Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Vampire Diaries: 8 Years and All the Feels

Back in 2010, an old co-worker told me I should check out The Vampire Diaries, which premiered the previous September on The CW. I wasn't too sure about getting into a new vampire show that wasn't from Joss Whedon/Mutant Enemy, but not being one to pass up a program recommendation, I gave it a shot - beginning with the season finale, in which Katherine Pierce returned to Mystic Falls, posing as Elena, catching everyone by surprise. I didn't think much of it at the time (as everything was new to me), but I soon got to love the doppleganger aspect of Elena being a decedent of Katherine in season 2. The cast became one of my favorites alongside Gossip Girl and I'd eventually get caught up on season 1.

One of the best things about the show were the always great storylines. Season 2 introduced Klaus and the original family of vampires, which lasted until season 4 when a special episode aired (leading to The Originals spinoff). Season 4 also introduced the immortal being Silas, which came to a head with one of the best season finale shockers they ever did (Stefan was Silas doppleganger). Stefan's journey was one of the best. I liked how the show started with him returning to Mystic Falls because he had to meet the Katherine doppleganger (after what would later be revealed to be an entire love affair Katherine had with both him and his brother, Damon, when Katherine arrived in the town in 1864). Most of the series he was good but seasons 2 and 8 partially focused on him being evil while his humanity was off, one of the most thrilling parts of the show.

Damon meanwhile wasn't so much evil as he was the bad boy. I grew attached to what would develop between him and Elena, as they'd grow close while Stefan was evil in season 2, and "Delena" would become one of the few couples I'd ship. Him and Bonnie being stuck in a prison world loop of May 10, 1994 was one of the fun plotlines of season 6. Nina Dobrev then left after the season, so Elena was put under a sleeping curse to write her out, thanks to Kai, one of the most evil characters TVD had. The show would get darker but didn't slow down without its leading lady, as we'd get to explore more of Stefan and Damon, and the relationship with their mother. Caroline would gradually develop feelings and a relationship with Stefan, which was nice to see progress.

TVD always found creative ways to bring characters back from the dead or return as ghosts/spirits/illusions. Alaric in particular was killed off and brought back a couple times throughout the shows run. Season 7 ended with Damon and Enzo falling under the sirens spell, forcing them to become evil. Season 8, the last one, had both Brothers evil for the first time in show history, which was awesome (after Stefan was forced to turn his humanity off). Stefan became human when he was stabbed with Elena's blood (which had the cure) in a desperate attempt to stop him after he killed Enzo (who at that point was good again).

The sirens and Cade, the ruler of hell, was a great final storyarc and gave the chance for past characters who had been trapped in hell to come out for a final appearance. It wasn't quite the way I thought they'd do it, but Elena woke up in the series finale and Katherine returned, who it turned out had been the real ruler of hell since she was sent there in season 5. In one of the series most surprising moments, Stefan sacrificed himself to make sure that the hellfire that was going to destroy Mystic Falls (but was ultimately stopped by Bonnie's magic) incinerated Katherine - and himself in the process - making up for all the evil things he had done. Looking back now, it was fitting as it was his story all along, if you go back to the pilot episode. Prior to his sacrifice, Stefan stabbed Damon with his blood (giving him the cure) so he could live a happy human life with Elena (!!!!) We then see Elena - writing in her journal from the afterlife - talking about finding peace. She reunites with her family in heaven, while Damon reunites with Stefan. The end.

I often imagined the series ending with Damon and Elena getting back together and maybe we'd see a flashback. This is more than I ever could've imagined and was a lot to process. To get nearly the ENTIRE supporting cast back for cameos was incredible and going as deep as they did - a look at what the other main cast (Caroline, Alaric, Bonnie, Matt) are up to in the future, and ending with Elena and the Brothers in heaven. One of the most satisfying finales I've EVER seen and the greatest to ever air on The CW. The only thing I sort of missed was an appearance from Klaus but he was mentioned in the flashforward with Caroline, something for sure to be followed up on next season on The Originals. So while this universe will continue at least another year (and will definitely go better than Buffy/Angel on rival networks), for now I say farewell to this wonderful show that'll be in our hearts forever. 💕



Sunday, April 30, 2017

⚡ Morphinominal Movie Recap! ⚡

The Power Rangers Movie premiere was easily one of the most exciting times I've seen in franchise history, kind of a similar feeling right before Power Morphicon. I was always pretty confident we were in for something good. It had to be better than MMPR:TM's bad CGI and maybe T:APRM, which was more of a long episode to launch the Turbo season (while completely dropping what happened to the Zeo powers). Neither movie I ever saw at a theater, but the MMPR:TM soundtrack is still one of the first CDs of my collection.

Team Ranger Bar got together for the Thursday night (March 23rd) showing. I couldn't have asked for a better opening, starting out with Zordon as Red Ranger and Rita as Green Ranger, mentioning the Zeo Crystal for the first time in a flashback to Prehistoric Earth, as Zordon desperately buried the Power Coins in the midst of a war. The focus on the five Rangers kind of varied. I liked Jason the best, followed by Billy, Kimberley, Trini and Zack, who - as has been talked about - didn't get as much focus as he should've. Rita's introduction was good and I really liked how Zordon was written - wanting to be free from the command center ship imprisonment but ultimately choosing not to so Billy could come back to life. Making it very tough for the team to get in sync enough to able to morph for the first time was well done and deeper than I would've guessed. One of my favorite moments was when they finally morphed - probably the most beautiful scene of the entire movie - from the way it was shot to the Stranger Things-like music. I liked how far underground the ship was as well.

The zord action against Goldar was pretty awesome and more believable with the Rangers visors down. I thought we'd get more of an orchestrated theme, than what little they used of the '95 movie theme. Also, I was waiting for Zordon to instruct the team to form the Megazord - certainly wasn't expecting they'd nearly die before gaining the ability to do it on their own. As for other fun nods, Rita calling out to make her monster grow was cute and using past PR cities as street names totally fit. Foreshadowing new student Tommy was a nice way to end the movie. I still can't believe JDF had gotten his cameo all along and they managed to get AJJ. Hopefully their other cameo that was cut from the film (which had JDF wearing green and a long haired wig) will make it onto the DVD/Blu-Ray.

Further adding to the festivities, Ranger Bar had its 6th annual Fancy Dinner Dress Party Friday night and we picked up the Krispy Kreme movie donuts. I usually struggle to sit through 2+ hour movies, but this was the most attentive I had been in my life as I never wanted to look away from the screen. A great reimagining of the franchise, this is definitely something special and I look forward to hopefully more big screen PR in the future. 5/5 🙂

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Lexcon 2017: Unleashing the Power

THURSDAY, MARCH 9
I got in at Lexington, KY about 5:30 from Chicago, settled in my room, and then hungout in the hotel lobby bar with a few others from Mutant Chat. The group, which was a lot smaller this year, eventually came together and we got dinner a couple blocks away at Cheapside.

FRIDAY
Without any roommates this time, I enjoyed sleeping in until after 10:30 and soon headed over to get my convention badge, while stopping to check out the giant Ghostbusters Marshmallow Man. After returning to my room for snacks at 2:00, I headed out onto the main floor (which opened to VIPs at 1:00 and everyone else at 4:00). This was a MUCH different day than last year (when I had no Friday access), as I started to take in everything on display for sale, and a look at where the various Power Rangers cast were located, before the crowds would really hit on Saturday.

On the lookout for Nintendo stuff, I picked up a Star Power Mario figure, but that would be the only thing I'd get for myself after noticing a large display had figures pricier than what you can get them for online (I wasted little time buying a Bone Piranha Plant figure on my phone before I got home). Later, I met Milo Cawthorne (Ziggy, RPM Green Ranger) and Emma Lahana (Kira, DinoThunder Yellow Ranger), for the second time following her last convention appearance at the original Power Morphicon - by far who I was there to see the most. Of course I mentioned I'm still doing Emma Lahana Online and how I'm hopeful for a DinoThunder reunion someday, though she doesn't think getting James Napier (Red Ranger) will happen. Besides another break back in my room, I was mostly on the main and upper level floors until they closed at 9:00. Then the group got together in the hotel lower lever bar, but I was more concerned about dinner, finally walking a couple blocks to McDonalds at 11:30 and calling it a night.           

SATURDAY
Up at 9:00 and sat in on a Q&A with Catherine Sutherland (Cat, Mighty Morphin-Zeo-Turbo) and Nakia Burrise (Tanya, Zeo-Turbo) at 11:00. At 1:00 I got my photo op with Emma and then went back to my room for snacks. At 3:00 was the Power Rangers RPM Panel and soon afterwards, I met Dan Ewing (Black Ranger). At 7:00 was a wild hour and a half adults-only Power Rangers After Dark Panel and then the group again pretty much hungout in the lower level bar. At 1:00 we kind of broke off and I got something to eat before heading up for the night.



SUNDAY
Up after 9:00, caught the Power Rangers DinoThunder Panel at 11:00 and then grabbed lunch. I killed time on the floor for the last time before Paul Schrier and Jason Narvy's (Bulk and Skull) Panel at 3:00 and the Comic-Con wrapped up at 4:00. I mostly hungout in the lobby awhile wondering what the evening plan was. Everyone ended up doing their own thing and I soon went back to my room for the rest of the night, except for another run out to McDonalds at 8:45.

MONDAY
Those who were driving (Jason/Alison, Jeremy and Miz), gradually took off, leaving myself, Kyle, Alek and Grace who were flying home (all ended up with delayed flights, while the big snowstorm wiped out my originally scheduled flight back to Chicago at 12:00 and became a 4:20 flight to Dallas). We walked around Lexington awhile and stopped in a coffee shop before heading to the airport. I got home about midnight. Next time I'll probably just go with the later flight, especially since I do like being part of the last few on Monday and don't see these guys very often. Plus seeing the warmer far south for the first time worked out quite well, further adding to how much of the US I've been through.

--
I was on my own a lot more this time and their wasn't much as far as Mutant Chat group activities but I wouldn't have missed it for the world. I'm kind of used to doing my own thing on the convention floor anyway with Power Morphicon and seeing Emma again about 10 years later? I couldn't have planned it any better. Also, while the number of Power Rangers cast wasn't much different, the increased amount of panels was pretty cool. Thanks to the team - Kyle, Jason, Alison, Jeremy, Alek, Grace, Miz and Chance for a fun weekend. 🙂 Gallery

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Emma Lahana appearing at Lexington Comic-Con!












#LCTC2017 Ranger Guest Announcement - Emma Lahana will be joining us in Lexington this year!

Emma Lahana is a New Zealand actress and singer. She is best known for her role as Jennifer Mason on Haven, and as Kira Ford, one of the Yellow Rangers of the Power Rangers franchise, in Power Rangers DinoThunder.

Emma played Erin Kingston, a supporting role on New Zealand TV drama Shortland Street and also appeared on Street Legal. She also portrayed the role of Fiona in Disney's You Wish!. In summer 2003, Lahana landed the role of Kira Ford, the Yellow Power Ranger on Power Rangers DinoThunder. She plays an attractive, tomboyish musician who becomes a courageous Power Ranger. She recorded the songs "Patiently", "Freak You Out", "I'm Over You" and "True Love (Ft. Morgan Fairhead)" for the Power Rangers DinoThunder season.

Lahana appeared in an episode of the fourth season of Stargate Atlantis, "Outcast" and as the waitress abducted by a serial killer on the third season episode of Psych. She also played a recurring character on the TV series Hellcats, starring former Phil of the Future star Alyson Michalka and The Suite Life of Zack & Cody's Ashley Tisdale and in 2012, she appeared in the TV movie "Big Time Movie". Most recently she played Jennifer Mason from TVs Haven.

Come meet Emma at the Lexington Comic & Toy Convention this March 10-12th at the Lexington Convention Center. More info at 
www.lexingtoncomiccon.com

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Emma Lahana Online: www.shyranger.com/emma.html

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Dino Super Sendoff

Dino Super Charge returned from summer hiatus with one of the worst non-clip show episodes featuring Shelby and her bestie Erin (who thankfully was never seen again). Things bounced right back with a nice Riley episode in which we got Titano Zord, the entire team working together, and the first message from Silver Ranger. Kaylee then found out Chase's identity in kind of a silly episode. I've never been of big fan of old black and white movies but I liked how Beauticruel was basically Mae West. And despite how ridiculous Leisure was (or that Heckyl just happen to have Loafer on the ship at the same times), "CATCHING SOME RAYS" was still better than "HOME RUN KODA").

It was becoming clear a shift in the show was happening as we'd get rather weak or ridiculous story plots that didn't quite mesh with the other half of the episode - like the N-Zed Boys auditions and exploding Pavlova. The action was solid at least and I liked how Shelby and Tyler finally got together. I loved how Lord Arcanon, Doomwing & Singe teamed up and used the Megazords. The battle between Zenowing and Doomwing was great too. I just wish some of this didn't have to be tied up so quickly like how fast Kendall was able to make the splitters. And Zenowing's debut as Silver was right up there with Ivan for some of the best 6th Ranger-ish episodes since the Disney years.

To me, it was feeling like we were in a solid final stretch for Dino Charge. Sledge coming back was expected but I wish they hadn't quickly killed off Arcanon and Singe in the process. Having to fight the Greenzilla's around the world using all the Megazords was cool, but then those same eggs that hatched become anchors to pull the Earth to the sun? Uh, hold on. I'd hardly call it a Chip finale as it was easily one of the worst under his name, up there with "LEGENDARY BATTLE" for poor finale choices. Almost every season has good closure so even one not very good at least is usually wrapped up pretty well. But having the Rangers go back 65 million years and unextinct the dinos I can't agree with. It could've gone a different way (and probably been a lot better) if the Rangers had simply gone back a short time before Sledge activated the anchors or if the black hole had never formed to begin with. The finale did start out pretty good. The civilian part was excellent with using the quick cameos. Killing off Sledge and the entire ship by sending it into the sun was pretty cool - just wish it had happened in the PRESENT. Plus while I liked that they did an epilogue with "HERE COMES HEXIMAS," it was another ridiculous plot - having Heximas escape death-by-sun and work on his plan all these millions of years.

I like to think PR is one continuity (besides RPM being another dimension) but now I guess Dino Charge is as well. Overall, I'd rank it 9th out of 20. A lot of the classic days were better and several seasons have been worse. The first half felt more classic Chip (especially the signature original premiere), while the second half had much more involvement from the other writers and it showed. If this is the case with Ninja Steel I just hope the plots work better and we're not dealing with the same jokes - or the movie might become more exciting than the show pretty fast.

Grades: "BESTIES 4EVA" 3/5, "GONE FISHIN'" through "SILVER SECRET" 4/5, "WINGS OF DANGER" and "FREAKY FIGHTDAY" 5/5, "WORGWORLD" 4/5, "THE RANGERS ROCK" 5/5, "EDGE OF EXTINCTION" 4/5 and "END OF EXTINCTION" 3/5. For more, check out shyranger.com/PR.html.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

The Switch to 2017

Looking back, this was the first time in several years I had no clear favorite song for most of year, coming after the Taylor Swift bonanza of 2015. I'd sorta count The Weeknd's "Starboy" but it wasn't released til September. Fifth Harmony get an honorable mention for "Work From Home" and "That's My Girl" but I'm also biased. I've never really been a big fan of girl groups besides TLC back in the day, but I gotta say I really got to like them last year as they continue to put out good tracks and of course always look good performing. >_> For me, 2016 was more about enjoying more of a variety of current tracks and throwbacks, between the return of video blocks (on the new MTV Classic) and an overhaul on a bunch of Seattle radio stations.

2017 is looking like an exciting jam-packed year, as I'll be going to Lexington Comic-Con again in March, which'll be followed by the Nintendo Switch launch and the Power Rangers Movie, all things I'm excited for. 🙂 Pretty Little Liars will have a big finale night in June (after going on longer than it should have) and then'll come Week of Ranger Bar 3. Also, I'm looking forward to the return of Stranger Things and the new DuckTales, and I plan on changing TV/internet providers in the summer - which means I'll have a big project in getting the DVR cleared.