Book vs Screen Review: True Blood Season 1 vs Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

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But First, A Brief, Non-Exhaustive Tour Through My Favorite Romantic Vampire Media

Though I have been writing reviews on this blog for more than three years, I have been keeping a dark secret from you, dear readers. I haven’t really been keeping the secret on purpose, but a lie of omission is still a lie, so please, try to forgive me. I don’t think this reveal will come as much of a shock to my regular readers.

The truth is, I have a deep, lifelong love of vampire romance. I’m open minded, and can consider other supernatural romances as well, but werewolves are so packminded that I question their devotion to their beloved. Ghosts seem so thin and superficial. Zombies are interested in brains, but I want more than just a relationship of the mind. Angels and demons both have to leave their beloveds in the lurch when they get called into service by the higher- and lower- powers they serve. A shapeshifter is an inconstant lover in so many ways, how could we ever develop trust?

There are exceptions: Oz from Buffy. The medieval ghosts of Lynn Kurland’s paranormal romance novels. The sentient zombies of In the Flesh. The married angel-demon couple from Midnight, Texas, another Charlaine Harris story. And no one is more trustworthy than True Blood’s own shapeshifter, Sam Merlotte.

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The Man in the High Castle Season 4 Episode 2: Every Door Out… Recap

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“Every door out… is a door in.” In season 4, episode 2, Dr Mengele and his portal experiments return. The program has advanced significantly in the last year, with regular teams of Nazi spies making the trip to the Alt-World for both espionage and sabotage. Thanks to Hawthorne Abendsen and the Reich’s enhanced interrogation methods, Mengele has also made a map of the multiverse. John Smith understands the potential waiting for them in each world- if the Nazis can send someone to a new world, that world can send someone to the High Castle world as well. Everyplace is a potential threat.

Including schools and homes in the American Reich, since children have been taught to spy on and turn in their loved ones. Some, like Amy, are very enthusiastic about enforcing the rules. Jennifer isn’t happy about being back in the Reich, so John has to play referee between his two daughters to keep them both alive.

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Reprisal Season 1 Episode 1: The Tale of Harold Horpus Recap

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My review of Reprisal season 1 is HERE.

In episode 1 of Reprisal, we’re introduced to Katherine Harlow, aka Doris Quinn, who begins the story as a scorned part of the Banished Brawlers gang, but soon reinvents herself into Chef D, a respectable Detroit caterer. Unfortunately, Chef D finds that the men of the Detroit restaurant world aren’t much different from the men of her hometown gangster world, which forces her to make some decisions that will affect more than just herself. As William Faulkner said in his novel Requiem for a Nun, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

Reprisal takes place in a neo-retro noir alternative world that could be the recent past, but could also be a future which has regressed technologically. It could be 100 years into our future, in which we’ve dialed back the level of materialism in order to save the planet or because of the way wealth has been redistributed. In the retrofuture world of Reprisal, Original Star Trek’s communicators have become modern flip phones, which are in use alongside old style land lines. The music spans many decades, from rockabilly and blues to punk.

Much of the series’ look refers back to the post-war era of the late 1940s-60s, especially as viewed through the lens of film.The creators have drawn from films such as Rebel Without a Cause, Rocky Horror Picture Show, Dirty Dancing, Blade Runner and American Graffiti. They’ve combined the neon of the 50s and the neon of neo noir/cyberpunk into their own disaffected, Gothic Noir style.

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Stumptown Season 1 Episode 9: Dex Education Recap

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The winter finale of Stumptown finds Dex reunited with one of her high school nemeses, a redhead formerly known as “Perfect Penny”, who knew our heroine as “Dirty Dex”. Both have grown beyond their high school personas, though they each still have some of the character quirks that earned them their nicknames, proving we are all works in progress. And that it’s easy to use words to mislead, which happens a lot this week. From the interrogation room techniques the police use to the way the drug dealers try to misdirect Dex, there are many ways to lie, including to oneself.

Penny brings Dex the case of the week, which involves her daughter being expelled from an expensive private high school for dealing drugs. Meanwhile, Dex tries to sort out what really happened at the end of her night out at the casino with Liz.

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Emergence Season 1 Episode 9: Where You Belong Recap

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In episode 9, the winter finale of Emergence, Jo and her family fight to keep Piper out of the hands of the terrorist group that’s been bombing Auger Industries sites. In the process, they come to a mutual agreement about Piper’s standing in the family, Ed pursues a possible treatment for his cancer and a traitor in their midst is revealed.

Some huge events happened very quickly at the end of episode 8, including the death of Alan Wilkis at the hands of a new character, Helen, who accused him of taking something that didn’t belong to him, and Piper finding out the truth about what she is, but not succumbing to the fatal exception.

And Jo and Alex making out. Oh, darn it, that was still only in my head. They are definitely both thinking about it for real, though. Chemistry doesn’t lie. Stay away, new homewrecking FBI Agent Ryan Brooks, Jo’s taken.

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Stumptown Season 1 Episode 8: The Other Woman Recap

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This week on Stumptown, Dex faces old foes and old issues in order to solve a case for Sue Lynn Blackbird. Dex and Grey attempt to navigate around Grey’s relationship with Liz, while Liz and Ansel become better acquainted.

Recap

Dex sits at the bar and checks out a comics-style drawing of herself done by Liz, at Grey’s request, for Dex to use on her PI Yelp page. Grey thinks she needs tp jazz up the page to bring in hits and paying customers. Dex, as usual, rejects ideas that are new and related to Liz, despite Ansel’s enthusiastic approval. During the conversation, they find out that Liz played college soccer with Tobin Heath, a famous real life player for the Portland women’s  pro soccer team, the Portland Thorns FC. Ansel is a big fan of the team.

Sue Lynn enters and puts a stack of cash down in front of Dex as a retainer. She says that someone is harassing her using seemingly minor acts and she wants Dex to find out who. They’ve stolen her wallet, broken into her house, put a rotting fish on her windshield, and laid a honeytrap by sending a man to seduce her. He was just her type, but too perfect. Dex thinks she’s being paranoid. She’s barely finished saying it when a bomb explodes on the hood of Sue Lynn’s car. Dex sees Sue Lynn’s point and takes the job.

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Hulu’s Reprisal Season 1 Review

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This is a review of the entire season. Recaps of individual episodes are posted HERE as I complete them.

Hulu’s new retro noir series Reprisal is a unique show filled with unique characters. As such, it deserves a spot in their pantheon of shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Runaways which highlight complicated characters in fictional worlds that just keep improving the more involved the viewer gets. Altered Carbon is on Netflix, not Hulu, but it’s another show with a similar viewing experience, where it takes several episodes for the characters and the world to click into place and the plot to really take off. Then the viewing experience just gets better and better, as we’re plunged into an immersive world, where everyone has an agenda and anything can happen.

Reprisal takes place in an alternate universe that’s not set in a particular time period, but isn’t the future. It’s set in a neon swingers’ punk gangster scene that combines the look of the late 1940s- early 60s Rat Pack with a few more modern conveniences like 2000s flip phones and 70s muscle cars. It’s gorgeous and lives by its own rules, as this show does in every way.

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Stumptown Season 1 Episode 7: November Surprise Recap

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This week, Dex is hired by the State Senate campaign of Llewellyn Slocombe, a wealthy rancher who was supported by her nemesis Randall Tapper, until Dex cost him so much money that he had to withdraw his donation. Slocombe’s campaign manager, Vanessa, hires Dex to dig up dirt on his gay, but squeaky clean, political opponent, beloved Councilman Dan Gibson. Vanessa gets a little intense about her need to destroy Dan and offers Dex $50k to compromise her morals. Dex decides she can stomach getting involved in politics for that price. Then the building is evacuated because of an anthrax scare.

Politics is a truly cutthroat business.

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Emergence Season 1 Episode 8: American Chestnut Recap

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In episode 8 of Emergence, American Chestnut, Agent Peggy Carter’s ex-boyfriend Enver Gjokaj stops by for a visit with Jo. He clearly has a thing for no nonsense female law enforcement agents. I can’t fault his taste. However, having first seen Enver as one of the Dolls on Joss Whedon’s Dollhouse, I always doubt his true identity and motives just a teensy bit. In this episode, he’s an FBI agent who’s investigating the murder that occurred in the final moments of episode 7. Feds can still be bought and blackmailed, so he’s going to have to earn my trust before I consider him safe to be around Jo, Mia, Piper and the gang.

In this episode we learn a lot about how Piper’s mind works and what it feels like to be her. She and Alex take a road trip back to the place that Piper escaped from, where both gain insight into her powers and past.

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Emergence Season 1 Episode 7: Fatal Exception Recap

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In episode 7, Fatal Exception, Emily makes a move to take Jo’s place as Piper’s mom. She forces Alan Wilkis to help her as she slowly replaces Piper’s memories of Jo with memories of herself. Jo races to find Emily and Alan while protecting the people Emily threatens. Ed and Alex remain angry with Jo over the secrets she kept from them about Piper.

Jo is trying to avoid the Fatal Exception of having Piper learn that she’s an AI, since knowledge of the truth about what she is would set up a cascade failure in her brain. Or at least that’s the way she’s designed. The fact that Piper continuously moves beyond her programming and has already been gradually learning that she’s different suggests that she can evolve past the fatal exception.

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