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Downton Abbey Season 4 Premiere Liveblog

I haven’t wrote down my  unfiltered spontaneous reactions to an episode in quite a long time. The PBS premiere of Season 4 of Downton Abbey was a good fit for this because I saw half of the episode last month at the preview screening.:

SPOILER LINE. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK!

- GOODBYE MRS. O’BRIEN AND GOOD RIDDANCE! No one liked you anyway, and now poor Alfred can be free.

- Is Thomas being catty or there is an actual problem with the nanny?

- Mary battling grief and possibly post partum depression is incredibly compelling. Hoping she snaps out of it no matter how much Lord Grantham wants to coddle her.

- Edith is cruising for heartbreak. Messing with a married man will never end well. Can’t she find someone else to date?

- Mrs. Hughes is clearly bringing up something Carson is trying so desperately to hide. He never wants to talk about his ~unsavory past in the theater~ but oh well.

- Carson, thanks for stepping out of line to help Mary. She needs to get back in the game.

- Lord Grantham got shut down by the Dowager TWICE. I love her for doing so.

- Sorry to say it but Moesley is a has been. He missed his chance. 

- The workhouse doesn’t look that much better than the jail Bates was in. 

- GET OUT CHILD ABUSER!! Thomas was right, Nanny West was no good!

- Aww Carson!! He’s such an old softie but never wants to show it. 

- Rose the flapper is in full swing! I’m sure she will troll some more this season.

- I know they want to give Edna a second chance, but I’m getting bad vibes from her. 

- Mary is well again to get involved in the estate management! WELCOME BACK!

Episode 2 seems to be bringing more drama! Check back next week for a new review/reaction post.

5 Things Fans Need To Know About Downton Abbey Season 4

Many of us are suffering from DWS, or Downton Withdrawal Syndrome. PBS’s screening and panel at the Times Center helped ease my withdrawal symptoms. 

[From left to right: Executive Producer Gareth Neame, Lesley Nicol (Mrs. Patmore), Phyllis Logan (Mrs. Hughes), Rob-James Collier (Thomas Barrow), Laura Carmichael (Lady Edith), Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham), Allen Leech (Branson), Executive Producer Julian Fellowes]

I’m hoping that sharing some of the teasers and insights from the panel will help relieve the suffering of others. The following assumes you have seen all of Season 3, and will not discuss any content that has aired only in the UK.:

The Season Premiere: Before the panel, the audience got to see the first 40 minutes of the 1.5 hour episode was screened. The episode begins 6 months after the Season 3 Christmas special. Fans can expect to see questions of the estate’s financial stability, adapting to a rapidly changing society, and grief and recovery to be the main themes of this episode and most likely the rest of the season.

Season 5!!: Julian Fellowes confirmed that production on Season 5 will start in February. It takes about 6 months to film the season so it is safe to say that it will air in the UK Fall 2014 and in the US January 2015.

Our Dearly Departed: Fans were shocked by Dan Steven’s sudden departure during the last Christmas special. The writers are very sorry for ruining Christmas for UK Downton fans and for the inevitable spoilers that followed for US fans. Sudden death was the only way to have Matthew exit the plot in a way that made sense. This also applies to the departure of Sybil Crawley earlier last season. 

Love Below Stairs: Sorry Carson/Hughes shippers, the writers want them to remain friends and close colleagues. Fellowes likes the idea of male-female friendship without romance. Sympathy for Barrow’s plight was was also discussed. Fans want him to have a real relationship but the writers have confirmed that love for him will remain elusive due to the attitudes of the time. 

The Airing Gap: Gareth Neame believes that the lag between the UK and US airings hasn’t hurt Downton’s popularity. From his viewpoint, most viewers in the US are not actively participating in social media enough to resent the wait. If Downton aired in the US and the UK in the fall, there would be too much network and cable competition for PBS to overcome. In January, the US competition is on hiatus which means higher ratings for Downton. However the reality of international fan interaction on social media sites and leaks mean that some US viewers will continue to be ahead of the PBS curve.  

Edith’s Happiness: An audience member who happened to be dressed as Lady Edith in her wedding dress pleaded with Fellowes to give her a happy ending. Unfortunately for Edith fans, she will have some additional trials in Series 4 as she continues her search for a husband and 

I hope this satisfied your craving for Downton news! I’ll be back with Season 4 reviews in January!

Hey Now Books: The Coldest Girl in Cold Town by Holly Black

Honestly, I am so over vampires and I know a lot of you are too- so when I was camping out in the YA Fantasy Romance section of Barnes and Noble I was skeptical about a lot of the stuff I was looking at. However, something about this book called to me. Firstly, it’s Holly Black and I’m uncertain I can dislike anything Holly Black writes. Secondly, the premises was intriguing and while we live in a post Twilight world finding a Vampire Book that doesn’t sound like a complete rip off is very hard. However, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown surprised me yet. It was intriguing, clever, and contained a female character I didn’t want to stab in the throat ninety-nine percent of the time. 

The story is about Thana. She’s got that typical YA book heroine thing to her. She’s tragic, doe eyed, and tough all at the same time which works for her without coming of as irritating and Mary Sue (most of the time.) Tana wakes up at a party with everyone around her dead/dying, her  dopey ex boyfriend Aidan on the edge of turning into a vamp, and another vamp chained down. Thana has to race against the clock to get Aidan to a Coldtown (it’s pretty much a ghetto for vamps and weird humans who’ve gotten stuck there.) She packs up Aidan and Gavriel the sexy, mysterious, and somewhat kind vampire and hits the road with them. On their way there they meet some friends and foes and all in all it’s a fun journey. 

The love story is definitely between Gavriel and Thana and contains one of the best vamp kiss scenes I’ve seen in a YA book (tongue biting and blood licking, it’s hot, gave me a bit of an early Sookie Stackhouse vibe.) What makes Gavriel and Thana so refreshing is that they both have secrets that keep their feelings hidden from everyone except themselves. The attraction is there immediately and I was very impressed with how compatible they were as characters without having been shoved down everyones throat. 

Despite how great the story was one thing didn’t sit well with me and that was the fact the POV’s changed from time to time but there wasn’t any particular pattern to and when it changed from Thana to another character the first time it felt very jarring and slightly unnecessary. A plot device could have been used such as a text or a phone call. The only switches I did enjoy were the ones to Gavriel’s past with his maker that reminded me of Angel and Spike in a wonderful way. 

Despite the point of view switching I did whole heartily find this book entertaining and was actually sad to find out it was a one shot and not part of a series, although I will say the ending was open ended enough that a series wouldn’t feel like something out of left field and I hope this might go on because I’m not quite ready to fully ready to say goodbye to Coldtown just yet. 

Five Emotional Moments In Doctor Who’s 50th Anniversary

(Image courtesy of the BBC)

My celebration of the 50th started at the beginning of the year. I’ve been busy experiencing the events leading up to today beyond the TV and laptop screen. I attended as well as organized conventions and meetups held in honor of the 50th Anniversary. Every once in a while I would try out watching Classic serials to deepen my appreciation of the past. All of this was in anticipation of seeing The Day of the Doctor at yesterday’s Times Square 3D simulcast.

I realized it it impossible for me to objectively analyze The Day Of The Doctor and the specials leading up to it. The happy tears of joy, nostalgia, and excitement are what made the 50th so meaningful to fans. This list an attempt to highlight some the moments from the particular moments from The Day Of The Doctor, The Night of the Doctor minisode, and An Adventure in Space and Time that stirred something deep in our Whovian souls:

PLEASE DO NOT READ ANY FURTHER IF YOU ARE AVOIDING SPOILERS!!!

1) Four’s Return

The collective screaming, clapping, and sniffles was intense and could be heard whether it was a post on social media or the person next to you at a screening. I was so excited because I thought it would never happen. Tom Baker hasn’t filmed a Doctor Who scene since his regeneration. Whether fans were seeing their childhood come to life again, appreciated Four’s importance in Who history, or were glad to see their favorite Doctor again this was the moment with the most emotional impact. 

2) Ten’s Return 

Ten is my favorite Doctor. I couldn’t help but scream when I first saw David Tennant appear on screen. Many people came of age with or recently discovered Doctor Who thanks to Ten. Although Ten’s appearance was not a surprise, fans were still eagerly waiting in anticipation. 10’s interactions with 11 were perfectly written and much better than what I imagined. Not only did the Tenth Doctor get a fitting tribute, several unfinished plots from his series finally received closure. 

3) The Night of The Doctor

This minisode did more filmed justice to the Eighth Doctor than the entire 1996 made for TV movie. Six minutes cemented years of Big Finish audio drama productions starring the Eighth Doctor as Doctor Who canon. Fans loved seeing Paul McGann return to the spotlight after years of neglect. Seeing Eight regenerate into the War Doctor was another fitting closure ending years of fan disappointment. I’ve never got around to listening to the Eighth Doctor Big Finish adventures but now is a great time to start!

4) One’s Monologue & One Meeting Eleven

An Adventure in Space and Time was a fitting tribute to the First Doctor, William Hartnell and the crew that brought Doctor Who to life on November 23rd, 1963. The special not only included the moments of nostalgia fans would expect but also the struggles and uneasiness of the earliest days of Doctor Who. As soon as David Bradley recited this quote from the Five Doctors everyone cried: “One day I shall come back. Yes, I shall come back. Until then, there must be no regrets, no tears, no anxieties. Just go forward in all your beliefs and prove to me that I am not mistaken in mine.” One’s vision to the Eleventh Doctor was another tearjerking moment. He realized his work has lasted much longer than anyone ever expected. 

5) The Deconstruction of the Time War

Every Doctor helped to save Gallifrey from destruction. Ten, Eleven, and the War Doctor brought together the Classic Doctors through flashbacks as well bringing Peter Capaldi in from the future. This moment was an excellent combination of nostalgia and excitement from the future. Although the end of the Time War is a game changer for the mythos of Doctor Who, there’s an entire new dimension open for exploration. Yesterday was just as much a celebration of the past but a stirring of excitement for the next 50 years.

In efforts to avoid essay writing, we had to leave a few more moments out. What were your favorite emotional moments from the 50th Anniversary?

TDHN Books: Making Masterpiece

I am always fascinated by the process that brings my favorite books, television shows, and movies to life. On Wednesday night, I traveled to the Upper East Side Barnes & Noble to get the inside story on the program that brings Americans the best of British drama. 

Making Masterpiece, written by Executive Producer Rebecca Eaton is part tribute and part memoir of one of the longest running shows in US television history. The book combines her reflections with interviews and anecdotes from Masterpiece actors and staff of the past and present. She describes it as “a story of family sagas”. 

Her discussion focused on stories about the past and pieces of the present. Everyone who wanted spoilers on upcoming airings were very disappointed. She fondly remembered Alistair Cooke’s marathon introduction writing sessions and Diana Rigg sharing the best of London gossip. Along with these anecdotes she told parts of her own story. Eaton’s mom was an actress, and she inherited her passion for the theater.

Eaton also explained what goes into making a Masterpiece production. In the earlier days, already completed UK miniseries would be reviewed and picked for licensing. Today, pitches, pilots and scripts are judged carefully for their ability to capture the core of Masterpiece’s audience. Throughout the years, focus groups and complicated market research never contribute to programming decisions. 

Some productions were instant hits such as the backing of the 1980’s costume epic The Jewel In The Crown. Others started out rough but turned out well in the end. Eaton initially turned down Downton Abbey due to concerns over US success but got a second chance to back the production. Unfortunately, many pitches for American costume drama sink due to the incredibly high cost of production. Some projects have unexpected results. Eaton did not expect Sherlock to become a runaway hit with viewers in their 20’s.

Although I am only halfway through Making Masterpiece, I highly recommend it. I find my appreciation for my older and newer favorite Masterpiece shows growing as I read. Fellow fans will definitely enjoy reading Eaton’s impressions of their favorite miniseries and actors. Her insider’s view of Downton Abbey and Sherlock can help ease the pain of the final stretch until January. People interested in television history and media studies will enjoy the chapters on the production process. Eaton’s narrative often strays from strict chronological order, however this keeps the reader engaged with her story. I expect the rest of the book to follow the same pattern.

I asked Eaton about her plans for the next 40 years, especially in regards to the younger audience for Masterpiece. There was not enough time to flesh these thoughts out, but I’m already looking forward to seeing the next 40 years of Masterpiece unfold.

Favorite Cosplayers Of New York Comic Con 2013

I love taking pictures of my own cosplay and of those from my own fandoms, but I also enjoy seeing what other people come up with. Narrowing down the favorites out of hundreds of photos was not easy. These cosplayers are my favorites because they made me laugh really hard, creeped me out, reminded me of childhood, or wore costumes I haven’t seen many people wear:

(Feel free to reply if you see your picture here and I’ll credit your cosplay page!)

US Presidents Gang:

Aladdin On The Walls Of Agrabah West 34th St:

Kelly from Misfits:

Gollum:

The Road To El Dorado (with special guest Eleventh Doctor):

Mr T vs. Villain:

What were your favorite cosplays from NYCC? There’s more con coverage to come, so keep checking back!

TDHN Exclusive: Elementary At Paley Fest: Made In NY

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After many years of exclusive panels in Los Angeles; Paley Fest turned attention to the best of current TV productions in New York. Saturday night’s Elementary panel featured Jonny Lee Miller (Sherlock Holmes), Lucy Liu (Joan Watson), Aidan Quinn (Captain Gregson), Jon Michael Hall (Detective Bell), Carl Beverly (Executive Producer), Robert Doherty (Creator and Executive Producer), and Craig Sweeny (Executive Producer). 

 

SPOILER LINE- DO NOT CROSS IF YOU’RE NOT CAUGHT UP!

 

Episode 2: The audience were treated to a complete screening of Thursday’s episode. Without ruining it all, look out for Holmes arguing on the internet. Although he case has heavy elements of current events references, but the producers stress Elementary is not a “ripped from the headlines” show.

The Elephants In The Room: Elementary has to contend with two other incarnations of the world of Sherlock Holmes as well as adapting the original canon. The cast admitted to having reservations about starring in yet another Holmes adaptation, but they were won over by the script and the new ideas it contained. The goal of the producers and cast is to take the source material and adapt it in ways not seen in previous versions. Miller’s copy of canon “looks like a hedgehog” due to all of his notes on Sherlock’s personality. The elements that are kept from canon are the ones that work with the story the writers want to tell.

 

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A typical Holmes and Watson conversation

No Hookups: Doherty strongly believes it is too easy for Holmes and Watson to develop a romantic relationship. Although some fans who spot them filming on city streets believe it should happen, the idea is off the table. Liu doesn’t feel the sexual tension and sees the relationship accented with caring and other emotional connections.

"… A Hammer In The Back Pocket": During the Q&A session, an Asian-American female fan praised Elementary for featuring a diverse cast of main and supporting characters. Liu stressed that her career has been a continued struggle against discrimination. The producers believe in promoting diversity by writing characters that cross boundaries and casting a wide net in casting. New York has many different varieties of people, and this comes through in the show.

The Season Ahead: Mycroft will appear in several more episodes, and will even cross the Atlantic. The cast filmed more scenes in London than what we saw in last week’s premiere. Bell’s brother will make a comeback as well. Moriarty will also be back to mess with Sherlock’s mind and heart. The producers are hoping Lestrade can also appear again. Filling a 24 episode order means the writers must think ahead to some extent.

This panel was not only entertaining, it was also highly informative. I left with a new appreciation for the show. Elementary fans, what are you looking forward to this season?

HEY NOW BOOKS: You Know What’s The Next Twilight? NOTHING! Because Twilight is TWILIGHT.

               

 

 

Over the last year there have been several YA Adaptations brought to life on the big screen and every time I read an article about it I read the same thing over and over again: “WHAT IS GOING TO BE THE NEXT TWILIGHT?” “WILL THIS BE THE NEXT TWILIGHT?” I have an idea? SHUT UP AND STOP COMPARING EVERYTHING TO TWILIGHT BECAUSE THAT IS AS UNORIGINAL AS YOU CLAIM THE MOVIES YOU REVIEW ARE.

 

Here’s the thing, I’m not going to sit here and say Twilight didn’t set a standard for YA adaptations because it did. Just because I am not crazy over the series doesn’t mean I’m not going to give credit where credit is due. The Twilight craze took on the world by storm and it helped create the current set of YA Paranormal Romance books that are being written and adapted.

 

Essentially it did help introduce the YA genre to a wider, more adult audience. However, Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight Saga is not the first Paranormal YA series to make its way to other mediums and it wont be the last. The latest slew of films that are based off of Young Adult books are original in their own way, but the only thing that causes them to fail are the people that constantly try to seek out the new Twilight. 

Read more

C2E2 Doctor Who Cosplayers

Jesus—was a friend of mine, you Whovians are not a bunch to be reckoned with. So many Doctor Who fans have really surged in the U.S. as well as their cosplayers, so you get your own special post, especially special for you guys. Jerks.


But the Doctor Who cosplayers far surpassed those from last year and stepped it up, so take it away, maestro.

He even committed to David Tennant in the FACE. That’s true fandom.

Just off the night shift at the H&R Block, getting ready for some cocktails and John Coltrane records in his rec room.

I just liked his swagger.

Loved this sophisticate (adjective purely functioning in my mind) gentleman on the left who just had a certain air to him. As the next day, he was fully prepared…

…With another costume!

You can get it, girl.

Chill early-20s Aladdin professional seeks to share a 2 bedroom apartment above a dim sum restaurant or noise d.i.y. performance space. Must love cats.

Now I know people think jumping into photos like Gordo trying to get into every club picture in the school yearbook is cute (I made a Lizzie McGuire reference, handle it) but as a reporter, we want to murder you and every milkshake you ever intend to enjoy in your life. Yeah, that.

GORGEOUS, also had a missed connection before it was removed. Totally deserved.

This adorable young doctor had a sister with non-descript fuzzy cat ears who was mad that nobody wanted pictures of her, only her sibling.


Better to learn it now: We don’t want to see your cat costumes, ladies. Also learn, I have no guilt that warrants me to be nice to kids.

I guess they get My Little Pony in Heaven.

For more photos or close ups of some of these costumes, check out our facebook page and “like” us: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.362266443874963.1073741825.205982746170001&type=1&l=9823ac33f0