I was 13—has seemed like a dream to me for pretty much my whole life, but this year I’m really going to work to make it reality.Novel Writing 12 - 2Last year built up my confidence and let me know what works and doesn’t work for me while writing. I got to try different styles and take my time exploring characters and plot development without the pressure of “FINISH THE ENTIRE BOOK OR YOU’RE A FAILURE” running through my head. Basically, I got a head start under the premise of an “experiment,” and now that I’ve written 12 chapters and KNOW I can write this novel, the idea of finishing the whole novel seems less daunting.

Now, I may write all these encouraging things and tell myself “You can do it!” and then FAIL miserably. Maybe it won’t be enough structure. Or maybe I’ll be busier this year and just won’t have the same time to commit to writing as I did in 2014. Or maybe I will be able to continue writing a chapter a month but actually completing the novel would take more writing than that. It’s all quite possible. I hope I do complete my goal just like I completed last years. But come on, 2014’s novel writing goal wasn’t completed without quite a bit of strife and feelings of failure. I imagine if you talked to any writer (or artist), successful or not, you’d find that they feel like a failure a lot of the time. I think, perhaps, that’s a sign of a good artist. Because we’re overly critical of our work. But you can’t be so critical that you cripple yourself from creating. At some point, you do have to let go and just CREATE—go with your inner creative vibe. Good things will be made. Bad things will be made. But SOMETHING will be made.

And that’s how this novel writing journey works for me. I can already think of changes in the story and characters and additions I’d like to make to what I’ve already written. This year, I may take some time to go back and change a few things (major plot points only, I expect. I’d rather save the little bothersome things for the first edit), but I know it’s important to just WRITE. I want to bring this story in all its fullness to the light of day in 2015. And I hope you’ll join me on that journey.

Novel Writing 12 - 3