Once Upon a Time

Once upon a time, in a far away land lived an Evil Queen who wanted revenge on Snow White for ruining her life. So, as evil queens do, she cast a powerful spell that trapped all the fairy tale characters in a small town in present time and made them forget who they were. Thus begins the new ABC series Once Upon A Time.

If you follow my book blog you will know that I am a fan of fantasy and fairytales, so when Once was slotted to premier in the fall, I knew I had to see what it was all about. (I know Grimm also started at this time, but this is a post about Once… Grimm is for another day).

One of the things I like about Once is that it could read like a book, and it would be an intriguing story. There is a lot of mystery with enough answers to keep you satisfied. A good amount of action, strong characters and of course, a dash of romance. Sometimes the story is so good that I am almost afraid to view the next episode because I’m expecting it to be disappointing.

I am pleased with the way the story flashes back and forth between storybook land and Storybrooke, it’s pretty seamless and always seem to tie to each other, revealing a little bit more about each character as their story arc progresses. I was a bit concerned about crazy, unrelated flashbacks, but so far it’s been good.

What I really hope for this series is that there will be a definite conclusion. I’m a fan of short series, something that has a strong plot and carries it through to the end. It gets a bit frustrating when the writers just write shows by the seat of their pants and then the series has to come to an end and there’s a slap dash finale that leaves you with more questions and a feeling like you wasted a lot of viewing hours and got no closure. Then you find yourself making up excuses for them and singing their brilliance because you don’t want to admit that you just spent months of your life watching something that really had no direction… but I digress.

I’m not really sure why I’m rambling about Once … I don’t have a conclusion … so I’m just going to leave it off here. Oh, look an awesome candy house from the Hansel and Gretel episode!

Pottermore: Thoughts and Recommendations

In late September, I received my letter email inviting me to sign into Pottermore. After a bit of excitement, confetti and general happy making, I sign in, for the first time, to the newest Harry Potter experience.

Pottermore choses a username for you, so I’m AsphodelPurple124 (find me; friend me) and then it takes you on an adventure through the first book in the series. Each chapter contains several sections with hidden messages, items and exclusive content from J. K. Rowling.

I love the graphics and what they did with the site. However, I’m hoping when they come out of beta there will be, well, more! I love the chapter explorations, but it would be nice if they implemented little mini-games, or more background on the characters. I was under the impression that JKR had a ton of background information on characters that never made it into the books. Short stories and such will add a lot more to the experience.

You get to walk through Diagon Alley where you can get money from Gringotts and shop in some of the shops. It’s a lot of fun, until you realize that you can only buy from three or so store. Even if you couldn’t buy, it would be nice to walk through other stores.

In Diagon Alley you can go to Ollivanders to get your wand. But remember, it’s the wand that choses the wizard, so you can’t choose your own wand, but you will get to answer a few questions.

J. K. Rowling offered some descriptions of the wands; you can break down the different attributes to different personality traits that are fun to read. For example, my wand breaks down to:

Alder …

Alder is an unyielding wood, yet I have discovered that its ideal owner is not stubborn or obstinate, but often helpful, considerate and most likeable. Whereas most wand woods seek similarity in the characters of those they will best serve, alder is unusual in that it seems to desire a nature that is, if not precisely opposite to its own, then certainly of a markedly different type. When an alder wand is happily placed, it becomes a magnificent, loyal helpmate. Of all wand types, alder is best suited to non-verbal spell work, whence comes its reputation for being suitable only for the most advanced witches and wizards.

Unicorn Core …

Unicorn hair generally produces the most consistent magic, and is least subject to fluctuations and blockages. Wands with unicorn cores are generally the most difficult to turn to the Dark Arts. They are the most faithful of all wands, and usually remain strongly attached to their first owner, irrespective of whether he or she was an accomplished witch or wizard.

Minor disadvantages of unicorn hair are that they do not make the most powerful wands (although the wand wood may compensate) and that they are prone to melancholy if seriously mishandled, meaning that the hair may ‘die’ and need replacing.

After purchasing your school things and boarding the Hogwarts Express, in chapter seven you get sorted with the rest of the first years. I got sorted into Ravenclaw!

While I’ve always claimed that I’m a Gryffindor, I knew that I had more Ravenclaw-ish traits than Griffindor, so, I don’t mind. The sorting is a bit of a personality test, giving you a number of multiple choice questions and placing you into the house depending on your answer – or that’s what I think. It could also be randomly selecting since all the houses seemed to have an even number of members.

After being sorted, you gain house points as you collect items from each of the chapters. Currently, only the first book is available, but I’m curious to see what the other books will look like.

There are other things that you can do around the site, brew potions, cast spells (though, this seems a bit spotty at the moment) and duel – which, was not working when I last played. I’d like to see how they will publish the ebooks; since Sony is hosting the site, I’m hoping they don’t do sell it in Sony-only format. That would be upsetting.

I’m looking forward to seeing the site outside of it’s Beta form.

[all images are screenshots of Pottermore]

Doctor What? Doctor Who?

In an attempt to catch up with Doctor Who, I have been watching it on and off on NetFlix since May.

I checked the tweets I had during my Series 1 Episode 1, I was obviously not impressed:

Cheesy opening montage? Check! #DWS1E1

Not with the show and not with Jackie Tyler:

OMG this mother …. This woman …wow #DWS1E1

Or the dialogue:

I can suspend belief but this is so corny. This dialogue …. This …. #DWS1E1

I was impressed with TARDIS though … like all other humans seem to be:

“The inside’s bigger than the outside?” This TARDIS scene is unbelievable. #DWS1E1

Though, not impressed with Mickey

Also, Rose’s boyfriend is whimpy. #DWS1E1

However, the more I kept watching, the more my tweets changed and well …

I really like the historical settings for the Doctor Who episodes. Especially when we get to meet famous people from history.

I even found an episode that I could call my favourite …

I think this steampunk episode of Doctor Who is my favourite.

Well, a few actually, like this …

Enid Blyton mention! I think I might have found my fave Doctor Who episode yet! #Doctorwho

and this …

I wish I had a library as big as the on on Doctor Who: tumblr.com/xzi47kdxl1

Let’s just say I’m officially a Whovian.

What Netflix Knows

While other people might find it creepy, I’m usually quite fascinated by the algorithms that provide recommendations based on user activity. The one that gives me the most chuckles though is Netflix.

I have a Netflix account that my family uses, so sometimes it has a lot of recommendations that don’t apply to me. During a four-day break I went on a Netflix marathon and won back my recommendations, the Wordle above gives you an idea of my taste …

My Fall Lineup

It’s that time of year again, it’s chillier, the leaves will soon be changing colours and the fall TV shows are starting up!

I’m more of a Hulu kind of girl, but that doesn’t mean I’m not excited to see my favourite shows and hopefully discover a few more!

First and foremost, Bones on Fox. I love the way this show developed through the years. Yes, there is the relationship story-lines, but first and foremost if focuses on solving the mystery – which is what I love. The relationships that do develop are endearing and fun, but they don’t overtake the forensic anthropology and investigating. (3rd November)

Fringe, also on Fox, concentrates just a little more on relationships than Bones does, but it deals largely with fringe science. It’s a crazy and fun trip into alternate universes, mad scientist’s labs and an imaginative story that keeps you coming back for more. (16th September)

Castle, on ABC, has more relationship with some detecting. I wish there was more detective work – I might be the only one that doesn’t think that Castle and Beckett should have a romantic relationship. Castle is a mystery writer who follows Beckett (a detective) in the name of research. He also helps with the crime solving. I wish they made it a bit more Sherlock-like rather than the mushy way they are taking the story, hopefully there will be more focus on detecting than romancing. (19th September)

Those were more my “serious” shows, every now and then I like the light and comedic.

Parks and Recreation, on NBC,  was something I found by accident – a very happy accident. It’s shot like a documentary – cinéma vérité-style – and follows the Parks and Recreation department in Pawnee, Indiana. Each character is funny and unique and they all work together to make a humourous show. (22nd September)

Modern Family, on ABC, is another hilarious show. This modern family usually ends up in some strange and hilarious situations. Personally, I think the kids are the ones who makes this show. (21st September)

Another NBC show, Community, follows a study group at a local community college. They range vastly in age and end up in the most hilarious situations. Abed and Troy are the ones who make this show, make sure to stick around, their little side show in the end is pretty funny. (22nd September)

From Fox, Raising Hope is a show about family. A young dad, raising a baby with his parents, while they all live in his grandmother’s house. A pretty simple show, but a whole lot of laughs as everything is just so unfortunately funny. (20th September)

Finally, these are the new shows. Not sure if they will be great, but they look interesting to me.

Grimm is a new NBC show.

“Grimm” is a new drama series inspired by the classic Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Portland homicide Detective Nick Burkhardt discovers he is descended from an elite line of criminal profilers known as “Grimms,” charged with keeping balance between humanity and the mythological creatures of the world.
As he tries to hide the dangers of his new found calling from his fiancé, Juliette Silverton, and his partner, Hank Griffin, he becomes ever more entrenched in the ancient rivalries and alliances of the Grimm world.
With help from his confidant, Monroe, a reformed Grimm creature himself, Nick must navigate through the forces of a larger-than-life mythology, facing off with Hexenbiests, Blutbads and all manner of ancient evils, including royal lines dating back to the original profilers themselves, The Grimm Brothers.

I’m always a fan of modern day retelling of the Grimm fairytales (or even those adapting the family into the tales) so this might be interesting. I’m hoping it deals more with fantasy and detective work rather than romantic/mushy things. (21st October)

ABC, on the other hand, is planning their own fairytale show, Once Upon A Time.

And they all lived happily ever after – or so everyone was led to believe. Emma Swan knows how to take care of herself. She’s a 28-year-old bail bonds collector who’s been on her own ever since she was abandoned as a baby. But when the son she gave up years ago finds her, everything starts to change. Henry is now 10 years old and in desperate need of Emma’s help. He believes that Emma actually comes from an alternate world and is Snow White and Prince Charming’s missing daughter. According to his book of fairytales, they sent her away to protect her from the Evil Queen’s curse, which trapped the fairytale world forever, frozen in time, and brought them into our modern world. Of course Emma doesn’t believe a word, but when she brings Henry back to Storybrooke, she finds herself drawn to this unusual boy and his strange New England town. Concerned for Henry, she decides to stay for a while, but she soon suspects that Storybrooke is more than it seems. It’s a place where magic has been forgotten, but is still powerfully close… where fairytale characters are alive, even though they don’t remember who they once were. The epic battle for the future of all worlds is beginning, but for good to win, Emma will have to accept her destiny and fight like hell.

This could be either really good, or else really bad. I really am hoping that it’s really good, more mysterious than mushy. (23rd October)

Then CW is pulling their book series to show move with The Secret Circle – based on a trilogy of the same name by L.J. Smith.

Cassie Blake was a happy, normal teenage girl – until her mother Amelia dies in what appears to be a tragic accidental fire. Orphaned and deeply saddened, Cassie moves in with her warm and loving grandmother Jane in the beautiful small town of Chance Harbor, Washington – the town her mother left so many years before – where the residents seem to know more about Cassie than she does about herself. As Cassie gets to know her high school classmates, including sweet-natured Diana and her handsome boyfriend Adam, brooding loner Nick, mean-girl Faye and her sidekick Melissa, strange and frightening things begin to happen. When her new friends explain that they are all descended from powerful witches, and they’ve been waiting for Cassie to join them and complete a new generation of the Secret Circle, Cassie refuses to believe them – until Adam shows her how to unlock her incredible magical powers. But it’s not until Cassie discovers a message from her mother in an old leather-bound book of spells hidden in her mother’s childhood bedroom, that she understands her true and dangerous destiny. What Cassie and the others don’t yet know is that darker powers are at play, powers that might be linked to the adults in the town, including Diana’s father and Faye’s mother – and that Cassie’s mother’s death might not have been an accident.

I’m a little skeptical about this one; it’s the CW after-all. I can only imagine them turning it into a soap opera. However, I do want to give it a chance and, if all else fails, I’ll read the books! (26th September)

Finally, Pan Am – an ABC show – looks nice enough.

Welcome to 1963: a time when only a lucky few could take flight, experience a global adventure or gain a front-row seat to history. Those lucky few flew Pan Am, the largest, most prestigious airline in the world. More than Coca-Cola, Elvis Presley or the transistor, Pan Am exported American culture to the world abroad and brought that world back to American shores.
The jet age has arrived and Pan Am’s Clipper Majestic is about to embark on its inaugural flight with Captain Dean Lowrey at the helm. Dean, who has recently been made captain wouldn’t trade this moment for anything in the world. Step by step, Maggie Ryan has climbed her way up to a better life, to greater opportunity. As Purser of Pan Am’s new Clipper Majestic, she’s at last riding high; determined not to fall. Kate Cameron left her sheltered life in East Granby, Connecticut to brave the intrigue of a wide new world. Now, she must brave even more intrigue in becoming an international agent for the CIA.
In running off on her wedding day, Kate’s sister, Laura Cameron, left her past and future, following her older sibling to the skies of Pan Am; a bold move, but one with serious personal consequences. Born and raised in France, Colette Valois has an innate understanding of international affairs. But in affairs of the heart, she’s still a wanderer, a searcher, a soul traveling a confused sea. First Officer and Co-Pilot Ted Vanderway, a former Navy test pilot, finds the commercial skies every bit as turbulent as he struggles to overcome past mistakes and prove his worth as an aviator.
Join our crew as they travel to intoxicating cities such as Paris, Berlin, Monte Carlo and Rome and bump into history along the way. Through their eyes we revisit an era nearly half a century ago.
So, buckle up; adventure calls. And thank you for choosing Pan Am.

It looks like it could be fun. I’m not entirely sure it will be something I like, I guess time will tell. (25th September)

Those are my picks, what’s yours?

GetGlue Stickers

Five months ago I joined GetGlue.com and wrote a post about it.

I wanted to get the Hanna sticker; I thought it was a cool sticker, but, I never received my first set of stickers. *sad face* So, I was pleasantly surprised when I received a set of stickers from GetGlue in the mail this week!

Yeah! No Hanna, but at least I got Bones and Rapture 2011. Woot! The stickers are really great quality-wise, however, I’d suggest cutting them out as opposed to trying to rip them off as they stand, it will give you a less messy finish.

This gives me a renewed interest in GetGlue. Time to earn more stickers! Check it out! It’s fun!