August 31, 2014

Dr. Who 8 - Episode 2

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Watch Episode Two HERE or HERE
SPOILER ALERT: Don't read ahead if you haven't watched Doctor Who series 8, episode 2: Into The Dalek
Steven Moffat has never shied away from literal titles, so as many of you probably guessed the second episode thrust Clara and The Doctor quite literally 'Into The Dalek.'
Daleks are Doctor's greatest nemeses. Yet this episode treated us to a narrative that is not entirely new, or original. We've seen morally compromised Dalek's before, a trait that the Doctor never put much stock in. This episode's main purpose was to cement a narrative in which Doctor finally sees a glimmer of hope in the Dalek vs Timelord war that doesn't end in the total annihilation. The 50th anniversary set up a long term goal for the Doctor. His journey going forward was meant to focus on restoring Gallifrey, however in the first two episodes of series 8, his behavior is hardly in line with that.
When the Doctor faced off with the Clockwork Robot in the season premiere, he very clearly stated that there was no such thing as "promised land." In this episode he has a similarly bitter moment after discovering that the only reason that this Dalek was acting good was because of radiation poisoning. I'm not quite sure what to make of this new Doctor yet, right now he just seems like a mean, old man, who is pretty difficult to identify with.
'Into The Dalek' shined an odd light on Doctor's new personality. Long gone are the days of the 11th Doctor charmingly bonding with childrentalking down homicidal aliens with empathy or cold logic. The 12th Doctor is kind of a jerk and not at all apologetic about it. The Doctor is supposed to be brilliant, have all the angles figured out, and above all he is never supposed to just give up on anyone. Looks like Moffat is eagerly tossing all the things the Doctor is "supposed" to be out the window. We can only hope that the result is not a repeat of series 7.

In 'Into The Dalek' the companion does pretty much all the work, while the Doctor stands by sulking and criticizing Clara's appearance. Was a dialogue about Clara's hips really necessary?
It seems like Moffat is basically trying to make us dislike the Doctor. The show runner's intent may be to corner his audience into an emotional conflict similar to the Doctor's own identity crisis, but so far all of it comes off forced and manipulative.
There has been an interesting shift in the center of the story. The last two episodes have made the companion feel very much like the protagonist. 'Deep Breath' was all about Clara's acceptance of the Doctor, while 'Into The Dalek' was prominently about her stepping up to great challenges and saving the day. To Moffat's credit, throughout the whole episode I cared a lot about Clara's adventure, in fact I cared about her story so much that the Doctor's narrative conflict felt like a total imposition. I'm not saying I want to see a return to a flat, uninteresting companion, but I think Moffat is struggling to find a balance in having an engaging surrogate for the audience. The show is after all called 'Doctor Who.'
In 'Deep Breath' Strax mentions that Clara is 27 years old. She first met the Doctor in her true incarnation when she was 21, as suggested by 'The Bells Of Saint John'. Having traveled with the Doctor for about 6 years, we can see her evolution from atechnologically incompetent nanny to a total badass with sass. She is more confident, incisive about alien tech and is increasingly acting as moral compass for a 2 thousand year old Timelord who is long past all sanity. Yet, when depicting Clara's earth life the only aspect we're focused on is a romance.
You'd think a woman who has traveled the galaxy, saving the Doctor thousands of times, would have something more interesting to do than hackle a guy for a date.
Having an older man step into the Doctor's shoes was supposed to eliminate the forced romantic tensions that dominated so many of Tennant/Smith's story lines. I don't want to be prematurely pessimistic, Clara and Danny Pink's chemistry looks pretty fantastic. I'm simply concerned that in Moffat's hands, Clara may soon shift trajectory from being a cool, relatable, maturing character back into a manic pixie dream girl.
Overall, 'Into The Dalek' was a strong episode. I really enjoyed the old school lo-fi feel of the set design. The season has been keeping it's promise of returning to show's roots. The entire episode was tense, thrilling and quite scary.
We were treated to more of Missy and "Paradise." It appears that she is following the Doctor quite closely, picking up people who have "died" around him as she goes. The most intriguing aspect of that mystery is it's moral ambiguity. It's not yet clear if Missy is a villain. After another viewing of 'Deep Breath' I'm actually wondering if Missy is somehow connected to the Dinosaur that tragically perished in the heart of London. Her wording and odd mannerisms strongly call back to the Doctor's conversation with the Dinosaur at the beginning of the episode.
I'm curious to see how the show goes forward. A lot of ground work is being laid, especially with Doctor's unexplained prejudice against soldiers. That will obviously play into his dynamic with Danny and Clara. In the meantime we can just stare at this gif on repeat.

article posted EARLIER today ON HUFFPOST


Downton Abbey – NEW series 5 trailer

Secrets, scandal and a shaking of the ground. The doors of Downton are set to open once more on Sunday September 21st at 9pm and you've been cordially invited to share a first look at what lies ahead.
Watch the world exclusive of the brand new trailer.


August 30, 2014

Outlander - Episode FOUR

 'Outlander' Episode 4:   Mandi and Michelle share their takes 
watch Episode four HERE!
watch Episode four HERE for part 1 
and HERE for part 2
by Mandi Schreiner and Michelle Monkou, for USA TODAY
Claire episode 3
Mandi: My goodness, a lot happens in this episode! We even get to see Jamie shirtless — score one for us Sassenachs sitting at home, pretending that Jamie is our boyfriend. I'm not the only one, right?
This episode is called "The Gathering," where the MacKenzie clan come to swear loyalty to Colum and have a great feast. Claire thinks it is the perfect time to escape, as the chaos and drunkenness of the gathering will be a great distraction. She has scouted around the woods and knows just how she is going to escape. She has drugged her guards and stolen away some food. But unfortunately for Claire, her story is just beginning, and her journey to find her way back to her husband is going to be a very long and complicated one. Claire doesn't even make it outside the castle before encountering drunken, harassing men, saved by Dougal only to then be harassed by him, too. A feisty Claire won't let a drunken Dougal stop her, so a chair to the head puts him down quick. (I do love Claire so much.)
Finally free, she runs to the stables, only to run directly into Jamie. Jamie talks some sense into her and escorts her back, but unfortunately for poor Jamie, he is then forced to face Colum, and the big question of whether he will swear loyalty comes into play. This was a very tense scene. If Jamie swears loyalty, he is in line to become the next MacKenzie, which would greatly upset Dougal. If he doesn't, it would be taken as a great offense. He can't just run off, because there is a price on his head. Oh, Jamie, Jamie, Jamie. Can't we just go back to him strutting around without a shirt on instead of stressing out my poor heart?
But in true Jamie fashion, he gets out of swearing loyalty yet still swears obedience, and everyone is happy, except Claire, who is still stuck in the darn castle.

We see a softer side of Dougal when one of the men is severely injured in the woods during the hunt for the boar the next day. And then a playful side of Dougal when he joins in on a game with the other clansmen. Jamie is able to show Dougal how he has grown into a man and is one to be reckoned with. (I wouldn't mind being tossed over Jamie's shoulder. Just saying!)
Next week it's time for a road trip, 18th-century style. Claire, Jamie, Dougal and others set out to visit MacKenzie land and collect rents from those who couldn't make it to the gathering. If you have read the book, you know what is coming, and I'm greatly excited.
Michelle: Yes. Yes. And another yes. I'm having a fangirl moment with everyone connected with this project. I'd love to chat with the director over a cup of tea and biscuits. Then he could listen to me gush over every detail that makes me giddy. I have quite the list.
Today I want to show some love to a few of the men of the supporting cast. But first, I have to curtsy and cheer, all hail Diana Gabaldon, who got into character as Iona MacTavish. (Check her out in costume at Entertainment Weekly.) Not a fave of Mrs. Fitz — LOL. This was more than a cameo. She had lines and expressions. And I loved every second of her screen time. She more than deserves it for this treasure that is coming our way.
So now, on to the guys ...
Another discovery was Gary Lewis as Colum MacKenzie. Now I do like his role as laird, but he has a special place in my heart from about 14 years ago in a movie called Billy Elliot. He was the dad. Loved him. Can't believe that it took me a few times watching Colum in action to click the memory into gear.
I do like Graham McTavish, as Dougal MacKenzie. Well, I've already gone all gaga over his ornery, bald self. I saw his tweet that he was going to Los Angeles to film something. I'm sure that he will be fantastic in whatever he does.
Stephen Martin Walters and Grant O'Rourke who are Angus and Rupert are Claire's shadows who follow her and treat her to their offensive, sexist, and silly antics. They provide a great comedic streak in the middle of the raw and sometimes brutal atmosphere. And I've got to give it to Claire for not going blind when she got an eyeful looking up into the darkness of that kilt. HAH.

So my takeaways from episode 4:
1) Field hockey ... is that what the pounding of sticks against bodies and mixed-martial-arts style moves are? I don't know. You manage to survive childhood illnesses, a battle or two against the British, a few floggings for misdeeds, hunting boars, and then you get clocked in the head with a hockey stick and can lose a marble or two. That's just wrong.
2) When you think about it, the castle is a maze of hallways, rooms and stairs and nasty drunken guys in the dark. I was like Claire, completely naive that it was OK to walk anywhere. Who knew you need a rolling pin to knock a few heads in? Probably also need to carry a bottle of pepper sauce for an early version of mace.
3) Port vs. Rhenish ... hmm, I wonder if alcohol snobs would see this as a major battle. I've had neither, so don't have an opinion. But the way Claire was gulping down the Rhenish made me wonder if it was like Moscato. And that's yummy.
4) Can I go one week without mentioning Jamie? Heck to the no. The man not only looks good, but knows how to squirm his way through the castle politics to keep his handsome head on that fine neck. Way to go, Jamie.
See ya next week.

This Week's Favorite Quotes

Don't let other people define your worth.Our days are happier when we give people a bit of our heart rather than a piece of our mind.Life Quote Courage Mark Twain typography by theartofobservation, $25.00Happiness is letting go of what you think your life is supposed to look like and celebrating it for everything that it is. -Mandy HaleInspirations and motivation`Tumblr Collection of #quotes, love quotes, best life quotes, quotations, cute life quote, and sad life #quote. You can see it in Curiano Quotes Life. Visit it here

August 24, 2014


'Outlander' Recap: Episode 3 – A New Enemy & A New Hope

watch Episode 3  HERE 

Claire, Jamie and Laoghaire in 'Outlander' Episode 3

As Claire Beauchamp worked to focus on her life as a healer at Castle Leoch in Starz's latest episode of "Outlander," the time traveler found herself making a dangerous new enemy.
And from dodging Geillis Duncan's (Lotte Verbeek) nosey questions, fending off Dougal MacKenzie's (Graham McTavish) insults, and getting jealous over Jamie McTavish's (Sam Heughan) intimate moment with a young lady, Claire had her hands full as she experienced life in 1743.
Here's how things played out in "Outlander" Season 1, Episode 3 – "The Way Out":
1940s – A Goodbye
It's World War II in this "Outlander" flashback sequence and Frank and Claire Randall are parting on a train platform. He's been trying to use his connections to get her orders changed, but the headstrong Claire won't have it. "Darling, it will be all right," she tells him, her big blue eyes, staring into his big brown ones. "I'll be all right, I'm sure of it. You have to trust me on this." He does. "Woe but I the man that stands between you and what you set your mind upon," Frank says. "Damn, if that stubbornness isn't what I find so attractive about you." The pair part as Claire goes off to the frontlines of the conflict. "Welcome to the 20th century," she quips.
Photo Credit: Starz/Sony Pictures Entertainment
(Claire and Frank part | Photo Credit: Starz/Sony Pictures Entertainment)
"I seem to have fallen through time." – Claire Beauchamp
1743: A Confession?
It's morning and Claire is bathing with a little help from Mrs. Fitz, who marvels at her "unmarked skin." "Your next husband'll be a lucky man," she observes. A kinship having developed between them, Claire decides to open up about her husband. "He hasn't been born yet," she tells a confused Mrs. Fitz. "I seem to have fallen through time," Claire adds, explaining what happened at Craig na Dun. "I'm not an English spy. I'm from the future," she adds. Mrs. Fitz backs up. "Be gone, evil demon! ... Witch! Witch," Mrs. Fitz screams.
But it's just a daydream, and not real. Claire snaps out of it to hear Mrs. Fitz going on about the upcoming gathering. "'Tis where all the MacKenzie men throughout the Highlands come and plight their oath to the clan and Himself," Mrs. Fitz explains, noting that if Claire does good work as the MacKenzie healer during the event, she might get in Colum and Dougal's good graces.
After taking the morning to go through Davie Beaton's things in the surgery, Claire (who now has permanent watchdogs Angus and Rupert trailing her) heads up to the kitchen, where she sees a disturbance take place. Shona, Colum's chambermaid, is distraught. Her son just died after a "demon" got into him during his visit to monastery ruins known as the Black Kirk. Before Claire can get more information, a young man comes in to get her for Colum.
"Sometimes I wonder what I did to make the devil punish me like this." – Colum MacKenzie
Getting To Know Colum
Upstairs, in Colum's chamber, Claire finds the Laird scolding a tailor, who made his coat too long. "Did your wife's people encourage you to mock your Laird?" Colum asks angrily. "I just thought--," the tailor says, trying to come up with an excuse. "That my legs should be hidden? That I have something to be ashamed of?" Colum shouts. Pulling out a blade, Colum orders the tailor to make him a standard size coat by the following day. The man leaves, thankful for his life.
Spotting Claire in the doorway, Colum starts to disrobe. He wants Claire to take up massaging his legs (Beaton used to do it). "What's wrong, do you find my legs as repellent as the tailor does?" Colum asks when he spots Claire looking him over. Actually, no. She thinks its better to massage the base of his spine. Colum pulls up his shirt to reveal his bare buttocks, Claire pauses. "Don't tell me my ar** offends you too?" he asks. She smiles and begins her work. Colum uses the moment to discuss Shona and the young boy taken by "demons." He too is scared of what can happen at the Black Kirk, and talk quickly turns to Colum's own condition. "Sometimes I wonder what I did to make the devil punish me like this," he says. Getting no reply from Claire, Colum asks her if they have demons in Oxfordshire. "We do. But we call them Scots," she quips.
"It's not me he fancies." – Laoghaire MacKenzie
A Concert With Jamie
Standing in the great hall, Claire sips her Rhenish. "My brother looks very well tonight. He says it's down to you and your healing touch," Dougal MacKenzie tells Claire as he joins her. She was happy to help, Claire notes. "Aye, it seems like the feral cat we picked up on the road is trying to pull in her claws," Dougal replies, indicating he's clearly no closer to trusting her.
Seeking kinder company, Claire joins Laoghaire MacKenzie on a bench. They chit-chat until Jamie comes in. "That's quite the fine figure, Mr. McTavish," Claire says. "But it's not me he fancies," Laoghaire replies, revealing to Claire her Jamie crush as he comes over over and sits between them.
In front of the crowd, Gwyllyn the Bard (Gillebridge MacMillan) starts to sing. Enchanted by his voice, Claire asks about him. Gwyllyn has been around since Jamie spent time at Leoch as a teen. "I remember when you were here before," Laoghaire tells Jamie. "Do you not remember me from then?" she asks. "No... I don't think so," he replies, crushing the poor girl.
With the concert nearly over, Jamie asks Claire for assistance. "This dressing's been chafing me for days. Would you mind helping me with it?" She agrees and Jamie hands Laoghaire his empty glass before following Claire to the surgery.
"I dinnae need your help. I just thought I should see you back to the surgery while you could still walk upright," Jamie says when they arrive. In truth, the wound has been irritating him, and Claire wonders why he didn't tell her at the stables. He didn't want Old Alec to see his scars, Jamie explains. "I think if Alec were to see the scars, he couldn't see me anymore without thinking of my back," he adds.
But she saw them. "You seem to have a knack for letting me know you feel sorry for it without making me feel pitiful about it," Jamie shares. A tender moment passes between them, and Jamie cuts it short by suggesting he should leave. She stops him near the stairs and undoes the ties around his neck. Quickly, things get a little cozy again. "Take those bandages off in a few days," Claire says, trying to remain professional. "As you say," he answers. She nods at him and says goodnight.
"You believe in the powers of magic, do you not?" – Geillis Duncan
Another Warning From Geillis
Outside Castle Leoch the next morning, Claire runs into Geillis, who reveals that Father Bain will be performing an exorcism on Tammas. The young man (Mrs. Fitz's nephew) went with Shona's son to the ruins and now he's been "seized with the same evil" too. "Do you not believe in demonic possession, Claire?" Geillis asks when Claire gives her a funny look. "Demon, fairy, devil, it doesn't matter what name we put on them. But you believe in the powers of magic, do you not?" the redhead asks her new friend. Claire doesn't address the question, instead suggesting that together, they could help him. "People believe the boy is possessed, Claire. You challenge that at your peril. I'll not go near him and neither should you," Geillis warns the Sassenach.
Going to see Tammas without her, Claire finds the boy tied down (due to demons, Mrs. Fitz says). Once Father Bain arrives, Claire's suggestions for care are discarded.
Later, back inside Leoch, Claire sits down with her worries, but hearing a chuckle coming from near the staircase breaks her concentration and she turns to see Laoghaire and Jamie kissing. Briefly, Jamie opens his eyes and sees Claire, who quickly turns away. He goes back to his smooch.
"He needs a woman, not a lassie." -- Murtagh
Claire's Jealous Moment
"Your lip looks a little swollen, Jamie. Did you get thumped by a horse?" Claire asks the Highlander from across the dinner table. A little more teasing prompts him to put his boot on Claire's shoe, but she kicks it off, forcing him to spill his glass, irritating Murtagh. Making up an excuse, Jamie leaves. "If you're teasing the lad about Laoghaire, if her father or Colum comes to know about it young Jamie could get more than a bloodied nose," Murtagh tells Claire. "Like a wife?" she asks. "Maybe. That's not the wife he should have. ... He needs a woman, not a lassie. And Laoghaire will be a girl until she's 50. I've been around long enough to know the difference very well. And so do you, mistress," Murtagh says, leaving Claire to sit there alone and ashamed. She admits watching Jamie and Laoghaire made her miss Frank.
"You wouldn't expect me to be less bold than a wee Sassenach lassie, would you?" – Jamie
18th Century Village Justice
While stocking up for the gathering at Geillis' the next day, Claire learns more about Father Bain. "He takes the view that every woman since Eve is a born temptress who should be beaten daily by her husband to keep evil at bay," Geillis notes.
A commotion outside stops their chat. Father Bain is dragging a young boy to Arthur Duncan (Geillis' husband) to determine his punishment for stealing. He'll likely lose his hand, Claire learns. She tries to use reason and logic on Arthur (who has a loud and grumbling digestive system), but he doesn't care. Hoping to impress Claire, Geillis cozies up to her spouse and charms him into a lighter sentence – "one hour in the pillory and one ear nailed." Looking out the window, Claire can only watch as the poor lad's ear is nailed to the pillory. Unaffected by the scene outside, Geillis goes back to probing Claire, when there's a knock at the door. It's Jamie, there to fetch her. "Mistress Beauchamp was just about to tell me of her unusual upbringing. ... Why don't you have a glass of port and listen in?" Geillis asks. But, bad luck for Geillis. Jamie catches Claire's "get-me-out-of-here" look and makes an excuse for them to leave.
Seeing the poor boy still nailed to the pillory as they head outside to pack up, Claire asks Jamie for help with a little scheme. To distract the crowd, Claire fakes fainting while Jamie yanks the nail out to free the boy (Geillis watches from the window).
As they pack to leave, Claire thanks Jamie for taking the risk. "You wouldn't expect me to be less bold than a wee Sassenach lassie, would you?" he smiles. But, she's got another favor to ask -- a trip to the Black Kirk.
Jamie went there as a young man, he tells Claire at the ruins. Back then, he and his friends would occasionally eat wood garlic or berries if available. It's a clue and Claire solves the problem. The demonic-possessed boys ate Lily of the Valley, which looks just like wood garlic. Knowing how poisonous it is, Claire rushes back to Tammas.
"Satan may like to make a fool of God, but God will have the last word." – Father Bain

A New Enemy
Things are bad for poor Tammas, who the Father is blessing, when Claire barges in. "I think I can save his life," she says, explaining that young Tammas ate the poisonous plant. "You are not ordained to drive away the demon. Now leave this house this instant," the Father spits back at Claire. But it's up to Mrs. Fitz who stays, and she chooses her new friend. Giving the youngster a belladonna concoction brings the boy back from the brink. Father Bain is furious. "Satan may like to make a fool of God, but God will have the last word," he says, storming out.
"I stood upon the hill and the wind did rise and the sound of thunder rolled across the land." – Jamie for Gwyllyn the Bard
No Longer Just A Folk's Tale
Having saved Tammas, Claire now has the reputation of being a miracle worker, and she gets looks from the people of Leoch when she enters the hall. As she stands at the back, Claire worries she'll never be able to leave.
"Over here," Jamie says, rushing up to her. "Did you not see me waving? I nearly reinjured my arm." Dragging her over to a good vantage spot, Jamie translates Gwyllyn's lyrics. He's singing a folk tale about a something that happened on the eve of Samhain. "The stones seem to say, I stood upon the hill and the wind did rise and the sound of thunder rolled across the land," Jamie translates. "I placed my hands upon the tallest stone and travelled to a far, distant land."
"But one day, I saw the moon came out and the wind rose once more, so I touched the stones, and traveled back to my own land and took up again with a man I had left behind," Jamie translates. Smiling, Claire realizes it's not a folk tale at all and she'll do anything to get back to the stones.
"Outlander" airs Saturdays at 9 PM on Starz.
-- Jolie Lash
watch Episode 3  HERE



August 23, 2014

Dr. WHO - Season 8 - Episode 1

OK, Whovians, your long wait is over.
Tonight, BBC America will broadcast the first episode of the new season of the classic science-fiction showDoctor Who. It will introduce Peter Capaldi, 56, as the latest incarnation of the Doctor.
For those new to the 50-year-old series, the Doctor is an alien, a Time Lord, who travels in a time machine (TARDIS) disguised as a 1960s British police box, sharing his adventures with a number of companions — men, women and others. Those adventures can go forward in time to the death of the universe, or back in time to the days of the dinosaurs.
The new season starts with a Tyrannosaurus rex stalking past Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament in London. The magic of Doctor Who is that the most improbable of events can happen at the same time.
The show was first broadcast in 1963, starring William Hartnell. When he retired three years later, the Doctor was “regenerated” (or replaced) by a new actor, Patrick Troughton, thereby allowing the popular show to continue.
The Doctor has regenerated 12 or more times, depending on how you count them.
Confused? So are many fans.
It is part of the Doctor Who legend that the character could regenerate only 12 times.
In the Christmas 2013 episode, however, the Doctor was granted extra regenerations, and a new count was started.
The regenerations have extended the longevity of a series that has grown in popularity during the past decade.
Last season ended in a burst of glory when Smith, the youngest actor to play the Doctor when he took over at 26, handed over the character to Capaldi.
Series writer Steven Moffat will introduce the start of the fresh season in a way that helps new viewers catch up (or be sucked into) the show.
Stick with it. Doctor Who can be a treat to watch even if you don’t know the back story or haven’t seen any of the other episodes.
Or, as one of the characters says, “Well, then. Here we go again.”
watch season 8 episode one HERE
Peter Capaldi and Jenna Coleman

August 20, 2014

Outlander - Episode 1 & 2


Claire Randall is a WWII combat nurse visiting Inverness, Scotland with her husband, Frank Randall, reacquainting themselves with each other after being separated for 5 years during the war. Frank is researching his family history, in particular his ancestor Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall. The morning after observing a modern Druid ritual among a set of standing stones, Claire hears a strange noise coming from one of the stones. She places her hands on it and ... wakes up lying on the ground. Soon she finds herself in the middle of a skirmish between Redcoats and Highlander rebels, and then comes face to face with Frank's sinister double: Jonathan Wolverton Randall, Captain of His Majesty's Dragoons. A Scotsman rescues Claire from Jonathan's attack and takes her to his fellows; there she meets Jamie Fraser, first setting his dislocated arm and then treating his bullet wound as the group of Highlanders flee the Redcoats. She is brought to their home of Castle Leoch.   
Watch HERE or HERE 
for Episode One unedited orif you want the 'naughty bits' edited out. Go HERE for part one and HERE for part two. 


Claire is presented to Colum MacKenzie, laird of the castle, and soon realizes that she is under suspicion of being an English spy. She meets the mysterious Geillis Duncan, and witnesses Jaime doing a kindness for the granddaughter of Mrs Fitzgibbons. As Claire prepares to return to Inverness and the standing stones, Colum decides it is best to keep her at Leoch — against her will — as their healer. 

Watch HERE for the unedited version

Downton Abbey Season FIVE - NEW info on Episode 1 - It's going to be HOT!

from an article on
Warning: Spoiler ahead about the Season 5 premiere of Downton Abbey!
Over the course of its four seasons on-air, Downton Abbey has largely avoided stunts or action sequences of any kind, unless they were pulled off in the most gentlemanly way possible. Even when Lady Mary and a suitor dove into a muddy pig pen last season—long story—they did so while wearing formal wear. And in the show’s most tragic scene to date, killing off Matthew at the end of season three, producers took the dignified (and far less expensive) route of having the car crash take place off-screen. So it is especially surprising to learn today that Downton producers have filmed a dangerous, death-defying stunt for the period drama’s fifth-season opener: a fire.
Dear viewers, producers have set our beloved Yorkshire home away from home on fire in the first episode of the new season. The show’s executive producer Liz Trubridge has confirmed the plot twist and even explained how the show pulled off the illusion, which reportedly affects one of the main characters’ bedrooms. (If Downton sets Lady Edith’s boudoir ablaze, on top of everything that has already happened to her, so help us God, we will revolt.)
“The scenes were shot between the actual house [Highclere Castle, which doubles as Downton] and the studio,” Trubridge told a U.K. television site. “Because of the very nature of a stately home, you can’t have smoke, because it can cause damage.”
Even though the castle’s owners gave production the O.K. to pump smoke into the gallery, producers went about “rebuild[ing] the gallery on the stage at Ealing [Studios] . . . We did some of the sequences at Highclere, and some were done in a room that we could set fire to and burn down at Ealing.” In the conversation, Trubridge suggests that Branson (Allen Leech) helps fight the fire. If this is correct, it seems as though the flames start, or at least spread to, upstairs.
In further acknowledgement of the fire, which “sweep[s] throughout the estate” in the season premiere, The Telegraph has published a story today about Highclere Castle’s own history of fires. In fact, if viewers look closely at scenes set in the North Library, Highclere owner Lady Carnarvon says that the gilded ceiling is “far less ornate than the main library” thanks to damage from a fire 150 years ago.
The apparently stunt-packed fifth season premiere of Downton Abbey airs in the U.S. on January 4 and in the UK in September.

August 19, 2014

New Obsession: OUTLANDER

I'm in love. I'm guessing you will be too. 

Claire Randall is a WWII combat nurse visiting Inverness, Scotland with her husband, Frank Randall, reacquainting themselves with each other after being separated for 5 years during the war. Frank is researching his family history, in particular his ancestor Jonathan "Black Jack" Randall. The morning after observing a modern Druid ritual among a set of standing stones, Claire hears a strange noise coming from one of the stones. She places her hands on it and ... wakes up lying on the ground. Soon she finds herself in the middle of a skirmish between Redcoats and Highlander rebels, and then comes face to face with Frank's sinister double: Jonathan Wolverton Randall, Captain of His Majesty's Dragoons. A Scotsman rescues Claire from Jonathan's attack and takes her to his fellows; there she meets Jamie Fraser, first setting his dislocated arm and then treating his bullet wound as the group of Highlanders flee the Redcoats. She is brought to their home of Castle Leoch.

Official OUTLANDER site info:

Now if you dont have STARZ - boy do I have a treat for you. You can watch the FREE first episode from STARZ right HERE!!  

August 14, 2014

New GORGEOUS Photos from Downton Abbey - Season 5

PBS’ Masterpiece has released several brand new looks at Downton Abbeyseason 5, including the annual cast photo in front of their iconic home.
(Can you spot an error  in one of these photos?)
This year’s Downton Abbey group photo, pictured above, includes several notable additions: Robert’s dog is making his first appearance in the group photo as are Lady Mary and Branson’s respective children (the new actors for the kids were announced last week).

Several high-res Downton Abbey season 5 stills were also released by PBS/Masterpiece today. In them we see characters like Branson, Lord Gillingham, Lady Mary, Isobel Crawley, Bates and Anna, Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes, Thomas, Daisy, Cora, Branson, and others.

Of all these photos, the most telling may be the one of Lady Mary, Lord Gillingham, and Branson. Has Mary selected Gillingham as her new suitor in the wake of Matthew’s death? Throughout season 4 Lady Mary was frequently caught between Gillingham and Charles Blake, but the former has always had the favor of the audience thanks to his dashing looks and chemistry with Mary.
Speaking of new relationships, we haven’t forgotten about Mr. Carson and Mrs. Hughes briefly holding hands at the end of season 4 as they enjoyed some relaxing time on the beach. Will sparks finally fly between these two in the upcoming season? The photo certainly isn’t suggesting such a thing, but it definitely feels like a possibility.
Downton Abbey season 5 runs from January 4 to March 1, 2015 on PBS’ Masterpiece. Can’t wait until then? The show will be airing in the United Kingdom on ITV beginning in September, although no premiere date has been announced yet.