Dear Thursday TV,

Elena escaped the clutches of Elijah, but this is just the beginning.

This note is to thank you for an utterly satisfying evening.

First, you served up a fresh episode of The Vampire Diaries on The CW, complete with a brand new villain, Elijah (after all, Katherine needs to cool off in the tomb for at least an episode). Not just any villain, he’s a super sexy, seemingly invincible vampire with a seriously cruel streak. And you gave us a very bittersweet scene between Damon and Elena, a scene that we’ve been waiting for since these two met. Swoon. To top it off, you gave us a blossoming romance between Jeremy and Bonnie as well as a newfound bond between Caroline and Tyler.

Second, you gave us new episodes of 30 Rock and The Office. What can I say? If I had to pick my favorite character on TV, it would be Jack Donaghy. He needs DIHC, and he’ll take it any way he can get it.

Then, you served up one of the best episodes of Fringe to date. Olivia began what promises to be an arduous journey home, with Peter as her spirit guide. Nowhere is the expertise of the show’s writers more evident than in an episode like this – which seamlessly weaves together overarching mythology with a single-episode storyline. In this case, Olivia and the Fringe team investigate someone who broke out of the amber, only to find that twin brothers have pulled the classic switcheroo, thereby leading Olivia to consider the possibility that she has switched places with her doppelganger.

Lastly, you ended the night with a new episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I have yet to watch it, but I know it will be funny, so thank you in advance.

Sincerely,

Your ever-devoted, Thursday-night, couch-potato friend, Andrea

Mea culpa and fall TV

Fringe is back for another great season, along with a host of other shows.

It’s been a long time, and I have to apologize for my absence from Remotely Entertaining. With a full lineup of fall TV, a tidal wave of work and more than a few social calls, it’s been tough to find time to write in the last couple weeks. Kudos to my co-blogger, Mark, for keeping things fresh.

Wow! What a fall lineup we have. Here’s what I’m loving:

  • Fringe – Every season seems better than the last. Last week’s premiere delved into Olivia’s predicament on the other side, and set the stage for another very interesting season. In interviews, I’ve heard the show’s writers say that they intend to fully develop the alternate characters, rather than simply setting them up as ne’er do well dopplegangers. Next week, I’m hoping for a good monster of the week, as this show does mythology and one-off episodes equally good.
  • 30 Rock – You’re my pube shirt. Enough said.
  • Boardwalk Empire – We all knew this would be great, and guess what? It is. From the excellent cast (particularly Steve Buscemi) to the directing and writing to the costumes and sets, this show is nothing short of enthralling. It’s no surprise that after one episode, it was picked up for a second season.
  • Dexter – To be sure, it was a depressing first hour of Dexter on Sunday. With Rita gone, Dexter is definitely off his game. Deb is trying to pick up the pieces whilst sleeping with Quinn (who is quite nice, I might add), and the kids are a wreck. From week to week, I can never predict where this show is going, but I’m on the edge of my seat the entire time I’m watching.
  • Vampire Diaries – This show hit the ground running, and the twist of Caroline becoming a vampire is a great one. Also, I love that Damon continues to be a bad guy and I was genuinely shocked when he snapped Jeremy’s neck in episode one. The werewolf element is also promising, and the show has a unique mythology related to its supernatural elements.

Like I said, there’s lot to watch right now. I also have a few new and returning shows that I’m not loving as much, but I’ll save that commentary for another post.

Thanks, CW, for a bloody good time

Ian Somerhalder and Nina Dobrev do a great job with their respective characters, Damon and Elena. I’m guessing we will see a lot of these two young, talented actors in the future.

As you may know from previous posts, I am a die-hard Truebie. So at the end of season two, I was suffering some severe depression. Then came Vampire Diaries (CW, Thursdays at 8 p.m.), which immediately lured me in with the hope that I could somehow survive eight months without Sookie, Bill and Eric.

When Vampire Diaries was announced I thought it had potential, but I was a little worried that it might be Gossip Girl with fangs. I was even more worried when I picked up the books, which are really quite ridiculous. Trust me, as an avid reader of science fiction and horror, I can say with confidence that the show’s writers have done remarkable things with the weak material from the books by P.C. Cast.

As the first season progressed, it became clear that the show was much more than a teen romance drama that happens to involve vampires. It’s got some great young actors – Nina Dobrev (as Elena Gilbert) and Ian Somerhalder (as Damon Salvatore) really stand out, and the story has mystery and intrigue. And it’s not afraid to take risks. This season major characters like Vickie, Pearl, Anna and John Gilbert all bit the dust.  

Of course, last week was the season finale – and what a finale it was with the return of Katherine, Damon’s newfound conscience, Jeremy’s suicide, John Gilbert’s murder and the revelation that Tyler is more than a high school football player. As with all shows, you can’t really judge it until a few seasons in, but the final episode really has given fans a lot to think about and look forward to.

Throughout the course of the year, I tried a few new shows (Eastwick, Parenthood, Funny or Die and Happy Town) but none of these held my interest. Except Vampire Diaries. So if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and catch the first season online, on DVD, or on re-runs. I think you’ll be sucked in.

The Vampire Continuum

I just got around to watching this week’s episode of Vampire Diaries, so you’ll have to forgive my delayed reaction. It should suffice to say, though, that I could barely stand the wait until I had some free time to catch up with my DVR.  

First off, the obvious – Stefan is back on the sauce, and I have to say I kind of like him better when he is being bad. Sometimes his adherence to vampire vegetarianism is downright boring. And of the two Salvatore brothers, Damon is definitely sexier and more intriguing, largely because he embraces his nature.

I like to think of Vampire Diaries as being in the middle of the Vampire Continuum. On one side you have Twilight (a lot of innocent romance, and soft on the horror) and on the other side you have True Blood (very steamy romance, heavy on the supernatural horror). And right in the middle you have Vampire Diaries, which shifts to be closer toward one extreme or the other depending on the episode. I like all of these movies/shows, by the way, but my favorite is True Blood, so I relish the times when Stefan, Elena and Damon are more risqué. I’m also hoping that Damon is going to up the ante and bite Elena soon.

Then we have Elena’s uncle, John Gilbert, with another invincibility ring. This, like the Lost dynamite, screams TV trope. Clearly these rings just exist so that the vampires in the show can have worthy adversaries. Let’s just hope there aren’t too many more of them around, because it could get stupid.

Lastly, there is Jeremy, who read Elena’s diary and now knows everything. I figured this was going to happen eventually. That diary was like a celebrity sex tape – it was bound to get out and cause a stir.

For those who tuned in this week, what did you think? I’m hoping that we get to see some werewolf action soon out of Tyler and his father.

27 Vampires

Well, well, well – isn’t Jeremy quite the little fang-banger? I don’t know about you, but I would have pegged him to be more of the vampire slayer type, so I was more than a little surprised when he offered Anna a drink. If I had to guess, I would say Elena won’t be too happy to find out that he is in the market for a double-wide coffin.

In case you aren’t up to speed yet, I’m talking about last night’s episode of Vampire Diaries.

Moving on, the double date between Elena and Stefan and Caroline and Matt was awkward, to say the least. Even though I believe she loves Stefan, it’s pretty clear that Elena has a strong connection with Matt (who I find to be quite charming, for a human). Too bad for Caroline.

I’m still not sure what Pearl is planning with the 27 Vampires, but she is one tough vampire broad. No worries though, with or without eyes Damon is still a VILF. From the sneak peak we had of next week, it looks like Stefan is going to get captured and it’s pretty clear that P-A-I-N is in store.

No Bonnie again this week and Alaric was noticeably absent after his central role in last week’s episode. All in all, though, it was a good one. What did you guys think?