Series Review: Vampire Diaries Season 1

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What I liked:

  • Nina Dobrev as Elena Gilbert. It had to be a nearly impossible task to cast a beautiful woman in a “perfect girl” role and keep it on a level where people would still like her and not want to cut her up and sell her organs on the black market (that went really dark and violent, sorry). Nina Dobrev walks that line with seeming ease, because I don’t often want to murder her character out of jealous rage.

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  • How beautiful the cast is. Seriously, no-one is ugly. Even the hardcore-prototype-cop-mom Liz Forbes is beautiful. They all make me sick. But I need to watch them be beautiful.
  • It is very different from Twilight. This released in the height of the Twilight phenomenon and the only thing it took over was the animal diet and the walking in the sun thing. Elena is blessed with more personality than Bella ever was and the relationship she’s in is neither as controlling nor as oppressive as the Edward/Bella vibe. Also, no man falling in love with baby. There is even this delightful little snarky comment to it:
  • Damon Salvatore – the character, the actor, it all. Ian Somerhalder looks as uncomfortable in the first episode as I do at work birthday parties, but he grows into his character by the third or fourth episode. Everyone hates Damon in the beginning, especially with his killing spree that includes a teacher and his brother’s best friend. But what made Damon the way he is? It breaks my little soft heart all the time! Also, the eyes on Somerhalder makes that grief his grief relatable. YUM.

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  • The way the vampire’s eyes look when they change. It is ridiculously hot.
  • Lexi – gosh I loved that character. I can forgive so much from Damon but this is the one thing that I will always be angry at him for. Lexi is one of the only things that made Stefan happy, and Damon’s idea to kill her to cover himself and Stefan was really selfish. I absolutely love Arielle Kebbel, and she would have made the best addition to this show as a permanent cast member.

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  • Vampire Caroline. No one enjoyed Caroline as the preppy teenager, but becoming a vampire is the best thing that has ever happened to her.
  • Mason Lockwood. It boggles my mind that this man is engaged to Lady Gaga, really it does. I think the biggest problem between him and Damon was that they were both the same, and that the testosterone driven competitiveness just made them both idiots.

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What I didn’t like/wish they explored a bit more:

  • The pilot episode is quite bad for several reasons. The acting is first and foremost godawful. It improves over the course of season one, but that first 45 minutes is painful. Ian Somerhalder looks uncomfortable in his skin when he appears at the end of season one. Poor Caroline (honestly one of my favorite characters of the show) is presented as preppy and awful, and while she’s preppy, she’s not awful.
  • Vicky Donovan – I could never attach to the actress and I still can’t. I was glad when they killed her off. Sorry not sorry.
  • Kat Graham as Bonnie Bennett: what a weak and annoying character – you are a witch for Pete’s sake, grow a pair.
  • The whole crow arc that is in the books was touched on briefly and never really taken any further. It is a shame, because it could have been sufficiently creepy/eerie and is about the only thing that works in those terribly written books.
  • Stefan Salvatore is the Sam Winchester of his tribe. Whine whinewhine, blame humanity, whine some more. Ugh. Hearing his internal thoughts at the beginning of the episode makes me feel so violent. Though this scene worked wonders in redeeming the character… I mean oh my goodness.

Rating: 7/10

After a shaky pilot episode Vampire Diaries Season one is so much fun to watch. The characters have surprising depth, there are a few twists and turns that manage to be shocking. The level of teen drama is quite high and everyone is very dramatic, but it is really entertaining and rather intense.

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Happy Women’s Day South-Africa: Top 15 Favorite Kick-Ass female characters on screen

Today is Women’s Day here in South-Africa. Over here we like public holidays quite a bit (although India has TWENTY ONE), so we are all having a day off today – Whoop!

To celebrate, I made a list of strong female characters on screen. I think we can all agree that there are too few well written, complex female characters, but these ladies below are amazing and did their job extremely well in their respective films!

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Fifteen: The Black Widow – Marvel movies

Female superheroes have increased marginally, and I am really happy about that. My only negative comment is that I am confused why female superheroes need to either wear skin tight leather suits or skimpy Wonder Woman outfits while their male counterparts wears aerodynamically pleasing outfits or war clothing. We have a far way to still go in this genre, but at least we can all agree that Natasha Romanoff kicks ass multiple times on screen and is a fully functional member of the squad. I really enjoy this character, and I think Scarlett Johannson has done a great job bringing her to the screen. It annoyed me a bit that her infertility was this massive discussion in one of the movies – the reproductive capability of her male teammates have never been discussed.

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Fourteen: Katniss Everdeen

Katniss as a character has many flaws – she is selfish and can’t choose between two men. While that is certainly a crime, I have never been able to really judge her too harshly for it. Her world is dark and horrible, and she has nothing wonderful. Turning away from the caring of a good man? It seems nearly cruel to expect her to do that.

But despite this obvious flaw, I really thought the character was badass and capable, and honorable to take her younger sister’s place in a situation where she was guaranteed her death.

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Thirteen: Hermione Granger, The Harry Potter series

If this had been a literary list, Hermoine would have been much higher. Film Hermoine is great and Emma Watson did a good job with her, but my opinion remains that the film adaptions didn’t do justice to the sheer magnificence of the novels, on any level. Anyway, this isn’t a Harry Potter discussion, so I will just mention that Hermoine Granger is the reason those two boys stayed alive. She is strong, intelligent, fiercely loyal and brave, and her contribution to the wizarding world and the feminist cause must never be forgotten.

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Twelve: Elle Woods, Legally Blonde

When Legally Blonde dropped in 2001, every single person on this planet was charmed by Reese Witherspoon and the ditzy genius she created. There were tiny dogs, buckets of pink, manicures and textbooks, all in one film. I placed Elle Woods on this list because we too often forget that it is perfectly possible for a woman to love pink, to be girly and to be very determined, intelligent and capable all at one time. Another excellent thing in the film was that sisterhood won out in the end, and Warner Hungtinton the Third was booted on his ass.

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Eleven: Caroline Forbes, The Vampire Diaries

As the only series character to make it on to this post, you must know that I am very much team Caroline. Another pretty blonde girl who shows determination, loyalty and passion for life! In season one, Caroline works on your nerves pretty much incessantly. She’s insecure and whiny, and seems to be shallow and petty. However, the second she becomes a vampire and she realises that she will live an eternity in her own head, she gets a grip in such a remarkable fashion that I became her biggest fan.

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“I am no man”

Ten: Eowyn, Lord of The Rings

Perhaps the lady with the most iconic quote on the list, Eowyn, shield maiden of Rohan, is on first impression another lady who waits while her beloved father figure wastes away at the hand of the dastardly Wormtongue and her brother rides to war against orcs. It quickly becomes clear that this is a proud woman who was raised by warriors, and that she is simply tired of being left behind while those she loves die around her. She finds a way on to the battlefield, and if that chilling and rousing speech Theoden gives before his final ride isn’t enough, Eowyn steals everyone’s thunder by killing the leader of the Nazgul. She also gets her super happy ending at the end, which pleased me to no end.

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Nine: The Bride, Kill Bill

Quentin Tarantino is a phenomenal film maker, and the roles he creates for women are legendary. The Bride is one such character, hell bent on revenge and making people pay for what was done with her. Uma Thurman brings this vengeful character to life with scary finesse, and even though this isn’t my favorite Tarantino film, the character itself is impressive as they come.

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Eight: Hit Girl, Kick-Ass

She’s super tiny, she swears like a sailor, she wears a bright purple wig and her father is Nicolas Cage. Who doesn’t love her? I was a major fan of both movies, and it would be amazing if they could make a third. Hit Girl is the best part of this franchise, showing that gender and size is insignificant when it comes to being a bad ass.

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Seven: Rey, Star Wars: The Force Awakens

The horror when Disney bought Star Wars was paramount. Everyone was sure it would be a disaster, and no one could even get a moment of sleep due to the inordinate amounts of stress this franchise was causing in their adult lives. LUCKILY, Disney actually ended up doing a great job, and introduced a bunch of new characters that were able to flow nicely with how things had been done in the past. One of the best new additions was Rey, played by Daisy Ridley, a survivor and a strong female character who can do things for herself. I really enjoyed this character – she is a fantastic blend of purity and strength and was wonderful and empowering to watch.

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Six: Rita Vrataski, The Edge of Tomorrow

A nice little situation of role reversal, Emily Blunt was a hardened war veteran who saved Tom Cruise’s ass REPEATEDLY from aliens. I loved the character – she was sassy, strong, smart and the heroine of the day.

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Five: Vesper Lynd, Casino Royale

Did you also just rub your heart because of the pain that shot through it when Vesper was mentioned? It HURTS. Vesper is hands down the best Bond girl that has ever been onscreen. Her sharp brain kept her well equipped to banter with Bond, and her eventual control over Bond ripped out my heart. The fact that Casino Royale is the best Bond film out there certainly helps, but this character in herself is powerful and strong and determined, attributes that were completely left out during the writing process for the other female characters over this incredibly long franchise.

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Four: Dr. Ellie Sattler, Jurassic Park

I mentioned in my review of Jurassic World that it felt awful to realize that Dr. Ellie Sattler, who was in the very original Jurassic Park in NINETEEN NINETY THREE was a better, well written and strong female character than the running-in-heels-Bryce-Dallas-Howard. Dr. Ellie Sattler, played by Laura Dern, is super smart, professional, excels in her field and gets to see Dinosaurs in JP. I have loved and admired this character from my childhood till now, and I am eternally grateful to the writers that they allowed this strong character to see the light.

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Three: M, The Bond Franchise

Dame Judi Dench is literal life goals. She is classy, successful and revered, and a girl can just dream to be her when she grows up. M is Bond’s boss, the only person who can try to control him, and their relationship is amazing and complex. I love the power of M, and Judi Dench is incredible to behold as this woman who puts her country above everything in her life.

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Two: Furiousa, Mad Max

Homegirl Charlize Theron teamed up with Tom Hardy in the return of Mad Max, and what a job she did. Furiousa is powerful and intense, and her survival skills in the mad world she finds herself in is incredible. The film should have been titled Furiousa, as it is about her and how she helped the wives escape from that dreadful man. The entire film is one big celebration of sisterhood and sticking together, and I could only cheer on the women as they battled for their freedom.

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One: Shoshanna Dreyfus, Inglorious Basterds

The final accolade was difficult to award, because all of the ladies on here are amazing. However, I do think that Shoshanna is worthy, and that her role in Inglorious Basterds is incredibly important. I loved her – her courage and determination, her absolute hatred of anything Nazi, and her eventual success at revenge.

Well, there you have it. There are hopefully a million other female characters that can be mentioned by you below, and I look forward to seeing your opinions!

March to May: Watched, Read, Loved

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I was all over the place with this post , claiming that I would do some monthly rundowns. I was planning to, I really was, but as you know life is a busy little bastard and all you can do sometimes is hold on for dear life and hope not to fall off the wagon.

In Cinema:

I’ve been to cinema quite a lot the last couple of months. There were a few films I wanted to watch before the internet spoiled everything, and for the most part I walked out relatively pleased.

  1. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice

The biggest problem with Batman vs. Superman? It lacked heart. Not all films should be lighthearted, but BvS had no comic relief and no passion – you need either of the two. I didn’t hate it though, but I do think that DC should have worked a little harder if they really plan to have a fighting chance in an environment so dominated by their biggest rivals.

  1. The Huntsman: Winter’s War 

I will definitely watch this again – it is easy, comfortable watching, not necessarily great but it was quite fun. It also contains my husband, and that can’t be ignored!

  1. The Jungle Book

Beautiful and charming, it impressed me with its gorgeous CGI and traditional storyline. Not my favorite Disney live action film, but it was good nonetheless. I am still the most excited for Beauty and the Beast next year. I CAN’T WAIT.

  1. Captain America: Civil War

Woohoo!! This was so great! It probably deserves a higher score from me, because on reflection I had a blast with it.

At Home:

Blindspot:

March: Love Actually – it was OKAY. Not really my favourite romantic comedy and I won’t be watching it again.

April: Home Alone – not gonna lie, I hated this. I am way too old for this shit

May: Warrior Sooo good, but not something I’d recommend as a pick me up.

Other films:

Begin Again (2013) – I really enjoyed it! It is surprising and not really as close to a romcom as it might sound, and I especially enjoyed the track.

The Fast and The Furious (2001) – This way Throw Back was the best and entertaining. I had the best time even though it is as ridiculous, gawdy, a murky story line and terrible acting. It’s all about investing in the future films, you see.

Wild Child (2008) – Wild Child is a favorite movie of 2008 for me. It has everything – the teenage drama, the love story, the gorgeous hero, friendship, everything! I had to force myself not watching it again right after!

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Series:

I’m rewatching The Vampire Diaries at the moment and having a complete and utter blast.  I stopped half way into Season two to focus on exams, but I am so onboard getting my ass to season 7 eventually! Can we just say #teamDamon all the way?!

Reading:

Last Chance Salloon (Marian Keyes) – hmmm, not my favorite Marian Keyes. It was good in some places but it took me ages to get through it – long, laborious reading.

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Me Before You (JoJo Moyes) – surprising and good, well thought out, not overly sloppy.

The Welcoming (Nora Roberts) – for the life of me I can’t write a review on this for some reason. It is very bland, definitely some of Nora’s most basic work. It isn’t bad or offensive, just pretty tame and nearly put me to sleep in some places.

I finally finished Big Magic after months of searching for it! I’d love to read it again, with a highlighter and a note pad.

Currently also reading:

Evening Class by Maeve Binchy. – this book is a real drag, to be honest. I don’t get why the author is compared to the likes of Marian Keyes – Binchy writes books that make me fall fast asleep. I thought perhaps this book was different from the other one I read by her, but it is shockingly the same – the exact same format and story if you take away all the frills.

Collaboration:

I reviewed over on T9M’s site The Help (2011) – such an awesome flick!

I also reviewed for Kim and Drew‘s 80’s blogathon – When Harry Met Sally – what a great film, definitely worthy of a classic status.

What have you been up to?

Five things Friday – Females who kick ass on the small screen

Happy Friday!

I am officially back at work *very sad sigh*. My leave has been great and seeing my bestie has been so much fun. There is really no one better watching movies with than Zoë, who understands what I have to say during and afterwards. She was kind enough to educate me on films I haven’t seen yet (after she nearly had a stroke hearing some of them). More on that later though. Today, I bring to you five female characters who seriously kick ass in series. I love strong females in shows – there are so few that have decency and self respect and I hope that they counteract they ridiculous number of needy females on screen.

Enjoy!

1. Dr. Temperance Brennan, Bones, played by Emily Deschanel

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Bones is leading the leading lady for girl power on television. She is extremely intelligent and self sufficient. I like her because she is such a strong lead and really doesn’t need a man to save her all that often. I love her and Booth’s relationship and how he senses when she needs help and when he needs to back off – well, he gets that most of the time. Bones lifted herself up from a traumatic childhood and became someone respectable. Everyone she works with admires her and listens to her without question.

2. Teresa Lisbon, The Mentalist, played by Robin Tunney

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Teresa, a special agent at the CBI, deals with Patrick Jane and solving homicides. She needs to be a good agent and handle Patrick at the same time, a nearly impossible thing as Patrick loves offending people and breaking the rules. I like Teresa because she keeps her head during dangerous times and is very loyal to her team. I can’t help but wonder if she and Patrick will ever end up together, but as I am on season five on the series and haven’t seen anything like that, I guess I should just patiently wait for it.

3. Dr. Tara Knowles, Sons of Anarchy, played by Maggie Siff

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I really don’t think it is easy to date a gangster, but Tara manages somehow. I’ve only watched about two or three seasons and I guess things go wrong and right pretty often between Jax and Tara, but I like their strange dynamic. She reveres life and he doesn’t have too much respect for it and somehow they work out.

4. Caroline Forbes in The Vampire Diaries, played by Candice Accola

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Let me tell you, this girl is shit annoying in the beginning. She is needy and unsure of herself, whining and has absolutely no confidence whatsoever. Then suddenly she starts developing and becomes sure of herself. Okay, becoming a vampire will change you, but the series shows how it brings your worst characteristics to life. Caroline goes through so much, a crazy vampire hunter father, a difficult mother, her werewolf boyfriend and a crazy hybrid who loves her in his strange way with incredible grace and admirably few tantrums.

5. Olivia Dunham, portrayed by Anna Torv

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Plenty of people have weird, freaky jobs, and then you get the people on Fringe. I admire Olivia for doing her job even when it makes absolutely no sense, keeping everyone in line, coping with all the crazy scientists and still managing to be a bit professional.

Do you have any favorite female leads? Let me know!