Sunday, 19 September 2010

The Return...

Well this is certainly an apt title isn't it? The Return. The return of my favourite TV show, the return of my TV show schedule and the return!

Revisiting my blog I'm somewhat ashamed to see that my last post was in April, all I can say is thank goodness my absence didn't reach the six month mark. So with all my fave programmes meandering back onto my screen let's crack on with where we left off.

The Return is of course the title of the first new episode The Vampire Diaries which didn't so much return as explode back on to our screen.

Conveniently, we picked up exactly where we ended last May with Uncle Jonathan writhing around fingerless after finding himself at the end of Katherine's wrath. So much happened in this one episode that I almost don't know where to begin.

As I mentioned the episode picks up where we were cruelly abandoned last season. Elena narrowly avoids coming face-to-face with her evil doppelganger and discovers Uncle Jonathan lying in a pool of blood and calls the paramedics, believing it was a rogue tomb vamp who attacked him. If that's not bad enough the poor lamb then discovers her brother lying motionless having OD'ed on a delightful combination of Anna's blood and immensely strong painkillers. Stefan confirms that he is not a vamp in the waiting and warns him that Anna's blood has all but left his system so if Jeremy tries to kill himself again he will die for real.

Meanwhile at the hospital it's not looking good for Caroline as internal bleeding has left her looking the grim reaper in the face. However much to Elena's disdain Damon saves Caroline by slipping her some blood; more on this later. It's also thanks to Damon that Katherine's return is discovered as Elena denies kissing him on the porch and speaking to Aunt Jenna about the fire. At this precise moment Stefan is making the same discovery, as Katherine (pretending to be Elena) attempts to seduce him. Stefan is not so easily fooled and launches into defence attack. Our favourite trio discuss what Katherine's return means for them; the verdict, not good.

In between all this action the Lockwood's are holding a memorial for Mayor Lockwood who, if you remember, met his untimely end in the finale due to Jonathan Gilbert's watch. Cue high jinks in the form of Katherine pretending to be Elena and then the real Elena rocking up. At this point it's worth noting the great job that Nina Dobrev is doing playing three different characters; Elena, Katherine and then Katherine pretending to be Elena. At the Lockwood's we establish that Bonnie and Katherine are not likely to become besties, Katherine has a weakness for Matt's dreamy blue eyes and that Katherine has returned for Stefan not Damon.

Unfortunately Katherine learns a few things too, namely that Damon saved Caroline's life by slipping her some blood and that Stefan hates her. I also learned something; don't piss off a vamp as they retaliate by stabbing you in the stomach with a sharp instrument.

Now as I mentioned earlier that this was an action packed episode and it's almost impossible to squeeze in every tantalising twist that happened. So I'm going to divide the rest of this post between the characters that had a bit of a rough ride during this episode.

How much rejection does a vamp have to face? First he discovers that it was Katherine he'd kissed and poured his heart out to, then Bonnie rejects his offer of a truce for saving Caroline, rather vehemently too with her witchy vampire migraine. Now hands up who wasn't heartbroken when Elena told him she was surprised he'd think she would kiss him back. "Now I'm hurt." Me too Damon, me too! So it came as no surprise that he went back to Katherine and offered her eternal love. Katherine rejected his advances in possibly the most devastating way she could; "it's always been Stefan." Cue a dejected Damon appearing in Elena's room, it was clear the poor guy just needed comforting but trying to force himself on her was probably not the best way to go about it. Unfortunately Elena's way of knocking him back was to unwittingly echo Katherine's earlier words "it's always been Stefan." Which leads us onto why The Return wasn't the best episode for Jeremy...

After a heart to heart with a departing Uncle Jonathan, Jeremy discovers that the Gilbert's have a long history of being vampire haters and part of The Council. Unfortunately Jeremy gets a taste of how unstable vampires are by intervening in Damon's attempted kiss with Elena. In a serious case of wrong place wrong time Damon lashes out against Elena in the most hurtful way he can...and snaps Jeremy's neck. I'm not going to lie; I gasped out loud. Thank God his earlier heart to heart with Uncle Jonathan resulted in Jeremy inheriting one of those snazzy 'you can't die at the hands of anything supernatural rings.' Ere go Jeremy is not dead; but Elena's friendship with Damon is, if her declaration of hate is anything to go by.

After confronting death face on for pretty much the majority of the episode I did not see the final seconds coming. Much was made of Damon saving Caroline's life with his blood so I guess it was not too surprising in theory that Katherine paid Caroline a late night visit. Unfortunately she was not armed with flowers but instead a message; tell the Salvatore's that it's "game on." Caroline is promptly smothered with her own pillow. Now this is where the episode ended, but as I've seen Caroline sporting a nice blood moustache in the trailer for the next episode one can only assume that she is vampwards bound. Poor Caroline; her mum is the sheriff! And where does this leave Matt? He is pretty much the only character left who is unaware of the supernatural.
Uncle Jonathan
I'll keep this brief as I point blank dislike the man. But Uncle Jonathan spends the majority of the episode recuperating from his attack. When Elena and Stefan visit him in hospital he refuses to answer due to his hatred of vampires and disdain for their relationship. That is until Stefan threatens him to leave town and never return otherwise he'll turn him into a vampire and watch him hate himself more than he already does.

So there we have it. This was the action packed opening episode of what is still my favourite TV show. The only detail I omitted is the return of Mason Lockwood, who I believe has returned to enlighten us about the Mystic Falls werewolves, although we will touch upon that in a few weeks to come. I for one am not complaining though as he is a welcome addition to the show's eye candy.

Goodness, so much action so little time. Keep a lookout for a recap of the season premiere of Chuck which is coming soon. But right now I am going to go and daydream about Stefan, Damon, Jeremy and Mason Lockwood having a wrestle. Judge me all you like but tell me you're not thinking about joining me!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Chuck Versus the Numerous Answers

I don't know about you but I'm not very good at waiting. I especially don't like waiting for answers, and this can be incredibly tricky when it comes to TV shows. I think this had a huge impact in why I stopped following Lost. Don't get me wrong it's a brilliant show, but it's now on its sixth and final season and there are still many plot lines that are yet to be answered six seasons in! (The fact that the show moved to Sky after the second season also played a major factor in my ceasing watching, but that is neither here nor there...) But occasionally a show comes along that is both fast-paced and generous when it comes to providing answers. The Vampire Diaries falls into this latter category, although if it could hurry up and reveal how the Salvatore brothers turned into vampires that would be very much appreciated, as does Chuck; and boy have Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz been generous in their reveals recently....

The biggest surprise this season is that we have learned quite a bit about Sarah and Casey and their back story. Die-hard fans of the show will know that Chuck has tried time and time again to gain the tiniest insight into Sarah's past but she's always managed to elude him. So it came as a massive shock when she willingly volunteered information to Shaw without even being asked. It was quite a big reveal too; we found out that her real name is Sam. Now I was slightly disappointed with this. Firstly I wish it was Chuck that she's shared this with. And secondly, I don't think Sarah suits the name Sam, I couldn't give you a better alternative, but I definitely don't think Sam fits the bill. Maybe it's just me though. We also discovered that Casey's name is a cover and his real name was Alexander Coburn, and that before he joined the NSA he had a fiance, who was (unknown to him) pregnant. However he was forced to fake his own death and take the name of John Casey and in doing so lost the chance to be happily married with children. Here ends the first of the big reveals. I personally think that the writers decided to provide us with some answers about Casey and Sarah's pasts because they are very aware that this season could be the last. I for one am not complaining, and any situation where I am treated with more John Casey leaves me feeling very happy!

This leads me onto the first of the three episodes; Chuck Versus the Final Exam. The end of this episode allowed us to embark on another trip down Sarah's memory lane. But the Von Trapps would be very disappointed if I didn't start at the very beginning, so let us not jump ahead of ourselves. This episode was significant as it saw Chuck becoming a real, real life spy. Wasn't he already one you ask? Well I thought so too, but apparently not as it's not possible to become a real spy until you've passed you red test. In this case Chuck had to take out a mole, a traitor who was working with the Ring. However this would, as Sarah pointed out, mean that our favourite geek would be crossing a line he couldn't come back from. Not only handling a gun but killing someone too. The past run of episodes have shown Sarah becoming increasingly concerned about the changes in Chuck, and almost falling out of love with him, so this episode looked to be the final straw for her. It came as a massive shock then when the showdown between Chuck and the mole happened, because as expected Chuck hesitated when it came to having to kill the bad guy and had it not been for Casey could have ended up killed himself. However here's where the catch 22 occurred; Casey saved Chuck's life by shooting the mole, but as my favourite character has now been reduced to a civilian status, should Chuck reveal that Casey took the shot he could be arrested for murder. So as far as Sarah's concerned Chuck is no longer the man she loves. Trying to come to terms with this she reveals to Shaw the horrors of her own red test. Just another attempt to gain an insight into Sarah's past by the writers? No, that is not the case at all. Which brings me to the second episode of this blog...

Chuck Versus the American Hero.

This was the shows penultimate episode before it took another break, and I think it's important to point out that it was actually meant to be the penultimate episode of the entire season before NBC decided to extended Chuck's run. I would just like to take this opportunity to thank the writers for not padding the season with filler episodes and instead continuing the season from where they originally left off, because had they not I wouldn't have got my answer, and we all know how I feel about being denied them!

So this episode was significant for a number of reasons. As mentioned above I originally thought that learning about Sarah's red test was just a ploy to fill us in a bit more about her past, but the twist before the end blew that theory right out of the water. To recap this episode, Shaw decided that enough was enough when it came to the Ring and that it was time to use himself as bait and lead the CIA to the Ring and the Director. Sarah, having accepted that Chuck's not who she thought he is, spent the majority of the episode avoiding talking to him about his feeling for her. So when Chuck learned that Shaw was sacrificing himself, he locked Sarah in the Castle to save Shaw in order to risk his life to help him before Sarah could risk hers. The scene where Chuck emerged from the explosion with Shaw over his shoulder was brilliant; especially as we all know how attracted to the hero type Sarah is. Aware that the love of his life is slipping away from him, the episode ended with Chuck passionately kissing Sarah to remind her of his devotion, and promising the life in Prague that he turned down at the start of the season, and in doing so proved his love, as he would be choosing Prague over his career. Mirroring Sarah's offer from the season premier he said he'd be waiting at the station. The best bit of the episode however was when Casey revealed he'd killed the mole. The smile on Sarah's face was so well acted by Yvonne Strahovsky that I'm not ashamed to admit I squealed aloud! OK, maybe I'm a little bit ashamed. But, and this is a major but, I've deliberately omitted a major twist. Whilst attempting to sacrifice himself the Ring revealed to Shaw that the target in Sarah's red test was no other than his wife!!! So when Shaw turned up unannounced at Sarah's hotel room citing a new mission that needed to be undertaken immediately I knew this was not going to be a happy ending. This of course leads me to the third and final episode of this blog....

Chuck Versus the Other Guy.

This, as far as I am concerned, is allowed to go down in history as one of the best episodes of Chuck. Ever. Picking up where we last left off, Shaw was heading to deserted whereabouts to 'settle an old score'. And we all know who's score he wants to settle. Arriving at a deserted warehouse he deliberately separated from Sarah so that she could watch a video tape of her red test, and then revealed it was his wife she murdered. In the meantime General Beckmann has filled Chuck in about Sarah's role in the death of Shaw's wife, and as expected everyone is fearing the worst. Chuck (slightly) overreacts and after managing to trace a signal on Sarah pretty much calls in every rescue squad he can get his hands on. But in a surprise twist, Shaw appears to be forgiving towards Sarah, holding the Ring responsible for her death instead. Key word in the sentence; appears. Because later on this episode we learn that Shaw is actually working for the Ring, and very much so holds Sarah responsible. Charah fans rejoiced worldwide as our favourite duo reunited again in an extremely humorous scene which saw Morgan tied up with a game console whilst Chuck tried to find the solution to his troubles at the bottom of a bottle. Everything seems to be going their way, and the Ring leader is presumed dead after a trip to the headquarters, until Beckmann sends Shaw and Sarah to France to follow up the mission. The one-off accolade of Hero of the Week goes to Morgan, who picked up that Shaw had faked the entire group of Ring agent's deaths and was in fact a Ring agent himself. One pep talk to Casey about getting his life back on track, and the trio were hot on tails of Shaw and Sarah to France. And bloomin' good job they were, because Shaw had taken Sarah to the very location of his wife's death in order to exact revenge. Drugged an unarmed Sarah was in an extremely precarious position. Until, oh thank god! Chuck turned up and saved the day by shooting(!) and killing (!!!) Shaw. For those of us that worried the fact that Chuck both shot and killed someone might Bring Sarah's doubts about him back, we need worry not. She completely digged the fact that he saved her life for once. And the episode concluded with them taking their relationship to the next level. In Paris, which has been repeatedly mentioned as the one place Chuck would like to visit most. Other highlights saw Casey restored to Colonel Casey, and Morgan formally acknowledged as a member of team Bartowski. I'm aware that the Buy More has been omitted from the entirety of this blog but there's only so much a girl can write about Chuck!

And that's where we left off my fellow Chuck lovers. Apologies for the length of this post, but how much ground did I have to cover! Just thank your lucky stars that I didn't recap for the Winter Olympics. But seeing as I've now made it my aim to once again post regularly this wont be a regular occurence. So until next time!

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Chuck Me, What's All This About?

Friends I owe you a big apology and I thought it was only fair to just dive straight into it. My past behaviour has been nothing short of outrageous. Last blog in February! What's that about? And it can't go unnoticed that before my inexcusable absence there was an incredibly heavy bias towards The Vampire Diaries. So not only am I not going to try and dig my way out of my slacking by offering a truck load of excuses about commuting and being too tired to blog, I am going to offer you a tasty alternative to my current CW fave (which has been outstanding recently) and return my attention to the undeniably still brilliant Chuck.

First things first though, please accept my apologies for my going AWOL; I assure you it will not happen again.

Now, let's get down to business... For those of us that are Chuck fans, and there are a few out there somewhere, you will have had to have been hiding under a rock to miss the furore that occurred when the programme took its hiatus to make space for the Winter Olympics. For a show that has forever been unable to shake off it's bubble status (it has never enjoyed a run where it's renewal is guaranteed) the reaction of the fans was extreme. For those of you who were hiding under a rock the problem was created by an unavoidable situation. Chuck is an extremely enjoyable show for a number of reasons but one of the main ones, especially with the fans, is the obvious chemistry between the two leads Chuck and Sarah. Although will they/wont they plotlines have been going for years now and can seem a bit dated, somehow the writers manage to keep you caring week in week out, and hoping each episode that our geeky hero will finally get his girl. So what happened? Why all the uproar I hear you ask?

Well the episode before the Olympics break saw our favourite duo officially acknowledge the end of their relationship and each embark new relationships with their new respective love interests, portrayed by Brandon Routh and Kristin Kreuk.
I honestly don't think Chris Fedak and Josh Schwartz could have predicted what happened next. Had the episode dated when originally intended to, viewers could have been comforted by the knowledge that within a few weeks the longing and yearning glances would return, on Chuck's behalf if not Sarah's, and we could all go back to silently (or not so silently in my case) rooting for the pair to realise their devotion to one another. But unfortunately NBC who have had some very publicised problems in their scheduling called for an early return for Chuck in order to help with its struggling schedule. This meant that an episode which initially might have disgruntled a few loyal Charah's or Shuck's instead provoked outrage and led many to call for a boycott of the show; not a wise move by fans for a show that relies heavily on ratings for its' season renewal. The phrase cutting off your nose to spite your face comes to mind!

Anyway, after what seemed like eternity the show returned and luckily the plotline soon saw our favourite will they/wont they, oh no now Sarah seems to be paying too much attention to the apparently all American hero super agent storyline return, and fans appeared to be appeased by the result. A relief all round! And since its return the show has been going from strength to strength with answers being revealed left, right and centre.
Plus in an ironic twist, the show's early scheduling was combined with an extension of its run pushing the number of episodes from thirteen to nineteen. So when Chuck left us for yet another break, the climatic ending episode was originally intended to be the season's finale. And oh my word was it explosive!!!

Now I have rambled on for long enough in this blog already, and if I even attempt to go into what happened in the last three or four episodes there is actually no way that I can do all the twists and turns justice. So I propose this.... Come back tomorrow when I will dedicate yet another blog to the delights of my favourite spy based comedy and I promise you I will do you proud.
Surely you can't ask for anything better then that?!

Sunday, 28 February 2010

The Vampire Diaries...'Fool Me Once...'

I have officially had it up to hear with hiatus'. One minute I'm revelling in joy from the return of my favourite show to then be crumbling in despair by the news that it is disappearing out of my life for a fortnight/month/quarter of a year etc. Can you blame me then for prolonging recapping the latest episode of The Vampire Diaries? As leaving it for so long meant that I had an excuse to re watch it, and boy was it worth it as it is a cracker of an episode!

A quick reminder, the previous episode ended with Elena being snatched from her room by the terrifyingly tiny Anna, who is hellbent on opening the tomb to rescue her mother Pearl, and it is here where the episode picks up.

Elena comes to in a hotel room being carefully watched by a sleeping Ben, and in a moment of suspense that Kevin Williamson does so well, attempts to creep from the room without waking him. But it would be far too simple for her to escape right at the beginning of the episode so of course Ben caught her out. What I love about TVD is that the female characters aren't victims. Last week Bonnie realised she was in danger and was quick witted enough to leave her jacket to give the illusion she was just going to the bathroom and not running away. In this episode Elena took advantage of the fact that Ben is a newbie vampire; he tried to compel her after her escape attempt and she played along with it promising to behave, only to then make another run at the door. She would have got away with it too if it wasn't for that pesky Anna!

Luckily her recapture meant that she discovered an unconscious Bonnie in the bathroom. Again, using her wits Elena switched on the tap to avoid some vampy eavesdropping and together they deduced that Anna and Ben intended to use Bonnie to get into the tomb, all they needed was the Grimoir.

Meanwhile Stefan's majorly worrying about Elena. There is no way of telling if Damon's blood is out of her system, so if Elena dies then that might mean she could actually become Katherine 2.0. We also learn how much Elena's betrayal last week hurt Damon. Even after Stefan apologises for his role in Katherine's capture Damon shows no forgiveness and instead tells Stefan he hopes Elena dies.

The non-vamp story is revolving around Duke from Duke's party at the old cemetery tonight. What are the odds? Isn't that where the tomb that's securing God knows how many mummified vampires who are just waiting to be released is? And Tyler's back too...have you missed him as little as me?

Anyway back to the hostage situation. Damon pays a visit to Bonnie's grandmother. who used her anger towards him to reveal that she is a super powerful witch managing to both cause him major head pain and successfully perform a locating spell. Whilst Anna was meeting to Damon to collaborate with their Diabolical Plans, Stefan bursts into the hotel room to rescue Elena and Bonnie and tells Ben to get the hell out of town. Which means Anna returns to a cowering Ben in an empty hotel room, she has lost her bargaining tool and has no other option then to just turn up when Damon attempts to open the tomb. Luckily she's agreed to meet Jeremy at the party so she can fulfil her plot to use Gilbert blood to revive her mother. Keeping up? Good!

Back at Bonnie's grandmother's there is a POA. The only answer it seems is to open the tomb and let Damon rescue Katherine in order to get him out of every one's life. The only problem is getting Damon on board. Stefan knows that he has no shot convincing his brother so Elena takes it upon herself to pay him a visit. It's quite revealing that Elena who has barely gotten to know Damon has more of an impact then his own brother, on more then one occasion during this episode. To prove that they're not tricking him Elena takes off her necklace and asks him to ask her if it's a trick. Damon needs no more conviction and in a moment filled with steamy chemistry fastens Elena's necklace for her before revealing that he didn't compel her in Georgia because they were having fun and he wanted it to be real. So Damon is officially on board and they head to the woods.

Bonnie and Grams have already set up and are chanting in some fancy witch language. The plan is for Damon to go in, grab Katherine and then Stefan can torch the rest. On route Elena and Damon bump into Matt and Caroline, who in a moment of insecurity grabs Matt's hand to prove ownership; Caroline gives Matt a number of speeches during this episode and it looks like their relationship is going strong. I'm pleased about this, they both need someone to love them properly. But back to the main event...whilst Stefan went to retrieve his vamp torching kit Damon insists that Elena accompanies him into the tomb. Bonnie and Grams are horrified but Elena is understanding, insisting that he needs her for protection that they don't just lock him in the tomb. Stefan encounters a problem when he runs into Anna, Ben and an unconscious Jeremy. Anna forces him to choose between preventing her from rescuing her mother or saving Jeremy from becoming Ben's main course. Someone needs to remind Ben that pride comes before a fall, gloating way too soon Ben mocks Stefan about his diet claiming that Stefan can't defeat him because human blood makes him stronger. Sadly Ben didn't account for the mahoosive flamethrower of Stefan's; game over.

Anna creeps past the witches and into the tomb, Bonnie makes to stop her but her Grams drops a massive bombshell; "She isn't coming out, baby. None of them are." The seal hasn't been broken after all, vamps can go in, but they can't come out!!!

In the tomb Damon has abandoned Elena in his eagerness to rescue Katherine; cue some shots of the emaciated vamps which did make me jump, but I do think the one at the end looked like he's escaped from MJ's Thriller video. Anna finding Elena alone decides to use her to revive her mother, shame she doesn't know about the adoption; not technically Gilbert blood!

Stefan hears Elena's screams and races in to the tomb even though Bonnie and Grams warn him that the seal is still up so he won't be able to get out. Promising Elena he'll be right behind her, Elena learns that her vamp bf and his bro are now to be trapped in the tomb for eternity. Bonnie is really upset by this, after all Stefan has proved his good nature by saving her life on more than one occasion now and convinces her Grams to lift the seal so that Stefan and Damon can escape. This is powerful mojo, you can see the effect it has on the witches and Gram warns that even if they can lift the seal it wont be for long so they need to hurry. I felt a bit sorry for Stefan during this bit. He just revealed to his girlfriend that he has risked his freedom to save her and Elena's reaction was immediate concern for Damon as she promised they wouldn't betray him. Anyway Stefan races to fetch Damon, and Anna and Pearl escape with the promise that they wont hurt Jeremy. Stefan finds Damon breaking down because, major twist alert...Katherine isn't in the tomb. In a fit of rage Damon chucks the bag of blood he brought to revive her against the wall. Probably not the smartest move with all those emaciated vamps but never mind. Damon doesn't listen to Stefan's pleas to hurry until Elena comes back down to beg. Luckily the threesome get out before the seal is replaced..or is it? Turns out no because at the end of the episode the Thriller reject escapes.

I found the next scene so heartbreaking. Damon looks absolutely devastated, all his plotting has been for nothing. With Stefan looking on Elena tries to comfort Damon with a hug and whispers 'I'm sorry', Damon can't even hug her back he's that crushed. Amazing acting by Ian Somerhalder; if only I could comfort him myself!

Back at the hotel room a vengeful Damon wants some answers. Waiting for Pearl and Anna he wanted to know why they got a happy ending and he didn't. It turns out that Katherine managed to bribe the guard to the church and she was never in the tomb. The last time Anna saw her was 1983 in Chicago, she'd known where Damon was and didn't care!

But Damon wasn't the only one to not get a happy ending. Back at Gram's house, Bonnie brings her a glass of water only to find the spell had exhausted her so much that she dies! This set me off, as soon as Leona began to sing Run I knew I was going. Bonnie screaming for Elena and protesting she can fix it was incredibly emotional, and then cutting to Damon gazing into a fire with Stefan watching on only added to the sadness. Brilliant acting from all involved.

So the episode ends with some closure to old stories and the beginning of some new. Jeremy through his dealings with Anna is now investigating vampire and turning to the world wide web. I couldn't work out if Anna went all vampy because she was lusting after Jeremy, I like to think so because they were cute. Matt and Caroline are official, so will the three of them discover vampires exist and Vicki didn't just leave town? Damon's whole purpose for his entire one hundred and so many years has been for nothing, Katherine was playing him all along. So will he now seek revenge? He was meant to leave town, will he stick around for a new love triangle containing Elena? Will Bonnie want revenge for the death of Grams? What will become of the escapee vamp? And what about Alaric, what's his story?!

Seeing as I managed to put off writing this blog for so long there's only about 3 weeks to wait until the next episode, as opposed to 5. In my opinion that's still 2 weeks too many to have to wait for the next installment. How many more times do you think is acceptable to re watch the last couple of episodes before it becomes shameless? I can't believe I'm about to confess the following, but I think the Vampire Diaries obsession has overtaking Twilight...I'm sorry R-Patz, now where can I find Paul and Ian?!

Friday, 12 February 2010

Children of the Damned...

OK, so I am more than aware that my past god knows how many posts have focused on the Vampire Diaries. But in my defence that's because the past god knows how many episodes have revealed so much that if I don't write it all down I'll forget. As soon as I've recapped the last two episodes my focus will go to Chuck and it's by now incredibly controversial episode and House. Promise!

But back to business. Children of the Damned was a much anticipated episode as it promised flashbacks, and with flashbacks come answers. Immediately we discover that Damon learned everything he knows from Katherine as she pulled the 'Help me!' highway trick on a horse and cart, but it was her feeding that was the gross out moment. It was after she'd finished munching on her victim and she forced a still human, Damon to kiss her bloody mouth as he'd have to get a 'taste for it.' Throughout the episode we gained an insight into pre-vamp brothers relationship, and how the woman they've obsessed over for centuries manipulated them; Stefan letting her feed on him during sex for example! But one of the major highlights was that we were finally introduced to Daddy Salvatore and discovered what went down between him and Damon.

Daddy Salvatore was one of the founding members of the original vampire hunters which unsurprisingly caused a problem with his sons' object of affection. This is where we finally discover why Stefan blames himself for Katherine's capture. Stefan thought that confiding in his father about Katherine and claiming that she was different to other vampires and not evil might save her, but Damon pleaded with him not to, knowing his father would show no mercy. So Stefan's betrayal is that he followed his instincts with disastrous consequences; his father secretly laced his drink with vervain, which exposed Katherine as a vampire and resulted in her being carted off in a Hannibal Lecter mask. So now we know why Damon no longer trusts Stefan.

We also find out why Damon resents Stefan so much. Damon's decision to leave the confederates meant that Giuseppe labelled him a deserter leaving him with a higher regard for Stefan. so it's not surprising that Damon alludes Stefan as constantly siding with their father. It's also quite ironic that he decided to leave the army because of his respect for human life, seeing as he doesn't think twice about snacking on a local. It's quite sad to watch actually, even alive Damon was lonely.

Still so many questions though! It's obvious that Damon was besotted with Katherine, accepting what she was by kissing her when she's all bloody, but when did she turn him? Did Damon then turn Stefan out of revenge? These are the next answers I want please! Many thanks.

The flashbacks also provided some answers about the mysterious Anna. She doesn't want to get the tomb open to rescue Katherine, she wants to save her mum, or 'mom', Pearl. To draw vampy comparisons Katherine's like the original Damon, and Pearl could almost be the original Stefan. She seems fairly good natured and even appeared to be having a genuine romance with Jonathan Gilbert, he of the original journal. His discovery of her true identity was quite tragic, I really believe she returned his feelings. But into the tomb she went. So Anna is hellbent on rescuing her mum, but seeing as Damon works alone, she's going to have to follow suit. Through the power of deduction Stefan and Damon work out that Emily's Grimoir lies in Guiseppe's grave.

So back to the present day, one of my favourite scenes of TVD so far has to be family night. I particularly enjoyed Damon getting Aunt Jenna drunk and then playing video games with Jeremy. I loved him smirking when he heard Jenna say to Elena that he was 'ridiculously hot' and then roll his eyes when Elena called him an ass. I'm really beginning to route for Damon, yeah he is an 'ass' but it's obvious that he craves the companionship of Katherine, so it's quite tragic when he repeatedly asks Elena if he can trust Stefan, especially as he knows he can't compel her so he's relying on her honesty. Somehow Elena managed to convincingly lie.

Whilst family night's happening, Stefan had gone to snatch the Gilbert journal from Alaric. The teacher learned the hard way that he might want to leave a few lights on, but brownie points for being wise and making a copy of the journal, unfortunately when he sensed vampy presence he left said journal on his desk. Whilst using a impressive cross bow/wooden stake combo on Stefan (fail- he caught the stake) Anna used the opportunity to steal it for herself. Thank goodness for the copy! And now Stefan knows about Alaric's connection to Damon, although he wisely advised to keep schtum and promised to help. Eerily, the body of his wife was never found. Does that mean she's a vampire too? Brilliant; another mystery to unravel. Especially as the next episode wraps up the tomb saga!

So anyway whilst Stefan and Elena headed to Daddy Salvatore's grave, Damon had tracked down Anna for access to the journal and figured out the answer for himself. It was obvious that he expected the betrayal from his brother, but he looked genuinely hurt by Elena's disloyalty. Stefan didn't believe his threats to hurt Elena, but Damon had other intentions, he forced her to drink some of his blood, and then threatened to break her neck. Elena could actually become Katherine II. Stefan dutifully handed over the book and Damon washed his hands of them both.

So now Damon has the journal and presumably all the means to now put Diabolical Plan: the Sequel into action. Stefan and Elena headed back to hers as she was all headachey from Damon's blood, obviously she's not used to the toxins like Vicki was-she just got high. Unfortunately in the mean time Jeremy had a friend of his own round to play, in the form of a menacing Anna. So when Stefan gallantly went to get aspirin for Elena, Anna took matters into her own hands and kidnapped Elena, presumably to hold her ransom and use her as a ticket to get into the tomb. Which is where the episode left us with Stefan racing up the stairs only to find an empty room with an open window...

The other storyline of the episode was Bonnie finally getting some action. Sadly it was action of the wrong sort, as we learned last week that her date was a newly turned vamp. After a date karaoking where he sang Metallica (I would have made my excuses then and been in bed with a cuppa!) they went for coffee which led to a kiss. Only during the kiss Bonnie's witchy senses came into play and she sensed he was dangerous. After a sneaky ploy to escape by leaving her jacket to make it look like she'd return, Ben intercepted her at the door and Bonnie too found herself kidnapped. Cliffhanger central kiddos. And I can tell you on good authority that the following episode, the last before a 5 week hiatus (boo!) reveals even more answers, and involves the tomb finally being open, resulting in a casualty. To be recapped ASAP!!!!!

Monday, 1 February 2010

The Vampire Diaries: it's back and it's better then ever, part 2

So it was with much anticipation that I sat down to last week's episode of the Vampire Diaries, as revealed in my last post the previous episode gave us some crucial answers and luckily this one was no disappointment.

Straight away we get the confirmation we've all been waiting for; the menacing figure Elena hit with her car is definitely a vampire. This is risky for both Elena and the Salvatore brothers as he obviously has Elena targeted, and having more vamps around means more suspicious deaths. As a result Stefan is worried about Elena and her friends well being so gives her a supply of vervain disguised as jewellery and trinkets. Finally Caroline is protected!

In the meantime Damon is busy drafting up his Diabolical Plan: the Sequel, writing down the names of the original vampire hunters. What's more Stefan has offered his help, but on the condition that only Katherine is released from the tomb, no others.

Almost immediately though, the mysterious vamp makes his way into Elena's house when an unknowing Jeremy invited him in. Silly Jeremy! We'll let him off though, he was disguised as a pizza delivery boy; which is very sneaky, even by vampire's standards! But we all know what this means; the vampire has been invited into the Gilbert's house, ere go Elena is most definitely in danger. Luckily Stefan again has a gadget to help, and gives Jonathan Gilbert's compass to Elena which points in the direction of a vampire; something to do with electro magnets or summin about summin.

What I'm sure Stefan didn't bank on was Elena leaving the compass on her bed whilst she majorly backcombed her hair for the 'sock hop', pay attention Elena, that dial is going mental on your bed!!! Mystery vamp was lurking with the intentions of attacking her. Luckily Stefan arrives just in time, and recruits Damon's help to catch the mysterious vamp, together they devise a plan which involves them all going to the dance. Cue probably one of the best school dances ever to grace a CW show, my favourite bit by far was Damon bumping and grinding with a random and then busting some sort of tango move. Loved Elena's comment; 'you really can't take him anywhere, can you?' My second was Stefan and Elena's dancing, I liked her teasing him about his age and asking him to hand jive, and I loved him dipping her and then finishing off with a passionate kiss.

So anyway, their plan worked and whilst dancing they spotted the mystery vamp, only to discover he'd pulled the classic swapped outfit trick. Instead he doubled back on himself and managed to lure Elena away by threatening to kill Jeremy. Luckily Stefan arrived just in time AGAIN and by torturing mystery vamp managed to finally get some answers. So we now know that Noah (the mystery vamp) knew Katherine, and that to access the tomb open they need Elena's family journal which will tell them how to get Emily's grimoire. Then in a massively sexy but disturbing turn of events Stefan staked Noah, and explained his actions as 'he'd been invited in.' What the boys failed to discover is that earlier on Jeremy actually handed over his father's journal to Alaric as it's porn for history teachers AND his cute stalker Anna is actually also a vamp and as set on getting the journal as the Salvatore bros.

Sorry for this blatant recapping, but seeing as each episode of the Vampire Diaries brings with it a season's worth of revelations there is no other way to incorporate all the answers. Here's a list of more twists that were revealed:

Alaric's wife was called Isabel, there is a chance that she could be Elena's mother! He's playing a risky game actually, he was trying to dig too much info out of Damon and then nearly walked in on the Salvatore's sorting out the Noak problem, Damon used his compulsion on him but it was later revealed that Alaric was wearing I'm not sure how this one is going to end. Aunt Jenna seems to be interested though.

There was a cute romance between Matt and Caroline, not much to report except he needed to get over his prejudices, which he did.

But the Bonnie romance was slightly more shocking. She had some serious flirting going on with the new barman Ben, later after encouragement from Caroline she wangled a date, but in a twist that I did not see coming the episode ended with him being stalked by Anna. Now I thought this meant he was toast and that Bonnie would suffer more disappointment, but no Ben is also a vampire and is part of Anna's pack/clan/gang? What's the terminology for a collection of vampires? Answers on a postcard please! Anyway they're going to use the little witch to get to Elena and the journal.

Lastly, STEFAN WAS BLUFFING! He's not actually going to help Damon open the tomb, he just lied because this way he'll be in on the know of Diabolical Plan: the Sequel.

As I said this episode was full to the brim with answers, and as I've been fortunate enough to the see the following episode I can reveal that it is as equally satisfying. Plus it contains flashbacks of pre-vamp Salvatore brothers and gives an insight into their relationship with Katherine.

Make sure you check back to discover all the juicy gossip!

Sunday, 31 January 2010

The Vampire Diaries: It's back, and it's better then ever! Part 1.

Hands up if you thought the Vampire Diaries had been off our screens for far too long before its return? I for one definitely did. But the good news is that it's back, and in my opinion it's better then ever.

For those of you with short-term memories, in the last episode before Christmas Elena slept with Stefan only to discover after that she holds more than a resemblance to Stefan/Damon's love of their life (and after life) Katherine. Understandably furious she stormed out, sans necklace, only to get trapped after crashing her car. The last we saw was the car with Elena still trapped, being slowly approached by whoever or whatever she hit.
I was particularly worried about these cliffhangers as I thought it might be the writers building up a storyline to stretch out over this upcoming season. Luckily they've decided to be kind and instead instantly reveal some of the mysteries.

We picked up where the last episode left off. Elena was still screaming her head off about the approaching menacing figure, but luckily she was saved not Stefan but Damon. And worryingly Damon was clueless about who the other vamp was. Passing out, Elena came to in the car with Damon on the way to Georgia. I love the banter between Elena and Damon, and it was quite sweet that even though Elena wasn't wearing her vervain necklace he refrained from using his mind compulsion, so despite her initial protests to turn around, Elena agreed to accompany Damon to his destination and take a timeout from her life.

Their destination was a bar where Damon's former fling Bree worked. It was killing me all through this episode, but thanks to my friends at IMDB I discovered that Bree was also Vanessa's mum in Gossip Girl - just a bit of trivia for you there! I wasn't a fan of her Gossip Girl character, but really liked her as Bree. Her toast to Damon was brilliant:

'Here’s to the man that broke my heart, crushed my soul, destroyed my life, and ruined any and all chances of happiness. Drink up!'
The twist being that Bree was a witch. She'd fallen for Damon at college when they'd both revealed their secret to one another. Damon was of course looking her up to see if she could advise him on how to get Katherine out of the tomb (for those with the short-terms Bonnie had been possessed by Emily, her ancestor who had originally trapped the vamps in the tomb, and destroyed Damon's Diabolical Plan.) Bree told him there was no other way. But she quickly changed her tone when an incredibly pissed off Damon confronted her again. His reason for being so pissed off was that she had alerted the boyfriend of Stefan's vampire BFF Lexie that Damon was in town and he'd tried to set him on fire as revenge. Justified really! Elena managed to talk him out of this and in doing so saved Damon's life. Nice little trump card to play there when needed.

So Damon confronted Bree, who turned out to be a friend of Lexie, and she told him what he needed to know; Damon could free Katherine if he found Emily's spell book. With that Bree was no longer needed and a swift punch through her chest stopped her heart. Job done.

This trip also gave us an insight to how the Vampire Diaries vamps work. Twilight vamps can't eat, but they sure can here, as Damon tucking into a hearty burger and fries proved. As long as they keep enough blood in their bodies then it can keep functioning. Also vamps can't procreate, but 'we'd love to try!' So really, the only way that Elena could be related to Katherine is if she had a daughter before she was turned!!!

This led to Elena confronting Stefan as soon as she got home. I was glad she did this instead of simply ignoring him. Elena wanted to know if she was simply Katherine II to him, but he said she's the complete opposite of Katherine, and that he knew this from before they met! It gets juicier. Basically, Stefan was on one of his visits to see Uncle Zack (RIP) when Elena's parents crashed their car. He was the first on the scene, and could have potentially rescued Elena's father, but he refused to allow it until he had seen to Elena. Stefan rescued her and then went back for the parents, but by then it was too late. He of course realised the resemblance to Katherine and so spent the next few months observing to make sure she hadn't escaped. This literally blew me off my seat.

This bombshell was followed by an even bigger one...the reason Elena resembles Katherine is because she is not a Gilbert, but instead a Pierce. That's right, she is adopted! Of course Elena was devastated by this, but comforted by Stefan's reassurance that the only identification she needs is 'the woman he loves.' I love this couple, almost as much as Chuck and Blair.

This episode also revealed some of Alaric's back story. He is certainly not a vamp, but he has come across them, cue a flash back of Damon feeding on his wife. Ouch!

Stefan of course had to be up to something whilst Elena was road tripping with his bro, so he had a nice bonding session with Bonnie. She'd been struggling to regain her powers since Emily's possession and it was sweet to see Stefan try and help her. We also discovered that Stefan knew her grandmother Sheila. She revealed that she'd told Bonnie to clear her mind of what was scaring her, so he knew she would have returned to the tomb. Thankfully he arrived in enough to time to rescue her after she fell through the ground and within terrifyingly reaching distance of the trapped vamps. She could hear them behind the door! He swooped in and saved her and promised her they wouldn't get out. Here's hoping! Anyway after seeing her safely home, he struck an easy alliance with Sheila, but she warned that if it came down to it, she'd help her own (i.e witches) over keeping their secret.
Finally Elena's brother Jeremy is getting a good storyline delving deep into the history of Mystic Falls. As a history graduate myself I am incredibly jealous at the high standard of his primary source with his family's journals. Through his researching we were introduced to a new character; Anna, who is home-schooled. There's something not quite right about her though. She's very into the myth of vampires being real, and she has some sort of bulky ring which in the Vampire Diaries always means there is a back story! Watch this space.

All in all a very fulfilling episode, it gave us the answers I've been craving for an incredibly long time. I thought it couldn't be topped, but this week's episode changed all that. Read part two for the deets...

Friday, 29 January 2010

CW Crossover Could Mean Vampires on the Upper East Side

Fans of CW shows The Vampire Diaries and Gossip Girl could soon be about to get the crossover of their dreams. If you’re a fan of actresses Leighton Meester and Nina Dobrev, then you may want to read on.
The executive producer of both shows, Bob Levy, has promised that he will work on getting the actresses, who are real-life friends, to guest star on each other’s shows.
When proposed with the idea, whilst speaking to “E! Online’s” Kristin Dos Santos, Levy said: “I love that idea...we’re gonna work on that. You have my word.”
Dobrev, who is currently starring in The Vampire Diaries as both Elena Gilbert and vampire Katherine Pierce, was equally as excited about the prospect of a crossover exclaiming: “Oh my god, I would love to be on Gossip Girl, I feel like it’s hard to do because we’re both so busy. But I would love to, and I would for her to be on our show. Leighton would make a great vampire, I think.”
Aside from the actresses busy schedules, filming locations would also prove to be problematic; Vampire Diaries shoots in Atlanta whilst Gossip Girl shoots in New York. Levy explains: “The trick is tearing Nina from Atlanta; she’s in almost every scene of every episode. So it’s hard scheduling-wise to work that out. But I love that pitch! Good pitch. We’re gonna work to make it happen.”
Dobrev and Meester are real life friends after they met whilst shooting The Roommate, a psychological thriller about a disturbed college freshman.

Monday, 25 January 2010

Chuck vs Operation Awesome

When Chuck first returned to our screens a couple of weeks ago I wrote that something didn't feel right. The whole dynamics of the gang had changed and as I'm a creature of habit, I don't like change. Well this week's episode blew all of that right out of the water. It was, as far as I'm concerned, the best episode of Chuck yet.

Last week's episode left us on a major cliffhanger; a Ring agent had mistaken Awesome for a CIA spy with his fate left unknown, and this episode resumed where the last left off.

Immediately we were introduced to a new Ring operative, Sidney Prince who believed Devon to be a world class spy and wouldn't hear otherwise. So whilst Chuck's is freaking out about his brother-in-law's fate in the Castle, she's prepping Awesome about an upcoming mission that if he fails to complete, will result in death. I was initially worried that the episode would centre around team Bartowski's rescue mission but luckily less than 10 minutes Devon turns up the Buy More equipped with a phone for Sidney to contact him on, and the plan to aid Awesome was in action, the problem being the Ring think he's Chuck. Devon later arrives at Casey's with a box and receives instructions from Sidney to put on the headset for her to communicate with him and the GPS tracking watch. Oh and one small thing, act against orders or remove the headset and she will detonate the earpiece as it's rigged with explosives.

One of the best things about this episode is that it the transition of the characters felt natural. Awesome becomes all but a season 1 Chuck stand in. He's the nervy newcomer into the spy world and looks to Chuck for reassurance, therefore Chuck has to play Sarah's role. I thought it was great to see Chuck become more independent and more confident in his new career. Anyway the mission Devon was sent on left me reeling, I love it when a TV show makes me GOL (gasp out loud) and this week's episode was full of GOL moments. Devon (heavily aided by Chuck) had to follow Sidney's instructions and make his way to the 12th floor of the Crystal Towers. By the way how much did love Chuck's precautions to avoid Devon confusing both his GPS watches by labelling them 'Good Guys', 'Bad Guys' - brilliant! Anyway once they reach the 12th floor, (after an amazing tranq gun display by Chuck), Sidney's instructions become a lot more menacing and the storyline becomes a lot juicier. Sidney's instructions are to kill the man occupying the 12th floor, but just as they arrive Chuck observes that they are in a CIA office and loses contact with Casey and Sarah, who have remained in the car to capture Sidney.

Gasp no. 1: The mission is a set-up, and Sarah and Casey are in lock-down in the van. Chuck and Awesome are on their own, and Sidney's on her way to the 12th floor.

Gasp no. 2: the guy on the 12th floor is more than aware who Chuck and Awesome are, and instructs Chuck to shoot him after popping a pill. Chuck's aversion to guns poses as a problem though and he can't bring himself to do it. So the guy shoots himself and tells Chuck to put the gun in Devon's hand, hide, and read this note when it's all over. Who is this mystery man?!

So the plan goes smoothly and Sidney, believing Devon to have successfully completed the mission by himself, removes the ear piece, welcomes him to the Ring and informs him that she'll be in touch.

This is when Devon proves his worth again, the note reveals that mystery man took amiodarone which stopped his heart and that they are to save him. An injection of adrenaline does the trick and we find out that mystery man is actually CIA Agent Daniel Shaw, who is in charge of the operation to bring down the Ring. Next problem; as far as Sidney is concerned, Devon is still a world class spy and has now gained entrance into the Ring.

Back in the Castle we learn more info about Agent Shaw. The General reveals that he has global control over any mission involving the Ring and he knows everything there is to know about Operation Bartowski; including Chuck and Sarah's relationship. Shaw states that the next game plan is to use Devon as a mole in the Ring, this once again freaks Chuck out as he's reluctant to involve Awesome in anything else spy related. Shaw confronts Chuck to state a better plan and we see Chuck's Nerd Herd skills come to use. He manages to tap into the phone and call Sidney, revealing that Devon had been a proxy and he was the spy she was seeking, and arranges a meeting at...where else but the Buy More.

Sidney and back-up arrive, but would you believe it intersect fail. Chuck is left unarmed and helpless against the bad guys, who as a result don't believe his claim. Shaw orders Casey and Sarah to refrain from helping Chuck as he brought the situation on himself. But ignoring orders Casey and Sarah go and rescue their asset. It all once again comes down to Chuck's inability to use a gun. Casey takes out the back up and we have the weekly girl on girl fight. But when it comes down to Chuck to finish Sidney off he just can't pull the trigger. Luckily Agent Shaw can. He also doesn't like guns, but states it helps to know how to use one. So with that, Sidney is dead and Devon is officially free.

At the debriefing, Shaw reprimands Chuck for letting his emotions get in the way and cause him to disobey orders. He looks to Sarah to support him saying that his dedication to his family will make him vulnerable. She disagrees, giving hope to all us Chuck-Sarah fans, and looks at Chuck poignantly saying 'sometimes it helps to know you have something to lose.'

Intermittently there was a brilliant Buy More storyline. Chuck's emotional stress at the beginning of the episode meant that he was unable to control the intersect. He'd already offended a Japanese customer (in fluent Japanese) and when Lester began play fighting with him when asking who would win in a fight, Jean Claude Van Damme or Steven Seagal, the intersect went into full kung fu mode and floored Lester with a roundhouse kick. Unfortunately the adrenaline made Lester feel alive for the first time since his Bar Mitzvah and prompted him to create a Buy More fight club. Cue all the Buy More employees walking around with pretty impressive shiners and sunglasses, and a fabulous cage fighting scene. Big Mike, who had been impressed with Morgan's recent commanding of respect from his peers, promoted Morgan to Assistant Manager, so it was down to our favourite hairy one to close down the fight club, humiliating Lester in front of the store with the threat of a sacking.

So the episode ended on a high, but not without the weekly tease of a new mystery. Team Bartowski were joined by Morgan and the Awesomes at Chuck's bachelor pad for a nice meal of sushi (courtesy of Morgan) but were watched by Agent Shaw on CCTV fondling a wedding ring. What is this mystery? Has Shaw lost his wife? Does she look like Sarah? (He did seem to be looking at her oddly.) Luckily we have less than 24 hours from me writing this blog to find out.

Thank heaven for small mercies!

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Families that dance together, stay together...

Normally when recapping a series for the first time I try to give a brief summary of the history of the programme. To do this for Neighbours I would need you to put on a cuppa and put aside enough time to read War and Peace thrice, so I'm going to do the unthinkable and assume that you are as much of a fan as me, and therefore are familiar with the goings on of our favourite Australian street.

Last week in Ramsey Street saw the build up to the deb ball and a killer dance routine by Kate Ramsey. Having previously blown her chances impressing Jason Coleman, (who after googling I now know is a renowned dance choreographer in Australia) Kate is rewarded with a second chance audition to join The Ministry of Dance, which take us up to Monday...

The effects of the Deb Ball are still being felt by many, mainly due to a nice helping of food poisoning, which through Steph's deductions we discover resulted from Lyn Scully's sandwiches. Steph urges her mum to take responsibility, but Lyn's terrified that the repercussions could lead to Harold's being shut down and guilt's Steph to keep this between themselves. However neither are aware that Lou has overheard their whispered conversation and as a result has realised that Lyn is the food poisoning culprit. He uses this information to his advantage and blackmails Lyn in order for his secrecy. Steph is uncomfortable about lying to everyone so urges Lyn to come clean and contact the Health Department, reassuring her that she'll have her support. With this in mind Lyn calls of her deal with Lou and calls the Health Department, but is unprepared for the consequences.

Meanwhile in the Ramsey household Harry is still being given the cold shoulder by Sophie. Guilt-ridden Harry tries to make amendments but his attempts fall short. Kate, who is already suffering from food poisoning and stress due to her family's disintegration receives a phone call informing her that her Ministry of Dance audition has been brought forward. Heading off to the audition Kate is aware that entry into the Ministry could be her family's saving grace. Once inside the audition room however, Kate suffers from an attack of the nerves. Alone in the dressing room she's about to give up her dream until the ghost of her mother appears and offers her the words of encouragement she so desperately needed. She goes out and nails the audition, but has she done enough?

Tuesdays Episode:

It's the day of Donna's 18th birthday, but also the day before the gang's English exam which puts Ringo in the difficult position of having to please his girlfriend whilst making sure he is prepared for his exam.

On her birthday, Donna receives a present from Saffron which only serves to remind her of the fantastic opportunity that she gave up, leading her to blame Ringo for all her problems.

With Ringo committed to studying for his exams and Donna deciding to wing it, their problems come to a blow at her birthday meal.

Meanwhile after being awarded a place in the Ministry of Dance, Kate returns home to find relations still bad between Harry and Sophie. Aware of the threat that they might be split up, Harry once again tries to make amends without success, until a the prospect of a crisis leads to Sophie showing forgiveness.

isn't aiding her recovery. As if she didn't have enough to deal with already, a phone call informing her that her Ministry of Dance audition has been forward adds to her already overwhelming problems.

Monday, 18 January 2010

There is a God..On the Upper East Side at least!

Amidst all the January detoxes and diets, and on this rather dreary Monday morning I thought I would share with you some joy...

If like me, you are obsessed with Gossip Girl not only for the scandalous story lines and fabulous fashions, but also because of the abundance of beautiful people, what I am about to reveal is sure to fill you with delight.

Is one of your New Year's Resolution to lose some weight in order to get the figure of either Leighton Meester or Blake Lively? If so it seems that a celebrity fad diet is not the answer but instead a good old pair of Spanx! This is straight out of the horse's mouth, or at least the costume designer Eric Damon, who revealed

"They don't [diet]. They just get some good underwear and they're fine. I say, just enjoy yourself. If you put on a couple of pounds, then great, buy some Spanx."

So there you go ladies, good news for all involved! Not only do we no longer have to survive on a diet of maple syrup and hot water and lemon to achieve Gossip Girl's enviable figures but Spanx are officially fashionable, fact. If it's good enough for the Upper East Side, then it's damned well good enough for me!!

Saturday, 16 January 2010


An awful thought occurred to me just now after completing my thesis on Chuck. In my introduction to this blog (alongside all my favourite American TV shows and copious amounts of gushing over a English heartthrob's depiction of a eternally 17 year old vampire) I promised recaps and gossip about my favourite Australian soaps. For those unaware of the existence of Ramsey Street and Summer Bay I'm talking about Neighbours and Home and Away; of which I have been an avid viewer of for many many years.

So, as of Monday, alongside all my regular recaps and gossip, you can expect updates of what's occurring Down Under. Oh and also House. Lots and lots of House in fact as I feel like I should dedicate another thesis to the first episode alone, if Hugh Laurie is not awarded with Best Actor Emmy then something is seriously seriously wrong!

Until Monday then, in the words of the deceased Stingray 'Cop ya!'

Chuck vs the Angel de la Muerte

As you can gather from my last post, I had been hyping myself up about the return of Chuck to my TV viewing schedule for quite some time. Now I can't put my finger on it but something didn't feel right after watching the first two episodes, it was still Chuck but not quite as smooth as at the end of Season Two. Luckily this feeling of doubt wasn't to last, as Chuck vs the Angel de la Muerte (which marked the show returning to it's regular Monday slot) was an episode back to the show's usual excellent standard.

The episode was quite Ellie and Awesome weighted, which can according to some critics, be slightly hit or miss. Mr and Mrs Awesome are bored, after all the excitement of the build up to their wedding during the last season, they seem to be in a rut and Devon has started looking elsewhere for a much needed adrenaline rush; i.e Chuck and the CIA. Chuck of course is horrified at the prospect of any Awesome involvement, and is guarded about his missions, cue a rather blase summary; 'black tie event, bad guy selling weapons, we bring down bad guy.' Of course despite Chuck's objections Awesome inevitably becomes entwined in the world of espionage.
This is mainly due to the attempted assassination of a former Communist dictator, (definitely not based on Castro), from Costa Gravas, (definitely not based on Cuba.) Premier Alejandro Goya is attempting to change Costa Gravas into a democratic republic and has as a result become the target of an assassination plot. It is therefore down to Team Bartowski to protect him, much to the disgust of Casey a through and through Republican and three time attempted assassin of the Premier. Enter Awesome. The Premier has been poisoned and Devon is his assigned doctor. Awesome being an awesome doctor saves his life and is invited to a rather swanky event at the Costa Gravas embassy as a way of saying thank you, and it doesn't help that Ellie very much so catches the eye of the Premier and is ordered to remain by his side the entire night. As Awesome is in the know about the plot, he freaks and orders Chuck and Sarah to get their spy on. They do, but sadly end up dealing with a political activist and not the assassin. Casey has to dive in to the rescue, even though he is widely known as the Angel de la Muerte and is mistaken in his disguise by Awesome as the assassin. Cue Casey locked up in the Costa Gravas embassy and the General refusing to give orders to resue him due to precarious relations with the Premier. The real assassin succeeds in his plot to once again poison the Premier and Awesome is recalled on to help treat him. This gives Sarah and Chuck an opportunity to penetrate the embassy without it resulting in war. After a smackdown with the guards (I think Devon know sees the attraction of Sarah) the duo burst in to rescue Casey who has had his own brawl with the assassin and has now too been poisoned.
Cue Intersect 2.0 to the rescue. We already see it come into action this episode showcasing some outstanding dancing skills, but Chuck is forced to put it to the test when one of the guards demands that he treat Casey to prove that he truly is a doctor (his disguise) and not another assassin. The Intersect doesn't fail and Chuck successfully removes the bullet. The added twist is that Awesome reveals that the Premier will die if he doesn't receive a blood transfusion, his blood type being AB Negative. The only match; yep you guessed it Colonel John Casey who most definitely did not want his blood running through a 'Commie Bastard.' After a bit of blood stealing the Premier was saved and Costa Gravas was on route to becoming democratic.
What no one saw was the unbelieveable cliff hanger ending. Chuck and Sarah are thawing by the hour and have decided that their new cover will be friends. Awesome has decided that the life of espionage is not for him because it's not a real life. So with one more patient left to treat he rewards himself with the thought of returning to his loving wife. Unfortunately that one last patient turns out to be the assassin (who earlier identified himself to Casey as a member of the Ring) and who believes Awesome to be CIA. He also has another syringe of poison, his weapon of choice.
So we finish with a visit from Sarah to Chuck, barely holding back the tears with the news 'Devon's been...' and Ellie enquiring after the whereabouts of her husband. Bring on Monday! Chuck is back to it's finest, this was a fast paced episode which remained energetic the whole way through. Special mention to Adam Baldwin who revels in his role as Casey. He is seriously becoming my favourite character and is in my opinion definitely one of the funniest characters from the show, possibly only sharing the accolade with Jeffster. Which leads me to my final thought; where were the Buy Morians? Granted there really was no room for them in this week's episode, but I hope this isn't the producers phasing them out, or at least not without one final performance from the mighty Jeffster!

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

What is the perfect antidote to the post Christmas blues?

God I hate January. Not only does it feel like Christmas happened a day and age ago, it is accompanied by the two things I hate the most; post Christmas binge remorse and the return to the dreaded commute.

Luckily for me however, this year January 2010 has redeemed itself as I have now been reunited with my beloved Chuck. In fact, NBC could also be described as the Ferrero Rocher of TV networks, as Monsieur with these episodes you are spoiling us, with not one, but three outings with our favourite faux spy!

Avid Chuck fans will remember that we last saw our favourite geeky Nerd Herder downloading the Intersect 2.0 in order to defeat Operation Bartowski's newest nemesis; the elusive Ring. As with Season One which concluded with a brief introduction to Fulcrum, the major enemy of Season Two, the end of the last season revealed the larger threat of the Ring so we can prepare ourselves for the mystery to be uncovered throughout this season.

Our first sighting of Chuck in S301 Chuck vs the Pink Slip was of what appeared to be a calm and suave spy taking full control of a dangerous situation and demonstrating some pretty impressive kung fu skills. All was not what it appeared to be, this was in fact a CIA drill and we soon discovered that this intersect had a pretty major flaw; Chuck can't access the skills he needs when emotionally unstable and panicking. Because of this General Beckmann fires Chuck's ass and 6 months later he's become a bearded bum that doesn't move from the sofa and survives on a diet of cheesy puffs. We also discover that his on/off relationship with Sarah is most definitely off. Flashbacks throughout the episode reveal that Sarah pleaded with Chuck to go on the run and try to have a 'normal' life only for him to turn up at the station to reluctantly inform her he can't turn his back on helping people in need. Chuck consequently loses his dream girl.
After imposing himself on a mission and compromising both Sarah and Casey's cover Chuck ultimately saves the day. This means Operation Bartowski is back on and the team is to remain in place, much to both Sarah and Casey's dismay. The only difference is that this time they're not protecting Chuck from the world, but rather the world from Chuck!

The second episode of the evening Chuck vs the Three Words saw the return of one of my favourite characters, Sarah's best CIA bud Carina. Catrina is once again on a risky operation involving stealing a deadly dangerous weapon from her 'fiance' (a brilliant guest spot by Vinnie Jones who must have had to dig deep for inspiration to play a cockney hard man!) The reoccurring theme of this episode is love. Carina is the epitome of a cold ruthless spy who despairs when she realises Sarah has broken the main spy role of not falling in love. Morgan becomes once again infatuated with Carina only to eventually find the strength to give her a right good telling off for her treatment of him and that he would turn down the opportunity to sleep with her. Ultimately the gang succeed in stealing the weapon, thanks to a heartfelt speech from Chuck which provides the perfect diversion for some serious ass kicking. Ultimately however we learn why Chuck left Sarah at the station and chose a life of espionage. It was because he had to help people just like Sarah taught him, he had to be a hero and because he loved her. Carina having seen that her friend would never be able to leave Burbank because of her feelings, left with the parting gift of the CCTV for Sarah to watch which confessed all this. But for me the best part of the episode was Carina reeling from someone saying no to her and as a result hooking up with Morgan at the house party. Cue Morgan punching the air after being told that she's had better, 'but not many'.

It seems only apt to end this post by paying our respect to the brilliant and sure to be greatly missed Emmett Hale, who met his maker in a rather violent way. If only he hadn't been so cocky! For those of you wishing to pay further respects, visit the Chuck minisite on the NBC website where you can leave your own tribute to the emperor of Buy Moria. Still it resulted in the return of Big Mike, so swings and roundabouts I guess!
Anyway make sure you check back soon for a review of Monday's episode Chuck vs the Angel de la Muerte.