Sunday, May 19, 2013

Scooby DONE, It Again!

I’ve expressed before how delighted I am with the latest incarnation of Scooby Doo, Mystery Incorporated.  Now has come the time to report on it once again.  For it ended!  And what a treat.  I’ll explain.

The show’s return surprised me.  TiVo of course knew it would be on and voila, it appeared.  Then another, every day thereafter for a while.  I noticed two things.  Perhaps you recall that one of the great strides this version takes is the introduction of an overlying story, an arc that plays out amid the standard type of episode we expect from a Scooby Doo show.  Well, the overall story being told seemed to be drawing to a close.  I would have been quite surprised if it didn’t.  Everything in it all pointed toward the last episode being nigh.  Especially due to the other bit I noticed.  The Chapter number.  Chapter 50 proved not far away.  And then it came, but we did not get to the end.  You know how it is - expanding the climax to greater glory, and then the denouement.  

 I’d talked to my best friend Laughter about it.  He’d not been able to follow the show, but liked it very much.  High praise, believe you me.  So I told him that it appeared to be ending.  He liked the idea of it resolving, but felt sad that there wouldn’t be anymore.  For I wound up making that clear.  It wouldn't just end… it aimed to end the whole thing.  The Scooby Doo story, over.  Or it seemed it would, at the very least.  The reply, paraphrased, “No more shows???  But it’s so good!”  I said how I wouldn’t WANT more.  I love Finite Cartoons and it just wouldn’t feel right because I’d expected a great shebang closing.

Well, it turns out that I’d been mostly right.  50 seemed the logical choice of episodes, but then, 52 cards in a deck is more like a clue.  Not of anything in particular, just for the fun sake.  52 episodes it turned out to be.   And what a triumph!  A fantastic bit of storytelling.  It had so much to love – from callbacks to other episodes, to pathos, to exciting and gut-wrenching scenes, the perfect use of “Scooby Doo!  Where are you!?” and parts that made you watch in horror because you never thought you’d see it happen.  I really liked it, can you tell?  And then we get to the end. I’d been right.  It’s difficult to explain without ruining it, but the whole premise of the Scooby Doo programs is no longer valid.  The larger mystery of it all is solved.  In fact, I cheered as Fred actually said, “Okay gang, let’s solve this Uber Mystery!”  But guess what.  The writers proved themselves one last time.  In an unexpected maneuver of plot that calls back to what drew me into this version in the first place, they set up a sequel.  Don’t roll your eyes.  The new premise, a callback itself, is one that I cannot wait to see.  Bring it on, Mystery Inc.!

Monday, May 13, 2013

Twice Upon a Barrie-Land

There's more to report about how the TV series Once Upon a Time is handling the most famous work of Sir J.M. Barrie.  This post has spoilers, so be warned.  The first post is here.

This episode is a direct extension of the previous.  Its title completes the "directions to the Neverland."  I have that in quotes for two reasons: 1) they're using Disney's addition of the word "star" 2) they're not really the correct directions anyway.  At any rate, Second Star to the Right led into And Straight in 'Til Morning.  [There should be a "then" in there, without the apostrophed "till" but who's counting? ;) ]

Here's what we discover:
We do see the island, sort of, for we finally reach its shore.   In fact, as you can see, it's also the fantasy element shown this time amid the woods in the opening.  Okay, remember the character I'd mentioned who went in place of a Darling boy and fell into the ocean when struggling with the Shadow/Pan?  And I'd thought he'd be a pirate, then?  Well, he won't be.  You see, the boy pieces together that Hook is responsible for taking his mother away back in the land he came from and therefore wants nothing to do with the captain.  A little more on this kid in a bit.

We also see "The Lost Ones."  They've dropped the word "boys" for "ones."  I like it, for it makes it more intimidating.  And that's definitely the vibe they're going for here.  Besides that, they've got them in their early teens, if not teenagers.  So they're not exactly mere boys.  Oh - at least for now they do not fly.  They approach by ship.  The Lost Ones have a reputation in this world.  You don't want them to show up, they're feared.  They pester Hook because they think he's harboring the boy that fell into the ocean.  At the time he is, but hides the boy from them.  Smee (introduced into the show before Hook, for the record) expresses his concern about having any dealings with the kid.  He says, "What if the boy belongs to him?"  And the way he says it invokes a capital H.  "He'll be looking for us.  He knows this land better than we do."  Interesting, no?  Who could he be talking about?  I knew right away.  I bet you do, too.

Moving on, from what we have to gather, the infamous immortal boy of the island is not in fact just that truly scary Shadow from the other episode.  The Lost Ones tell Hook that He will rip your shadow from you as a punishment and it is reportedly very painful.  So it would seem the Shadow goes and fetches for a real boy, the leader of the Lost Ones.  But where is the real evidence?

Right around the bend.  Okay, the boy from the other world escapes Hook and is found washed ashore by the Lost Ones.  They examine him, but apparently He is looking for a particular boy.  It turns out he's not the boy they need.  One asks if they will ever find him.  Another replies, "Of course we will.  It make take time, but Peter Pan never fails."  Ah!  He does exist by that name!  And he's looking for none other than the main boy character from the series, of course.

To add more spice to this spooky spin, on their way to the Neverland via a portal (which they could only open with Hook's help!), Rumpelstiltskin says they (the other characters) have no idea who they're dealing with...and when is asked "Who's that?" the response is "Someone we all should fear."  Think about that for a second.  This is the Dark One saying to fear!  Granted, Rumplestiltskin has mellowed out a bit given his time as Mr. Gold in Storybrooke, and his literal (pun noted) relation to the other characters by blood and escapades - but he is still to be feared in his own right.  And yet, he's warning them.  Truth is the previous paragraph's events take place after this one's.  Know what that means?  He's talking about Peter Pan!

And so it seems that Peter Pan, in a new and twisted incarnation, will be the "Big Bad" for at least part of the next season.  For this had been the finale, and we are left hanging with the characters on their way to rescue the main character boy from his clutches.  I, for one, am very curious how they'll handle and depict Pan.  I bet it will be delightful.  Too bad we'll have to wait until the Fall!

Sound the Buzzer, Not a Bell

I captured this bit of reality a significant while ago now when I'd been out with Buttercup.  I think it's easy enough to figure out where, given what can be seen in the photo edges.

Note that Barrie's most famous fairy is listed among other great literary characters.

It's also spelled wrong.  It's two words.


Friday, May 10, 2013

Pan & the Pyramid

Jeopardy! isn't the only game show that likes to mention Peter Pan!
Here he is on the original PYRAMIDs.

But Pan's been around a good long while - and the new PYRAMID has him at the apex, too.
[I stopped watching the new one, though.  It's just not the same.  Maybe it's because it needs Dick Clark?]

Thursday, May 9, 2013

A "Charmed Digit" [3] over 150!

Today is the
153 Anniversary
of the birth
of Sir J.M. Barrie.

Truly, what else can I say?
I certainly hope I've done him proud.

All hail the
modern mythmaker!

Thank you, Sir!

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Once Upon a Barrie-Land

This post contains spoilers about the TV show Once Upon a Time.  Proceed at your own risk.

I’ve made it known before that I enjoy ABC’s Once Upon a Time.  It’s a clever and fresh take on fairy tales.  Well, once upon a time, they expanded the definition by including the Lewis Carroll Alice tales.  A little later on, Dr. Frankenstein came into the mix.  Yet it still remained as fantastic as the stories from which it borrowed.  In a nutshell, “The Mad Hatter” explains to the skeptic character that all stories are histories.  They’re just told differently.  Our ‘actual’ history, in other words, probably lost something of pure truth in the writing of it.  Speaking sort of metaphorically, all worlds can be peeked into, or semblances of them.  In this way, we can allow for the spins on characters and events that we thought we knew.  The creators of tales heard whispers and tried to get it right.  Maybe they did, maybe they didn’t.  Of course, this only works within such a construct.  Separate Peter and Wendy and it becomes law until itself.  It can’t be told differently or contradicted or re-imagined… not unto its own telling as told by the author.   But the show does allow for deviations and it’s in this way that Once Upon a Time finally fully approached the Neverland.
With some rather unexpected results!

Hook has been on the show for quite a long time now.  However, we get to know him completely away from the Neverland.  Although we do know (and saw him chart a course for) the infamous isle.  [Once Upon a Time utilizes flashbacks to fully tell and realize their story.]  Their Hook is meant to make us swoon.  He’s much younger with good looks.  And his personality is sort of Jack Sparrow mellowed out with a touch of Barrie’s evil man.  The hook is on the incorrect hand, but then, it’s correct for Disney’s version and this is a production under their jurisdiction.  An interesting variation and major change is that Peter Pan did not cut off the captain’s hand.  Nope, not here.  Rather it had been the crocodile.  Except the crocodile isn’t an animal.  It’s a man with scaly skin, none other than the show’s Dark One himself, Rumpelstiltskin, who’d been thwarted by the pirate earlier in life before obtaining his magical power. The way I figure it, Peter would convince himself he cropped off the hand and bragged as such, thus the tale came to be.  For a whole season or so we’ve been wondering about the Neverland and Peter Pan.  Lemonie and I, and probably a slew of others, suspected a character as being Pan.  He even recognized and disliked seeing Hook.   But, we were wrong.

Well, they finally showed us how both the boy and the island manifestation in this version of fantasy on the episode “Second Star to the Right.”  Naturally they used Disney insertions into the tale of Peter Pan.  The second star to the right is one of two.  However, despite the title, it is never spoken.   We see a “second star” flash when Wendy is taken away.  And yes, I phrased it that way on purpose. For the living shadow is the other Disney touch.  Yet another unexpected twist.  It’s just the shadow!  There’s no boy.  He’s never referred to as Peter nor Pan.  Only the magic shadow.  Yet we can see that he’s dressed in leaves. Though Wendy wants to go (and it’s just her, by the way, not her brothers, too) the shadow forcibly drags her away.  She had been warned by a boy she’d been harboring in the house unbeknownst to her parents. (I didn’t know the nursery had a hidden compartment either, but it’s quite Barrie-like!) And oh – this boy happens to be from another world.  (This character fell into ours through a portal too many moons ago in the overall story.)  He fears magic, but away Wendy goes.  She comes back, though.  And mentions the mermaids and fairies…and the darkness at night.  She then describes the cries of children wanting to go home.  But the shadow won’t let them leave!  She escaped because it wanted a boy (imagine that!) and she said it could take one of her brothers.  The boy from the Enchanted Forest (the main place the storybook characters in the show came from) tries to defend them but ultimately goes instead to save the Darling Family.  (The boy lost both his parents, so it’s important to him.)  He fights the rapidly and dangerously flying shadow along the way, though, and plunges into the sea.  He’s picked up by Captain Hook.

As for the Neverland itself, we don’t get to see it other than glooming in the distance.  I’m not disappointed in that.  For their version needed to have it mysterious and foreboding.  Overall, I rather liked this take on it.  A recurring theme and line of the show all throughout has been “Magic comes with a price” so I enjoyed making the Neverland and its child thief as dark as can be.

Lastly, I’d like to say the portrayal of the Darlings is wonderful.  They certainly “looked” like them.  And how wonderful to weave in more of Barrie by having Mrs. Darling all too welcoming and ready to have another little one join the family.  Of course, Mr. Darling had two shillings to say about it.  But in the end, Mrs. Darling won out.  Any doubt? 

Once Upon a Time, thanks for bringing this to the dark.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Peter Pan 101

The "magically appearing overnight" statue of the infamous boy from Sir J.M. Barrie's most beloved tale has now seen a myriad of nights since then.  One hundred and one years of them, in fact.

I had a hard time finding it.  By which I mean I'd wanted to just come upon it.  Walking aimlessly amid the magnificence of lush greenery and splashes of color in the Kensington Gardens proved a welcome diversion.  To be in the place where it all happened!  You can wander for hours and not see it all, depending, of course on how much you take in or speed through.  You've been walking forever, thinking where the devil could it be??  And then, just around the bend (it's a cliché, but quite accurate!) it slinks into view from behind the trees.  As it should be -- like flying to the Neverland from London.

That's me there... in "painture."  I'm holding a picture of what Barrie had envisioned for the statue from George Frampton.  But, you can't win them all.  For the record, I'm back to wearing hats.

I've posted further information as well as my opinions of the statue over the years.  But no matter which lens is used, I'll not ever be able to discredit the sheer grandeur of craftsmanship and detail of the statue itself.  But more importantly, nothing will ever diminish the pure magic of the that moment.

Other posts on this date:  2008   2009   2010   2011   2012