Top 10 moments from True Blood season 3, episode 5

Lindsay Pulsipher plays Crystal Norris, Jason’s sweet and mysterious new love.

It’s time for your weekly fangover top 10 list. Here goes.

  1. Jason and Crystal are the cutest thing since Sookie and Bill circa season 1. The scene in the woods was beautifully shot, romantic and mysterious all at once, and reminiscent of the first time Bill and Sookie exchanged blood (still one of my all-time favorite True Blood moments).
  2. Remember when Sookie blasted Maryann with her magic shock fingers in season 2? I knew that we would be seeing more of Sookie’s other ability this season, but it was surprising and thrilling to see her fend off Coot with a good jolt.
  3. Who doesn’t love a good True Blood flashback? This week, we learned several things about Eric – his father was a Viking king, his family was murdered by Russell (who is apparently older than dirt) and his werewolf minions, and he has always been a ladies’ man (duh).
  4. How do you occupy a gorgeous, somewhat dim, guy for eight hours? I could think of a few ways, but I suppose one sure-fire answer is with a large box of paper clips. Jason’s day job in law enforcement was hilarious.
  5. Franklin Mott becomes more manic by the episode. His blood-soaked, teary-eyed ramblings upon learning of Tara’s attempted escape really showed his obsessive personality.
  6. As I’ve said before, I’m firmly in the Team Eric camp. However, Bill has his charms. His reunion with Sookie was touching, although short lived as the bad guys busted in soon after.
  7. Jason had a lot of funny moments this week, and I had to laugh when he pulled Crystal over, frantically looked for something in the police car to make him seem legit, and settled on the aviator sunglasses. Did his shirtless approach remind anyone else of Reno 911?
  8. Franklin, a somewhat unlikely source of humor, had me rolling with his super-fast texting abilities, and his pronunciation of “hookah.”
  9. Keep the postmortems coming, HBO. These hilarious snippets help to flesh out the True Blood universe. This week’s postmortem was a mockumentary about archeologists uncovering the bones of Eric’s family. 
  10. When the maker is away, the baby vamp will play. The rivalry between fiery redheads Jessica and Arlene is awesome, and adds a new, fun dimension to Merlotte’s. It’s clear that Jessica is taking some liberties with her powers, and I’m wondering if she will meet a tragic end.

Top 10 moments from True Blood season 3 episode 4

And the award for most insensitive break-up in TV history goes to…Bill Compton in “9 Crimes.”

It’s been about a week since I last posted. Along with cookouts, fireworks and pool parties, the Independence Day holiday weekend brought a break from True Blood. I didn’t have much time to post, or watch TV for that matter.

Last night’s episode was a welcome return to Bon Temps, or Jackson, depending on which storyline you are most involved with right now. For me, I am on the edge of my seat when it comes to Sookie, Bill, Eric and Tara, but less interested in the sub-plot involving Jason wanting to be a police officer.

Before I start the list, let me say that I am not very happy about Sheriff Bud Dearborn retiring. I really hope this is not William Sanderson’s departure from the show. He’s a great actor, honorable Deadwood alumni, and a fun, minor character on the show who balances Andy Bellefleur’s nonsense shenanigans. I don’t want to see him leave.

That being said, everything else about last night’s episode was satisfying. Here’s my top 10.

  1. Eric’s fantasy about Sookie was steamy, but sweet. Initially, Eric’s interest in Sookie seemed to be selfishly motivated – my impression in the first season and early second season was that he wanted to use her telepathic abilities, and it didn’t hurt that she is smoking hot. But since the middle of season 2, when Sookie stayed with Godric as he met the sun, I think Eric has developed a deeper interest in her. His growing affection becomes clearer with each episode, first with the conversation at Fangtasia, then his late night visit on the eve of Sookie’s departure to Mississippi, and now with this dream.
  2. My second favorite moment of the night revealed even more of Eric’s emotional depth. When Pam was being tortured by the Magister, his concern was palpable. “There is nothing more painful than the loss of child,” is obviously true of vampires and their makers.
  3. How about that communion courtesy of the King of Mississippi? The scene couldn’t have been more tense, as the King bit his wrist and bled into those glasses and the werewolves responded by shifting en masse.
  4. Extreme Makeover: Sookie Edition was awesome. What’s not to love about Sookie with black hair, corset, leather pants and temporary tats? And Alcide’s sister was pretty cool too, so let’s hope she makes another appearance on the show.
  5. Breaking up is hard to do, unless you’re Bill Compton, and you have just finished some really bizarre sex with a psycho. Then you just call the love of your life and let her have it. I felt just awful for Sookie, and I have to give props to Anna Paquin for portraying the crushing reality of such a call from one’s first love.
  6. Ah, Debbie Pelt. Readers of Charlaine Harris’s series know all about you. Brit Morgan brought this character to life – in all her desperate, bitchy, trashy glory. Not since the Lorena vs. Sookie stand-off in season 2 have we seen a good old fashioned redneck woman cat-fight of this magnitude. The meeting between Sookie and Debbie at the bar is just the beginning.
  7. Merlotte’s new hostess is Jessica. Nice hiring, Sam.
  8. Franklin has turned out to be much more sadistic than I originally thought. The flowers, duct taped to Tara’s hands, were a nice touch to show just how weird this new vamp really is.
  9. Bam! Even if he was callous in his break-up with Sookie, Bill was amazing when he punched Lorena in the face.
  10. I couldn’t make a True Blood top 10 list without giving an honorable mention to at least one of the resident hotties on the show. This week’s prize goes to Alcide (played by Joe Manganiello), in all his beautiful, shirtless glory.

Did I mention I like lists? Most disturbing TV scenes by EW

Last week’s episode of True Blood was the inspiration for Entertainment Weekly’s list.

Entertainment Weekly published a list of the top 20 most disturbing scenes on TV. I haven’t seen a lot of the shows that made the list, but here’s what I thought of the ones I do know about.

First up is the scene from last week’s episode of True Blood, in which Bill and his maker, Lorena, have some really bizarre and violent sex that involves her head being twisted 180 degrees, as she chokes out “I still love you” whilst coughing up blood and smiling sickly. That was weird, and disturbing, and surprising. Definitely not for the kiddos. I think most True Blood fans would agree that Bill has usually been portrayed in a more gentlemanly fashion than, say, Eric. So this behavior was shocking coming from him, but also shocking behavior in general.

The next scene I recognized was from The X-Files episode “Home.” This scene, in which Mulder and Scully find the mother of a family of imbreds hiding under a bed, is a classic moment in a show with a lot of creepy, memorable scenes. I’m glad this made the list, as “Home” was truly a great hour in TV history, and is almost universally recognized as the best episode of The X-Files.

Also on the list is a scene from Dexter. The last season of this show brought us many jarring scenes, thanks to the expert portrayal of the Trinity Killer by John Lithgow. Entertainment Weekly points out the Thanksgiving scene, where Dexter snapped and nearly killed Trinity in front of his family, as the most disturbing. To be sure, this was memorable, but for me, the most disturbing scene of this season (aside from the shocking ending, which is the obvious choice) was the first time we saw Trinity kill in the bathtub. Who will ever forget those dead eyes, staring into the eyes of his victim, as the water turned crimson from her blood?

 I also took issue with the scene EW picked from Deadwood. If I had to pick a most disturbing scene from this HBO drama, I would not have picked this one. To me, the most disturbing scene came when Al Swearengen (expertly portrayed by Ian McShane) was taken ill with kidney stones. You could literally feel the agony as he tried to pass them, having stroke in the process. I think it’s safe to say there was a universal wince when he squeezed out a few, bloody, foamy drops of urine. I just winced again as I wrote that.

From the Twilight Zone, EW chose one of the most classic episodes, and one that is oft-quoted in jest in the Rogers Household. Have you ever wished your spouse into the cornfield? I have.

EW also picked the scene from Lost where the guy gets sucked into the plane during the pilot. However, to me this really wasn’t very disturbing. Truthfully, while there were many crazy twists and turns in Lost, I didn’t find any of them to be as disturbing as some of the other items on the EW list. It seems like they just wanted to include something from Lost.

A few things I thought should have made the list:

  • A scene from The Sopranos. There were a lot of disturbing moments in this show (which I have only watched two seasons of) that could have been mentioned.
  • Spike’s attempted rape of Buffy in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season six, episode 19, “Seeing Red.”
  • Any one of the cruel and unusual punishments doled out by Henry VIII on The Tudors. Probably the most disturbing for me was the execution of Katherine Howard.

Gone but not forgotten: The freaks, carnies and religious lunatics of Carnivále

The season one cast of Carnivále, a show canceled far too early.

My Netflix queue is pretty lengthy, so it often takes me a while to get around to watching an old show. Case in point, Carnivále. A good friend told me to check this out a few years ago; I queued it up then, and am just now receiving it.

I have to say, I’m surprised that it got canceled. I’ve watched almost the entire first season, and it is the kind of quality show that HBO is famous for delivering. Great actors, especially for horror fans who would recognize Adrienne Barbeau (The Fog, Creepshow, Swamp Thing, Escape from New York) and Bill Moseley (Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, House of 1,000 Corpses). The storyline is also really interesting; with plenty of carnival and freak show lore, as well as supernatural occurrences, set to the backdrop of The Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Religious and occult themes underscore the entire plot, leaving much up for interpretation.

Carnivále reminds me a lot of a book I read a while ago called “Geek Love.” If you haven’t read this book, or seen the show, both are worth checking out. I find freak shows of this era to be extremely fascinating.

I think this show was canceled at about the same time Deadwood bit the dust. I’m a huge Deadwood fan, and it’s just disappointing to see such great shows get canceled before their time. And although I know Carnivále will end abruptly, I am still going to be disappointed when I reach the end. It’s just that good. I would trade 10 shows like Sex and the City for just one show like Deadwood or Carnivále any day.

Wanted: First two episodes of Justified

Timothy Olyphant (of Deadwood hottie sheriff fame) plays the lead in Justified.

I’m always on the lookout for a good, new show to watch. Some of my favorites have been suggested by my co-blogger, Mark (he’s the one who pointed me in the direction of Fringe and Lost), and I also got a great suggestion from a couple of pals about It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.

This morning, I talked to my dad, who is also a great source of TV inspiration. We like a lot of the same things – Deadwood, The Office and 30 Rock, to name a few. He highly recommended Justified, which is in its first season on FX. I had heard buzz about this show, but was not really listening until my dad told me that Timothy Olyphant (of Deadwood hottie sheriff fame, not my dad’s words, but that’s how I know him) is the lead.

So now I’m really interested, but in a bit of a pickle. The first season is airing right now (Tuesdays at 10 p.m.), so it’s not on DVD yet. So I turned to the Web, but the FX site and Hulu don’t have the first two episodes. What’s a girl to do in this situation? I don’t want to start watching it mid-season and miss the important stuff from the initial episodes, but I don’t want to wait until it is on DVD either. Any suggestions?

Does anyone else watch Justified? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Ode to Netflix

While most of my posts up to this point have focused on what I watch on TV, I haven’t taken any time to wax poetic on how I watch TV. Mark and I have both praised the DVR, but for me Netflix trumps the DVR as the most innovative way to watch TV.

Specifically, I’m talking about the Netflix Instant Watch service, which comes with the mail plans. In case you aren’t familiar with it, Netflix Instant Watch allows you to stream movies and TV shows from the Internet to your TV. There are a variety of devices you can use – Roku box (that’s what we have), Nintendo Wii, X-box, and others. You can also stream on your computer.

The Instant Watch catalog is impressive – with tens of thousands of movie choices and past seasons of shows from nearly all the major networks. In fact, there have been numerous shows that I started watching on Netflix. Given my rave reviews of Lost, you would probably assume I’ve been watching from day one, but I actually watched the first five seasons from December 2009 to February 2010. Warning: this can become quite addictive and often results in a sleep-deprived, zombie-like state that your friends and family may assume is related to drug use. I also started watching The Office, Dexter, The Tudors and 30 Rock on Netflix.

Of course, for those shows not available on the Instant Watch, there is always the old-school, DVD-in-the-mail option. We have the three-movie-at-a-time plan, and have watched several great shows this way including Deadwood and The X-Files. Right now, I’m catching up with Big Love through the mail. Sometime I’ll talk about these shows.

What prompted this Ode to Netflix? Twas the night before last, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring except for my two cats. My husband in his boxers, and I in my PJs, had just settled down to watch nothing on TV. When I pulled up the Instant queue and realized The X-Files was added, I arose from my couch and shouted “Yippee!” I browsed to see what else was added, when what to my wondering eyes should appear – Bones, 24 and Arrested Development. I spoke not a word, just frantically clicked “Add.” And as the night waned, I watched 24 with bloodshot, tired eyes. As I dragged myself to bed at an all-too-late hour, I arose from the couch and said with a tired stammer, “Happy viewing to all and to all a good Netflix night!”