20 Years After Buffy, What’s to Watch?

We all celebrated the 20th anniversary of the first episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer last week. What can you watch now that compares? I’m sure you can come up with some ideas of your own. I’d love to hear about them in the comments. I’ll mention three of my favorites. Continue reading “20 Years After Buffy, What’s to Watch?”

Sarah Michelle Gellar #Fail!

She Knows Media put together a Buffy the Vampire Slayer trivia quiz and actually got Sarah Michelle Gellar to participate in this test of ancient history. Cheer up your day watching Michelle’s sad, sad failure. Continue reading “Sarah Michelle Gellar #Fail!”

Wynonna Earp: Thoughts on the First Episode

Wyonna Earp is off to a demon hunting start on SyFy. First let’s talk about some of the familiar, known and loved characteristics of this series. You get a kickass but reluctant heroine Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) who resembles all your favorite such heroines. Think Buffy, Bo Dennis and Jessica Jones. You gotta love Wynonna already. Continue reading “Wynonna Earp: Thoughts on the First Episode”

Lost Girl: S5 E14 Follow the Yellow Trick Road

“Follow the Yellow Trick Road” is episode 14 of season 5 of Lost Girl. Let’s skip toward Oz with the characters from The Wizard of Oz as Bo dreams her way toward the acceptance of Trick’s death.

This recap contains spoilers. You are informed. Continue reading “Lost Girl: S5 E14 Follow the Yellow Trick Road”

My Life Coach Plan for Alyson Hannigan and Casting Directors Everywhere

Alyson Hannigan tends to take parts in shows that turn out to be wildly popular and last for years. For that reason we usually see her as a sweetheart of a character for long stretches of time.

Alyson Hannigan in Buffy the Vampire Slayer 1997
Alyson Hannigan in Buffy the Vampire Slayer from 1997

The result is that when we think of Alyson Hannigan we think of the nerdy and loyal best friend in Buffy the Vampire Slayer or the funny, mild-mannered wife on How I Met Your Mother. A 7 year run and a 9 year run. Long runs as one character.

Alyson Hannigan, Josh Radnor, and  Cobie Smulders in How I Met Your Mother from 2012
Cobie Smulders, Alyson Hannigan, and Josh Radnor in How I Met Your Mother from 2012

Her long-running gigs make us forget something: Alyson Hannigan can do a whole lot more than we think she can as an actress. She’s had these two iconic parts in two iconic long-term shows that prevent her from showing different stuff. I believe she’s got different stuff to show.

Dark Willow in Buffy the Vampire Slayer was awesome. Alyson Hannigan nailed Dark Willow. Scary and very sexy. Alyson played flamboyant and over the top in Veronica Mars, even though her part was small there. I’m giving you those two cases as examples of different stuff.

Dan Aykroyd, Jon Lovitz, and Alyson Hannigan in My Stepmother is an Alien from 1988
Jon Lovitz, Alyson Hannigan and Dan Aykroyd in My Stepmother is an Alien from 1988

She’s been in about a billion things since her first listing from 1985 on IMDB – movies, TV series, animated shows. Obviously, she can act. My point is, you probably don’t think of her as one of those talented actresses who can do everything well.

I think you should.

As the unappointed and unwanted life coach for Alyson Hannigan, I have some post How I Met Your Mother suggestions. I hope she’ll spend some time doing a few guest spots on wildly different shows – a lone survivor on The Walking Dead and some evil archetype on Once Upon a Time and a quirky visiting doctor on Grey’s Anatomy and a murderous Soviet spy on The Americans. Mix it up. Remind everyone that she’s got the different stuff.

Then she can go find another steady job that will last 7 or 8 years.

Casting directors everywhere should be reading this and taking it to heart. Hello? Casting directors?

Remembering Picket Fences

There are actors you always associate with a certain show, like Sarah Michelle Gellar always making you think of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I got to thinking about Picket Fences the other day because of a mention of Tom Skerritt, and I realized that Picket Fences was one of those iconic moments in TV history for me.

Picket Fences was on the air for 4 seasons from 1992 to 1996 according to IMDB.

Tom Skerritt and Costas Mandylor in Picket Fences
Tom Skerritt and Costas Mandylor in Picket Fences

Picket Fences was one of those shows that came along at the right time in my life, caught me at the right moment, and resonated in deep ways. When I realized that I always think of Picket Fences whenever I see Tom Skerritt in anything I started thinking about other things I remember about Picket Fences.

Lauren Holly in Picket Fences
Lauren Holly in Picket Fences

I always associate Kathy Baker, Lauren Holly and Kelly Connell with the series, no matter what else I see them in. There were so many memorable characters on the series. In fact, the odd and bizarre characters on the show, as well as the strange and bizarre plots, really appealed to me.

At the time I took note that the reason for all that off-the-wall thinking was David E. Kelley. I’ve followed his career via many more shows that I thoroughly enjoyed because of his ability to make the strange and weird apply to real life. David E. Kelley is behind The Crazy Ones, Harry’s Law, Boston Legal, The Practice, Ally McBeal and Doogie Howser, M.D. and more.

Once an actor has worked with David E. Kelley, he or she is liable to show up over and over again in things Kelley writes and produces, especially the lesser known character actors.

Costas Mandylor and Lauren Holly in Picket Fences
Costas Mandylor and Lauren Holly in Picket Fences

Even 20 years later, I remember scenes from Picket Fences. Human beings who undergo spontaneous combustion. I remember a sex scene between Lauren Holly and Costas Mandylor on the floor of her apartment. They looked directly into each others eyes during the whole scene. I remember thinking it was breathtakingly sexy and also that it must be hard as hell to actually look at someone in such a way in a moment like that. I remember the great relationship Tom Skerritt and Kathy Baker had as a married couple. (This was long before Friday Night Lights and its married couple in a good relationship.)

Scrolling through the photos at IMDB (where these photos came from) brings back the wonderful characters and moments from the show for me. There are two full episodes of the show available on IMDB, if you’ve never seen it and would like to get a taste of what it was like.

Are you old enough to remember this show? What did you think of it?

Killing Off the Good Guys on Scandal and Lost Girl

On Scandal, Cyrus Beene (Jeff Perry) had one good thing: his husband James (Dan Bucatinsky). James represented love, conscience, family. Cyrus is ruthless and corrupt and capable of any betrayal or nefarious power grab. James still believes in justice and good.

Cyrus and James
Cyrus and James

Cyrus’s corruption finally leads to a situation that gets James killed.

On Lost Girl, Bo Dennis (Anna Silk) has one pure relationship: her sidekick Kenzi (Ksenia Solo). Kenzi is the sister she never had, the friend she relies on, the person she loves without reservation.

No words needed
Kenzi hugs Bo

A crisis prompts Kenzi to sacrifice herself to save the world. Like Buffy diving into a ball of light, Kenzi steps into the light and is taken. On BtVS, Buffy was retrieved from the netherworld by her friends. Will Kenzi be? As in BtVS, there is supposed to be a way to do this in the sci-fi world of Lost Girl.

There’s no hope for getting James back on Scandal. This drama is about real life, not science fiction, and when people die they are just gone.

On Scandal, Cyrus may come through his loss a better man. If I were Shonda Rhimes, I would write this in a way that Cyrus develops a moral compass as a result of losing James. It would certainly cause a lot of drama in the White House if Cyrus developed a conscience. After James’ murder, Olivia Pope herself (Kerry Washington) was even talking about her desire for at least one good person, one person in a white hat, in the morass of evil portrayed on Scandal.

On Lost Girl, I don’t see a way that the writers can use the loss of Kenzi to create character evolution in Bo or any other character. Kenzi is integral to everything Bo does. I cannot imagine how Bo can even continue to be Bo without Kenzi. It’s like Batman without Robin, Sherlock Holmes without Dr. Watson, Don Quixote without Sancho Panza, Buffy without Willow.

Because of that, I think Lost Girl will write Kenzi back into the story somehow. But here’s my problem. When they announced the cast returning for season 5, Ksenia Solo was not listed. This announcement makes me nervous.

Lost Girl played with the fans throughout all of season 4 using red herrings and secrecy. Is the absence of Ksenia Solo’s name in the returning cast another game, another secret, another mystery? If so, does that mean she will be back and they just want to keep it secret to drive us crazy? They certainly enjoyed driving us crazy for all of season 4. Then there’s the very important fact that no one from the show – not even Ksenia Solo herself – has said a word about Kenzi in season 5.

We usually know when people are really leaving. We know K.C. Collins really left Lost Girl. We know Sandra Oh is leaving Grey’s Anatomy. Announcements get made. There’s no official announcement about Ksenia Solo and Lost Girl parting ways.

Do you think Kenzi will be back?

A Quick Note on The Good Wife

I wrote this post before last night’s episode of The Good Wife, which took me completely by surprise and will be all over the news today. If you have any comments about how they handled Josh Charles leaving the cast of The Good Wife, feel free to include them in this discussion.

Here are a couple of articles in The Hollywood Reporter to fill you in with details on The Good Wife.

The Josh Charles story is a little different from Dan Bucatinsky leaving Scandal and Ksenia Solo possibly being done with Lost Girl because he was one of the lead characters, not a supporting character.

Recap: Lost Girl S4, E4, Turn to Stone

A poem should not mean
But be.
– Ars Poetica by Archibald MacLeish.

This season on Lost Girl storylines just are. No transitions, no explanations, no clarifications. They are what they are. Like the poet said, we must be willing to let it be, no matter how badly our minds want to fill in the blanks.

Bo (Anna Silk) and Dyson (Kris Holden-Ried) are boxing. Bo complains about being restless. Dyson says you have to lay low, they’re looking for you. Bo says, so they want to kill me – so what. Dyson says the Una Mens power is ancient. Bo points out that’s the last thing on her mind. Dyson asks if she wants to talk about that first thing on her mind.

Bo pauses, is there any word? Dyson says not lately, but it’s better if she stays away. Then he says Lauren’s smart, she can take care of herself.

Oh, now Bo remembers Lauren. As soon as we realize this new fact, Bo strips off her boxing gloves and says she might as well juice up if she has to protect herself.

In case I need to protect myself
In case I need to protect myself

She grabs Dyson by his junk and wants sex. He’s willing and they start tearing off their clothes and going at it. They’re rough about it. Not Buffy and Spike destroying a building rough, but definitely not tender.

A stone gargoyle appears. It startles them and disappears.

I'm here
I’m here

It’s the first of several appearances the stone boy will make, but it doesn’t distract the succubus from her sex drive for long.

At the clubhouse an older teen Tamsin (Eliana Jones) is being schooled in the art of twerking by Kenzi (Ksenia Solo). We all know that the way to escape being labeled a child is to twerk, right? Kenzi’s brushing Tamsin’s hair and comments that not a single strand came out on the brush.

Let me in
Let me in

Bo arrives but cannot enter because of a guard spell on the doors that flares up. Kenzi runs to fix it because “it’s only supposed to block out malicious Fae.” Can you say foreshadowing?

Kenzi gives Bo a huge hug. It’s apparently one of many, because Bo asks how long the incessant hugging is going to last.

Bo and Kenzi leave teen Tamsin at home to watch The X Files so they can go boozing at a Dal made very sad by the approach of the Una Mens. Trick is nowhere in sight, but Bo puts music on and gets everyone in the place dancing. Bo Bo is back, says Kenz.

Massimo (Tim Rozen) is at the Dal, wanting payment from Kenzi for his faux fae sparkle cream. She promises he’ll get it and lifts a jar of the stuff from his pocket while smiling into his eyes with succubus-like charm.

Back at the clubhouse, teen Tamsin gets a visit from a couple of guys in hoods and robes. She goes all skeletor on them and then bends over with a pain in her back accompanied by the sound of bones cracking. When Bo and Kenzi get home, the place is emptied out. They’ve been robbed.

I think I grew again
I think I grew again

They find a naked Tamsin, who is finally the grown up Rachel Skarsten we’ve been waiting for. She says, I think I grew again.

Bo and Tamsin are at the police station, reporting the robbery to Dyson.

Here's what you can do if you're good
Want to go shopping?

Bo and Dyson talk about sex but because of Tamsin’s baby ears they refer to it as going shopping. It’s flirtatious and sounds like fun to Tamsin, who wants to go shopping with them. Bo jumps up with the excuse that she needs to use the facilities and dashes off, leaving Dyson stuck babysitting Tamsin.

Who's this?
Who’s this?

Tamsin points to a book of mug shots where a photo of Lauren in circled in red. Who’s this? she asks. Dyson says it’s someone who’s lost and Tamsin has to help him find her.

It's all my fault
It’s all my fault

Cut to a dark room where Crystal (Ali Liebert) is handcuffed to a pipe. She says, It’s all my fault. They told me they wouldn’t hurt you. Lauren (Zoie Palmer), who finally sports her own blonde hair, wants to know who they are.

Should I call you Karen
Should I call you Karen?

A voice comes from a speaker. Long time no see Lauren, or should I call you Karen?

Kenzi looks for Massimo and gets thrown in a van by a couple of thugs. Bo appears and saves her. Bo says since when to you fly solo? I’m back. Kenzi says it’s my problem. She tells Bo that the problem is with Massimo and Bo gets upset that Kenzi knows him. Bo thinks Massimo sucks.

Bo and Kenzi go to Massimo’s place. Bo tells him the rune glass didn’t work, it didn’t kill her. He says, I gave it to Tamsin to mark you, to allow you to transcend planes to be collected. She wants to know who took her but he won’t say.

Bo says she wants their stuff back and then he’s going to leave Kenzi alone. He still wants payment, which he will take in the form of something that grows in Lauren’s apartment on her green wall. Bo says they will get the herb, but if he doesn’t keep his end of the bargain, she will kill him. She looks like she means it, too. What happened to all those I’m not a murderer speeches she used to make?

Back in the dark room where Lauren and Crystal are held, Crystal confesses, I slept with you to keep you close. They made me. But after I did, it was different. It was more. I’m thinking when a woman who can keep a succubus happy visits your bed, her mad skills definitely should make an impression. Is that the kind of “more” Crystal means? Nah, probably not.

Lauren nods her head. Spybanged – I’ve been here before. In your shoes, actually.

confessions
confessions

Lauren makes a confession of her own. She has a brother who’s an eco-terrorist. She made pipe bombs for him to blow up pipelines. Eleven people got killed by one of her pipe bombs. She says, not a day goes by that I don’t hate myself. She’s been running ever since. Lauren says, I don’t know why I’m telling you this. I never even told Bo.

The voice on the speaker wants Lauren to look under a tarp, where a drawer full of science equipment waits. If she doesn’t provide some science within an hour, Crystal dies. Is Lauren really going to have to go through this again?

Where't the herb?
Where’s the herb

At Lauren’s Kenzi looks for the right plant as she and Bo talk about Lauren. Like why did she go with Taft? Kenzi says Lauren was one of the good ones. Bo says I always thought you were on Dyson. Kenzi guiltily asks on, what do you mean on? Bo explains she means team Dyson.

wanted
Wanted

Bo finds the wanted poster for Karen Beattie. She says I didn’t know Lauren at all. I don’t even know her name. Why does everyone lie to me, she asks. Except you, Kenzi, which is why I love you. Opps, goes Kenzi’s face. They try to leave with the herb but flames bar the door.

Was I a good cop?
Was I a good cop?

At the police station, Tamsin is helping Dyson check Lauren’s phone records. No phone calls for the last two days. She wonders if she was a good cop. She wants to know if Bo is Dyson’s girlfriend. He qualifies his answer by explaining about Lauren. What does love feel like, asks Tamsin.

At Lauren’s apartment, Bo and Kenzi discuss how to get past the flames. Kenzi says maybe it’s the Sparkle Plenty gleam cream and a shower might help, but she doesn’t want to wash her hair.

Be gone, gleam cream
Be gone, gleam cream

Bo solves the problem by dumping water on Kenzi’s head. At least Kenzi can get through the door now. Bo stays behind and digs through Lauren’s stuff. She finds a gift box – the card reads “For giving me the freedom to love. And I do.” Inside is a necklace.

For giving me the freedom to love
For giving me the freedom to love

Bo assumes the gift was for her and clutches it to her heart. Well, as close as she can get to her heart with those boobs cantilevered up so high by her engineering marvel of a bra. She looks soft and moved – the Bo we used to know before this Bo who threatens to murder people showed up.

Bam, up pops the gargoyle. Bo turns to the gargoyle but it’s gone. Who’s there? she asks. Wanderer? She tells whatever it is that she won’t be taken again. She finally catches a glimpse of the gargoyle. It’s mouth is bloody and Bo has a bite on her arm. Kenzi returns to fix the flames at the door and finds Bo with a bloody arm.

What's happening?
What’s happening

Cut to Tamsin, who is bleeding from her shoulder blades.

Kenzi bandages Bo’s arm and makes her own all-inclusive confession. She owes Massimo a lot. She’s been stealing from Trick and from Hale. She can’t get a permanent Fae power no matter how much she tries. She’s been feeling helpless and not able and a liability. She kissed Dyson. But she thinks she only really wants to kiss Hale. She’s alone.

You left me, Bo.
You left me, Bo.

Bo says she’s not alone, she has Bo. Kenzi says, you left me, Bo. What if you leave again? As hard as I try, I’m just not one of you. Bo says what’s going on? Of all the things I’m in the dark about, I never thought it would be you.

Dyson calls and says he’s lost Tamsin. Bo asks Kenzi what she saw of theirs at Massimo’s. Kenzi mentions her hair brush, which Bo thinks Massimo wants because of the mad value of Valkyrie hair.

Massimo shows up at the clubhouse and tells Tamsin they are friends and she is supposed to go with him. He takes her to his place where he tapes her to a chair and cuts off a hunk of hair.

Valkyrie hair. Yes.
Valkyrie hair. Yes.

Tamsin squirms about in the chair and moves her shoulders as he explains that she tried to kill Bo. That’s why Bo hates me, she says. He’s only interested in the hair.

Bo arrives to tell him not to cut a woman’s hair when she doesn’t want it. He puts his razor to Bo’s throat and we hear a powerful command, “Stop. Release,” from Tamsin.

The Valkyrie has her wings.
The Valkyrie has her wings.

Bo and Massimo are startled by Tamsin, who has sprouted a wing span of about 15 feet. That’s new.

In lockup, Lauren reports that the elder she’s supposed to diagnose needs to stop eating his own kind because he has “mad fae” disease. She takes off her handcuffs and chains, calling them child’s play. She doesn’t remove Crystal’s handcuffs, however. For some reason, the dude on the speaker has to do that.

Come on out, Hale, Lauren says.

You're not Hale
You’re not Hale

A metal door clangs open, a shaft of light illuminates Lauren, and she stares in amazement. All we see is a bit of arm. You’re not Hale, she says.

At Massimo’s pad, Tamsin wants to kill him, figuring she kills because she’s dark. Plus the fact that she announces that she’s the Harbinger of Death. Bo tells her she can be whatever she want to be. Tamsin says you despise me. Bo says we fought but I never hated you. In fact I thought you were incredible.

I thought you were incredible
I thought you were incredible

Bo hugs Tamsin, gives her a full body shot of succubus charm. The wings retract, the murder goes out of her eyes, and Tamsin says that’s what love feels like.

Massimo says when a Valkyrie gets her wings it’s her last life. Bo accuses him of sending the gargoyles, but he says they only serve their masters.

You're human
You’re human

She succubus kisses him and blurts out, you’re human! That how you got into our house.

I’m a Druid he says, you need me.

She takes the lock of Valkyrie hair. He begs for it back. He cries, saying it’s for his mommie. Bo says, mommie issues – take a number. Bo walks out and tosses the hair in a flaming cauldron. Massimo screams and jumps into the cauldron, too. Bo says no, but she smiles: cruel.

Bo’s back in boxing gloves hitting the punching bag. She tells Kenzi she’s not mad about Dyson. Bo says that Druid potion that marked her needed to be a kiss from someone who would never betray her. Kenzi says, but I did. Bo says, no. You and me found each other and we are family. We stick together even though we fight and screw up.

Family sticks together
Family sticks together

Forgiven and accepted, Kenzi beams.

In Kenzi’s bedroom, Dyson is telling bedtime stories to Tamsin to get her to sleep. It’s season 4 and we just now see Kenzi’s bedroom. It’s strung with twinkly lights but otherwise is so dark you can’t tell much about it, which is a problem because I want to look around. Kenzi comes in. Dyson and Kenzi talk quietly on her bed.

I've lost Lauren
I’ve lost Lauren

Dyson tells her she doesn’t have to be Fae to have a place among them. He offers to teach her how to be “more.” He tells her he’s lost Lauren and he needs to find her.

You have not been summoned
You have not been summoned

Bo walks into the dungeon where the Keeper (Christine Horne) held Vex. You have not been summoned to appear before us, the Keeper says.

Bo says, I go where I want when I want. I don’t live by your rules. Kill me if you can.

The Keeper says, we are not interested in your proposal. Our intention was to eliminate the unaligned succubus.

Bo says, yeah, here.

Your blood has spoken. You have chosen a side.

What side?

You are dark.

Personal Thoughts

  • Lauren is the lost girl in this episode and Bo’s heart seems hardened. We are not back to normal yet. Plus memory losses are still an issue.
  • References to building pipe bombs and spybangs and the value of Valkyrie hair go way back to past seasons. Nice. Also nice the way Lauren’s living wall turned out to be meaningful.
  • Bo is told she’s dark whether she chose to be or not. That’s an interesting twist. Will she remember her words to Tamsin that she can be whatever she wants? And if it’s her blood that has placed her in the dark camp, what about her Blood King grandfather, who is light? Aife is dark. The Wanderer, who may or may not be her father, is dark. Does she really have a choice?
  • Dyson is always willing to have sex with Bo, but he doesn’t regard her as his despite her willingness to have sex with him. Does this mean Lauren is still a factor in a love triangle? Most importantly, why doesn’t Bo show any interest in rushing off to save her?
  • Brava Ksenia Solo! I love the joy of the endless quip from Kenzi, I do. But thanks to the writers for giving Ksenia Solo the chance to show her considerable range and depth this season. So much talent.