Goodbye 2014, Hello 2015 – The Grown Up Fangirl’s Year in Review

Goodbye 2014 Hello 2015 HD Wallpaper Images PicturesGoodbye, good riddance 2014!!! 2014 was the year I really could have used a clone, because I did not get to do nearly as much as I wanted to do, fandomwise. Not enough cons, not enough podcasting, not enough TV/movie watching, and not enough blogging. Even so, there were a few highlights to my fangirlish year, and it’s enough to motivate me to make more effort in the coming year. So…let’s cover a few things, shall we?

BOOKS – Trying to work full-time and go to school has gotten harder for me to juggle in the past two years, so I haven’t gotten to read quite as much as I wanted to this year (my reading goal on Goodreads was 25 books – I fell waaaaayyyy short of that goal). In anticipation of the reboot (which I still have yet to see), I re-read V.C. Andrews’ Flowers in the Attic for the millionth time (and am still adequately fascinated/disturbed at the story). I finally sat down and read/listened to the first novel in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (or, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the books, the series that HBO’s Game of Thrones is based on). I found some sense of closure with The Mortal Instruments: A City of Heavenly Fire, but was reluctant to give up on the Shadowhunter world, so I picked up The Bane Chronicles in an effort to get into the head of one of the more mysterious and interesting characters in the series, warlock Magnus Bane. As of right now, the jury is still out on this one; whereas most of the books I’ve read lately have been of the can’t-put-it-down variety, sadly this book doesn’t fall into that category, and I am finding it harder and harder to remember why I liked Magnus Bane in the first place. But the book series that has really had a grab-me-and-don’t-let-me-go effect is the Divergent Series by Veronica Roth.

divergent1Until June 2014, I had worked the past two years in the public library system, and the Divergent books were always in the hard-to-find category, especially with to the March release of the first film in the series, Divergent. For awhile I had given up on trying to read the books, deciding that I would just wait until I bought them to read them. However, once I sat down to finally watch the film, I was drawn in by the chemistry of the lead characters Tris and Four (portrayed onscreen by Shailene Woodley and Theo James, respectively). So, Halloween weekend consisted of me reading Divergent (Friday), Insurgent (Saturday), and Allegiant (Sunday). I followed up with Four a couple of weeks later. Even though I’m late to the faction party, I’ll probably end up doing a re-read and then blogging about the books at some point, because those books were a doozy to read. But I haven’t fangirled about books/movies as much in the past few years as I have in the past few months with these characters, so that’s a good thing. (BTW, I will totally spaz out if I ever get to meet Theo James in person. Just warning y’all in advance). Oh, and if someone could find a way to convince Veronica Roth to write more books about Four, I’d appreciate it.

TV – Television was kind of huge for me in 2014. I enjoyed some of my newer favorites (Game of Thrones, Sleepy Hollow, Walking Dead, The Originals, Orphan Black), fell back in love with an older one (now that’s the Supernatural I know and love), said goodbye to an old friend (rest in peace, True Blood) and got sucked in to a couple of others (How to Get Away with Murder, Teen Wolf).  Scandal consistently kept my jaw on the floor, and The Vampire Diaries is getting interesting again now that Delena isn’t so much the focus of the show. I am currently catching up on Season 4 of Lost Girl, but am apprehensive because I already know one of my favorite characters dies. Oh yeah, speaking of beloved characters dying…

WTF, Walking Dead and Sleepy Hollow? (Spoilers be ahead, for those of you not caught up).

I know that in the reality of the zombie apocalypse, it’s unrealistic to think that all of our favorite characters will escape unscathed. Episode 1 of Season 5 nearly gave us a heart attack thinking that Glenn was going to be head-bashed with a bat not once, but twice, Carl was almost raped by a rather ogre-ish looking biker dude, and even little baby Judith was threatened with a knife to the throat (RIP Martin…not). But we knew someone from the group was gonna have to die, and unfortunately the first casualty was Bob Stuckey. After what happened to him (being bitten by a walker, and then taken hostage and partially turned into Bob-B-Q by some survivors of Terminus), I expected him to not make it. No, the death that got me was Beth. Beth’s death for me equaled the WTF? incredulity I had when Hedwig was killed by Death Eaters in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. It was just one of those deaths I really feel was unnecessary to the whole of the story; it really serves no purpose except to solidify the fact that the group needs to pay attention to Rick when he tells them that being nice isn’t getting them anywhere. And poor Maggie’s face…

Moving along to Sleepy Hollow – I will admit that I am still pissed about the killing off of Captain Frank Irving. That was another WTF? for me. Orlando Jones is a talented actor and his character brought a sense of balance to the group of Ichabod, Abbie, Katrina and Jenny. It was bad enough that the character was grossly underused in the first part of season 2 (bring him back and send that damn Sheriff Reyes away, okay? She irks the hell out of me and serves no purpose), but then to kill him? (Although the manner of death was heroically glorious). However, I do realize that dead does not always mean dead in Sleepy Hollow and hope that there’s some great way the writers will bring back Irving’s character.

In the meantime, check out this HILARIOUS video from the Captain himself, giving us a recap of his character’s journey through Sleepy Hollow:

MOVIES – I totally suck in the movie department for 2014 – aside from Divergent, I saw Guardians of the Galaxy (last week), X-Men: Days of Future Past (two weeks ago), and Maleficent (opening weekend). Pathetic, I know, and I will hopefully get a chance to change that in 2015.

PODCASTS – Due to scheduling conflicts and other real-life BS, I only recorded a few episodes on Sci-Fi Party Line this year. They are as follows:

20140830_215700CONVENTIONS – I only got to attend one convention this year: Dragon Con. The experience wasn’t as great as previous years, mainly because I spent most of the week prior sick as a dog and literally had no energy, but it wasn’t a total flop. After podcasting together for 5 years, I got to meet Cat (@fancyfembot) in person!

I also got to meet Evanna Lynch (Luna Lovegood, Harry Potter) and Osric Chau (Kevin Tran, Supernatural – he was there as an attendee but was nice enough to pose for a photo when I recognized him outside of Starbucks). I got to ask Karl Urban (The Chronicles of Riddick, Almost Human) a question during his panel, and I was a panelist on the “Growing Up to Save the World” panel on the Whedonverse track.

All in all, not such a bad year, but I plan to do so much more in 2015. To those of you who follow and have stuck with me, thanks again for another great year! Happy New Year 2015!!

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RIP True Blood: a very long recap of the series finale and a few of my thoughts

true-blood-season-7-teaser-trailerWell it’s over. Done. Finished. Kaput. Finite.

After seven seasons, the coffin has closed on the series known as True Blood. The series finale aired this evening at 9pm EST, as expected, it was a doozy. The show had some good notes, some sad notes, and some unexpected ones, but it’s what you’d expect from a finale, right?

This post will be long, since I don’t usually do recaps (and since it’s a series finale) and WILL have spoilers, so if you haven’t watched yet, you’ve been warned.

The show begins with Sookie and Bill. Bill starts out being nostalgic over the fact that they are in her grandmother’s house, where he first came to call on her, met her family, etc. Sookie has no time for reminiscing – she wants to know why Bill is so intent on dying. He explains to her that since he’s been sick, he’s felt more human than he’s ever felt, and talks of his wife and children, and how he should be with them. His whole purpose in wanting the true death is so that Sookie can be free of him and pursue a human life, complete with children – which she could never have with him. It all makes sense, and Sookie begins to soften as she grudgingly acknowledges his view. But then, here comes the kicker: Bill asks Sookie to use her fae light on him, giving him the true death which will also free her from the supernatural gifts that make her so appealing to vampires (which is something she’s been considering since last season). However, Sookie is angered by Bill’s suggestion (or maybe because she realizes that he’s really, really thought this through and it makes sense), and she kicks him out.

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Dragon Con is almost here!!!

dragoncon2014

5 MORE DAYS!!!!!

 

It’s finally here, time for the streets of downtown Atlanta to be taken over by cosplayers, celebrities and fans en masse! Dragon Con – the largest multimedia, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film – will take place in Atlanta next weekend, August 29th – September 1st, and the guest list contains something for everyone: a little bit of 70s/80s nostalgia, some sci-fi/fantasy, big names, new names – Dragon Con will have it all.

 

Here’s a look at some of my favorite shows/movies/book fandoms that will be well represented:

Harry Potter – You guys know it just would be a post worth mentioning if I didn’t talk about the HP guests first! 🙂 Two actresses from the series will appear for the first time at Dragon Con: Evanna Lynch, who plays the faithful and loyal (if a little quirky and eccentric) Luna Lovegood; and Scarlett Byrne, who is known as that annoying girl from Slytherin/Draco’s girlfriend, Pansy Parkinson. Byrne is more recently seen on television as Lexi in Falling Skies.

It’s the 80s baby!! – Enthusiasts of the 1980s period of television and film will be well represented this year, with guests from popular cult classics such as The Princess Bride, The Karate Kid and The Outsiders. Recently, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Martin Kove, Cary Elwes have all been added to the guest list. Actors Nancy Allen (Carrie, Robocop), Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Gil Gerard and Erin Gray (Buck Rogers), and John Ratzenberger (Cheers, various Pixar films) are just a few of the “blast from the past” names that will appear.

Sci-Fi/Fantasy TV – So much to choose from! We have actors from returning favorites (Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy, the Stargate universes), as well as a few of the newer shows (Defiance, Once Upon a Time, Arrow, Lost Girl). Cast members from popular shows Warehouse 13, Being Human and True Blood will appear; all three shows will have ended by the time Dragon Con begins (the last episode of True Blood will air this Sunday at 9EST on HBO).

Sci-Fi/Fantasy Film – Dragon Con will have mutants (Patrick Stewart and Shawn Ashmore of the X-Men films), futuristic cops (Peter Weller and Nancy Allen from the original Robocop film), and pirates (Kevin McNally and Lee Arenburg from the Pirates of the Caribbean films); Karl Urban (Star Trek, The Bourne Ultimatum, The Chronicles of Riddick, RED) will make his first Dragon Con appearance.

Personally speaking, I – along with a few of my fellow co-hosts from the Sci-Fi Party Line Podcast – will be at Dragon Con the whole weekend. We will be recording shows, blogging, and generally having a grand old time, considering this weekend will be the first time most of us will have ever met in person, although we’ve been recording the show for years. You can find all of our combined posts on our Dragon Con portal at http://www.dragoncon.scifipartyline.com.

I will be speaking on two panels related to Harry Potter during Dragon Con. The first is Shipping Wars in Harry Potter!, which will discuss one of the largest shipping debates ever, Ron/Hermione or Harry/Hermione (I am of course on Team Ron!). This panel will be held on Saturday, August 30 at 10 pm. The second panel is Growing Up to Save the World, which will discuss the roles of teens from several different fandoms (Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Buffy, Teen Wolf, etc) and their roles in “saving the world”. That panel will take place on Sunday, August 31 at 1 pm.

Sci-Fi Party Line #187 True Blood

bill-sookie-love-hep-v-nakedOn this week’s episode of the Sci-Fi Party Line Podcast, there’s just sooo much to talk about!! Cat and I discuss Violet’s “50 Shades of Grey” room and her attempted corruption of Adelyn and Wade, the pros and cons of wooden dildos when used by vampires (yes, I’m serious), our unexpected soft spots for former comic relief’s Andy and Arlene (and that sex dream, wow!), our opinions on the dynamics of the Jason/Hoyt/Jessica drama, our absolute delight at a Japanese cowboy, a sexual reunion that everyone saw coming a mile away, and give a few predictions for the end of the series. There might be a Twilight/Renesmee prediction/reference in there, much to Cat’s chagrin LOL.

You can check out the full episode here: http://scifipartyline.com/2014/08/sci-fi-party-line-187-true-blood/

And here’s a clip of next week’s episode, and let’s just say, Hoyt is not the same man who left Bon Tomps!

Side Note: Several members of SFPL will be at Dragon Con, August 29 – Sept 1. You can follow our Dragon Con adventures exclusively at http://dragoncon.scifipartyline.com/

Falling out of love with True Blood

True Blood Season 6 promodFalling in love is easy. Falling OUT of love? Not so much.

Nobody ever wants to admit when they’ve fallen out of love with something. We make excuses as to why something no longer “works”; we try to remember and re-capture those initial feelings of anticipation, excitement and joy. We try to drag out our feelings when the truth is, the longer we deny it, the longer we delay the inevitable. Unfortunately, this is how I’ve come to feel about what was once one of my favorite shows, True Blood.

Like most relationships, my love for True Blood has had it’s ups and downs. As a fan of the book series from which the show was adapted, I had high hopes for the show and the characters and for the most part, I’ve really enjoyed what Alan Ball and his team of writers did with some of the characters. Even when the show began to deviate heavily from the canon, the presentation of the show and characters continued to compel me to watch. However, the past couple of seasons has shown me that the shelf life on this show is coming near it’s expiration date, and truth be told, I can’t say that I’m sorry to see it go.

After falling out of regular viewing at the conclusion of episode 4, I’ve spent the past two days catching up on the rest of Season 6. Early on, I had my misgivings on whether or not the show would be able to continue: this was my response when I shared this article on Facebook back on June 24, “I haven’t seen last night’s episode yet, but I will say that the season premiere didn’t impress me at all. As much as I have loved the show, they need to do something quick to fix what it’s become.” On September 3, it was confirmed by several media outlets that while True Blood has been renewed for a seventh season, that season will also be its last. I don’t pretend to be an expert on what makes a show work, but I will offer my own opinion of why the show no longer worked for me. (SPOILER ALERT!)

Take time to smell the roses. I understand that relationships on TV are unrealistic, but can we at least try? If we believe the time frame for the season (as implied by Andy Bellefleur’s “teenaged” faerie daughter, Adilyn), then the whole of season 6 took place in the time span of two weeks. TWO WEEKS. So, in that short period of time we’ve seen:

  • Sookie going from “I-don’t-want-anybody-I-need-to-be-alone”, to being hunted down by Warlow (who tells her that she is the soul mate he’s waited almost 6,000 years for), to falling in love with Warlow (who turns out to be the vampire/faerie hybrid who murdered her parents – who were in fact trying to kill her in order to prevent her from becoming Warlow’s “destined” vampire/faeire bride), then falls out of love with him when he tries to force her to become said bride, then stands by and watches while he is killed by her brother Jason, and her faerie great-grandfather Niall. All of this while trying to convince herself (and everyone else) that she’s no longer in love with Bill. And THEN ends up in a relationship with Alcide. Poor old Eric, who Sookie was so much in love with a few seasons ago, didn’t even merit a mention in her romantic afterthoughts. So much for true love!
  • Sam didn’t even let Luna’s body get cold before he was jumping in bed with Nicole, knocking her up and declaring his love for her!
  • Jessica and Jason – while still harboring unresolved feelings for each other – both jump into their first ever relationships with vampires. Jason took a detour first with the returning-and-annoying-as-ever Sarah Newlin, before becoming vampire food/oral sex slave vagitarian (“I’ve gone down on you for 178 nights in a row. Sometimes twice, sometimes three times!) without receiving any sexual gratification of his own. (How the hell did Jason end up with such a selfish vampire anyways?) And for the record, for 178 days straight…no further comment needed!

Character assassination. While I’ve gotten the grasp on separating characters when it comes to book-to-movie/TV adaptations, there are some things that really irk me about completely changing a character’s traits, while expecting us to still give a damn about the character.

  • Alcide Herveaux – initially one of my favorite characters because of his loyal and goodhearted nature (and the fact that he looks completely godlike without a shirt on doesn’t hurt), I actually found myself hating his character for most of the season. Becoming pack master did not do this werewolf any favors in the personality department, and I’m glad that it seems like he’s back to his old self.
  • Bill Compton – Bilith. Enough said.
  • Terry Bellefleur – I understand that the character of Terry has always suffered from PTSD, and the events from last season are sure to make any man in his position insane, but for him to arrange for an old friend to kill him while leaving a wife and three children behind? No, no, a thousand times, no.

Enough with the Sookie stalking! I understand Sookie is the main character and all, but her storylines get more ridiculous every year. I was not a fan of the whole Warlow storyline and really hope that the writers have something better in mind to send the character off with when the show ends next season.

Some of the things I actually did love about the show this year:

0609Lafayette1Lafayette. Lafayette has always been one of my favorite characters, in both the book and TV series. Although his character was killed at the beginning of book 2, the show chose to keep him on throughout the course of the show, and it has been one of the best decisions they’ve made. Lafayette remains true to himself, and his “take me as I am” attitude has not changed during the course of six seasons; no matter what knocks he takes, he always comes back stronger than ever. And, when you can pair a debonair suit ensemble with matching eyeshadow and some fierce extended lashes, and absolutely KILL it, well no further words are needed on how awesome you are.

Andy and Adilyn Bellefleur. The circumstances regarding Andy’s children amused me at first, because Andy is not a character you would normally associate with fatherhood. But the addition of his faerie children (and subsequent murder of three of them), changed Andy’s character for the better. It made him more tolerant of the differences he encounters in the residents of Bon Temps, and makes him more likeable altogether.

RIP Terry Bellefleur. While I didn’t like the circumstances regarding Terry’s death, his funeral was probably one of the best scenes during the whole season.

Eric the Vulnerable. Eric’s scenes with the dying Nora showed a softer, vulnerable side to the usually cold-hearted and selfish Viking, and his scream at her final death broke my heart.

I’ll be talking more about season 6 of True Blood in an upcoming episode of the Sci-Fi Party Line podcast, so be on the lookout. All in all, I really think that True Blood has run its course, and the show runners were smart in making the decision to voluntarily end the show before HBO decided to cancel it. I hope that next season will bring the show full circle and return it to being the show I first fell in love with. Nobody wants to remember a great love in a bad light.

Happy New Year, and let’s try this thing again…

So, about that whole “I’m going to be better about updating my blog in 2012” thing that never happened…well, let’s just say that I overestimated my ability to not let real-life issues get in the way of my blogging, podcasting, etc…in other words, all of the fun stuff in my life got put on hold! 😦  To those of you who have continued to encourage me while patiently waiting for me to come back to my blog, thank you so much for your support, it means so much!!! I am determined to make 2013 a better year for me by doing ALL of the things that I love, and that includes the re-birth of the Grown-Up Fangirl.

So, just a few updates on what I’ve been catching up on, and then we’ll see where things go from here.

BOOKS: I ended 2012 with a resolve to do a lot more reading this year, and I literally began immediately after making that decision. Since New Year’s weekend, I’ve immersed myself in the young adult genre – completing all five books (so far) in The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, and I’ve finished Book 1 in The Caster Chronicles, “Beautiful Creatures”; I’ll begin reading Book 2, “Beautiful Darkness”, sometime tonight and will probably finish Book 3, “Beautiful Chaos” by the weekend. Both sets of reads were prompted by movies trailers for The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, and Beautiful Creatures, which I saw during the previews for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2. I’m not going to post any reviews yet, but I will eventually get around to adding them both here and on my Goodreads page. However, I will say that aside from a few minor irritations, I am enjoying both series immensely.

TV: Aside from episodes that have aired this month, I am completely caught up on Once Upon a Time, Supernatural, and The Vampire Diaries. I still think someone should start a petition to HBO and let them know that these months-long hiatuses for “Game of Thrones” and “True Blood” are agonizing!! Season 3 of SyFy’s “Being Human” has started, and I plan to watch that this weekend. Other than that, there aren’t any other shows I’m actively watching, although I have quite a few (Scandal, Deception) that have been recommended and are on my “To Watch” list.

MOVIES: Sad to say, the aforementioned mentioned “real life” issues kept me from the theaters and without cable TV for 2012. I only saw a few movies: The Woman in Black (loved it), The Avengers (my birthday weekend, and LOVED IT!!!!), and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 2 (I DID see that one three times, and loved it as well). BUT, there are so many highly anticipated movies coming out this year (Iron Man 3, A Good Day to Die Hard, The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, etc.), that I am going to make it a priority to get to the theaters!! Entertainment Weekly has a pretty good starter list for upcoming films, and I’m excited about quite a few of the films listed, but I’ll make a more detailed post next week.

CONVENTIONS: 2012 marked a first for me in terms of conventions: for the first time since I began attending in 2007, I missed Dragon*Con. Anyone who has been following my blogs for years knows that Dragon*Con is a MUST for me every year, and it really hurt to miss it. However, I am determined NOT to let that happen again, so I will bring you updates as usual. (SIDE NOTE: Writing this entry prompted me to go and check the guest list, and I’m glad I did! Kelly Hu – one of my MAJOR girl crushes – is listed as a guest! Woot woot!!!)

One of my other favorite local conventions is returning this spring as well. EyeCon will invade Atlanta once again with their fan convention for the CW-hit show, “The Vampire Diaries”, March 2-4. The convention will take place at the Sheraton Atlanta Hotel in Downtown Atlanta, and will feature games, panels, Celebrity Q&As and Photo Op Sessions, Celebrity Autograph Sessions, a “Casino Royale” Party, a Banquet with the Stars, and a Haunted Masquerade Celebrity Party! As of this writing, featured guests will include Ian Somerhalder (Damon Salvatore), Steven R. McQueen (Jeremy Gilbert), Nathaniel Buzolic (original vampire Kol), and Trent Ford (Trevor the vampire). For more information, visit the EyeCon website.

I guess that’s enough catching up…for now. Feel free to add this blog to your subscriptions, and if you like this blog, be sure to check out some of my friends at the Sci-Fi Party Line website and podcast.

Dragon*Con brings Sci-Fi TV presence to Atlanta

That rustle of excitedness you hear is the sound of thousands of geeks, nerds, gamers, fanboys/fangirls and other fandom enthusiasts preparing for what is probably the largest geek party in the United States, and Dragon*Con looms closer.

Taking place in the downtown streets of Atlanta, Dragon*Con is the largest multi-media, popular culture convention focusing on science fiction and fantasy, gaming, comics, literature, art, music, and film. Every Labor Day weekend, about 40,000 people crowd the streets and take over the hotels of downtown Atlanta to meet friends, celebrities, cosplay and totally geek out. Spanning the lobbies, convention spaces and streets of five hotels, there is literally something for everyone at Dragon*Con.

As always, Sci-Fi/Fantasy television will have a strong presence at Dragon*Con. One of the fan tracks that should be very popular this year at Dragon*Con includes the Dark Fantasy track, which will have panels and celebrity guests from shows such as the SyFy Channel’s Being Human (stars Sam WitwerSam Huntington and Meaghan Rath), the CW Network’s Vampire Diaries (stars Michael TrevinoSara Canning and David Anders) and is filmed locally in Atlanta, and HBO’s immensely popular series True Blood (stars Kristen Bauer van StratenJim ParrackDenis O’HareJoe Manganiello and author Charlaine Harris, who wrote the “Southern Vampire” novels that the show is based on).

For the first time, stars from the popular CW series Supernatural will also appear during Dragon*Con: series regular Jim Beaver will be joined by stars Misha CollinsMark A. SheppardJulie McNivenChristopher Heyerdahl andSamantha Ferris for fan Q&A panels, photo op and autograph sessions.

Fans of Joss Whedon and/or the Stargate culture (SG-1, Atlantis and Universe) will find whole tracks dedicated to those two sub-genres (Whedonverse and Stargate: Multiverse, respectively), while those who mourn the loss of shows such as LOST, V: The Series, and Battlestar Galactica can do so alongside other fans of those now defunct, but still loved shows during panels such as “BSG Universe: Evolution”, “V: Find Your Bliss”, or “Lost: One Year Later”.

Dragon*Con will take place Friday – Monday Labor Day weekend; most programming will begin around 10 am with the exception of Saturday, when the annual Dragon*Con Parade will take place. Host hotels include the Hyatt Regency AtlantaAtlanta Marriott MarquisHilton AtlantaSheraton Atlanta Hotel, and the Westin Peachtree Plaza. Full details on fan tracks, celebrity guests, and membership (admission) costs can be found at the official website.