Category Archives: Fandom Friday

Friday Fandom: The Musketeers

The MusketeersA few months ago, my cousin sent me this pic of a DVD cover she’d found while browsing Barnes & Noble. We immediately agreed it was a show we MUST watch! So, I thought it’d be fun to bring her in on the commentary for this week’s Fandom for The Musketeers. Welcome Katie!

Though The Musketeers isn’t technically fantasy, it DOES have exceptional worldbuilding, character depth and caliber of writing/production so we’re saying it TOTALLY qualifies for a fandom spot.

Here we go!

 

The story

For me, the musketeers is a theme I’ve always been drawn to since childhood – like King Arthur and the roundtable, or Robin Hood and his merry band. It’s a great assortment of adventure, romance and chivalry with a side of bromance, so I was excited to see how BBC would freshen it.

Katie: It is an incredibly solid show. Everything fits together. Everyone’s vision is so clear, the directors, the writers, the costumer. And everyone’s individual visions have all come together to create this incredibly authentic, believable and amazing world. Everything down to the very last detail fits together seamlessly and never leaves you wondering about a certain plot hole or anything.

The characters

Katie: The characters themselves are incredible. They are well written, excellently portrayed and incredibly believable. And the best part is, they’re human. Each of them have incredible strengths and yet they’re not constantly achieving everything they set out to do. Even the “bad guys” have redeeming qualities and the “good guys” have flaws. The Musketeers are yes, the heroes and the savers of the day, but not without group and personal consequences. They get hurt, emotionally and physically. Their actions take a toll on them. This show does an excellent job of keeping our heroes grounded.

  • d’Artagnan – The kid of the group! He waltzes into the Musketeer camp looking for revenge with no idea what larger scheming he’s just stumbled into. The show does a wonderful job of showing his loyalty, his coming of age, and his admiration of the Musketeers. Plus, Luke Pasqualino’s facial expressions are to die for!
  • Athos – From the very first head-in-bucket moment, we loved his character! He’s loyal to the core, but oh so tortured and brooding. His history with Milady is cast perfectly in this adaptation. I also really like him as a somewhat reluctant mentor figure for d’Artagnan. His dry wit is hilarious. In fact, the repartee among all the characters is second to none. And the acting–for the love of Alexandre Dumas–the acing is excellent!
  • Porthos – We love Porthos (Well, as you can see, we love them all!). He’s the most swashbuckling of the gang and, though he works his strong London accent in 17th century France, BOY DOES IT WORK! He gets some great one-liners, cool battle sequences, and a heart of gold. Plus, a surprisingly complex backstory.
  • Aramis – It says a LOT that he pulls off the chivalrous lover archetype without it ever feeling like a stereotype. He’s passionate about his country, his brothers in arms, his rifle … and other things too. Like ladies. And his queen. But the show brilliantly anchors him with a couple of fantastic twists that bring his “lover” consequences home to roost. He’s got a huge heart and a strong faith. When you think chivalry, you think Aramis.
  • Cardinal Richelieu – At first, I wasn’t sure I’d like the far more understated take on this character vs. Tim Curry’s gleefully exuberant villainy in the Disney version. But it works fantastically! The cardinal’s tension between wanting power and wanting to empower his country at all costs is fascinating to watch.
  • Rochefort – In the running for one of the creepiest villains ever, yet so elegantly conniving you can’t help being mesmerized.
  • King & Queen – It sounds simple, but these actors are exceptional in their roles. Even you’re yelling at their actions, it’s a delight to watch because they utterly transport you to that period.
  • Constance – A badass in training and, somewhat contradictorily, the main source of steadiness for d’Artagnan and the others. One thing I didn’t like as much about the Disney version was its mild approach to Constance. She gets her wings in BBC’s adaptation (And guns! And disguises!). The show does a good job balancing her quiet, sometimes feisty strength with the jaded badassdom of Milady De Winter.
  • Milady – One of the best female assassin characters ever written, she shines in nearly every episode. The love/hate tension between her and Athos is breathtaking to watch. Milady knows her way around multiple weapons, is beyond clever, and gets THE BEST period costumes!
  • Treville – He’s the loyal captain of the Musketeers and everything you’d want in a leader while remaining fallibly and endearingly human. He breaks out a few badass moments himself and, every time the king doubts the Musketeers, Treville takes the brunt of it. By the end of the first season, you’re ready to have his back as quickly as Athos, Porthos, Aramis and d’Artagnan!

Katie: The actors blow my mind. As someone trying to be an actor, I would be honored just to be a cup bearer in this show!

The four men playing the Musketeers work seamlessly as a unit and yet do this great job of bringing forth their own personalities. And yes, you can stereotype them if you’d like. “Porthos is the big cuddly bear/funny guy.” “Athos is the brooding, intellect.” “Aramis is the romantic artist.” “D’Artagnan is the newbie with honor, fighting for a place in the ranks, and has a bit of that young lover vibe as well.” But you’re never slapped in the face with these stereotypes.

They have me completely invested in every one of their stories. I am genuinely concerned about the outcome of these characters, probably to an unhealthy point. Haha! Even when you dislike a character, you appreciate the actor so much, you can’t quite fully hate them. It’s beautiful. In this world we don’t have just good guys and bad guys. Everyone has a bit of both in them and a TV show that addresses that and shows us that in its characters gets big points in my book.

The world

I love it when a show takes the time to get small details right, and The Musketeers nails it!! From period details and recreated streets to the myriad of Musketeer weapons, viewers get some really cool elements.

Katie: The costumes are actually time period and accurate (Sorry Reign.) They address issues of society, mainly rich vs poor and the role of women, but they also note that there were people who rebelled against it and got away with it. Without going too much into it, these women are strong. Super strong. Equally as strong as the men. But like the men, have their own flaws as well, mainly the way society portrays them. The locations where they shoot the show are beautiful. The dialogue is poetic and believable. Everything. Just everything about this show is spot on. 

You can tell the entire cast has put in their training, and it pays off beautifully. And BE SURE to watch the DVD extras for behind-the-scenes footage of how it’s all created. Amazing! Sign us up for prep school please!

The weapons

Katie and I are particular fans of their handy back daggers…and the swords…and Aramis’ rifle…this could go on a while. The show’s choreographers are among the best we’ve seen, and several scenes involve sequences using multiple individual weapons in succession. It never feels staged, forced or overdone.

Katie: It’s entertaining. It makes you think. It shows us history while paralleling life today. It has strong characters, both male and female. It has great baddies you love to hate. It has romance, comedy, enough twists to keep you guessing. And well, let’s just say it once so we can get it over with…it has an incredibly attractive cast.

As you can probably tell, we could talk ALL DAY about how much we love this show. But why read our praise when you could be watching it for yourselves? Go! The Musketeers await!

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Friday Fandom: Top 10 Ships (Space and Nautical) of All Time

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So, it occurs to me I must really like ships. My first series features a fleet of tall ships—I toured several and sailed in one as part of my research—and my most recent novel is a space opera… with ships of a different kind! There’s just something grand and cool about how a ship can take you away. (And judging by a certain beloved pirate, I’m guessing Ashley agrees!)

Of course, when I realized that, I couldn’t resist a countdown for this week’s Friday Fandom. Here are my favorite fictional sea and space vessels. What are yours?

10. The Boru Karn, Gabriel’s Ghost and Shades of Dark
Props to Linnea Sinclair for making me love a ship I’ve never seen on the big screen. She’s got great description not only of the ship, but of how it moves through space. And, like so many others on this list, it’s got a charismatic captain!

9. The Sky Vessel, Stardust Stardust
It’s a tall ship. It flies. It catches lightning. That’s the trifecta! Now, throw in its colorful Captain Shakespeare, and you can’t lose.

8. The USS Enterprise, Star Trek
Before people get all feisty, this ranking says more about me than the ship. I came to the series late and have mostly only seen the new ones, so I feel like I can’t *really* do the ship full justice. Though it is one awesome ship!

7. The Indefatigable, Horatio Hornblower
My mom loves this series, and I got hooked on the VHS’ before I got a DVD player set up in my apartment. It’s partly the inspiration for the name of my most recent spaceship.

6. Shield’s Helicarrier, The Avengers
Why has no one actually created this yet?! It makes the list for sheer awesomeness of concept.

5. Serenity, Firefly and Serenity
They made this ship come alive! It felt like a home to the characters, and I couldn’t get enough! She’s scrappy and beat up, but still kickin’. Just like Mal.

4. The Inferno (AKA One-eyed Willie’s ship), Goonies
The one that started it all for me. I adore this movie, can quote every line, and when the ship sails free at the end I want to pound my chest in joy just like Sloth.

3. The Millennium Falcon, Star Wars
C’mon, it made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs. What’s not to love?

2. The Black Pearl, Pirates of the Caribbean
You may have heard of her captain. His name is Sparrow. Plus, this is just a downright gorgeous ship.

1. Moya, Farscape
She’s a living ship. She gives birth to a baby warship. Game, set, match!

From Farscape.wikia

From Farscape.wikia

Friday Fandom: Galavant

Why We Love Galavant

If you missed out on season 1 of Galavant, never fear! It’s available on Amazon and Hulu, and ABC has promised a second season. Let me explain. No, there’s not time. Let me sum up. Galavant was a four-week “medieval musical comedy” put on by ABC. The phrase “medieval musical comedy” was enough to intrigue me and every episode delivered on the hilarity in a big way.

Joshua Sasse, Tim Omundson and Vinnie Jones are fantastic, as is the rest of the cast!

Here’s more on what makes it so great:

The trailer

I dare you not to hum along!

The songs

The combo of Alan Menken and Glenn Slater is pretty unbeatable. As my cousin likes to say, Alan Menken composed the soundtrack of our childhood (Little Mermaid, Beauty & the Beast), and Galavant’s tunes deliver in a similar way. They’re catchy, and fun, and definitely get stuck in your head!

The guest stars

John Stamos as a pansy jerk of a knight is hilarious! (See the joust scene below) Weird Al, Rutger Hauer and Ricky Gervais also turned in excellent guest spots and cameos, though I must say Hugh Bonneville’s “Lords of the Sea” ditty might be my favorite!

The tongue-in-cheek fantasy tropes

Like the old Monty Python classics, Galavant is able to make fun of itself and the larger fantasy/ fairytale genre, while never veering far from its love of those same tropes and stereotypes. The noble knight, the fair maiden, the evil king. Galavant turns them delightfully on their heads, but still speaks to the heart of what we all love about those tales.

The joust scene

In traditional medieval showdown style, Galavant and his knight nemesis (John Stamos) face each other in the joust…only they’ve both been either drugged or overtrained into a stupor.

So, there you have it. A little glimpse of why we love Gaaaa-laaaa-vaaaant!!

And, if you’re looking for even more comedic fantasy gold, look no further than the Harry Potter tribute episode of Psych. It had me snorting and crying in laughter about two minutes in.

Have you seen Galavant? Does Monty Python have a classic place in your collection? Are Shawn and Gus your go-to comedy duo?

Friday Fandom: Castle

Castle

Nathan Fillion. Need I say more?

Okay, I will.

Castle is an absolutely fabulous show for many reasons, and its writers are definitely folks to be admired. What makes it doubly fun is the number of different ways Castle’s authorly expertise comes into play.

He finds inspiration in the strangest places. He uses research sources to help his cop partner Kate Beckett (Played by the amazing Stana Katic) get information. He has literally helped the NYPD solve crimes by using the phrase: That’s not how I would write it.

Why else do I like it?

The characters

First of all, Castle and Beckett are an exceptional onscreen team and couple. Their chemistry has been impeccable since episode 1, and has matured and deepened over the seasons as they fell in love, dated and married. A lot of TV couples falter or slow down when they hit the “married” stage. Or, the writers hold it off for too long to keep the show’s will-they-won’t-they momentum. Not Beckett and Castle! Even now, their banter is some of the best on TV.

The rest of the cast is equally strong. Ryan and Esposito are not only smart, capable partners for Beckett on the job, they’re friends to both her and Castle, and fully-formed, hilarious characters of their own.

And also badasses.

Same goes for Laney, Martha and Alexis, whose presences are always relevant and meaningful without feeling like filler. I especially love seeing Castle’s family side and his dad/son role with Alexis and Martha. Captains Montgomery and Gates also play their roles superbly—here’s more about my favorite kickass scene with Montgomery and why he is just all kinds of awesome!

As my Castle-cowatcher Katie says, the entire cast feels like an actual family.

The cases

Though Castle is a “cop show,” its cases still feel fresh and intriguing eight seasons in. The writers and cast do a great job balancing humor with mystery. The Old Haunt and the Blue Butterfly episodes are wonderful examples of this. I’m also impressed at how the show carries storylines from one season to the next…and the next. 3XK anyone?

It’s a credit to the show’s writers that the personal storylines meld so seamlessly with the case storylines without dragging or losing their light edge. Which brings us to…

The writing

Each element of this show is balanced so skillfully without getting heavy-handed or taking itself too seriously. While each character has grown and changed, no one has shed what and who they were at the beginning. Martha is still the theatrical mother. Beckett is still driven by justice and certain demons from her past. And, Castle is still the silly, clever writer who’s thrilled like a little boy about the macabre. The power of the show is still it’s humor, wit and heart. And that’s why we love it!

Fandom Post: Shadowhunters

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Photo Credit: @Shadowhunters

Because CITY OF BONES did not do well at the box office, they’ve decided to take a different route with the Cassandra Clare’s MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series and make it into a television show.

Now, let me just say that I didn’t dislike CITY OF BONES, but I felt like it didn’t capture the truth of the story. It was too lovey…Jace and Clary were not that lovey in the books. Basically, I felt like they wanted CITY OF BONES to be the next Twilight, and can I just say, the love story is not why I liked CITY OF BONES.

So, SHADOWHUNTERS has a whole new cast (which I’m really excited about) to include:

Katherine McNamara as Clary:

Photo Credit: www.imdb.com

Photo Credit: http://www.imdb.com

Dominic Sherwood as Jace (from Vampire Academy…don’t get me started):

Alberto Rosende as Simon (though Robert Sheehan was pretty awesome):

Emeraude Toubia as Isabelle:

Photo Credit: www.listal.com

Photo Credit: http://www.listal.com

Mathew Daddario as Alec (wayyyy better choice for Alec in my opinion, though I like Kevin Zegers well enough):

Photo Credit: @shadowhunterstv

Photo Credit: @shadowhunterstv

All in all, they are a handsome cast and I’m excited to see them in these roles. Now, from what I’ve read, they’ve made a few changes to the characters. They are all older, and Clary is in college at the Brooklyn Academy Of Art. Simon is also in college and is an accounting major. He has a band (I don’t remember the band from the books?) and Maureen who has a crush on Simon in later books, is actually apart of the band and is in her 20s.  Luke is now an NYPD officer. I will have to see how this factors into the plot. I’m not against it because I think it could be well done.

This is a series I will have to see, but I’m keeping positive that I will enjoy it. It will appear on ABC Family in early 2016. What do you guys think?! Are you read for more Mortal Instruments? Does anyone else wish they’d make the INFERAL DEVICES into movies/series?! 

 

Fandom Friday: The 100

The100The 100 – Ah! This show. Where do I start? I love so many things about it that the words will probably run together into a seamless, incomprehensible stream of fangirl flailing.

For the uninitiated, the show is about a future human civilization who fled to a space station (the Ark) to escape Earth’s radiation after nuclear war. As the show opens, all of that is several generations in the past—but now, the Ark is running out of oxygen, so humanity’s leadership decides to send 100 teen delinquents to the ground to see if Earth is survivable. Not only is it, but the 100 aren’t the only ones there! The human race has splintered into 3 (maybe 4) groups.

I think what impresses me the most is the unexpected depth of the show, the plot and the writing, week in and week out. I know, I know. You’re thinking, “It’s on the CW,” how deep can it be. Well, you just watch missies and misters! As a writer, I hardcore admire this show’s writers because, man, they are FEARLESS. They throw in twists and character deaths and dark no-win situations like it’s going out of style. It’s not an exaggeration to say there are at least one or two breathless viewer moments each week.

But what keeps me coming back without a doubt are the characters (I’m holding in the fangirl squeeing, guys. It’s hard.). I have never seen so many badass lady characters all in one place before in my life!! Let’s review:

Clarke Griffin – I’ve joked with friends that I would name my daughter after Clarke. It is only partially a joke. This girl is a leader with a capital L. She takes no shit from anyone, tells it like it is, and faces danger and challenge head on to protect those around her, all while managing to keep a sense of vulnerability, fallibility and humanity. Gah, I love her!

Octavia Blake – Octavia’s perhaps the best example of what makes The 100 so different from any other show. On other shows, Octavia would simply be the sexy popular girl, who occasionally shows toughness but mostly needs others around her to do the rescuing. Ha! She may hover in that arena for the pilot episode, but the gal’s got guts and she’s not afraid to use them. She takes risks, fights (No, not just a well-timed punch or two. The scrappy kind of fighting that leaves you bloodied and makes you get up again…and again…and again), and frankly wows just about everyone around her, fellow 100ers and Grounders alike. I also love the relationships she brings to the show—her sister-brother bond with Bellamy is real and tough and so, so strong, and she is probably the most constant and reliable friend for all of her fellow 100ers

Raven Reyes – Raven is the toughest of the tough. She’s a straight arrow and always comes through. A talented mechanic, she builds her own pod to get from the Ark to Earth to join The 100, AND she devises a boatload of other cool weapons and tech from the scanty found items at the dropship camp. Fever, broken heart, paralyzed leg! Nothing can stop this girl!! Even more so than Clarke or Octavia, she’s a scrapper through and through.

Abby Griffin – Clarke’s mom. Doctor on the Ark. The only one who really believes Earth might be livable at the beginning. It’s her idea to send Raven to the ground. She’s smart, tough and (except where her daughter is concerned) pretty darn comfortable backing the play of various 100ers. Her dialogue and sparring with fellow counselor Kane are always filled with awesome tension.

Misc. Grounder Gals – Anya, Lexa or Indra, take your pick. They’re all slightly crazy, pretty brilliant, hard as nails and 100% complete badass. And, let’s just take a minute to talk about the Grounders’ society. The worldbuilding on this show is strong enough to have developed an entire language for this people. That’s something I love in books, but is rarely done to this extent on television. I am in heaven!!

And, then, of course there’s Bellamy. I think it’s some kind of sin that it’s taken me this long to mention him in this post. Let’s just say that if none of the above reasons existed, I’d watch the show for him alone. Not just because, well, um, yeah, but because he has an incredible character arc.

I *get* characters like him and Clarke. They’re my favorite kinds of heroes and heroines whether on page or screen—leaders who understand all too well the price of leadership, but lead anyway because someone has to and they see their responsibility to others as higher than their concern for self. Ah, that is just all kinds of YES! I will follow leaders like that anywhere.

Bellamy starts out as a bit of a jerk who smuggled his way onto the drop ship to look out for his sister, Octavia (Kids are monitored closely on the Ark, so they’re the only set of siblings on the show), and is driven largely by his fear of being discovered. By the end of season 1, with a lot of help from Clarke, he’s transformed into this amazing, confident and kick-ass version of that earlier guy. He does the hard stuff, the things no one else wants to do, but that have to be done, and he has a heart of utter freaking gold.

The other 100ers–Lincoln, Finn, Jasper, Monty and even Murphy–each have their shining moments on the guys’ side. The Jasper and Monty friendship is one of my favorite aspects of the show. And, an aspect I really, really enjoy (and am constantly surprised by given its network) is the fact that the parent / adult storylines often are just as engaging as the 100’s.

Often, especially in YA, adults are relegated to the sidelines or seen more as enemies or obstacles than anything else. But on this show, I’m cheering just as hard for Abby or Kane or Jaha (okay, maybe not as hard for Jaha), as I am for the others. I’ve mentioned Abby already, but I must say Kane’s season 1 character arc was almost as incredible to watch as Bellamy’s. The strength of the character development is more what I’d expect to see from a book than from a TV show. I love it!!

Speaking of which, the show IS based off a book. I haven’t read it yet and—I can’t believe I’m going to say this—but I’m not sure I want to read it. The show has won my heart in a big way, and I’m a little scared to re-imagine those beloved characters on page because I know they won’t be the same.

So, there you have it, my resounding fangirl endorsement for The 100. Go catch the first season on Netflix and, if you’re not already 150% convinced the show will be awesome, go check out Sarah Rees Brennan’s parodies. Priceless!

-Nicole

Fandom Post: Sherlock Special!

We’ll be writing a complete post on our love for Sherlock soon, but until then, we’ll share the recently released Sherlock Special trailer!

Ashley’s Reaction: OMG. *dies* I really love the contrast between the modernity of Sherlock, and this Victorian-inspired special. The trailer does such a good job of capturing what we love most about Sherlock–the comedy, the quirkiness, and the intrigue. I love the costumes. I can’t wait to see Mary! I’m also excited to see how Sherlock and Watson move forward in this world without modern technology and science. GIVE ME MORE.

Nicole’s Reaction: They could have shown me nothing but the door of 221B, and I’d still be over-the-moon excited! It’ll be fun to see our characters in a new – ahem, a past – era. And, judging from the trailer, the show’s bringing its signature wily wit into the past as well. I love the Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law version and can’t wait to see how Benedict and Martin don their Victorian roles to duel the macabre. Cheers to awaiting the next great game!