Friday, 22 October 2010


Wow, don't they make you want to run out and buy some really tight black pants this minute? No? Okay, just me then...

Well, Happy Friday, everyone. The first thing I need to do is to make a confession. I have been a bad author.

I know that I promised you reviews. Lots of reviews. I've read plenty of books, including an ARC of Afterlife by Claudia Gray, Wings by Aprilynne Pike, Dark Heart Forever by Lee Monroe and most of Delirium by Lauren Oliver. I know that I also promised to review Series One of The Vampire Diaries. And that's where the problem came up.

I was probably the biggest Buffy the Vampire Slayer fan in the world who did not live in Joss Whedon's house. But in recent years this huge surge of romantic, sparkling, brooding vampires clogging up the shelves and screens started to get on my nerves, as a result of which, I have been avoiding vampires of any description for some time. When I read on Sarah Rees Brennan's blog that Vampire Diaries was 'hilarible' (hilariously horrible) I decided to give it a try, just to see if it would refresh my palate a bit and allow me to enjoy the blood-suckers again. I thought it would be a cheesy, over-the-top, badly acted mess. And lo, the first few episodes kept me happily laughing and mocking. I fully intended to come here and snark about it for the entertainment of all.

And then it went and got all GOOD. Good in terms of writing and acting (though I still think Nina Dobrev looks about as much like a normal High School student as I do an international tennis player) and in terms of complex arcs that unfold in unexpected ways. Suddenly Vampire Diaries was going the sort of places that Buffy did, and even dipping its toes into areas Buffy did not dare to. But there was ONE VITAL DIFFERENCE. Humour. Buffy has my eternal devotion because no matter what, there was always a funny side. Vampire Diaries has very little humour amid the killings and suffering and angst and vampire boyfriends and angst and did I mention the ANGST? As a result, watching it rapidly made me feel very grim indeed.

It got to the point where I found myself sighing and groaning through most scenes. But I kept on watching, partly because I had promised you guys a review, and partly because I wanted to see what would happen with my favourite character (one of only two funny people in the show). Yes, he's the insanely hammy Spike-alike. Whatever, his performance made me smile.

And then he got his eyes goudged out by another vampire.  I was...not prepared for that.

So I thought to myself: Self, you did not sign up for this. You wanted giggles and nonsense. There is quite a lot of nonsense - like that outfit that the heroine is wearing right now! Good grief! - but very little giggles to be had in this show. Hence, this show is not fun anymore. Let's stop, Self, before you get so depressed you end up eating a whole packet of chocolate digestive biscuits in one go.

But by then it was too late. I was *already* so depressed that I wanted to eat a whole packet of chocolate biscuits in one go. And there is only one reliable cure for that.

Glee. The mad-cap, whacky US show about the shenanigans of a group of misfit (and yet somehow stunningly attractive and talented) school kids.

I told myself I would only watch one episode, but...anyone who's ever watched Glee will know how likely that sort of promise is to be kept. Basically, I spent the whole of today watching Glee, and I'm not sorry. I feel much better (and I also feel a strong desire to sing show tunes). But I wrote no reviews.

I beg your pardon. I'll try to get to them over the weekend.

Oh, and if anyone has any topics they'd like to see in the coming week - drop me a line in comments and I'll try my best to oblige.


Isabel said...

Hi Zoe,
Oh, everyone in my class at school is absolutely OBSESSED with Glee, so I literally cracked up when I read this blog post. It's so ironic, cause I never really watched it, my obsession is reading this blog, and then everyone was always saying I had to watch Glee, so that a post on your blog about Glee just made me nearly fall over with laughter. Gonna text everyone about this...

Four more days till THE EMERALD FLAME!

Saya said...

Ha, Vampire Diaries.

Firstly: I was the world's biggest LJ Smith fan straight up from the age of 12 to...however long I waited for Strange Fate (the last book of the Nightworld series which I've been waiting for since I was...15? That's MORE THAN A DECADE AGO.)

Secondly: VD was reissued when they wanted to keep LJS fans occupied and not breaking down their doors for Strange Fate.

Thirdly: Book 1 was okay. Good, even. So was book 2. Book 3 was rubbish and book 4 made me want to kill people.

Fourthly: Since vampires became hip and cool, they dramatised VD. I watched it for earlier LJS fangirl reasons. For about 3 episodes. And then I decided no. I was not going to watch anymore. It was depressing. It departed from the book rather a lot. Everyone died. It was gruesome and I hate gruesome. And if it followed the book, it would be horrible. If it didn't follow the book, what would be the point?

I've been tempted to carry on watching it, but I keep trying to remind myself why I stopped - part of it was also moral reservations, which I know are unfashionable, but I have nevertheless. I always felt kind of bleh after watching it, but Nina Dobrev is so pretty and I liked watching her.

I'm kind of tempted to try them again, though.

And sometimes I feel like such an old woman - I consult my little sister about what's going in the world of entertainment (she told me what Glee was). She was shocked when I didn't know who Justin Bieber was XD


In other news: I really enjoy watching Life With Derek. I am so not hip.

Zoë Marriott said...

Isabel: well, you already know that I'm a music geek, but you didn't know I was a modern and classical dancer in school as well, did you? So Glee is definitely my bag, and I recommend it.

Saya: I've never read L J Smith's books so I don't know where the series departs from them, but I'm pretty sure the books can't be as depressing. And I'm willing to bet there's a lot less drinking, drugs and hooking up in them, too! Oh, TV, why must you dumb everything down and sex everything up...

Who in the heck wants to be hip? Hip is so last year. Being an empowered, strong individual? THAT is this year's hip.

Saya said...

Well I like to HAVE hips? They hold up my trousers. The rest of the time, we can be hop. Hahahaha. Sorry.

The books were pretty bad - they had SERIOUS character decay. Really, it was so bad. The drinking and drugs and sex were all part of the reason why I just couldn't stomach it anymore. It was too much! Get on with the story already! TV, sigh.

Life with Derek is so much better. Especially since you can totally watch it all on YouTube.

Zoë Marriott said...

"Well I like to HAVE hips? They hold up my trousers."

Dude. Way to step on my inspiration message there.

No one appreciates me. *Le Sigh*

Saya said...

Well you have hips, too, right?

Totally inspiring. Jump around and sing 'I have hips! I'm a hip hippy hipped woman!'

Tell me that doesn't make you feel better. And a little hippy. And trippy.


Zoë Marriott said...

How many hours straight have you been working without a break now? Because, it's not that I don't appreciate my hips (they keep my legs on, after all) but the hysterical laughter there at the end has me slightly worried. Maybe you should have a nap?

Alex Mullarky said...

The Vampire Diaries is FREAKING AWESOME.
I am so glad you think this too.
I started watching it when I was already wayyyy over the vampire craze and actually wanted to kill all vampire-loving tweens. It was so me and my mum could bond, because she watched it, because she is essentially a vampire-loving tween who also happens to be mother to an 18-year-old. Anyway, long story short, I mocked it, I LOVED IT, I never wanted to be parted from it again.

Alex Mullarky said...

Oh, can't stand Glee though. Sorry!

Zoë Marriott said...

Well, everyone is different, after all. But The Vampire Diaries and I have decided to spend a little time apart until I get my perspective back. Watching eighteen episodes of any intense, dark, angsty show non-stop over about four days is NOT a great way to preserve a happy mood...

Isabel said...

Oh, I watched some Glee episodes. It wasn't bad, but, if you don't mind me saying, I found it a bit corny. I am particularly referring to the "Grilled Chesus" episode. It was okay.

Zoë Marriott said...

Glee *is* cheesy. That's what I love about it! That's why I actually enjoyed the first Twilight film. Cheesy, corny, over-the-top stuff makes me smile. If I also get fantastic music and dancing, then I'm hooked.

Isabel said...

Hi Zoe,
I'm just finishing up CYBELE'S SECRET, and I am actually quite satisfied with this ending. There was quite a lot of character development, (Hurrah!!) not only in Paula, the main character and protagonist, but also in the other characters involved in the story. The second half of the book, quite in contrast to the first, has really been full of shocking surprises in terms of the characters' motives and the turn of events. It was sooo satisfying to see the story play out in this fashion. Though I also pride myself in saying I was suspicious of a certain character right from the beginning. But I don't want to spoil too much. Who knows, you may one day be reading this series. I'll be checking out many other books by Juliet Marillier at my local library. I was surprised to find last time I visited that her books are generally grouped in the Adult section, instead of YA. She IS quite a sophisticated author.
It's perfect timing that I am finishing this book today, because tomorrow I may be getting my hands on THE EMERALD FLAME!! Happiness!
I'll definitely be telling you all about how awesome this book is once I've finished it. Hopefully it will live up to the first two in the series. The cover looks really cool. =D

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