TV Binge: Once Upon a Time (Season 5, 2015)

Moving right along in the incredible attempt to catch up with Once Upon a Time, I wrapped up Season 5. Once Upon a Time continues to twists up some of the tales and puts together some interesting pairings which is one thing that I love the most about the show. Plus, after so many years, its hard to not love a lot of the characters. It also helps that last year I did end up going to visit the little town that its shot in in Vancouver and totally fangirled which makes seeing Storybrooke so much more personal (in my mind).

Once Upon a Time (Season 5, 2015)

once upon a time s5 poster

Creator: Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis

Cast: Lana Parrilla, Robert Carlyle, Jared Gilmore, Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, Josh Dallas, Colin O’Donoghue, Emilie de Ravin, Rebecca Mader, Sean Maguire, Liam Garrigan, Greg Germann

 Maybe its the fact that hopping back to this that I forgot how packed Once Upon a Time but Season 5 feels like there is a vast amount of characters that traverse the path in the few villains they do cross. As a little season 5 recap, the season picks up where the 4th ends with Emma taking the responsibility to be the Dark One and gets sent back to The Enchanted Forest. The rest of her family finds a way back and they eventually end up in Camelot where they meet King Arthur and Queen Guinevere. They have a secret to complete that involves the search for the Dark One. Somehow they get sent back to Storybrooke and Emma has lost the fight and has embraced has her dark side while wiping away everyone’s memory. A course of events sends Hook to the Underworld where they also follow and get trapped by Hades and confront some of their own people they have lost. When they do find a way back to Storybrooke, they get tricked and sent to The Land of Untold Stories where they meet the infamous Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I think that about covers the general outline.

once upon a time s5

Season 5 is crazy packed as everyone embarks on a journey about their value and whether they are good and evil and being okay with who they are. Some extremities are taken which of course take a turn for a bad the lingers into the next season. Fairy tales are about happy endings and if Once Upon a Time has taught us anything, its that they are quite the rare occurrence in the show especially when it involves Regina and Emma. Being the Savior or a Villain both doesn’t give you the merit to have the happy ending. However, Season 5 may feel packed but its great to see the twists on these characters. In fact it expands on these characters as they also meet Merida and help her with her quest to become queen of Dunbroch.  We flash back to see Mulan and Red Riding Hood and Dorothy and their connection to everything. Of course, it wouldn’t be this show without Rumplestiltskin and his secrets along with trying to get back Belle which also sees a twist on her story and Gaston. Snow also once knew Hercules as well. We see some characters exit the show as well as the Underworld allows some characters to eventually either move on in a good or bad way. Thinking back to the season feels really busy but at times, that is what works to keep us on our toes and always learning that this world still has a lot to offer as they can breakaway from the fairy tales as well as take characters from classics. That is the magic of why I love Once Upon a Time.

once upon a time

The villain this season did have quite a spark. I have to say that in the few times that I’ve seen Greg Germann, he’s always been so fun to watch. This time, he plays Hades and not only does he resemble how Hades looked in Disney’s Hercules but he does take on that villainous role really well. Talking about villains, while I did enjoy the whole Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde bit, the way Mr. Hyde talked was so grating and annoying. If anything, that was the only thing I didn’t like about this season. Once Upon a Time also has these villains that are truly horrible and ruthless. However, they also have this story that gives them a moment of hope for redemption and its always that unknown of whether it will happen or not. Another point of why I do like Once Upon a Time a lot is dealing with the character development and this season may be busy but a lot of the characters had their moment to truly see their thoughts and things they haven’t been able to let go of and in many ways, they did embrace themselves.

once upon a time

Overall, Season 5 was a lot of fun. While you could argue that the huge amount of characters made the story very scattered, somehow it still works very well to keep it fun and adventurous to watch as our characters grew and truly embraced issues that bothered them and confronted their monsters both mentally and physically. A really nice collection of villains and heroes in Season 5 and I’m looking forward to watching Season 6.

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TV Binge: The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Season 1, 2017)

I love watching cooking shows. However, I don’t have actual TV so the only chance is when I visit someone else’s house and it happens to be playing. It does make it a very incomplete experience. Of course, there is the free streaming from one of the national TV channels which holds the episode for a week which is hard to remember sometimes to catch it every once in a while. When The Big Family Cooking Showdown appeared on Netflix, I went right ahead and started watching it. The premise behind it is pretty fun.

Let’s check it out!

The Big Family Cooking Showdown (Season 1, 2017)

the big family cooking showdownHosts: Zoe Ball & Nadiya Hussain

Judges: Rosemary Shrager & Giorgio Locatelli

Competitive food show celebrating the families who make ordinary food extraordinary, presented by Zoe Ball and Nadiya Hussain. – IMDB

The Big Family Cooking Showdown has a decent setup. It shows off families going head to head against each other for the title of the best family chefs. They pick their own teams of three to work together and create these dishes. In the first few episodes, it is two teams and whoever wins will head into the semi-finals. They have three rounds for this cooking event which isn’t live and loses the cooking on the spot as the rounds to get them into the semi-final has been given to them in advance so that they can prepare carefully. It leaves a touch of spontaneity there even if we don’t know what they are doing. Suffice to say, it does show the viewers which team has better time management than others and how they deal in stress as things usually don’t work out the way they would in your own kitchen. The first part when two teams go against each other is in three parts with three challenges: the 10 pound challenge, Home Visits Challenge and Impress Your Neighbors Challenge. The semi-finals have the remaining teams groups in 3 teams against each other for three rounds also:  What’s in the Fridge, Perfect Puddings and Nation’s Favorite With a Twist. And then the final features a continuous making of a three course meal.

the big family cooking showdown

The setup of the competition is pretty nice. The families are slightly diverse with their cultures and heritage adding a nice touch to each of these plates. The teams work out really well against each other. The first part has a nice bit of giving them time to prepare in advance and it really is up to them to have structured a plan with the time constraints and factoring in any stress or changes. At the same time, it also poses that question of losing that spontaneity that teams put on the spot would have. However, the challenges in the first rounds are pretty neat as they focus on family issues starting off with how much food can you make with a constrained budget. The Home Visit gives us a nice snippet of seeing the family in their own environment which helps minimize the accidents that could happen while the final round is impress your neighbors so its making the foods that go above and beyond but dishes that they are proud of in a three course meal. The structure here works because of these themes being more family-oriented. The spontaneity factor is fixed in the semi-final when their first and second challenge are unknown. The first tests their ability to be flexible with what is available to them and the second being how good they can work together and follow instructions while delegating the tasks that each member is better at. While the show does have a lot of pre-preparation, the segments do feel very well-done to make sure that it highlights the team and gives them time to improve on their menus and skills.

the big family cooking showdown

The hosts of the show are Zoe Ball and Nadiya Hussain. They are quite enthusiastic and often joke about their love for eating but their lack of knowledge on actual cooking which brings out their friendliness to be there. Where they lack the knowledge, they can build with their balance to the show’s charisma as they communicate with the families and introduce the rules of each part. The judges for this show are Giorgio Locatelli and Rosemary Schrager, who I’ve never heard of before. However, they obviously do have their knowledge of food and cooking which is undeniable. One thing that does fall apart is their criticism is slightly lacking in some parts where it becomes a little repetitive in the way they compliment or dislike certain foods. It is here that the show nearing the end seems to fall a little flat.

Overall, The Big Family Cooking Showdown is pretty enjoyable because the families’ diversity in their cooking and dishes mixed into their creativity. The hosts are very enjoyable to watch although the judges are qualified but lack the charisma in their criticism to make it seem more engaging.

TV Binge: Gilmore Girls (Season 4, 2004)

After starting this post back in March 2017 and leaving it hanging, I’m finally giving a second shot at writing it out. It has nothing to do with it being uninspiring to write but more that I tend to binge the series so then I mix up the episodes. I am currently on limbo in season 4 and watching it over and over when I want a Gilmore girls dose until I wrap up this post. I’d like to move onto Season 5 now, so here we are!

Gilmore Girls (Season 4, 2004)

Creator: Amy Sherman-Palladino

Cast: Lauren Graham, Alexis Bledel, Scott Patterson, Keiko Agena, Melissa McCarthy, Yanic Truesdale, Kelly Bishop, Edward Herrmann, Sean Gunn, Liza Weil, Jared Padalecki

This season takes us into new journey for all of the Gilmore girls including their closest friends. In a way, they all enter a new phase. Rory goes to Yale and while she can’t get rid of one tie in particular, Paris who takes them to share a dorm with two other girls in their first year in university and working together as reporters on the Yale Daily News. Lorelai sets off throughout this entire season setting up the Dragonfly Inn while finding a way to work through her struggles and coping with missing Rory in her life to share everything conveniently. As for Emily, she is learning to cope with her husband and his business and then acquiring a new partner who likes newer ways to do things that makes her feel less important. On the other hand, Sookie is welcoming a baby to the family while Lane has to regroup her band while finally falling out with Mrs. Kim in exchange for following her dreams. While Luke gets himself married, separated and divorced while dealing with his sister starting to enter into his life again.

Now that’s we’ve had a quick recap of the season, let’s see what I liked:

Lorelai & Rory

gilmore girls

The moment Lorelai and Rory’s relationship becomes not my favorite thing on this show is when the show will not be worth watching. This season was a different vibe and one I loved because it showed a more independent growth to the characters. Being separate from each other gave places to grow for them. While their relationship still remained the same, you could see the dependence they have on each other while still being able to develop in their own ways as they have to handle their everyday lives more by themselves.

Lane and Following your Dreams 

gilmore girls

Lane and her fear for her mother has always been a funny highlight in the episodes. Plus, she’s a great friend with Rory and they are always fun to see together. However, this one also sees growth in character as she fights for her dream career and her band and fesses up to all the secrets she’s kept growing up to her mother. Although with a little hiccup, eventually, they try to find a way to work it out. Its a nice representation of an Asian family and the extreme generation gap and views which personally I could relate to partially.

Paris and Rory & the College Experience

gilmore girls

Paris and Rory have always been am abnormal friendship. As much as they are competition, they are also stronger because of their intelligence and quirky moments. One of the best moments to show how wildly similar they are despite their different personality is when they go to experience the spring break in Florida and lets just say, things get weird. Except for them, things are always weird and spark the most awkward conversations and somehow they grow together.

Jess’s Sporadic Returns to Stars Hollow

I love Jess, honestly this character is incredible to watch grow and even though he only is in 4 episodes (or something), it was still a level of character development that shows how much he does love Rory even if timing is always not their strong suit and the fact that he hasn’t quite grown out of wandering phase and sometimes forgets that while he has no ties, Rory still has things she can’t just give up especially when it comes to her future.

Lorelai & Luke

No one beats bad timing like Lorelai and Luke. While we see chemistry between them all the time, this year they both show a lot of growth as Luke gets married and divorced while finally trying to find a way to get the courage to show his feelings to Lorelai. She however shows how much she cares while still having an unexpected relationship with her father’s young partner. However, they are each other’s support in the most desperate situations and we see that a lot in this season.

Overall, Gilmore Girls is a fun little trip into this wonderful TV world and Stars Hollow sounds like an amazing town to live in. I could go on about Emily relationship here as well because she was also a highlight. Season 4 holds a different vibe for everyone and it works so very well. The only thing I didn’t like was Dean but that’s because as much as he loves her to death, he’s really just not the guy for her and in many scenes here, it just felt so wrong even if they felt like it was right. Its a tangent of the series that I haven’t been totally behind and the more I watch it the least I’m behind it.

Finally, the TV binge for Season 4 is done and we’ll be moving along with Season 5 post very soon! 🙂

TV Binge: Once Upon A Time (Season 4, 2014)

It has been WAY too long since the last time I watched Once Upon A Time. I watched Season 3 at least 2 years ago. Look at them now, its Season 7 and apparently the whole cast has changed. Anyways, I finally decided it was time so here we are. Hopping into Season 4 knowing only that Frozen princesses are included in the mix.

Once Upon a Time (Season 4)

Creator: Adam Horowitz & Edward Kitsis

Cast: Jennifer Morrison, Ginnifer Goodwin, Lana Parilla, Jared Gilmore, Josh Dallas, Colin O’ Donoghue, Emilie de Ravin, Robert Carlyle, Rebecca Mader, Sean Maguire, Victoria Smurfit, Georgina Haig, Kristin Bauer van Straten Elizabeth Lail, Merrin Dungey

I’ve always like how people use the fairy tale characters and twist their stories or their nature. That is exactly what Once Upon a Time has always excelled at. Jumping back in, it feels like I never left with the exception of a few details that I needed to read up to remind myself or most that came naturally through the characters’ conversations. Season 4 is an all around fun time. Its pretty much split into a few plots. The first is how Elsa is stuck in Storybrooke and then Anna and Kristoff also get there and they realize that its the Snow Queen that has been behind this the whole time. The second being of Rumpelstiltskin who wants to get his bond broken from the dagger so he can have his happy ending and this leads us to the hunt for the writer of Henry’s Storybook and also bringing in three villainesses: Maleficent, Ursula and Cruella de Vil.

once upon a time

These three plot lines were all great. For one, Elsa and Anna when this series aired was probably riding the wave from Disney’s Frozen. Its costume and characters are also inspired by it. All factors that work well. They do brings in how the Snow Queen factors into all of this. We will discuss villains later. Elsa and Anna’s tale factors into the whole Prince Charming link and its really nice to see how everyone works together. Putting that one aside, the hunt for the author started out for Regina and a little secret project she had with Henry. Its incredible to see that Regina having a lot of growth here even in one dangerous moments somewhat mocking her old self. Emma and Hook also have the center stage which I love to death. If only they could have just one moment of peace and be together, that would be so great.

once upon a time

The villains here are quite inspired. The Snow Queen’s final showdown was pretty great as it brought a lot of quarrel which in some part was more comedic than anything. Another plan going awry send Rumpelstiltskin to his depths as he searches for his happy ending and its pretty fun to watch them get pulled back into another story and get back out then proving that no matter what villains come into the picture, and how competent they could be like Cruella de Vil, Ursula and Maleficent, Rumpelstiltskin is still the most powerful enemy they could have. Is that more a compliment on how great of a character they’ve created or that the writers are out of ideas on how to create better villains? I choose the former because I’m a fan of the show and this season still was pretty good.

once upon a time

Season 4 was a jam-packed affair though. There were tons of plots and tangents. It had so many characters enter the scene and they tried to give them all a backstory while also dealing with the going ons of Storybrooke. It might have been a slight overkill but at least it never gets boring and thats all good for me.

Thats it this TV binge! Its time for Season 5! 

Sunday Lists: TV Ships I Love!

A new segment, folks! Hard to imagine how I still want to do these things, right? Sundays are laid back days to just relax so I figured we’ll do some list posts. Most of these posts will be ongoing and added upon if new choices come in. Some will be Best to Worst countdown, others will just be like a little archive for my faves. Kicking it off is the latter as I share some TV Ships I Love. We’re starting on a small scale but TV shows keep happening so the list will expand (as long as I remember to update it).

These aren’t in any particular order…

November 11, 2017: First Five to Kick Off the List

Jess Mariano & Rory Gilmore (Gilmore Girls)

Rory and Jess

For fans of Gilmore Girls, the debate of who Rory should be with is endless. Dean, Jess or Logan: Who is the best fit for Rory? We’ve had seven seasons plus a Netflix mini-series to think about this. After rewatching the series two times in 2017, my idea of Jess being the best for Rory is solidified completely. Why? Because Jess and Rory together make each other better. In Seasons 2 and 3, they were too young and not able to express themselves too well. However, at the point of the Season 7 and the 10 years gap to the mini-series, its obvious that they are made for each other. Jess knows Rory and knows how to motivate her while Rory inspires Jess and believes in him more than he believes in himself.

 Elena Gilbert & Damon Salvatore (The Vampire Diaries)

vampire diaries

I think that quote best shows the relationship of Damon and Elena and why it works. Stefan and Elena was vanilla. It wasn’t exciting but it was stable. Damon might not be the perfect guy and always makes bad decisions but together, they are good for each other and pushing Elena to be stronger and facing herself more than running away.

Killian Jones & Emma Swann (Once Upon a Time)

once upon a time

It sure seems like the reformed bad boy is something I love. Killian Jones aka Hook is awesome. Him with Emma is one relationship that has so many obstacles but it keeps them on their toes and in the end, strengthens them. Especially since they both have their love burdens that stops them to commit so much.

Betty Cooper & Jughead Jones (Riverdale)

Riverdale

Its probably a little early to put this here. If Betty and Jughead disappoint me later on in the series, I’ll probably remove it but for the first season and so far the second one, they are a fantastic couple. It just feels so perfect and one of my favorite pairings which makes sure that you know Riverdale is really only based on the Archie Comics characters and gives it a different twist. Betty and Jughead feel so natural to be together.

Hanna Marin & Caleb Rivers (Pretty Little Liars)

Pretty Little Liars

Pretty Little Liars lasted for seven seasons and for a lot of those seasons, even with some exceptions here and there was Hanna and Caleb. Now, these two are such opposites and yet they both work so well together because they gave each other courage and was supportive. They learned to be honest and Caleb ended up helping them out a lot in many of the A situations with his exceptional tech skills. Hanna and Caleb are just so sweet together that its hard to really hate them despite some iffy decisions.

Here are the ones to start and will be updated regularly!
Which TV ships do you like? Share them in the comments!

What’s Up Thursday #6: A Little Update!

Its been almost 3 months since the last What’s Up segment! To be honest, its been really busy trying to stay on top with the blog and Game Warp and the Youtube channel. However, we’ve had a sudden surge of one sort of posts lately, and I figured I’d at least do a little post of What’s Up and segway into that. If you don’t really care for what I’m watching and just want to get surprised as the reviews happen over here, That Moment In or Game Warp, then scroll down to the last section of the post.

Let’s not ramble and jump right in!

WATCHING

mindhunter

To be honest, I’m actually not watching anything right now. We started an episode of Mindhunter right before Stranger Things 2 aired so then it was onto a TV binge of Stranger Things 2 and then I got caught up with The Big Family Cooking Showdown which I just finished yesterday.

riverdale

Oh right, and then there’s Riverdale which is released weekly so thats also there. My guess is we’ll get back to watching Mindhunter soon. It seems like there’s a lot of cool upcoming TV for Netflix so it should be fun although I have a million shows I want to catch up on.

As a side thing, I’m trying to get through some Netflix films since my list is getting ridiculously out of hand and I keep losing films that I’ve waited to long to see. In the next set of double features, you’ll start seeing that I’m choosing films in a fun little way and not alphabetically. Hopefully, it works out as I’d like.

READING

Still reading IT, my friends. Its haunting me in my dreams. I mean the literal task of finishing this book. I keep saying that the end is near and I promise you I’m progressing. I should have like 400 pages left or something which just needs like one or two sittings of not getting sidetracked. On that note, reading IT has put my entire Goodreads challenge behind. Anyways, its my motivation to finish it up quickly.

PLAYING

SNES Classic Edition coming into our existence has given me some opportunities to go play little doses of it here and there. Yoshi’s Island was the one I started. I remember playing the port to Nintendo DS which was a lot of fun but pretty difficult. Its hard to imagine that the controls here are actually even a little harder so I had some struggles. On the Youtube channel, you can see mostly what I’m playing since I record most of the shorter games as full playthroughs. I’ll probably start streaming the longer ones such as Evil Genome and some 2017 titles that I need to wrap up. As from that, its the final episode of Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series Episode 5 that just got released on November 7th. I have a few games in progress but I’m stuck on a few of them as if I’ve plateaued and just can’t seem to get past that point so I put it aside like Crash Bandicoot (which I’m thinking of starting the second one if I can’t get past the level in the first I’m stuck at).

once upon a tower

I go through mobile games quite frequently. Be it for Game Warp or not (since I really only review a fraction of the ones worth my time), I’m on the move a lot so when I need to change the pace from reading, I play games on my phone. The latest one I’ve been playing is Once Upon a Tower. Its pretty fun although I always have the same issues with touch controls being not as sensitive as time resulting in my dying. I’ll do a review on it over for Game Warp soon.

And NOW! For the Update!

As you saw in the Watching section of this post, I’m really behind in a ton of stuff. I was looking through the tentative schedule (yes, I do that now to try to be organized), I have a lot of outstanding stuff unwritten and just sitting there nagging me everyday. Since Tranquil Dreams is a fairly versatile blog, I don’t want to shock you with the sudden overload of movie and TV binges but I have to do it. I promise you to stay diverse at the minimum with Goodfoods and some baking stuff I have coming up as well as book reviews here and there but for the most part, I’ll have to get this movie and TV posts out of the way before 2017 ends. Overall, thats the general goal for all things to really get a lot of catch up done to not have anything backlogged hop into 2018 so we can start fresh with possibly a brand new schedule or set-up (that is something I’m thinking about depending on whether I can get the discipline for fixed segments which I’m not completely confident about).

Its not a huge update but I just don’t want you lovely people who don’t care for the TV and movies to feel like I’ve abandoned it all and just changed to a movies and TV blog entirely which I haven’t. If I make any big moves, I will always post about it.

That’s it for today! With that said, I have a movie review coming up later today!
What have you been watching, reading or playing?

Horror Marathon Wrap-up & Overview!

And we are at the end!!! Happy Halloween!

If you missed any of the posts, the Halloween Horror marathon page is updated with this year’s movie reviews and TV binges. You can find it HERE.

Its been quite a month. Hooray to slight organization! I won’t lie that I started the Saw franchise in mid or late September because I was anticipating the work craze in the last week and still, it wasn’t quite enough to not skip two days. However, I am pretty happy with it. We discovered some great movies and TV series. The Autopsy of Jane Doe being the indie that scared me a lot even if it wasn’t perfect and one that I honestly love a lot. Unfortunately, books and recipes didn’t quite get their appearance because I took on a huge task however I did work hard so I am near the end so those reviews will go up and I will proceed to try and complete my Goodreads challenge which is incredibly behind because of IT. As for IT, I plan on working on some compare and contrast piece of the adaptations/remake/source material.

The overall feeling of I have of Saw is pretty underwhelming. Yet again I remind you that gore and blood doesn’t impress me. Making me sick and making me scared or anxious are two very different things. I loved the direction of the first one a lot and the last two did alright but everything in the middle was really meh. I’d have to say, after so many years of these marathons, I like even the most nonsensical slasher films in Halloween or Friday the 13th over any of the Saw films in the middle. Plus, Saw has to really been considered as an entire story since we spend each movie catching up with Jigsaw and his grand plan. It does show his genius and in a certain way if you look at it, it does make sense since the 7 movies aren’t really that far apart from each other on a timeline. It would be interesting to see how it would measure up if put on a timeline and see if it all makes sense. That was the original plan but work took over and here we are, struggling to get this final wrap-up before the clock strikes midnight here in the Eastern Time Zone.

With that said, I’ll keep this short and sweet since I’ve wasted enough time trying to record a video and having that fall apart.

My top 3 faves of this year in terms of movies would be (in no particular order): The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Pulse & IT (2017) & Saw is somewhere there but I can’t decide which. As for fave TV series, Stranger Things takes that one for sure. Actually the TV Binge for Stranger Things Season 2 should be coming up also. 🙂

That’s it for this Horror Marathon!
Any suggestions for next year’s horror feature?
Are you a Saw franchise fan?
What movies are your horror marathon picks?