Posted: 10 Aug 2011 03:30 AM PDT
The Vampire Diaries sucks in viewers with its gorgeous cast, interesting storylines and awesome cliffhangers.
EVEN though every episode of The Vampire Diaries ends with a nail-biting cliffhanger, nothing quite prepared us for what happened in the last episode of the first season. If you have yet to watch the series' first season, stop reading right now.
In that season finale, Katherine (Nina Dobrev) – the evil vampire who has been the bane of Elena's life ever since the Salvatore brothers arrived in Mystic Falls – finally puts on an actual appearance in this town. She is sexy and lethal; she is also the vampire who turned Damon and Stefan Salvatore into the living dead 150 years ago.
Throughout season one, Damon is obsessed with her until he realised that she is a selfish creature who uses love as a tool for her own gain.
From all the past events involving Stefan, Damon and Katherine, it sounds like anyone in their right mind would know that she equates trouble. So why would she pretend to be a goody two-shoes?
Well, we are finding out the reason for her presence in Mystic Falls, and also why Elena and Katherine look exactly alike.
Anyway, Katherine's first action once she gained access to her doppelgänger's home was to finger-chop the hand of Elena's uncle. This shocking revelation comes right after another "oh my" moment – the love-struck Damon (Ian Somerhalder) assuming Elena has finally come around to liking him when she kisses him on the porch of her house.
Was your jaw on the floor like mine by the end of that hour? Besides delivering these great cliffhangers, the show also knows how to kick off the new season – Katherine visits the hospitalised Caroline (Candice Accola) and kills her because she wants to send out a message to the Salvatore brothers. Has she not heard of text messaging? Much more instant and effective.
No doubt The Vampire Diaries is a soap opera that lingers too long on the romance between Elena and Stefan (Paul Wesley), with Damon sulking in the background, longing to get Elena's attention.
But with the introduction of Katherine – who pretends to be Elena from time to time – it's enough to keep the Salvatore brothers and the audience on their toes.
To quote Damon: "Doppelgänger high jinks ensue."
Katherine does not disappoint. Kudos to Dobrev for pulling off this double duty – as both the sweet teenager Elena and the sizzling hot Katherine – making the viewers believe they are indeed two different people.
Katherine proves to be a spicy addition to the show as she is a shamelessly self-serving person and always has something up her sleeve. That she always shows up in great outfits and killer shoes only makes her more likeable.
Besides Katherine, season two also introduces a pack of werewolves and a couple of powerful male witches. Somewhere in the middle of the season, the series throws in a well-dressed villain who is a real nasty piece of work with an agenda that once again puts Elena's life in danger. He is so nasty that Katherine's evil ways just pale in comparison.
An outstanding thing about the second season is how it manages to completely revamp one of its existing characters.
Caroline used to be this silly bimbo teen whose interests were boys, cheerleading and clothes. Little wonder, Damon had an easy time glamming this girl in the last season.
After Katherine kills her, Caroline is reborn as a vampire as she was fed Damon's blood. Her instinct to feed off humans is dealt with fast, but the real story is revealed later. It shows how Caroline has to keep what she is from her Sheriff mother (an anti-vampire zealot) and her boyfriend, Matt (who doesn't even know that vampires exist even though his sister was killed by one).
Again, credit goes to Accola who humanises this character, transforming her from an annoying teen to a girl with a compelling story. Thank you, The Vampire Diaries writers, because I was quite happy when I thought she died.
Unfortunately, two other characters have been a let-down. Elena's brother, Jeremy (Steven R. McQueen), can be best described as an unnecessary appendage.
This character is given more things to do this season, as he tries to protect his sister from vampires and what-not, but it's obvious that he could be absent and it wouldn't even make a difference. For one, Elena is still forever in peril.
The other annoying character is Elena's aunt, Jenna Gilbert, who is happily oblivious about the supernatural goings-on in Mystic Falls.
Why have a character like her when Elena obviously can't talk to her about anything? And when Jenna starts going out with Alaric (a vampire hunter who helps the Salvatore brothers), there's a lot of unrequired angst about the latter keeping secrets from her.
Luckily, The Vampire Diaries has the subplot of the two handsome Salvatore brothers to distract us, what with their constant conflicts with each other and their inner battle of bad vs good. Seriously, what's not to love?
■ The second season of The Vampire Diaries airs on 8TV every Tuesday at 9.30pm. Season One airs at 11pm on Warner TV (HyppTV Ch 162), on Wednesdays.Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.
Posted: 10 Aug 2011 03:20 AM PDT
"THE only harder thing than creating a hit show is knowing when to end it," said Marc Cherry as he looked ahead to the final year of Desperate Housewives.
As ABC made official that the hit series would end after its upcoming eighth season, its creator, Cherry, joined ABC Entertainment President Paul Lee to insist the decision had been made jointly.
"I'm very aware that some shows overstay their welcome and I didn't want that to happen with Desperate Housewives," Cherry told reporters during a Sunday session of the Television Critics Association conference.
"We wanted to go out in the classiest way possible."
Desperate Housewives, a glossy prime-time soap opera with an ensemble cast including Teri Hatcher and Eva Longoria, made a pop-culture and ratings splash when it premiered in 2004 but has since seen a fall-off in the ratings and viewer buzz.
Cherry said he and Lee began discussions a year ago about when the series should be shuttered.
"We made this decision together," he said, "and I feel so good about it. We can have a whole year to reflect on how lucky we've been.
"We want to make sure it has its victory lap," Lee said.
Cherry said he had put out calls to all the show's cast members in recent days and spoken to about half of them.
"It was bittersweet and lovely. There was a touch of shock, but not completely," Cherry said in describing the conversations, adding that he and the stars shared a feeling of gratitude for the experience of doing the series.
While dismissing the possibility of a Housewives spinoff, he mentioned other projects, including Hallelujah, a pilot ABC passed on this season but that's being re-worked.
But he joked that something simple and quick as a future series might be a nice change.
"Maybe two guys in a prison cell," Cherry proposed with a laugh. "I need something easier than Desperate Housewives." – APFull Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.
Posted: 09 Aug 2011 04:20 PM PDT
CARTOON Network is inviting kids to take part in a contest where 50 winners will get to learn the art of animation under professional guidance. And animate their own cartoons!
Called Snaptoons Kids (Short New Asia Pacific Cartoons), the initiative allows children aged under 15 to unleash their creativity.
The winners will attend an exclusive workshop led by artists from Animasia, Malaysia's leading animation studio and the creators of Bola Kampung, the popular TV series currently on Cartoon Network (Astro Channel 616).
Created in partnership with Astro, the contest is now on until Aug 15.
"Snaptoons Kids continues Cartoon Network's commitment to developing the animation industry in Malaysia and we're looking forward to seeing the young creative talent emerging via this workshop.
"Last year, we launched Snaptoons for professional animators to great success and now, we want to extend it to our young audience," said Silas Hickey, creative director of Asia Pacific Animation Development, Turner Broadcasting System Asia Pacific, Inc, the holding company of Cartoon Network.
Winners will join other budding animators at an exclusive workshop created in partnership with MDeC (Multimedia Development Corporation) and the Education Ministry. During the session the creators and artists of Bola Kampung will give the participants an in-depth introduction to storyboarding and character creation.
Two sessions will be held – one in Penang and the other in Kuala Lumpur – in October.
For a chance to take part in the workshop, Cartoon Network fans are invited to submit their entry by filling in speech bubbles in a still image from Bola Kampung. The image can be found on Astro's website (www.Astro.com.my/astrolife), along with the submission details.
Bola Kampung airs on Cartoon Network Astro Channel 616) during weekends at 8am. For more information on Snaptoons Kids, Snaptoons or Cartoon Network, visit www.Astro.com.my/astrolife, www.snaptoons.org and CartoonNetworkAsia.com.Full Feed Generated by Get Full RSS, sponsored by Used Car Search.
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