Posts Tagged ‘Vampire Diaries’

Review – Nikita – All the Way (mid-season finale)

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Excuse me while I break out while chained to the ceiling. Thanks. Bubybe.

This week:
Alex takes the final step to becoming an Agent. Capture for Nikita is the only way out. Alex proves how far she is willing to go (All the Way). Flashbacks and home truths.

Pluses:
The suspense was pretty solid for most of this episode.
Good use of flashbacks to underline the themes.
Excellent acting.
Very strong development for all parties.
Michael protecting Alex.
Alex.

Minuses:
The breakout scene by Nikita was pretty lame.
Now I have seen Pretty LIttle Liars and re-watched Season 1 of Vampire Diaries it is hard to look at the Inquisitor the same way. (HA – I just looked up the actress and it turns out she isn’t in Pretty Little Liars but too much plastic surgery will make all 40+ B actresses look the same.

Now I can usually tell what is going to happen in Nikita – but it isn’t overplayed so I don’t mind. This time round I got caught completely by surprise. People’s choices and how those decisions played out took me off guard. I said a while back just how manipulative and “Division”ish Alex was becoming, and I understand why she did what she did, but I was expecting a “two birds with one stone” outcome. Kudos to the writers for that. I was also pleased we haven’t seen goody two-shoes CIA agent Ryan Fletcher again yet. Now that comms are down and Alex is live the whole series is going to change. I can’t wait – but am going to have to, as no Nikita till after Christmas.

#fourhotguntotingchickpandas

So Just Why Was Pretty Little Liars the #1 Tweeted Series for 2010?

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Number 2???

Let’s be honest, there are better shows out there – True Blood, The Walking Dead, Mad Men etc and all except Mad Men made the Television Twitter Trend Top Ten for 2010, but just why did Pretty Little Liars come in at #2 over all the the highest rated series.

According to Mashable and Read Write Web, teens don’t tweet, however the demographic for this show is decidedly teen with over a million teen viewers watching our over made up band of “heroes,” with a total weekly audience of 2.5 million – the highest ratings ever for ABC Family – coming in a whopping 41% ahead of its competition in the same time slot. Also, there has only been ten episodes of the show, so it isn’t like this is a cumulative effect over 22 eps, as the back half of the series is to be shown in early 2011 with season two (already green lighted and shooting to commence in January 2011) to hit the screens as a late Summer (US) show. Shows that are much more reflective of a tweeting demographic didn’t get up there, plus hugely successful shows such as Glee (can’t stand it) and CSI (peoples still watch that?) that came in located in the lower half of the list. If my pre-Glee blocked stream was any indication of the volume of tweets that must be required to come in at #6, I dread to think how many more tweets about Pretty Little Liars actually racked up.

I talked about the first two episodes of Pretty Little Liars a couple of weeks back and have since watched the entire front half of season 1.

This show is much more teen, tween and family orientated that HellCats, yet here in Australia on GO! it is shown at 9.30pm, with HellCats at 7.30pm. Don’t get me started on GO!’s idea of programming times (remember Chuck?) but I don’t understand why a show that is much more family friendly than HellCats is on after Vampire Diaries, a show with very young adult and supernatural themes.

Love that they are done as dolls - posable yet empty.

In the States however, it was on at an age appropriate time and racking up the ratings and as such the tweets. However it isn’t just the television show. Pretty Little Liars is taken from the very successful tween novels by the same name. Out of curiosity I did buy the first book from iBooks and found it remarkably well written. None of this unnecessary fluff that filled out JK Rowling’s later books, but crisp, clear writing with drama, suspense and real character development. It is also written for the parents who are reading with this children, leading to discussions about age appropriate issues, to ensure that their young girls learn from the mistakes of the main characters and have a strong sense of self worth so they can make the right choices. However it does all this without being preachy and a little bit salacious (as much as it can be with teens).

There are some major differences in the show to the books, but over all it stays true to the themes, plot twists, suspense and character development of the books. In my first review, I said it was intriguingly engaging crap. And to be honest, that does still hold true, but I can certainly see its appeal of the family market. Some times though I want to shake the females in that show until they demonstrate some sense.

Every cliche is in this show. Every single one. From the student having a relationship with her teacher, to the fat girl now thin and popular, to the step siblings having a technically not incestuous relationship, sister in love with her sister’s boyfriend, and let’s not forget the divorce storyline and “sexual tension” between some of the parents. Add into this a mix of Gossip Girl style texts knowing all their deepest and darkest secrets and you can see why this show is so popular.

We are pretty, but also dirty and naughty.

But being popular isn’t enough. If Twitter is about sharing information in real time (which according to Read Write Web teens are not want to do) why is Pretty Little Liars Tweet Rating so high? Some of the tweets tell the answer as they are a direct reflection of not only the books but also the show’s style – cliffhanger after cliffhanger after cliffhanger. A lot of the tweets were watchers hypothesising on what they think might happen, given their knowledge of the books and what has happened in the show. There is also an awful lot of discussion about why characters made the choices they made – whether they agree with the decisions or not – and this reflects nicely back on the books – encouraging the readers to learn from the mistakes of the characters to make the right choices. And of course, there is a fair bit of discussion on what is being worn. Looking at the most recent few pages of search results it is filled with tweet after tweet of how they can’t wait for the show to return on Jan 3rd (US release). That is one loyal fan base.

So the buy in from those watching and therefore tweeting is higher than other shows. Anecdotally, if I love a show, I tweet I am watching it, jump on the occasional discussions regarding it on twitter but that is about it, and I certainly don’t keep mentioning the show in my tweets (I am just too verbose to fit it all in), however these tweeters do and the amount of retweets is just insane.

Finally, it should be noted that I don’t actually know anyone who watches Pretty Little Liars. According to gomiso, none of my friends watch it, and it has been very slow on the uptake with viewers who use gomiso with only 120 people following (compared to the 2k+ Fringe follwers). Also, from people who read my first review of Pretty Little Liars, a whopping 83% came from the US. Now I know my blog is read predominately by Americans and Europeans but even for HowManyPandas that was pretty full on – but then given the lack of suitable time slot for the show here in Australia it isn’t that much of a surprise that there is little to no interest here.

So if we all believe Twitter is the temperature gauge to what is “so hot right now” to quote Mugatu, we should all be turning on Justin Bieber and watching Pretty Little Liars. For a deomographic that doesn’t tweet, they sure have an impact on trends.

PS. Anyone know where I can find top trends in Australia for 2010? Will even accept LMGTFY.com responses.

PPS. The Last Airbender came in at #6 on the top ten tweeted movies – I bet 99% of those tweets were about how bad this movie actually was.

Review – Season One – The Vampire Diaries

Monday, December 13th, 2010

What is this odd fog swirling mysteriously around me while I write in my journal in a cemetery

As the outstanding teev I normally watch week to week has finished up for the year (mostly) I have been revisiting some of my favourite shows. Today let’s look at The Vampire Diaries.

I must admit I first got into TVD because it was stupid and hokey. What do I mean?

Scenario:
People have been killed in mysterious attacks so I will go for a walk in the forrest and when an even more mysterious fog rolls in just around me, I will run away from safety further into the forest.

Now it wasn’t all like that – but the first few eps were pretty terrible. However as the show progressed I stopped watching it for the laugh factor (I used to describe it as the funniest show on TV after FOX News), but more of the progression of the story and characters.

This is all you need to know to watch TVD:
Elena is in love with Stefan (a vampire) who was initially drawn to Elena because she is a dead ringer for the vampire that made him – Katherine. Damon, Stefan’s brother (also a vampire) was in love with Katherine and blames his brother for a) making him become a vampire and b) Katherine’s death (well killing the already dead vampire). All African American people in their sleepy little town are witches. Everyone is in league with everyone else and all roads always lead back to Katherine.

Pluses:
The development of the minor characters – eg Jeremy (little brother) growing from pouty bratty stoner geek to someone who can stand up for himself.
Damon being the antagonist for much of the first season (something I had forgotten).
Great editing.
The amount of lying and counter lying to keep secrets – everyone in this town has a secret.
Some of the sets are awesome – the Salvatore guest house is brilliant.
Brilliant guest stars.
Outstanding soundtrack – if you are into the torrents you can get every song from season one in a handy little download.

Minuses:

Classic teen angst love triangle - just two happen to be vampires.

Really the only characters that didn’t change are Stefan and Elena – the two major characters.
A vampire addicted with human blood – OMG NOOOO! Really?
Bonnie only slightly less of a bitch by the end of the season – slightly.

So what do I really enjoy about TVD?
It is that the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Everyone has competing motivations which people they trust are undermining. No one is who they appear to be either – and I don’t just mean the character as we see them, but underneath everyone is very grey in their choices and approach to right and wrong. For the most part the vampires are well done, and while each episode is pretty much a stand alone, they all add in plenty of clues and plot development to the over all arc of the season.

With all the rain, there are worse things to do that laze around watching over made up teens have angst about vampires.

#threeandahalfvampirepandas

Review – Vampire Diaries – By the Light of the Moon

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Awww. Why so pouty, Elena?

This week:
A mysterious yet incredibly hot stranger comes to town. Tyler gets his transformation on. Elena gets her pouty face on. Elijah gets his deal on. Bonnie gets played. Rose and Damon share some false hope.

Pluses:
Vampire politics.
Alaric and Damon buddy Werewolf hunters.
Caroline and Tyler scenes.
The lounge room scene w Damon, Elena and Jer – loved the dynamic.
Rose and Damon’s realisation.

Minuses:
Sorry but if I was trapped for all eternity with a hot vampire I would do her.
How can Jenna miss so much?
Really Elena, you can’t go 24 hours without Stefan before the world ends?

If dying was the best thing that ever happened to Caroline, then I have to say, killing someone was the best thing that ever happened to Tyler.
I am not sure why I am so over Stefan and Elena right now. It could be because I have been watching the first series again – up to last ep – and I just haven’t seen him or Elena develop this season – unlike Damon, Jer, Caroline, Tyler – heck even Bonnie.

#fourpandas

Review – Vampire Diaries – The Sacrifice

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

So let's get this clear. We are risking our lives for Elena who is risking her life to save our lives so we can go on brooding without her? Good? Good.

This week:
Everyone is tripping over themselves to sacrifice themselves to save the people they love. Jer gets his cajones on. Damon broods and is ironic and Stefan plays his dull self to perfection. But in the end doesn’t everyone get what they wanted anyway?

Pluses:
Bonnie was slightly less annoying than normal this time round.
Tyler and Caroline dynamic developing.
Elijah is playing coy.
Damon to the rescue.
Luka is totally playing Bonnie but that is OK cause she is playing him right back.
Jer and Katherine in the tomb.

Minuses:
Yeah right, Elena fools a 500 year old + vampire.
Stefan getting his lil’ brother rescue on.
Caroline is fast becoming my favourite character. Dying was the best thing that ever happened to that girl.
Stefan on the other hand, is just more annoying each week. Oh get over the whole tortured love thing and get on with your death. And Elena, suck it up (no pun intended).

#threeandahalfpandas

Review – The Vampire Diaries – Katerina

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010

Ms Double Standards is smitten.

 

This week:
Elena gets what might be the truth from Katherine. Elijah isn’t as gone as we thought. Lots of new info. Damon gets lucky. Katherine backstory. Jeremy gets cockblocked.

Pluses:
Caroline being the best friend she used to be again.
Katherine backstory.
Big Bad is back and a Bigger Bad is on the way.
New characters with their own webs.
New twists and turns.
Uber vamp powers activate!
Dobrev’s Katherine.

Minuses:
I think it is funny how I dised the early dismissal of Elijah – he really is a big bad, if not the biggest bad.
Didn’t feel any chemistry between Damon and Rose – but then it was just sex – for now.

Overall it was a smooth episode – just the right mix of tension, multiple story lines and backstory. This episode continues the theme that every African American in Mystic Falls is a witch/warlock. Katherine’s motivations, if they can be believed, make her much less one dimensional. Very nice indeed.

#fourpandas
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Review – Vampire Diaries – Rose

Sunday, November 7th, 2010

Damon Rose TVD

Ok, for this scene I need "tortured love, brooding, whimsical, contemplative and handsome?" CHECK!

This week:
We pick up hours after Elena’s kidnapping. The Originals. The Petrova Doppleganger. The Big Bad. Tyler learning about himself.

Pluses:
Nice to see Caroline and Tyler interact.
Elijah.
Jeremy and Bonnie bonding.
Rose smacking Elena – I wanted to right then too!

Minuses:
Really all that build up for 5 mins?
Action was a bit meh.

Not the strongest of eps. Lots of dialogue which I thought was really setting us up for the next few weeks – but was all over in moments. Maybe this ep was the lead up to the roll through of the back half of the season. I hope so.

#twoandhalfpandas
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Review – Vampire Diaries – Masquerade

Tuesday, November 2nd, 2010

Lucky I knew Elena wasn't coming, or your straightened hair would have confused me.

This week:
Yet another Founders’ Event. Team Elena decide to take down Team Katherine. Katherine makes a new puppy. Katherine is double crossed in her double cross. Elena doesn’t change her mind. Bonding of Caroline and Tyler over a secret. Katherine!

Pluses:
Elena sticking to her guns re Stefan.
The puppy making was great.
Caroline development – a real highlight of the ep.
Katherine.
Another awesome soundtrack.

Minuses:
Oh come on really? Elena, really? Where is your head.
How come who we thought would die didn’t die?
Correct me if I am wrong, aren’t they still in school – why are they never there anymore?
The last scene *snore*

Overall, still a very strong episode with some great resolutions to some stories and commencements of new ones. To be honest, I was neither surprised nor interested in the last moment of the show. It was a good idea to rebuild the suspense for our protagonist now that her nemesis has been temporarily iced (I so didn’t expect what they did to her), but felt a bit meh. I think it was just too fast, no build up from the previous scene. I don’t mind the plot device, even if it was obvious, but I think its implementation was lax.

#threeandahalfpandas
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Review – Vampire Diaries – Plan B

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Hi Bonnie. I know you think I am bad, but I am busy saving the day here.

This week:
Team Elena try and outsmart Team Katherine. Preparation for yet another Founders’ Event. Double cross. Trap! Murder most foul. Ego. Fall out.

Pluses:
Jeremy finding his stones and also his line in the sand.
Editing.
Caroline and mum dynamic.
Damon was very Damon.
The well.
Stefan actually acted!
Plan B!

Minuses:
Bonnie is still one dimensional though they are trying.
Surprised they killed who they killed.
Whole week to wait!

This episode was just fantastic. Many of the arcs came to resolution this week – good, bad and heartbreakingly sad. I must admit I had  a tear in my eye for Caroline’s choice and actions. What has been set in motion is going to spill out into the town and shake up the lives of our favourite characters and those around them. Vampire Diaries is my bit of fun, but this episode changed my impression of the show. Plan B was amazing. Can’t wait for next week.

#fourapandas

Review – Vampire Diaries – Kill or be Killed

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Hi Mummy!

This week:
Another Founders’ event. Fall out from Stabby Fest 2010. Herbane in lemonade! Caroline kicks butt. Damon acts all noble (for Damon). Big twist!

Pluses:
Great to see Caroline step up and embrace who she is (in more ways than one).
The mother/daughter dynamic was really well done.
Jeremy.
Katherine!

Minuses:
Yawn re Elena and Stefan *fighting*.
Girls trying to act drunk.

Really good episode that was fun, intense, surprising and super enjoyable. Stefan still annoys me no end, so I remain firmly positioned in Camp Damon. I know I said last week that I normally can wait for the next episode, but this week, with that final twist… I really want to see some fall out. I doubt though they will reward us straight away.

#threeandahalfpandas