Shadowhunters: Raising Hell Review

There’s a reason this review is a bit late! And that’s because I wasn’t sure I was going to write a review at all. But, I decided I would just go for it and put my thoughts to paper… er, blog.

First and foremost, my prayers have been answered. Last week, my biggest criticism for the show was that it sometimes took itself too seriously. And then Harry Shum Jr swept in and saved the day. He is perfection as Magnus Bane. Just, seriously, he’s Magnus Bane through and through and I’m so pleased. He provided much-needed comic relief, and the other actors fed off of him and made me laugh out loud this week. Every time Magnus flirted with Alec and Jace looked on with confusion… they just played that perfectly and it was hilarious.

On a more serious note, I loved seeing Alec forced to confront his inner demons (hehe… see what I did there?). If you’ve seen the preview on Freeform’s YouTube page for next week, you’ll see that Jace brushes off being Alec’s most-loved as them being parabatai and brothers. And, of course, Alec will be relieved that Jace is letting it go, but the biggest issue is that Alec was forced to physically look at who he really is- no more lying or hiding it from himself. And that terrified him. I think this is the first crack in his perfectly constructed life and we’re going to start seeing some changes in him (with some help from Magnus). I’m also eager to see how Jace reacts when he can’t brush off the truth anymore, either.

Meanwhile… with Simon… what the hell is going on?! I need more info and storyline ASAP.

I feel like we’re really getting into the action now and the pacing is picking up. The show is picking up speed and getting more and more exciting every week! I also love that they’re changing things up from the book, which means that I don’t truly know what’s going to happen (or if or when)- it keeps things exciting and interesting. I’m extremely eager for the next episode and to see what happens next!

 

Shadowhunters: Dead Man’s Party Review

I’m going to start off by saying that, in my defense, I really like Shadowhunters. I like the books, I like the cast, and I like the show. I’m super invested in all aspects of the Shadowhunters world, and I’m excited to see what changes the show continues to make and to see the characters continue to grow and develop their relationships.

That being said, this show has its flaws, and I would be remiss not to mention them in my review.

One issue I have with Shadowhunters is that the show takes itself too seriously. There are some seriously sassy lines written into the show, and the delivery is sometimes off. Instead of delivering the sassy lines in a comical way, the actors choose to deliver them seriously and straight-forward. The books have their funny moments, and the show could have that too. I feel like they’re missing some serious opportunities to have some comic relief. And a lot of that comes down to the writing, too. I’d say it’s 75% writing, 25% actor’s delivery (which could honestly be blamed on the director, too. Who knows). Sometimes, the balance and pacing just doesn’t feel quite right when I’m watching the show.

I’m not crazy about the graphics when a Downworlder/demon dies, either- I’m not really buying the red sparks. I was also super disappointed with the vampires; they are supposed to have needle-like teeth, which would have set them apart from other YA vampires in different universes. But, instead, the make-up team went with classic vampire fangs… boring. BUT- I will say that the graphics for the demons themselves are spectacular.

I was super eager for the Hotel DuMort scene; as it’s pretty crazy and intense in the books. However, the show cut down the actual rescue/fight to about 3 minutes, and it was resolved a little too neatly. There was hardly any fight, there were no werewolves and, in the end, Simon was just handed over. The best part of the whole rescue was Alec and Izzy acting as the distraction and having sibling banter. Basically, I like that the writers are creating an alliance between the Shadowhunters and the vampires, but they took what was a pretty intense and exciting scene in the books and made it practically a non-issue in the show (although, maybe that will change with Simon possibly becoming a vampire!!!!).

On a positive note, the actors have GREAT chemistry with one another, which is why I keep coming back. The scene where Jace taught Clary how to use the seraph blade was super intense and was just sparking with heat and chemistry. And of course I’m eager to see some Alec and Magnus interactions too (which I hear we’re finally getting next week).

Highlight of Shadowhunters so far? Clary (Katherine McNamara) and Magnus (Harry Shum Jr). Hands down. Also, Dominic Sherwood IS Jace. No contest. I love Alec (he’s my favorite character after Magnus in both the books and the show), but I feel like Matthew Daddario could deliver his lines with a bit more sass and humor. I have high hopes for him, though, and think he’ll do well throughout the show, and I can’t wait to see his more romantic scenes, which I think he’ll kill.

Overall, I’ll give this show 3 stars out of 5. There is room for improvement, but it’s gotten off to a pretty good start. I’m eager to see more.

Colin Morgan Appreciation

I can’t believe I haven’t written this post before now. Now, I know the internet can be a scary place when talking about actors, so let me first reassure you readers that I’m not writing this from the approach of a crazed fan-girl, and this post is not about Colin’s good looks. So if you were worried that that’s where this was going, just stay put for a moment longer. Because this post is all about an incredible actor who makes some seriously great career choices and deserves recognition.

A lot of people have never heard the name Colin Morgan, or maybe they’ll recognize him once you put a face to the name, but most people don’t really know who he is… and I believe that’s completely intentional. One of the things that I seriously admire about Colin is that he is very much a private person. He is spectacularly talented and has had many, many incredible roles, both in film and TV, and has worked alongside some really big names (Jamie Dornan, Gillian Anderson, Kit Harrington…), but he still manages to stay out of the limelight. He keeps to himself and basically dismisses the notion of celebrity and fame. Is he dating? Who knows? What’s his favorite movie? Who knows? What did he have for dinner last night? Well he doesn’t have social media, so again, who knows? It is seriously admirable and impressive how he has managed to keep his professional and personal life completely separate from the public eye in a business that is all about “celebrity.” And Colin is so massively talented, having won a NTA and getting more and more leading roles every day, so it would be so easy for his name and image to be out there in the public limelight all the time. But it’s just not. And it’s not hurting his career or fan-base in the least and I find that so admirable.

There are a few more aspects of Colin that make him so admirable and cause me to appreciate him. The first of which is obviously his incredible acting. I haven’t seen acting such as his in a long while. It’s in his body, his eyes, his voice, his accent, his pitch, his intonation, his research and dedication to learning the characters and relating to their struggles and lives. From what I’ve seen and heard, he goes above and beyond and puts his all into each and every character he’s ever played. It’s fascinating to watch him go from role to role, all completely different, and pull it off flawlessly. When I watch Colin on my TV, he’s not Colin Morgan. I often forget that I’m watching Colin, to be honest (and that is further helped along by his anonymity in the public social sphere online). He is always 110% the character he’s portraying on the screen.

Another aspect of Colin that I appreciate is his consistently entertaining, incredible projects. I don’t know if he has his pick of films, radio, theatre, television, etc, or if his agent scores these parts for him, or if he just manages to get lucky every single time he auditions and is offered a role. But he always manages to end up on a project that is inherently fascinating. He has said in many interviews that he is drawn to great scripts that really resonate with him and characters that really speak to him and inspire him in some way, shape, or form, and that he reads a script first as an audience member, second as an actor. And it’s just great to follow the career of such an incredible actor and be excited about their newest projects because you just know that, if their history is anything to go by, it will be a great script/story. I love watching Colin perform, but it’s an added perk that the projects he’s performing in are actually entertaining and really well done/written, so that I never have to sit through a boring movie just to watch his performance. I can always recommend his latest projects to my friends before they’re even released, and my friends will come back to me after they’ve watched it and say “how did you know it was going to be that good?!” The answer is always simple- “Colin picked it, didn’t he?”

So let’s go through and talk about some of those amazing projects he’s been involved with and how spectacular they all are.


Doctor Who
dr who
This is where it all began! For me, at least. I believe this was one of Colin’s first major tv roles (his part was relatively small, supporting role to the Doctor, but it’s a huge TV show, so it was kind of a big deal). This was the first time I saw Colin Morgan, although I didn’t realize who he was at the time, as I had never heard of him before. It wasn’t until he made his debut on Merlin, and I later re-watched this episode of Doctor Who, which was consequently my favorite episode of Doctor Who before I even knew Colin was in it, that I realized, ‘OH! That’s Colin Morgan!’ I don’t have any clips for you guys from his episode, Midnight, but you can watch it on Netflix, and here’s a little clip of David Tennant talking about how brilliant Colin was to work with.

Merlin
merlin

Where do I even start? I know I said Doctor Who is where it all began, but it wasn’t until Merlin that I learned who Colin Morgan was. He played Merlin, and he was amazing at it. Fun, funny, sad, angry, powerful, klutzy, friend, enemy… he pulled off every role and emotion imaginable in this series, and made it the huge success that it was. It was a fun (and super heart-breaking) series while it lasted, and so much of that had to do with Colin. And he won a NTA for his role on the show! So that should tell you how amazing he was at playing Merlin! This is what really sky-rocketed his career, I imagine. He was just incredible.

Parked
I have seen clips of this film, but have yet to get my hands on the whole thing. But what I’ve seen has left me completely amazed.

parked

“Byrne has also made a real discovery in Northern actor Colin Morgan, who will surely be on casting agents’ speed dial on evidence of his performance here” -Sunday World

“A real find is Colin Morgan, who brings a wiry, jittery energy to complement Meaney’s understatement.” -Entertainment

“The stand out performance is Colin Morgan as Cathal, who will actually break your heart.” -Culch

“Colin Morgan sheds any likeness to his television role as Merlin and creates a memorable drug addict that will break your heart.” -James Faust

The Tempest
As I, sadly, don’t live in London, I was unable to see Colin live in The Tempest at the Globe Theater. But I can pretty much guarantee that it was a great performance… as it was the GLOBE THEATER. This was the moment that I knew I was right in my assumption that Colin was going to go on to do great things after his Merlin career. I was a bit worried that he would stick mainly to theater, as he is apparently quite talented at it (so it wouldn’t have been a bad thing. But I would have missed seeing him perform), but those fears proved to be unfounded later on down the road. I have seen clips from this show and I love his interpretation of Ariel and his agility for the part- he obviously practiced so, SO much, and it was so profoundly different from Merlin that it was great to watch what I could get my hands on.

Mojo
Again, I don’t live in London, so I wasn’t able to see this play myself. But the reviews were all extremely positive.

“The young cast are superb at playing these bruised apples who want to go bad. Colin Morgan is unrecognisable as their petulant scapegoat, Skinny.” -TimeOut

“Merlin’s Colin Morgan is an accomplished study in human weakness as Skinny, his eventual fate played with precision and pathos.” -RadioTimes

Good Omens
Considering how strong Colin’s accent is in real life (which blew me away when I first heard him speak as himself, as I was used to his higher-pitched, British, Merlin voice), I was so excited when I learned that he would be seriously changing things up as the voice of Newt in the BBC radio program Good Omens. He has such a strong Irish lilt, that I was like, how is he going to enunciate for radio?! How is he going to change up his voice this much?! I was silly to have worried. He was laugh-out-loud funny in this, and gave so much to his character. At this point in his career, I realized that he was making some seriously good casting choices and never disappointed with his performance, so I was basically inhaling anything he was putting out there. So even though I had never listened to a radio program in my life, I downloaded this to my iPod and gave it a go. And I was just blown away by how he could put so much character into just a voice. The things he can do by changing up his accent and pitch and intonation is just beyond logic. He’s incredible.

The Fall
the fall
When Colin joined the (extremely talented) cast of The Fall, I was able to sit down and really watch his growth in a new role, as this was the first time I had seen him on television since Merlin. And I said to myself, “WOW. This boy is GOOD.” This part is so different from any he had done before (and that’s another thing that’s amazing about Colin- he challenges himself with each new role by doing something completely new every single time). And he is amazing at it. It’s on Netflix. Go watch. Go watch now.

The Testament of Youth
testament

The way he prepared for this part warms my heart so much. It just speaks so highly of Colin Morgan as a professional and role model. It’s truly admirable.

“Given fewer complex notes to play, Harington and Egerton nonetheless don’t waste them; together with supporting standout Colin Morgan, wonderful as a less strapping soldier with an unrequited yen for the heroine, they movingly evoke the fast-fading bravado and ill-concealed terror of boys at war.” -Variety

“It was very important for me to portray Victor’s blindness accurately. I contacted Blind Veterans UK, which is a fantastic charity, and they kindly invited me in to learn more. I went down to the Blind Veterans UK centre in Brighton and they took me in just like the hundreds of new blind veterans they help every year. I was blindfolded as soon as I got to the centre and they then took me to their workshops, to their gym, and to their kitchen, where I was trained to do things like make a cup of tea.  I spoke to one blind veteran who lost his sight in World War II. It was hugely valuable to me as an actor to research it, but also as a life experience as well, it was quite unique. I didn’t realise until I’d spoken to the people at Blind Veterans UK that there were so many blind people in the UK who have not registered for the charity’s free services and support. So if there is anyone who knows a blind ex-Service man or woman, I really urge you to tell them about Blind Veterans UK. They will provide fantastic help.” –Colin Morgan

Humans
humans
New favorite. FAVE. FAVE. FAVE! Colin is just outstanding in this. He broke my heart and just pulled off all of the complex emotions of this character flawlessly. He should be a completely unrelatable character, considering he’s pretty much the only one of his kind (watch the show to find out what I mean), but while I was watching, I was like, “Yes! I understand! I get where you’re coming from! I understand your fears and hesitations and worries.” He just made me feel so much for his character and I loved all the scenes with Leo (second only to Anita/Mia).


You can see Colin next as the lead character in the BBC original horror, The Living and the Dead. I am so excited for this! I’m a sucker for horror TV. And add the cool aspect of this being a period drama and the fact that Colin has an outstanding record of great film projects, and I just know that this six-episode series is going to be fantastic.

Colin will also be back for The Fall season 3, he’ll be back for Humans season 2, he gave his time freely to film a short film coming out soon called The Laughing King, which is meant to raise awareness about depression and male suicide, and he has many, many other projects coming up that I honestly can’t even keep up with because he’s so amazing and everyone wants to work with him- obviously.

You guys, I know I’m biased because I’m a big fan of his work, but Colin Morgan is someone to watch out for. He’s an incredible actor, you can see how dedicated he is to his work in the final project every single time, and he’s a role model in so many ways. I just wanted to write something up about how much I appreciate his work and to show my support and spread as much positive energy for him out there as I could. And I hope some of that positive energy will rub off on you! Go enjoy Colin’s work if you haven’t already. It will make your life brighter- I can pretty much guarantee it.

Honoring Alan Rickman

When I heard the news this morning, I prayed that it was a lie. I thought, ‘please don’t let it be true.’ But the sad truth is, Alan Rickman, at the age of 69, has passed away from cancer, surrounded by his loved ones.

My first response was to cry. And then I thought, I need to write a blog post to honor his life. I was going to write about his films and his work and all the reasons why I love him. But I realized, it’s not about that. It’s not about Die Hard or Sense and Sensibility or Harry Potter or Love Actually or Robin Hood, or the countless other films and roles in theatre that he played. It’s about the man, Alan Rickman, in and of himself, changing our lives for the better.

Through sharing his life and talents with us, he shaped our lives, saved lives, provided countless hours of entertainment and joy, and caused us to love him. He will never be forgotten. He is such a huge part of so many lives, and this is a loss that will be felt greatly around the world.

Today, I am honoring his life and thinking of his loved ones, who got to know him and love him greater than I did, and who are feeling his loss greater than anyone.

Alan Rickman brought so many beloved roles to life, caused me to smile more times than I can count, and was a huge part of my life. My heart aches knowing that he is gone, but he will continue to live on in the hearts of many and will bring smiles to faces even after his death, and if that’s not a life well-lived, then I don’t know what is.

Rest in Peace, Alan Rickman. We love you.

Shadowhunters Premiere Review

THE SEASON PREMIERE OF SHADOWHUNTERS WAS SO GOOD!

The chemistry, the effects, the demons, the stunts, the acting, the drama, the intrigue… just, all of it! I am hooked!

First all, let’s talk about that casting, yeah? Two Latino/Latina characters? Yes, please. An African American Luke? Yes, please. An Asian Magnus? Yes, please. I love how diverse this cast is, and just how perfectly cast it is. Everyone is so perfect for the character they’re playing and I love it.

Now let’s talk about those demons. Those special effects, though. I was not expecting that. I was not expecting good-looking, hideous demons. It just helps pull me into that world even more. Yay!

And then there’s Jace and Clary… that chemistry, though. I can’t. They’re perfect. Everything is perfect.

Outside of the show, the cast is so close-knit and amazing, too, which just makes it even more fun to watch and follow along with. I had the pleasure of seeing the cast interact at Comic Con and the love there is totally, 100% real. It always helps a show by having a fun, likable cast. And this cast is definitely that!

I’m not going to give you guys any spoilers and talk about the plot in-depth, because I want everyone who is reading this to go watch the show and see it for themselves. And, since I know you’ll love the first episode… GOOD NEWS! Episode two is live at freeform.com and the (abc family) freeform app (which is also where you can watch episode one if you missed it last night). I will be watching the second episode just as soon as I get home from work tonight.

I am so excited that this show lived up to my expectations and I’m so inspired to read the book series now and I’ll definitely be watching Shadowhunters all season long! Hit me up in the comments and let’s talk about the show! What did you guys think of the episode? What are you excited to see in the show that happens in the books? How do you guys like those casting choices? Let me know!

 

Recovery Road

I’m a big fan of ABC Family (now Freeform). They’ve had great shows and content for as long as I can remember. They’re not afraid to go there. And in their latest show that’s pushing boundaries, Recovery Road, they are definitely going there. And I love it!

In case you haven’t heard of the show or seen the trailers or read about it, you can watch the first three episode at ABCFamily.com or on the ABC Family app right now for free!

I was excited to check out this show because I’m a huge fan of UK Skins, and Jessica Sula and Sebastian de Souza are following in Katie Prescott’s footsteps by coming over to the US to show us how drama is really done! I loved Jessica Sula as Grace in the last generation of Skins, so I knew I was going to at least check out the first episode of Recovery Road to see what it’s all about. I ended up watching all three episodes in one sitting… and I want more!

Recovery Road tackles the tough issue of addiction and alcoholism, but without adding in unnecessary crazy drama. It’s not over-the-top or super dramatic. It feels real. They’re tackling a real issue in a real way. And it’s so heartwarming and heartbreaking and keeps you wanting to come back for more.

I’m dying over here waiting until the show officially airs on January 25th, and I’ll have to wait a few more weeks after that to get some new episodes since I’ve already watched the first 3. But I highly encourage everyone to check out this show! It’s the kind of show that could change and save lives.

And in other Freeform news, Pretty Little Liars (5 years forward) and Shadowhunters are premiering tomorrow night! I attended both PLL and Shadowhunters panels at NY Comic Con in October and I can tell you with complete assurance that these are two shows you won’t want to miss (Shadowhunters in particular). I saw the first 5 minutes of both PLL and Shadowhunters and my god, they’re good. Don’t forget to tune in!