Thursday, May 28, 2015

6 Reasons you should watch CARMILLA

A few weeks back, I was recommended a video on youtube called "Carmilla Episode 1". I knew this sounded familiar to me as a friend of mine on twitter had RT'd the lead actress on this show a few times and mentioned the show as well. So I decided that I would watch the first episode to see how it was.

Well one episode became two, which became four then six and eight to nine in one day. I was hooked. For the reasons I will list down below, I fell in love with this show. Based off a 1871 book, this was adapted to the web by Jordan Hall and Ellen Simpson. The web series stars Elise Bauman as Laura Hollis, a plucky young student at Silas University and Natasha Negovanlis as Carmilla, the title character with a secret. As I explain in the next paragraphs, why you should be watching the web series, all season 1 episodes are on youtube and their is a ton of bonus content. So here we go and (SPOILERS of course.)


1. Strong Female characters and growth

The first thing that will interest you is the amount of talented performers on here and how well that perform their roles, starting with Elise as Laura. When you first meet Laura she is a slightly naive , cheerful college student who is on her vlog about her class. In the 1st episode you meet her roommate Becky who suddenly goes missing. This leads Laura to find out what happened. Laura is cheerful, friendly , a bit of a nerd (She has a Doctor Who TARDIS mug) but also independent , strong, loyal and does not quit. A early example of this is in episode 6 when Carmilla tries to get her to give up her investigation. Laura thinks about it for a second but then in a strong voice says "No."  As the series goes on, Laura finds out things that shake her up but never change who she is in the core of herself - "A person who cares and sees the best in everyone even when they don't"

Carmilla first appears at the end of episode 2. When you first meet her, she is... basically the most awful person you could meet. Messy, sarcastic and her and Laura do not get along for a while. And she is hiding a big secret that changes everything in the form of being a vampire. That would be enough but there is another thing she is hiding from everyone, especially Laura.  Over time that changes as Carmilla slowly starts liking Laura more which then turns into love over the course of the series. You find out many things about why Carmilla is how she is and what happened to her and the first woman she loved. The episode where Carmilla tells Laura her tragic backstory is one of the best episodes of the series. In Natasha's performance , you see a woman who is the most powerful in the room but is actually the one in the most pain, the most powerless one. Powerless to family and then powerless against love.

Also talking about Laura's friends : Perry, Lafontaine and Danny. They are all good characters in their own right as they are the friends we all have. Perry (Played by Annie Briggs) is the worry-wart friend we have. Perry likes order and normal regular life but she cares about her friends , especially LaFontaine, that she is willing to dive into the abyss but also make sure everything is nice and tidy in your room before however.

Lafontaine is played by Kaitlyn Alexander. Lafontaine is the friend that believes in the unknown and dives head-first into it. Also Lafontaine is non-binary and prefers they/them pronouns. It is first mentioned when they tell Laura and Perry that she doesn't want to be Susan anymore though they have not discussed this with the group yet. Lafontaine is always researching and finding out new facts about the mystery danger even at the risk of them's own neck.  Lafontaine is also the friend that will always have your back in a scrap and always have the bruises and scraps to prove it. Lafontaine and Perry are best friends and I want to see in season 2 how these experiences have changed their friendship.

Danny is a teacher's assistant who is friends with Laura at the beginning. Over the course of the first 10-15 episodes you can see that Danny has a huge crush on Laura but it is not to be. Sharon Belle does a good job of showing how much she is falling for Laura without blatantly showing it and her heartbreak when Laura tells her not to smother her because it reminds her to much of her dad. Sharon does so much with just the simplest of lines and the quickest of glances.

2. Interesting Mystery

When the series starts, you meet Laura's first roommate : Becky. At the end of episode one, after a night of partying, Laura finds a note saying that Becky has left but all her stuff is still there. Then in episode 2 , Carmilla shows up as Laura's new roommate. More students disappear or come back very....not as smart as they were. So Laura, Lafontaine, Perry and Danny go searching to see what's going on. They trace it back to Carmilla and decide to find out what is up with her. Then they are able to figure out Carmilla's secret and what it means for the students of Silas University. Add into this a mysterious Dean and unearthly ceremony and you find out Laura and her friends have stepped into something big. You will enjoy the twists and turns this series takes as when you figure out one thing, another unexpected thing happens!

3. #LadiesSupportingLadies

One of the best things about this show is the support and friendship these ladies have for one another. The only exception is Carmilla but even she eventually supports and helps her fellow students. (To be fair to Carmilla, they did tie her to a chair and wrap garlic around her so you could understand her being a tick upset.) Perry and LaFontaine are first a bit skeptical of Laura when she says Carmilla is a vampire but they support her anyway. When the male sorority wants to help protect the girls of the campus, it ends up being the ladies protecting each other and the guys too.

Also another moment is when Danny and Carmilla run into each other right before the big fight of the series. They do not get along throughout the whole season but as Carmilla goes to fight , she asks Danny if she wants to say her last thoughts to the camera. Danny instead says 'Bleep that" and stands with Carmilla to go fight alongside her and her friends.

4. Lesbian Relationships are treated as normal

One thing I enjoyed throughout the series is that whether it be the flirting between Danny and Laura or Carmilla and Laura it always treated as no big deal. Some shows would be like "Was She flirting with you even though she's a woman? WHOA!" like we are still in the early 80's. Thankfully, this show treats these characters as living , breathing normal people (except Carmilla. She's just a your normal vampire).

I admit I am a hopeless romantic and I love seeing relationships blossom whether they be straight or gay. Also it is great acting and writing on display as you get to see Carmilla and Laura slowly fall for each other on the show. The episode where Carmilla wants to share a glass of champagne with Laura is a good one as it is a great example of both of their personalities and how much they click with one another.

5. Chemistry between the cast

On some shows , you can tell when the cast does not like each other or the leading man or woman. It spills into the show and in some cases it starts to make the show suffer. Thankfully that is not the case. The cast from top to bottom are very friendly with each other. Elise and Natasha are very good friends and you can see it on there through the chemistry they have.

I would also recommend watching the behind-the-scenes videos for the show as well. Very lovely and enjoyable and it's nice to see how much they are like or not like their character and how much fun they have with each other on set and off.

*Also a quick word on the fandom of Carmilla or as they are lovingly referred to as "Creampuffs" , a nickname Carmilla gives Laura during the series. This is a wonderful fandom as they have made videos, fanart and stories about this show. Through all the stuff I have seen, the best thing is that I have seen no negatively at all in their interactions. It refreshing to see fans love a show and the show love them right back.


Also some of the major scenes on here are not shown only described by Laura usually. Truthfully, you will not care. A fun part of the show is listening to Laura tell the story of what happened when they have their meeting with the dean or during a crucial battle. They are a low-budget show so it's impossible to do these scenes. It's good though because you can envision them in your head. You can see Laura standing up to the Dean or Carmilla's arrival in the final battle. It lets you use your mind to envision this just like it was during radio plays in the early 20th century. As narration has become a lost art in the medium, it's nice that the show lets you imagine the sights and sounds in your head as they are being described to you.

 So I have listed some of the many reasons you should watch the first season of Carmilla before season 2 premieres on June 2nd. It is quick , enjoyable and easy as heck to watch all the way through. Also right now on Twitter, the characters are tweeting a adventure they are having right now with a Kobold. It is honestly better than some stories that were on tv this season.  Down below is a link to the first episode if you want to start as soon as possible. Thank you for reading and hope to you have become a Creampuff!!

Friday, May 22, 2015

The 2014-2015 TV season has come to a close for the most part and with that I decided to write a best of post for the season. The following categories are my thoughts and when you read them , I hope you decide on who you think is you choice in each spot. Enjoy reading whether you agree or disagree with choices below!


"What would you do if you found out your family is not who they said they were?" This is one of the themes of this season as Paige, daughter of Philip and Elizabeth Jennings found out that they were not who she thought they were. Instead of being normal parents, they are spies for the Soviet Union. This season has shown that being a spy breaks you as evidenced by Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell's performances in season 3. Philip is just tired of everything and when he finds out that he has to seduce a girl barely older than his daughter, he reaches the breaking point even more. He is fed up with his country and ready to let it all go. He just wants to be a good husband and good father. He wants what he is fighting against : The American Dream.

But the main heart of the show is Keri Russell's portrayal of Elizabeth. At the beginning of the season she is still a loyal soldier to the cause but as the season goes on all the lying and the mission have chipped away at her. You can feel her heart break a little when she see Philip go to his other wife Martha when he needs to check up on her. She has grown to love her husband and her kids but cannot forget her love of country first. And as the show's season ends, Paige calls her reverend to tell him the truth as Elizabeth watch Reagan give his famous "Red Menace" speech.  I can't wait to see what happens next.

 (She's fistbumping the baby, I swear!)

Best New Show - (Tie) JANE THE VIRGIN and THE FLASH

It was really hard to pick between these two. So I didn't!!

Jane the Virgin is one of the best shows on television today. It had one of the best first seasons of any show in a long time. Quick one sentence recap of show - Jane Villanueva is a virgin who was artificial inseminated by accident and the show is about her life and her family and friends. One of the best things about this series is that there was no filler episodes. Each one had critical moments. Also the writing is superb with the best mix of enjoyable laugh out loud comedy and great character moments. (A good bit of these come from Jamie Cahill as Rogelio who I will talk about later)  It is a strong showcase for not only female characters but ethnic characters as well. It does a great job with the most common trope too "the Love-triangle" by having all the two men be likable and very supportive of Jane as Jane also knows that she must choose herself and the baby before anyone else. * Also the main focus of the show being Jane and the bond with her mom and grandmother. It is the heart of the show and always leads to such wonderful and emotional scenes.

*Though I'm #TeamMichael

 The Flash has been really a exciting and entertaining hour of television. Lead by Grant Gustin portrayal of Barry Allen who gains powers when the particle accelerator fails, he becomes The Flash. He helps defend the city with Team Flash while trying to find who killed his mom when he was a child.

Like Jane, there has not been very main filler episodes. The show does a great job with excellent stunts and effects but also great emotional moments from such cast members as Grant, Tom Cavanugh, Jesse L. Martin, Candice Patton and Carlos Valdes to name a few. It is not just a good comic-book show but it is a good show period. It does a terrific job of honoring the comics but making changes to fit the stories they want to tell.

Most Anticipated Returning show - From Dusk Till Dawn

Watching this show is basically like watching the most crazy, wild stuff you can think of only times it by 14. Like the movie, it has the Gecko brothers taking the Fuller family hostage. Then like the movie they take them to the Titty Twister. After that though, everything changes. This show is so wild and fantastic but also had exciting character from a brother on the run from the law to a badass preacher daughter  (Who has driven certain fans of that ship crazy waiting for season 2 as well) The excitement for this is also season 2 is new territory for these characters and their stories that has nothing to do with the movie. I can't wait to see where these characters go next.

Best Comedy - BROOKLYN 99

As Parks and Recreation ended this season, this show has taken it's place as the best comedy on tv or the interweb. Headlined by Andy Samberg's goofy Jake Peralta and Andre Braugher's Captain Raymond Holt who you can't tell is happy or angry most of the time. The rest of the cast boast some of the most talented females in comedy right now from Melissa Fumero to Stephanie Beatriz. Always is one line or some facial expression that will make you laugh so hard it hurts. It always stay true to the characters and brings the laughs every single week.

Breakout Actor - Grant Gustin

Breakout Actress- Gina Rodriquez

When Grant first appeared as Barry Allen on Arrow, my first thought was the same as Oliver Queen's "Who the (bleep) is this guy?" Thankfully by the end of that two-parter , Grant had shown that he was ready to be the man on his own show. This first season , he has shown that he is going to be a star for a long time. Whether it be action scenes, dramatic or comedy , Grant has done it all fantastically. A key example of that is whenever Grant has a scene with his father on the show John Wesley Shipp, his father figure Joe West (played by Jesse L. Martin) or having a tender moment with the love of his life Iris West (played by Candice Patton). I've lost count of how many times Grant's performance has made me cry and also made me feel joy at learning new aspects of his power.

Gina Rodriquez is going to be a huge movie star someday. So when you watch Jane the Virgin , you know you are seeing a star being born. She brings Jane to life in a way no other actress could. With Gina's performance, you can see all of Jane's fears, dreams, goals, worries , heartbreak and hope in it. As her character went from being a virgin with a boyfriend to a new single mom, Jane showed that her first and truest love belong to her family. I always love the scenes Gina has with Andrea Navedo (Jane's mother Xiomara) and Ivonne Coll (jane's grandmother Alba). They are always powerful scenes showing the bond they have and Gina is always the anchor of these scenes.

Funniest Character : ROGELIO!!!

Jamie Cahill plays without a doubt the funniest character on tv : ROGELIO DE LA VEGA. (His name must always be in all caps). Rogelio is a very confident individual. In his head , there is only one Rogelio and seeing him in common situations are always comedy gold.  He can be eccentric at times but never call him dramatic!!!

 But also Jamie does a good job of showing how even though Rogelio is selfish and just a touch vain, he still has a good heart inside. His interactions with Jane and Xo are proof of that. Just watches his face when Jane calls him "Dad" for the first time. A beautiful scene between Gina and Jamie. Also I love when Rogelio is with Michael. So much joy and fun in those scenes as they embrace the bromance when he helps Michael stakeout a suspect.

Most Improved Show : Agents of Shield

I was very happy with how season 1 ended with the reveal of Hydra and Coulson and the team picking up the pieces.  Season 2 improved on that with the Inhumans/Other SHIELD arc and the introduction of Cal, played by the marvelous Kyle McLaughlin. There were great character arcs such as Fitz's as he recovered from a serious brain injury and then as  Simmons returned into his life. Also the arrival of Mockingbird , played by Adrienne Padlicki gave the show more kick-ass coolness and another strong female character to add with Chloe Bennet's Skye, Ming-Na Wen's Melinda May and Elizabeth Henstringe's Jemma Simmons.

With the cliffhanger ending involving the disappearance of one of their agents and the possibility of more super powered individuals in to the universe, I am psyched to see where they go for season 3.

TOP 5 FAVORITE EPISODES : The Flash - "Out of Time"

                                          Agent Carter - "Now is not the end"

                                         Parks and Recreation - "Leslie and Ben"

                                         Community- "Emotional Consequences of Broadcast Television"

                                          The Americans - "Stingers"

BEST KISS : Jake and Amy - Brooklyn 99

Best kiss on tv since Jeff and Annie's in the season 1 finale of Community in my opinion.

FAVORITE SEX SCENE (PGish range) - Oliver and Felicity - Arrow

Instead of talking about it and how all of mine and the Olicity fans hopes here came true, I'll just post the clip!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Brooklyn Nine-Nine has become my favorite comedy in the last couple seasons.* With the season 2 finale coming up sunday night at 8:30 on FOX I wanted to write about this show. As I got to thinking why I love this show so much, two things came to mind.

* I still love Community but it's not as good as it once was and I'll leave it at that

First it is the tone of the show. Most comedies even today have a fair amount of darkness to them. Which is fine, I don't mind that at all. However, there is something to enjoy about a show that doesn't take itself too seriously but also does not go over the line into full on parody mode. Brooklyn 99 is that show. A show with heart, strong characters and unique personalities. The writing is always on point and never lazy. Credit for that goes to Dan Goor and Michael Schur, both of whom worked on and the latter who co-created a iconic show Parks and Recreation which this show gets a lot of it's tone from. They have been able to have the characters grow and evolve without losing the essence of what makes them them.  Also how great a show is it to have so many wonderful female characters as well?

That leads me to the other reason I love the show so much: the wonderfully unique characters on here played by the talented cast. The actors and actresses have fully developed the characters in the span of only 2 seasons. So I would like to give a little love to each character on the show and what I love about them so much.

                                     CAPTAIN RAY HOLT 

Captain Holt is one of the best characters on TV in my opinion. Andre Braugher has done so many wonderful TV shows but this is my favorite role of his. SO many things Holt does I love : His ability to make even the most simplest line hilarious coming from him  "HOT DAMN!"

Also I like this season how they have had him loosen up without changing Ray. He's been more involved in the lives of his officers though sometimes not of his own free will. His interactions with Gina have been terrific. It's always fun when Holt shows emotion and the officers can't tell if he is joking or being serious.

Also as a gay character , it is never played for cheap laughs and if joked about never in a hurtful way. And also I really love that Holt is always protective of his squad even when they screw up badly because he cares for these people.  Him and Jake's relationship has always been a nice thing to watch as Jake at first did not like him but over time Jake has grown to think of him as a father figure while Holt has grown to respect Jake even with his unusual methods. As the series has gone on there have been moments of both standing up for the other even in secret.*

*A great moment of this is in the episode "Old School" where Jake punches a old crime-reporter when the reporter refers to Holt in a derogatory manner.

                                         JAKE PERALTA 

A good amount of people I talk to admit they weren't huge Andy Samberg fans. However now, those same people love him thanks to his role and performance as Det. Jake Peralta.
Jake is always turning out the jokes on here (very funny ones too) but the parts I love with Jake are the moments when he is goofing with Charles or working with Rosa. He is the friend that will make jokes on you but always have your back when you need it. And in the Brooklyn 99 has has found the family he so desperately needed from the little brother in Boyle to a father figure in Capt. Holt.

Also I'm inserting this gif cause I freaking love it from the episode the detectives went to Holt's house for dinner. Jake and Amy were caught by Terry snooping in Holt's bedroom and then found his dog. This is Jake's response when Amy's allergies are triggered by the dog.

Also some of my favorite episodes are Jake and Amy stories (The Bet, Operation: Broken Feather, Boyle-Linetti Wedding, Det. Dave Majors, etc.) Andy and Melissa have a ton of chemistry as Jake and Amy are perfect together in the ultimate opposites attract way.

One thing the show has done well is the slow burn of the Jake-Amy relationship. They started the show as friendly rivals and slowly over time have become friends and one of the best scenes of the show was Jake admitted he had feelings for Amy in the season 1 finale *Romantic styles* and this season has seen their feelings for each other slowly grow bit by bit.

                                            AMY SANTIAGO

Melissa Fumero is a actress I knew zero about before Brooklyn 99 had started. Now I can think of no one else who could play Det. Amy Santiago better than Melissa. Amy is one of a kind - She is obsessed with being the best yet never backs down from stating her opinion on things.  Another great thing about Amy is when she is around her friends in non-work related situations and tries to relax. "Six-drink" Amy is just one example of how funny Melissa is on here. Another one is when Amy, Jake and Terry are hiding in the Captain's bathroom and her allergies to his dog hits her. One underrated aspect of Melissa's work is most definitely her physical comedy ability. With just a look of bewilderment or shock , she can make you laugh in a heartbeat. Also she is a take-no-shit woman and never lets pigs like "The Vulture" get away with anything said to her.

Also since it takes two , this season I have loved Amy and Jake's scenes. I love their friendship but as you can see in recent episodes that Amy is starting to fall for Jake more and more. Again I say this is a great job of both the writers and the actors. An example of this is the end of "Boyle-Linetti Wedding" when Jake thinks Amy is going to dance with him but instead it is a old lady as Amy gets one up on Jake but you can see in both of them that they realize that their feelings for each other are still there.

                                        Charles Boyle

Boyle is a unique character in the Brooklyn 99 world. He is a good friend to Jake to the point of being a lackey but it works thanks to Joe Lo Truglio's performance and gift of comedic ability.  Charles is always good for much need comedic-relief whether it be something food-related to just one of the many quirks Boyle has. Also he has a knack for saying strange things that confuse and annoy his fellow detectives

Also early on in the show , they showed that Boyle had a crush on Rosa but they have completely gone away from that as now they are partners and friends as there are wonderful scenes of Rosa asking Charles for advice when Rosa starts dating Holt's nephew Marcus. The best thing about Charles though is just his optimistic joy at things. Always happy to help his friends or feeling good about a delicious slice of pizza. He can go Full Boyle and you love him even more for it.

                                          TERRY JEFFORDS 

Sgt. Terry Jeffords is a big part of this show in more ways than one truthfully. One of the wonderful things Terry Crews brings to the role is he is a massive giant of a man. A bodybuilder but inside of that huge chest lies a family man with a heart twice the size of his muscles. He is like a protective big brother to the team especially Gina and Jake, saving them from getting into trouble when their antics cause them too. Another thing I have liked a lot is whenever Terry and Capt. Holt interact and have stories together. This was first shown when Capt. Holt helped out Terry with a problem he was having with his brother-in-law to when they worked together to try to find ways to distract Gina.

When the show started, Terry was on desk duty due to a fear of getting shot and he loved his kids so much he feared what would happen if he was gone. As the show has gone on , Terry has gone back into the field but still has shown that family comes first to him. Not many characters like that on television right now. Also Terry Crews is delivering one-liners with the best of them, especially when they are in the third-person.

                                              GINA LINETTI 

What to say about Gina Linetti, played by Chelsea Peretti? Well first off Gina is the most eccentric character on the show and that really is saying something! Gina is a self-narcissistic who is always willing to get ahead of anything as long as it doesn't involve actually doing work. Gina is loved by fans for many things , mostly being always ready for a way to make fun of someone (usually Boyle). It's even funnier when Gina and Boyle started secretly hooking up as she would ingrate it while at the same time insulting Charles

The best Gina stories usually involved Terry and Capt. Holt though.  I love when they have to reign in Gina and help her (Usually with her dance troupe Floorgasm or Dance-y Reagan). Gina has gained a slight sense of responsibility thanks to becoming Holt's assistant though she still is able to make fun of something in a moment's notice.

                                             ROSA DIAZ 

Det. Rosa Diaz is a complex woman. She is very serious about everything yet can crack a smile as big as anyone's. She is so mysterious that Jake only knows 3 things about her even after going to Academy with her. (If anyone is close to Rosa as a friend it is probably Jake. One example is the praise 100 pushups, uttered during a case with the Pontiac Bandit. "100 pushups" being a trust that Jake and Rosa have with one another to believe in the other.  Also he is able to get her to laugh at some of his goofiest shit like only friends can) She can wear a leather jacket like nobody's business and yet also rock a blonde wig and pink shirt as well. Also she is a exceptional impersonator too as this gif shows Rosa doing Amy's "Double-tuck"

I love how Stephanie Beatriz does the voice for Rosa as well. If you have heard Stephanie talk, she has a nice, normal happy voice. As Rosa however, she changes it to a serious angry yet slightly protective voice that is perfect for the character. Everything she has brought to the role has worked and I want to see where the writers and Stephanie will take the character in the next several seasons.

It is also wonderful to see Rosa in painfully awkward situations like the episode where she and her boyfriend Marcus had a dinner with Holt and his husband Kevin. It gets even better when Rosa tries to talk to Holt about possibly being pregnant as both Stephanie and Andre's reaction during this conversation is priceless. Also interesting is seeing Rosa with her boyfriend as you see her softer side in these scenes but also her fear of letting someone in too close.

So as the show has continued they have gotten Rosa to be more friendly too much thankfully. After all how weird would it be too see a always happy Rosa Diaz??? I'm much more use to a Rosa Diaz like this one...