The picture above? That's it: that's the whole series. And darned if it doesn't look like the perfect Emma/Mr. Knightley dynamic – am I right, or am I right? The verbal sparring between Emma Woodhouse (Joanna Sotomura) and Alex Knightley (Brent Bailey) is reason enough to give this series a click.
Emma Approved is a new webseries currently airing on YouTube, created and produced by Pemberley Digital (helmed by Hank Green and Bernie Su – the team behind the Emmy-award winning The Lizzie Bennet Diaries). Like its predecessors, Emma Approved is endlessly innovative when it comes to modernizing Jane Austen's novel of (almost the same) name.
This present-day characterization of Emma is pitch-perfect – she somehow manages to straddle the line between insufferable and adorable with aplomb; just as she should. Her self-centeredness is tempered wonderfully with genuine regard for assistant Harriet Smith; her persistent over-confidence is forgiven when we realize just how much she cares. About everything.
Oh, and don't worry, it's not the second coming of Clueless (let's not mess with perfection!) – it brings something entirely different to the table. This version of Emma Woodhouse runs a matchmaking/lifestyle business with her level-headed sparring partner, Alex Knightley. Harriet is her naïve assistant/protégé, the farmer Mr. Martin is a lowly IT geek, Mr. Elton is a (slimy) politician-on-the-rise, and we haven't met other major players Frank Churchill or Jane Fairfax yet – but we're looking forward to it.
It's on hiatus until February (alas), but if you haven't seen it yet, it's well-worth a watch!
Steven Moffat, once lauded for his near-iconic monsters ("Are you my mummy?" The Weeping Angels, and "Who turned off the lights?" all come to mind) now takes the brunt of quite a lot of criticism. Perhaps one-offs like "Blink" and two-episode continuations like "Silence in the Library"/"The Forest of the Dead" were more in his wheelhouse, because it's become increasingly clear that season-spanning arcs and show mythology are not.
Another widely conceived weakness? His women. When River Song first came onto the fold, people huzzah-ed for her general badassery. Amy got a similar warm welcome – but after a spell, we began to realize a trend: his women are defined by their mystery (there's something to be said about the male gaze here, but I'm not smart enough to do so). With Amy (AKA "The Girl Who Waited"), it was her wedding and pregnancy, and with Clara ("The Impossible Girl" – another problematic moniker) it was her reincarnations scattered throughout time and space.
The mystery surrounding her existence was solved a couple episodes ago in "The Name of the Doctor," where we learn that she exists solely to save the Doctor time and time again, in infinite scenarios. Hrmph. I mean, the Doctor is great and all, but really? Really?
But with that out of the way, her character might be able to do more than serve as an enigma for Eleven: already in "The Day of the Doctor" and "The Time of the Doctor" we've seen her getting a little more play. Jenna Coleman does nicely with what she gets (I thought she was especially good in her final scenes with Matt Smith in the Christmas special), and here's hoping we get to see Clara grow beyond her "Impossible Girl" status. It'll be especially exciting to see how her relationship with the Doctor adjusts – will they remain an almost-couple with a creepy age gap (a la Rose and Nine), or will she stop "fancying" him?
It may be months away, but we can't wait for season 8, problematic female characterization and all.
Everyone has their preferences when it comes to New Who – Tennant vs. Smith, Russell T. Davies vs. Steven Moffat, the hating Martha contingencies, the Clara-has-no-personality clubs – but I think I can safely say that all parties awaited the recent Christmas special with similar fervor.
But did it deliver? Alas, it seems that most Doctor Who fans agree that it did not. It should have – it had all of the trappings of a great episode: a regeneration, a Doctor-as-fake-boyfriend (my favorite sitcom trope), a surprise-naked scene, flirtations with a fabulous priestess, a town called Christmas, and wooden cybermen – heck, silence even fell "when the question was asked." It should have, by all accounts, been awesome, but it decidedly wasn't. What went wrong?
The list above, though full of strengths, was actually one of the problems – there was simply too much going on to cram into one episode. With so much plot, we were presented with an equal number of confusing plot holes. True, there were an awful lot of answers in this episode – pretty much every question set up in the Eleven arc, except the eponymous "Doc-tor WHO? Doc-tor WHO?" (groan). Sure, it was great to find out that the terrifying Silence were engineered to be the perfect confessors, but the idea that the Time Lords created the cracks in the universe that we've been chasing since series 5? Disappointing, just like the mysteries of "The Impossible Girl," "The Girl Who Waited" and River Song (does she have an obnoxious moniker?).
Also, two flirtations in one episode was too much, even for New Who's Lothario-esque Doctor. It was hard to sustain the Clara/Doctor love storyline with Tasha Lem around, no matter how fabulous she happened to be (also, personality-wise, she was a dead ringer for River Song – a clue to a new mystery, or Stephen Moffat's inability to write women rearing its ugly head again? Only time will tell). The whole "she's just your type" joke didn't play well against the "I secretly fancy [him]" joke, not to mention all of the meaningful face-caressing going on (I'm still mad we didn't get the kiss we deserved).
There were a lot of truly great moments in this special – the way that the Doctor decides to spend his last regeneration defending Christmas, his farewell to Amy, the final removal of the bowtie (sob), and our first glimpse of Twelve – all pitch-perfect. But like a stomachache-inducing binge of Christmas cookies, this episode just had too much of a good thing to truly give Matt Smith the send-off he deserved.
* The Naked Doctor was another example of "too much of a good thing" – it just didn't fit in with the episode. Besides, there may be no beating Naked!Ten in "Journey's End."
* The fake-boyfriend storyline also failed to live up to its promising sitcom-esque potential. It could have been glorious!
We got a lot of loose ends at the close of season 1: Masters is effectively fired from the hospital (losing everything from his community standing to his research funds), and Virginia is left fielding a marriage proposal from Ethan, and a rain-soaked declaration of love from Bill. So what's in store for season 2? Caution: here be speculation.
* Romantic implications aside, I think it's pretty clear that Virginia will do what's best for the study. And moving to L.A. with Ethan won't exactly be the most conducive to study, will it? I'm guessing she'll want to stay local to St. Louis.
* That said, Ethan has made it clear that he's willing to mold his life to fit Virginia's: will he give up his cherry job at UCLA to stay by her (and her adorable children's) side?
* And onto the romance side of things: both men have pretty serious bugaboos (Ethan physically punched her in the face, and Bill did it metaphorically by basically paying her for sex), but I'm in Bill's corner. (Is that just me? Or is that how the writers of the show want it to be?) Staying with Ethan might mean prolonged drama – we all love a well-crafted love triangle – but is that a storyline that the writers will want to stay with? Perhaps they'll introduce a new love interest all together – somehow, I think it's still too early in the game for Masters and Johnson to ride off into the sunset.
* Executive Producer Michelle Ashford has also mentioned that we're likely to see some temporal jumps – the show has ten years to cover, after all. Maybe we'll find Masters and Johnson carrying on their research in an entirely new hospital a year from now (or rather, a year from then).
* And what of season MVPs Allison Janney and Beau Bridges? With Masters pretty irrevocably fired from the hospital, it's unlikely that they'll be able to be as integral a part of the show as they were this season, alas.
* Oh, and speaking of casting: according to Michelle Ashford, Annaleigh Ashford is in, and Helene York is out. We were all sad to see world-weary Betty go after episode 3 (Annaleigh Ashford had a date with Kinky Boots) – and we'll definitely miss über-frank Jane (like her colleague, she's due to star in Bullets Over Broadway on, well, Broadway). But at least we get Betty back!
You already know how much we love Tom Hiddleston (and how we kind of ship him and Shakespeare) – so here are a few extra reasons why we're itching to book transatlantic flights to London.
* The promotional images that the Donmar Warehouse released are frankly kind of stunning.
* And judging by said images, it looks like this particular production of Coriolanus is every bit as bloody as it should be. After all, our good friend Coriolanus reportedly sported 27 "wounds upon him"!
* Critics are lauding the production, and star Hiddleston in particular: he's been described as possessing "ideal combination of emotional reserve and physical bravura" by the Guardian, and the Independent said his performance was "blazing stellar power and intelligence." Whew!
* Scary matriarch Volumnia has a monologue which is likely to give you goosebumps.
* This spectacle of a play was directed by distinguished director Josie Rourke – to a non-British audience, she's probably best known for directing that wildly popular (not to mention critically acclaimed) production of Much Ado About Nothing which featured Doctor Who sparring partners David Tennant and Catherine Tate.
* Also, Coriolanus has a scene with about the most homoerotic subtext, ever. In fact, it may not even be subtext; it's that bold: I mean, "Let me twine/Mine arms around that body?" "Know thou first,/I loved the maid I married; never man/Sigh'd truer breath; but that I see here,/Thou noble thing"? Wow, just wow. Oh, and the piece de resistance? "Fisting each other's throat."
* Call me a bad Shakespeare nerd, but I've always found the "Caius Martius" to "Coriolanus" name-switch a bit on the confusing side. Tom Hiddleston clears it up nicely, using modern day anecdotes to extremely dorky effect:
So? Let's all book our tickets to London!
I have to say, I was expecting a Smith/Coleman kiss this episode ... something along the lines of the Ninth Doctor/Rose pre-regeneration smooch? We got a lot of face-caressing and hugs, but no dice on the kiss. Ah well. But in that spirit, we've compiled a list of some of our favorite Doctor Who kisses:
10. 11th Doctor/Amy
Okay, so this one was awkwardness embodied, and it was more than a little cringe-worthy. But you've gotta admire Amy and her chutzpah, right? It's even better when you watch the Doctor Who Confidential for the episode and realize that Karen Gillan "subconsciously" touched Matt Smith's inner thigh during filming.
9. 11th Doctor/River Song
Well, these two have kissed multiple times, but my personal favorite was that flail-inducing first kiss of theirs (or for Eleven, anyway) back in "A Good Man Goes to War."
8. Captain Jack Harkness/Rose
Pretty sure that Captain Jack has excellent chemistry with everyone.
7. 9th Doctor/Captain Jack Harkness
Ditto! Captain Jack's got game. Dang, what will get Stephan Moffat to bring John Barrowman back?
6. 10th Doctor/Donna
The mutual dislike of both parities for this kiss made it one of the best on the show. And hey, it saved the Doctor from being poisoned!
5. 11th Doctor/Victorian!Clara
Alas, the only Eleven/Clara kiss we'll ever get. But still – Matt Smith's flailing is pretty hard to beat (and of course, Jenna Louise Coleman is utterly delightful).
4. 10th Doctor/Cassandra!Rose
David Tennant's post-kiss bliss-stunned discomposure was deliciously funny – as was his little quip ("Yep, still got it"). And that's not even mentioning the fabulousness of Cassandra!Rose's lasciviousiosity!
3. 11th Doctor/Rory
This one certainly wins in terms of shock value. This kiss was improvised, much to an unsuspecting Arthur Darvill's chagrin.
2. 9th Doctor/Rose
Nine is way underrated, in my opinion, and to me this remains one of the most romantic kisses in New Who history.
1. The "Journey's End" Kiss
Nothing short of iconic (it doesn't hurt that David Tennant and Billie Piper's collective chemistry is off the charts).
What are your favorite Doctor Who kisses? Did you have a soft spot for the problematic Queen Elizabeth I? Madame du Pompadour? Rory and Amy? Let us know in the comments!
Universal via Everett Collection
Adapting plays into movies has always been standard, but these days we're seeing more and more of the opposite. Case in point? A staged version of a Harry Potter prequel is reportedly in the works. The Bring It On musical was also a wild success – it was nominated for a Tony for Best Musical, and it won one for Best Choreography. So what other YA favorites do we want need to see on stage?
*Insert Clueless reference here* Come on, this is long, long, overdue. How much would you pay to see Cher makeover Tai, live? A lot; that's how much. Oh, and Cher's long voice-over monologue where she finally admits to herself that she's "totally butt-crazy in love with Josh?" An excellent soliloquy with which to break the fourth wall.
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
So, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World may not technically count as a YA movie, but I think it could be adapted into a pretty kick-ass (literally) campy, genre-bending musical ... and it would have fabulous dance sequences. I mean, it did already feature a slightly Bollywood number with the help of evil ex number 1, Matthew Patel. Ooh, and Knives Chau could have a quippy and hilarious love ballad to Scott!
Okay, so this one is ripe for the stage, right? It would be pure camp, that's for sure. But can't you just picture it now? It would kind of be like the Rocky Horror Picture Show: most people can already quote most of the film from memory.
I hate to say it, but this movie might actually be improved by a stage adaptation. Think how much better it would be if we got to experience all of those crazy acapella numbers live! The riff-off alone would make for a fun theater experience.
When Harry Met Sally might just be my favorite romantic comedy of all time (though, according to my across-the-street neighbor, that distinction belongs to Notting Hill). It's a big statement, I know – so maybe we can narrow down the category a little: if not the best romantic comedy ever, it's certainly the best romantic comedy to watch on New Year's Eve. Why?
It has two New Year's Eves in it. And the two New Years-es (the plural for New Year's I just made up) bookend Harry and Sally's slow-burn of a relationship perfectly; chronicling their descent into capital-T True Love. The first New Year's finds them, as Sally so charmingly calls it, "dancing cheek-to-cheek." And as "Auld Lang Syne" swells in the background, they simultaneously come to the realization that they might just be more than friends. They flee as the midnight countdown begins, clearly spooked, and their perfunctory kiss belies their true feelings for one another: in other words, rom-com gold.
The second New Year's brings them full circle, and has one of the best running-to-your-love sequences in rom-com history – seriously, that's a trope that I may never get tired of. That, and rainy declarations of love (something most recently seen in the season finale of Masters of Sex, randomly enough).
As Sally dances and laughs with equal misery with her overzealous blind date, Harry breaks into a run as "It Had to be You" swells through the score. Music is just another perk of watching a Nora Ephron flick, isn't it? Their eyes meet across the room (rom-com trope #23) and he angrily professes his love (rom-com trope #46) as she just-as-angrily refutes it. And finally, finally, they go full head-over-heels just in time for a repeat New Year's Eve kiss (okay, I'll stop listing rom-com tropes now) as everyone around them sings the words to "Auld Lang Syne."
They joke about the meaning of "Auld Lang Syne's" puzzling lyrics, and it's the perfect button to the button to an even-more perfect NYE flick: as Sally sums it up, "It's about old friends." And mock my soft heart all you want, but I can say with zero irony that I have never heard the song "Auld Lang Syne" the same ever since.
Sometimes, it's hard to find the perfect New Year's Eve dress: no one wants to blend in with the sea of LBDs! Luckily, we have some seriously stylish stars to turn to for inspiration – we've gone and cherry-picked some of our very favorite cocktail dresses right off the red carpet. There's a little something for everybody: if you're of the quirky-cute persuasion, you'll love Zooey Deschanel's rose-emblazoned black and white strapless number, and those who lean a little more sophisticated are sure to appreciate ultra-polished Allison Williams' classic (and class-y) style. And just about everyone loves the ever-stylish Diane Kruger (she must have one of the highest red carpet batting averages around). Warning: here be gorgeous dresses – take a gander.
GALLERY: Celeb-inspired NYE Outfits
Some people are excited to celebrate NYE in their best cocktail attire, but for the Sherlock fandom? It's time to grab your ironic deerstalker and sweeping tweed coat. They've kept us waiting for far, far, too long, but the Season 3 premiere date is nigh. With Sherlock's return dangling above us like the proverbial carrot, what to do to in the mean time?
* Stare longingly into Benedict Cumberbatch's eyes. We've got the perfect image (check that intense stare!) right here.
* Read/re-read the books/short stories. Can't go wrong there, plus most are public domain, so you can find them on the Internet for free. I'm quite partial to "A Scandal in Bohemia" – what's your favorite?
* Watch some excellent Johnlock vids.
* Buy Sherlock's infamous coat (or rather, a facsimile, as the real thing will set you back a couple grand). You'll get double the wear out of it – pair it with a too-tight button down in charcoal or eggplant and black slacks, or with – gasp! – nothing, if you want to emulate Ms. Adler's signature look.
* Speaking of Irene Adler? Now that you've got the ... er ... "outfit" together, it's time to tackle the beauty routine. She allegedly wears Illamasqua Colour Intense in Encounter, and Nails Inc in St. James – add a swipe of metallic turquoise winged liner and you're good to go.
* Re-watch the ultra awesome interactive trailer:
* While you're at it, why not marathon the whole series?
* Compulsively scan the Internet for juicy interviews with Benedict Cumberbatch, Martin Freeman, and (fist-shakes) ... MOFFAT!
* Brush up on your favorite theories on how Sherlock survived the "Reichenbach Fall." The all-too-quick doodle in the interactive trailer will not appease us!
Rinse and repeat ... and repeat – make sure you're fully prepared for the glorious event coming our way on January 1!