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Outlander Recap/Review: Beautiful

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I reviewed Starz’ Outlander for Sound on Sight – spoiler, I loved it.

Here’s the thing about the novel, at least the first one in Diana Gabaldon’s series (and I say this understanding the instant hatred I will earn): it’s tripe. The bare-bones plot of Gabaldon’s series is fantastic – a fiery 1950′s nurse who time-travels back to 18th century Scotland, is plunged into the conflict there, and falls in love with a Scottish warrior? You’ve got romance, time-travel, a fantasy element, war, and not one but two wildly disparate time periods to draw on. It’s literary gold.

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So I wrote this article for Sound on Sight on Jack/Audrey -

One of TV’s most beloved romances is that of Logan and Veronica (affectionately termed “LoVe” by fans) from Rob Thomas’ cult classic Veronica Mars. The romance and the series had enough power and pull to drive a wildly successful Kickstarter and a reasonably successful film. Coming back to 24 for24:LAD, it struck me for the first time that one of the most famous lines from the Veronica/Logan romance, while it doesn’t quite entirely fit that couple, does, seamlessly, describe Jack and Audrey.

“I thought our love was epic, you know? Spanning years, continents, lives lost, blood shed – epic.”

The scene is highly romantic, but the actual content of this famous line is not reflective of the couple’s relationship. Their romance does not include lives lost and blood shed, and while it does span years by the time the film comes around, the epic hyperbole of this statement is simply not reflective of the kind of stakes at play in the series.

Yet it’s a perfect description of the romance that Jack and Audrey live out and the kind of obstacles they overcome. Their romance literally spans continents – when Jack is captured by the Chinese Audrey travels to China to look for him, is captured, Jack returns to the U.S., and the two reunite a year later when Audrey is also brought back from Chin (and when the two reunite in Live Another Day, it’s in London).  Their relationship also endures for five years, through lives lost and blood shed: Jack kills (or lets die) Audrey’s husband; Audrey is badly wounded during events Jack is caught up in, and later tortured by the Chinese for Jack’s sake.  By the time the two reunite in London, their relationship has endured years of absence, violence, loss, and each thinking the other was dead. They’ve spent the majority of their relationship apart, have pulled through both thinking the other was dead, Audrey’s severe PTSD after her torture, and the past years of Jack being missing under the radar and Audrey married. Yet nothing has changed about their relationship – when they reunite for a few brief moments that connection still rings true, steady and certain as it always has for them. By the time Live Another Day comes along, you really do believe that nothing on earth can separate or overcome this couple.

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Peter and Wendy Webseries

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So this is one of my favorite series right now, it's funny and charming and romantic, and I got to do this interview, so please read and watch the series :)

The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy is a webseries created by Kyle Walters (most recently known for his role in Welcome to Sanditon) and Shawn DeLoache. Loosely based on J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan, it’s set in a fictional Neverland, Ohio in which Peter is a comics writer, Wendy an advice columnist, and Wendy’s brothers John and Michael a neurotic editor and ne’er-do-well slacker, respectively. New episodes air twice weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays on Epic Robot TV.

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I'm back! Briefly, at least

I jumped back into drama-watching this summer. Mostly Taiwanese dramas as they seem to me quintessentially summer somehow.

-Inborn Pair - I WATCHED AN 84-EPISODE DRAMA. All because of how amazing the central pair was and how incredibly fast-paced and strong the writing was. To be sure, I fastforwarded through most of the second half watching only the OTP scenes. But omg it was really, really high quality. Similar to Ojakkgyo Brothers in that in large part it was a family drama but with an exceptionally strong central couple.
-Just You (Aaron Yang, Puff). Cute but boring. No plot whatsoever.
-Fall in Love with Me (Aaron Yan). Really great for the first half but has devolved in the second half and made a switch into over-the-top. Still airing.
-Substitute Princess/Princess' Stand-In. Chris Wu and some lead actress I"m not familiar with but don't love. This has SUCH a great plot as far as potential - when a CEO's high-bred beautiful fiance is seriously injured mountain-climbing, he hires a substitute look-alike to take her place. One assumes hijinks follow, but I'm 5 episodes in and this is deadly boring so far, they could have fit all the plot events into 1.5 episodes with ease. Anyone know if it picks up speed later on? 

Olympics

Ahh. Where can I watch the Olympics online for free in the U.S.? I don't have a TV and apparently we have to pay NBC to stream it. 

Link Love

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This almost brought tears to my eyes. Philip Graham at The Millions on reading with his son – “Maybe those days of curling up in bed with a story were long gone, but what if we read the same book together silently, side by side, in the living room? If I bought two copies of a novel, we could take on chapter-length chunks each evening and then discuss what we’d just read. Perhaps in this way I could gently lead my son to an appreciation of the deeper internal landscapes that literature offers…The pace of the plot kept us constantly engaged” RT

Illuminating post on the clothes behind the fall's best comedy. "Mindy's personal style is a lot more edgy, and Mindy on the show is more of a urban hipster. So there are outfits that Mindy Lahiri wears on the show that Mindy Kaling wouldn't, but I've definitely seen Mindy changing it up -- she'll find out where I bought something and get one for herself and add it to her wardrobe. I think that Mindy's personal style has grown with access to the clothes she has on the show. Much like Sarah Jessica Parker, she was never the fashion plate before "Sex and the City" that she is now." RT

You go girl. Finally someone speaks the truth. Fit mom Maria Kang on the firestorm of criticism about her photo - ”What I WILL say is this. What you interpret is not MY fault. It’s Yours. The first step in owning your life, your body and your destiny is to OWN the thoughts that come out of your own head. I didn’t create them. You created them. So if you want to continue ‘hating’ this image, get used to hating many other things for the rest of your life. You can either blame, complain or obtain a new level of thought by challenging the negative words that come out of your own brain.” RT

Benedict Cumberbatch, who wins ALL THE THINGS, does an amazing Chewbacca Impression. My favorite, though? Harrison Ford’s face. RT

According to Lifehacker, standing for 3 hours a day works miracles – the equivalent of running 10 marathons a year RT

Link Love

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Flavorwire on why Toni Morrison is the most important living writer – “A handful of us care enough to groan whenever Jonathan Franzen says something about social media, but when Toni Morrison says something about a president, it’s monumental.” RT

Bong Joon Ho is furious about the Weinstein Company’s cuts to Snowpiercer. Guess which person my sympathies are with – the brilliant and revered foreign director or the grab-all money-grubbing film production company? RT

Joanna Robinson is right as always. This time about Agents of Shield. “But the show should not, cannot rest on the shoulders of Skye and Ward. They are two of the blandest leads of all time. They are shiny-haired porridge. Heck, I don’t even mind if Skye’s weekly job is to dress cute and flirt her way through an op. But in order for that kind of premise to be remotely interesting, you need to have charisma. You need to be Sarah Walker or Sydney Bristow. Sydney Bristow she ain’t. And don’t even get me started on that swirling vortex of anti-charisma that is Agent Ward.” RT

Peter Davison, the 5th Doctor Who, says Steven Moffat is coming up with a way to get around the rule that states the Time Lord can only regenerate 12 times. Of course he is. RT

Andrew Davies said that he had meant for Firth to be naked in the hallowed Pride and Prejudice lake scene. “He added he had intended the scene to be one of “social embarrassment”, showing awkwardness between Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet.

“In fact it seems to have affected women in wife a different way,” he said. “And who am I to complain?” Indeed. RT

Drama?

So I finally got sucked back into dramas with my love Gong Hyo Jin's My Master's Sun. I'm all caught up however and looking for soemthing else to supplement, preferably a Korean or Taiwanese romcom. So catch me up, loves - what have I missed that was good in the past er, two years? 

Quotidian

“Oh, it’s delightful to have ambitions. I’m so glad I have such a lot. And there never seems to be any end to them– that’s the best of it. Just as soon as you attain to one ambition you see another one glittering higher up still. It does make life so interesting.” ~L.M. Montgomery




Hair Products for Very Dry, Thick Hair

I have very dry, very thick hair, and have cycled through what seems like an endless array of shampoos/conditioners in the last few years looking for what works. If you struggle with dry hair, check out the below reviews/comments for what has worked and not worked for me.

Brands I do not recommend:

-John Frieda. I’ve tried three or four different John Frieda products over several years, and all of them had absolutely zero effect on my hair. Love the packaging, hate the money I spent on nothing.
-Paul Mitchell. See above.
-Pantene – I’ve heard from several different hairdressers that Pantene is bad for your hair, and when you hear something enough times, you start to believe it. Also it does not help my hair so was not hard to give up.

Brands Under the Microscope:
Garnier Fructis  – I haven’t had much luck with GF products thus far, but want to give it one or two more shots before giving up entirely

Bumble & Bumble
Neutrogena, Vidal Sassoon, Redken, Aussie Hair Care, Tresemme

Waste of Money, Baby:
Elastine Silk Repair Conditioner – a Korean brand that sells well both in Korea and throughout Asia, this was nicely packaged and claims to fight “hair breakage and dividedness, discoloration, tangle, glossless, crisp, and static hair.” It did not deliver on a single one of those promises and I would not buy again (though at $3, it wasn’t a large investment).
Neutrogena Triple Moisture Recovery Hair Mask
Somang Keratin Silk Protein Hair Spray

Like:

Nexxus Therappe luxurious moisturizing shampoo
Tresemme Moisture Rich Conditioner
Pssst! Dry Hair Shampoo

Love:

Aloxxi
Aveda Dry Hair Remedy
Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Conditioner

From Film School Rejects, two new shows that have me excited (seriously, a Broadway show starring someone who can actually sing?! This is what I wish Glee was every time I condescend to watch it. And the second one – Kristen Bell. I say no more).


Smash, NBC



The Pitch: While this Broadway drama sounds a little cheesy out of the gate, the buzz surrounding it is pretty difficult to ignore.


Why it’s worth checking out: Listen, even the hippest of girls out there (sorry, guys) can admit to liking Center Stage at one point or another, and this isn’t far from it. American Idol alum Katharine McPhee makes her TV debut, and the cast also includes Uma Thurman, which is beyond random. Plus, NBC clearly has enough faith in the show to premiere it near the Super Bowl, so it has potential to hit it big.


House of Lies, Showtime



The Pitch: Don Cheadle and Kristen Bell lead a group of con artists hell-bent on targeting corporate fat cats.


Why it’s worth checking out: It’s a comedy! With Don Cheadle! Plus, television has been depressingly Kristen Bell-less since the cancellations of both Veronica Mars and Party Down. Double-plus, any show that adds Parks and Recreation standout Jean-Ralphio to its cast is A-okay with me.




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This is a good overview of the show’s first season and introduction to what the show is about, but what had me screaming “YES!!” at my computer screen was one of the only three upcoming scenes featured in the promo – the one featuring Zoe and Wade.




The Vampire Diaries?

So for the first however-many seasons of this show I stayed far far away because it triggered all of my warning bells for things I hate - melodramatic vampire plots, actors who can't act, and tiresomly cyclical love triangles (also none of the guys looked hot. Yes am shallow). However, recently I've run out of romantic TV shows - I watch and love the more episodic ones, Castle, White Collar, Covert Affairs etc - but sometimes I'm just in the mood for a TV show that is mostly about romance/a teen show, and there's none to be had -I'm even all caught up on Pretty Little Liars, and let's face it, that show is much more about the mystery than the romance anyway. Also quite a few people do seem to love this show, though more on Tumblr than LJ.

Regardless, what do you think, o wise flist? For a quick summary of my taste as far as melodrama and cheese go: I enjoy/have enjoyed One Tree Hill, Dawson's Creek, Moonlight and Pretty Little Liars, BUT Gossip Girl and True Blood were too much for me.

This poll is closed.

Should I watch the Vampire Diaries? (Check all that apply)

Yes. It has it's flaws but is no cheesier/melodramatic than other shows you've liked and the romance is awesome
4(40.0%)
Probably not
1(10.0%)
NO. It is cheesy as hell and has horrible sexist representations of women
2(20.0%)
I haven't seen it and don't plan to check it out
0(0.0%)
Ticky box!
3(30.0%)

Western Television

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