The X-Files – Trailers

Last night Fox aired two new trailers for the upcoming mini X-Files season, links here and here.

While I didn’t watch them when they aired, I did view
them afterwards and loved it. What do these brief trailers tell us?  Well, not much really. Other than Scully is surprised to get a call from Mulder, Skinner’s got a beard, and we get a glimpse of the nefarious cigarette smoking man (actually, just his cigarette). Who could ask for more!?

Fox is doing a great job at hyping the return of The X-Files – from their 201 Days of X-Files campaign to reaching to fans on Twitter – and I for one am buying into it.  Sad you say? I don’t care.  The return of The X-Files is a wonderful thing for this t.v. junkie and even if the mini-season doesn’t live up to the hype, I’m Okay with it.

The X-Files premieres Sunday, January 24th, after the NFC Championship game on FOX.

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Shows worth watching: Being Human UK version

Tell me if you’ve hard this before: a werewolf, a ghost, and a vampire all live together and try to pass themselves off as humans.  In the saturated world of werewolves/vampires, etc., this could be a boring concept.  However, Being Human is so much more than a show about supernatural beings. Annie the ghost, played by Lenora Crichlow, is sad and lonely and wants desperately for other to see her.  Her flatmates can see her but that’s not enough for this ghost in limbo. George the werewolf, played by Russell Tovey, is so far removed from his werewolf side and deeply struggles with his full moon transformations.  Mitchell the vampire, played by Aidan Turner, has the confidence and sex appeal to be the vampire but he’s sworn off human blood and struggles to not give into his blood thirst. None of them want this life.  They all are lonely, sad, and yearn for a normal life. Their shared loneliness and sadness bring them together and they form a deep bond that helps them through the most difficult and dark times.

The focus of Being Human is on the emotion of the three main characters.  It’s about their relationship and their shared experiences about being outsiders who want nothing more than to be seen as normal humans.  It’s about how finding the right people at the right time can help a person overcome feelings of vast loneliness and despair and make someone feel normal the way they are. Yes the supernatural aspect plays a big part of the show but it’s not the only aspect of the show.

What I like about Being Human is how well these three, original actors and characters fit together.  The chemistry of all three actors is evident from the start and helps to make the character’s situation believable. Russell Tovey is perfectly cast as the werewolf.  He plays Georges’s mild-mannered disposition with incredible nuance, making his werewolf self such a vast contrast in personality that it’s shocking George could even be a werewolf. Lenora Crichlow plays Annie as a somewhat naive young woman who eventually finds her strength via her relationship with George and Mitchell.  And Aidan Turner plays the smoldering Mitchell with utter conviction you can feel his pain at being a vampire who struggles against what he is. These three fit very well together, making the show strong on their relationships alone.

The series did a decent job of intertwining the three roommates lives and story lines.  Mitchell was a bit of leader in the vampire community despite his attempts at swearing off blood.  Mitchell had a continuing battle with William Herrick, a vampire who has been in his life for long time, and Herrick ends up playing a big part in all three of the main characters lives.  George’s struggle to hide his werewolf side becomes harder when he starts to date Nina.  Nina is a good balance to George and seeing their relationship progress throughout the series is both fun and sad.  Annie, being a ghost, has the hardest time acclimating to her life, but even she gets involved with both Herrick and Nina, as well as achieve closure for her own past experiences.  This makes the series more solid for me since the three do live separate lives but yet are closely meshed to each other.

The series goes through some big changes in seasons four and five, with Turner leaving at the end of season three, and Tovey and Crichlow both departing in season four.  Each of the episodes where these characters left were highly emotional and fitting send offs.  Hal (the vampire), Tom (the werewolf), and Alex (the ghost) were the replacements and were played by good actors, but the series didn’t quite capture the same chemistry or appeal of the original cast members or stories. Of note of these three replacements to me was Michael Socha, who played Tom the werewolf.  He was a worthy replacement of George’s emotional werewolf.  Tom fit well with everyone and had an endearing quality that made him very easy to like.

I will briefly mention the SyFy version of Being Human.  I watched one, maybe two episodes of this rendition, but thought it paled in comparison to the original one (even seasons 4 & 5 were better than the SyFy version).  The SyFy version lacked the chemistry and interest of the original series and I didn’t think the actors were correctly cast.  Note that this opinion is from a very biased love of the original series so it’s not really a fair reflection of the SyFy show.

Being Human ended after the fifth season and I thought the writers did the correct thing by ending the series at that time.  The story of Hal, Tom, and Alex, while not as compelling as the original trio, had run its course, and the series came to a fitting and emotional end.  Of the myriad supernatural series out there, Being Human is one of the better ones, in my opinion.  It wasn’t only about being a werewolf, a vampire, or a ghost.  It was about what makes that person human, even though they have an inhuman quality. It’s also about relationships and how they can help someone through a difficult or trying time.  And that no one should be all alone – everyone needs someone to be there for them, whether it’s just someone to talk to or someone to share similar experiences with.  If you are looking for a grown up version of the supernatural, this show is one to check out. Being Human is available on DVD, via Amazon, or via iTunes (according to the BBC America website).

The Boy Who Could See Demons by Carolyn Jess-Cooke

Child wpid-20150823_142426.jpgpsychologist Dr. Anya Molokova has moved back to her hometown of Dublin, Ireland and works at MacNeice the-mad-reviewer-reading-challenge-2015House, an adolescent mental health treatment center. She is asked to meet and assess Alex Connolly, a 10-year-old whose mother is hospitalized due to her latest suicide attempt.  Alex has been self-harming, disruptive, and claims his imaginary friend, Ruen, is a demon and the one making him act the way he does.  Anya has seen this behavior before and believes it is early on set schizophrenia, which Anya witnessed in her own daughter Poppy. While assessing and observing Alex, Anya starts to see strange things and she begins to question her diagnosis, making her wonder if Ruen is really real.  The true diagnosis turns out to be shocking and not what Anya expected at all.

Wow. I could not put this book down, reading it in two days. The Boy Who Could See Demons was compelling, well written, and made me want to keep reading to find out what was going to happen. I found both main characters, Anya and Alex, easy to relate to, even though I have no personal experience with either psychology or schizophrenia.  The pace of the book was very fast but not distracting. Anya’s story about her own daughter’s fight with schizophrenia was emotional and heart-breaking, making her desire to help Alex all the more difficult.

Alex’s demon, Ruen, at times seemed so real I couldn’t help thinking that Alex wasn’t imagining things.  Alex is a very grown up 10-year-old, having to deal with his unstable mother almost his entire life, and that made his interactions with Anya as well as Ruen all the more believable.  Ruen is what one would imagine a demon to be – manipulative, cruel, and deceptive.  Ruen makes Alex ask questions of Anya that would be impossible for Alex to come up on his own, thus enveloping Anya into Ruen’s dastardly plans. To say too much more would give too much of the story away.

The very end of the book takes a wholly unexpected turn that I absolutely did not see coming. This ending, however, did not make me mad and I thought it made sense.  After reading this book I did some searching of other reviews to read what others thought of it.  I found out that the UK version of this book, which was the original publication, is different from the US version. Needless to say this discovery drove me batty.  I now need to pick up a copy of the UK version so I can read the author’s original intent and ending to see how things differ.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to many others to read, though it may not appeal to everyone. Schizophrenia is not a light topic and The Boy Who Could See Demons approached it in a very real manner.  This is a fiction book but I kept thinking to myself it could easily be an account of a real person.  The imagery was vivid and I thought the author wrote about the subject manner with a great amount of respect and care.