Ranking the top 5 moments from “Supernatural” season 13 episode 11: “Breakdown.”

Happy Friday TV fans! The weekend is almost here, but my day would not be complete without discussing our favorite brothers:  The Winchesters.  After watching the CW’s Supernatural season 13 episode 11 last night, online auctions have a whole new meaning for me, as Sam and Dean dealt with something well beyond the routine bidding on eBay.  You may want to think again about how badly you want to procure that collectible item.  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch yet.  In last night’s episode, “Breakdown,” Sheriff Donna returns when her niece, Wendy has gone missing.  Even though it doesn’t initially seem like anything supernatural is going on, she is still relying on the help of Sam and Dean.  We are also re-introduced to Donna’s love interest, Doug, who is quickly thrown into a world of monsters and mayhem which may be too much for him to handle.  My top 5 moments from Supernatural season 13 episode 11 are:

5

Dean explains the importance of pancakes.

Sam is clearly still in a rut after everything that happened with “The Bad Place,” learning that their mother, Mary is still trapped with Jack in another world.  Sam tosses and turns in bed, refusing to wake up until after 10am, worrying Dean, who is typically the one you would imagine to sleep in on a rainy day.  Dean refuses to let his brother stew in his own misery, however; as he tries to distract him and cheer him up, even making a breakfast complete with pancakes.  When Sam tells him he isn’t hungry, Dean feels the need to go into a big brother lecture on the importance of pancakes, keeping the vibe light, but also reminding Sam that he is there for him and won’t give up.  While it seems like a small gesture, Dean knows his brother better than anyone else in the world, proving to be a good friend and an even better brother.

4

Dean has a heart-to-heart chat with Doug.

When Sam and Dean show up to help Donna find her niece, they seamlessly embrace their familiar identities as FBI agents looking to do the right thing and help their…cousin.  Dean senses that the FBI agent he is talking to my check up on him so he backs off and lets him take charge, explaining that he is there for moral support and to get to the bottom of what happened to his family member.  Doug proves not to be the sharpest tool in the shed when he believes that Donna and Dean are actually related, comically inquiring about the recent family reunion.  Doug innocently seeks out some advice from Dean about Donna and Dean even teaches him “that’s how we do things in the FBI,” bringing him along for the ride to track down the killer.

3

“It’s like eBay…kinda.”

Once the Winchesters stumble onto the Butterfly’s website, they are appalled by what they see.  There is an online auction going on while a victim is strapped to a chair, as the bids climb higher and higher, competing over body parts.  Sam realizes that they are chatting about the parts as if they were food…leading to the conclusion that it’s basically “take out for monsters.”  They discover there is something supernatural at play here after all, re-thinking their strategy on how they will rescue Donna’s niece and stop the evil in the nick of time.

2

“Bring it Twilight.”

Once the tables are turned on the Winchesters and they realize they are dealing with vampires, Sam is taken hostage and Doug is turned into a vampire to Donna’s horror.  Dean is not afraid of the vampire cashier boy in the slightest, whipping out his blade and giving fans a catchy pun we can all appreciate, “bring it Twilight.”  While there is hope for Doug to get a cure before he is permanently changed, our attention quickly shifts to Sam’s safety when we learn that the bids are hitting some new records.  Vampire and monster bidders everywhere relish the idea of snacking on the hunter, Sam Winchester and are looking to win the auction no matter what the cost is.  The FBI agent reveals that he was the Butterfly killer all along, spinning a horrifying story about how he actually thinks he is saving lives by keeping the vampires occupied so they are not roaming the streets.  Sam’s heart gets auctioned for an impressive $500K but the show is over and Dean comes in to save the day, shutting down bids everywhere.

1

Doug can’t handle a life with monsters.

While I was relieved to see that Doug was alright, something in my gut told me that we wouldn’t be seeing him again.  While he has a sweet and loving relationship with Donna, he could already feel the void as if she had been keeping something from him.  When he gets tossed head first into the horrifying world of monsters, it’s too much for Doug to handle.  He clearly cares for Donna, but he wants something normal and routine…something that Donna can’t give him because this is more than a job for her, it’s a calling.  While this sets the path for Donna to embrace her new destiny with the “Wayward Sisters,” I can’t help feeling incredibly sad for her.  Donna deserves love and happiness but understands his decision.  Sam and Dean are all too familiar with a life on the road away from attachments, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be there for emotional support, helping each other along the way.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your own thoughts and theories on Supernatural  below.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

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Throw-back Sunday: Ranking the top 5 heart-breaking moments from “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”

It’s Throw-Back Sunday TV Fans!  For today, I have once again returned to one of my old favorites, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  There’s something to be said about moments in television that can bring you to tears.  You invest a lot of time into the shows you watch and connect with the characters on a profound level, which is what makes it so impossibly emotional when certain moments happen, shattering the calm and happy existence you have come to know and rely on.  Whether it is one of your favorite characters dying, an epic romance coming to end, or something else entirely, there are certain heart-breaking moments on television that still impact us today.  After many re-watches of Buffy, there are still certain moments that I recognize.  I find my heart starting to skip faster, anticipating the worst, even hoping that somehow the outcome might be different with a re-watch.  However, the tragedy replays as it did the first time watching, still bringing tears to our eyes and tugging at our own feelings in the process.  Please note spoilers are ahead if you have not gotten a chance to watch the full series yet.  My top 5 heart-breaking moments from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are:

5

Giles’s discovery of Jenny’s death. 

In season 2, Angel loses his soul when he experiences true happiness with Buffy.  When he returns to his former monstrous self, Angelus, he stalks and torments Buffy and her friends.  It is not enough to simply kill them.  He wants them to truly suffer, weakening them further in the process.  Fans loved the blossoming romance between Giles and Jenny Calendar.  When Angelus learns that Jenny is on the verge of finding out how to bring the curse back along with his soul, he views her as a threat in the episode, “Passion.”  He hunts her down in the school and snaps her neck, which was horrific enough for viewers.  However, Angelus doesn’t stop here.  Rather, he stages a romantic evening for Giles to walk into.  Giles approaches his doorway with a rose waiting for him and happily walks into opera music playing along with champagne and a note reading, “Upstairs.”  To Giles’s horror, he finds Jenny’s lifeless body waiting in his bed, dropping the champagne bottle and shattering it, while the opera music crescendos louder and louder.  What makes this moment truly tragic is Giles’s reaction to it.  Giles and Jenny were finally going to be reunited and make things work, but Angelus viciously ripped this happiness away from him, toying with his emotions.

4

Tara’s death. 

In season 6, Warren is not about to let Buffy and the gang make a fool of him.  A once harmless villain has now become deadly.  He points a gun at Buffy and Xander to the surprise and horror of fans and shoots it.  Xander falls to the ground and it first appears that he is his victim, but the bullet ricochets to the upstairs window and strikes Tara right in front of Willow.  Tara’s blouse has a single blood stain on it, as she falls and collapses in Willow’s arms.  Willow’s eyes turn black in rage, now releasing the dark magic and power that she had kept away for so long.  The love between Willow and Tara was so pure and beautiful and fans were horrified to see Willow’s love taken away from her in a violent act.  The Scoobies have faced evil day after day, but what makes this so awful is that it was a mortal act of violence.  It wasn’t a vampire or a monster, rather it was a human being who felt wronged by the world and took his anger out with a man-made weapon, revealing that mortals can be just as dangerous as monsters in this world.

3

Buffy sacrifices herself to save Dawn. 

In the season 5 finale, “The Gift,” Buffy recognizes that her blood is just like Dawn’s.  Dawn’s blood is the key to closing the portal that will destroy the world, but she is not about to let her innocent sister suffer the consequences.  Buffy makes the decision to jump into the portal to sacrifice herself.  She tells Dawn that “you have to take care of them now. You have to take care of each other. You have to be strong. Dawn, the hardest thing in this world — is to live in it. Be brave. Live…for me.”  This is one of the most powerful and heart-breaking quotes in the entire series for me.  Buffy’s unconditional love for her sister, her friends, and the world is beyond words.  She has touched the lives of so many people and helped saved innocents with each action, but there is something about this act that transcends all of that.  She recognizes the sacrifice and embraces it, leaving her friends mourning her behind.  Spike is left in tears, making this moment that much more tragic for fans, as he does truly love her and feels like he let her down.

2

Buffy kills Angel when his soul returns. 

In the season 2 finale, “Becoming,” Buffy knows what she must do and is now truly ready to defeat Angelus so that she can save the world.  She recognizes that the good man she came to know and love is gone, leaving only a shell of a monster behind.  Seems easy enough, right?  Before Buffy is about to strike the final blow, Willow’s spell works and Angel’s soul returns.  Angel doesn’t remember what has happened and Buffy tells him to close his eyes and kiss her, right before she strikes him fatally with a sword, sending his body through the portal.  Buffy is still relatively new and young as a slayer in season 2, dealing with high school drama and this is more than any teenage girl could handle.  She leaves Sunnydale behind, unable to deal with her emotions and the loss of her great love by her own hand.

1

Buffy finds her mother’s body. 

In season 5, Buffy is dealing with a new sister and a god named Glory who will stop at nothing to find her key and destroy the world.  What makes this moment truly tragic is that it is a mortal tragedy.  Buffy’s mother, Joyce, has been sick for a while, but when Buffy discovers her body lying on the floor, she becomes an innocent and terrified young girl.  Buffy whispers “Mommy,” as we empathize with her completely.  Her powers will not help her here.  She is left to attempt CPR and call an ambulance, but it is too late.  Her mother is gone and she has to deal with this loss along with realizing that she will now have to pick up the pieces of her family and grow up even faster than she already has.  This episode did not feature any background music so that viewers were able to completely focus on Buffy’s reaction and emotions throughout this heart-breaking scene, which is still incredibly difficult for me to watch.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to share some of your own heart-breaking moments from Buffy the Vampire Slayer in the comments section.  Thank you so much for reading and happy viewing!

**I would love it if you would take a moment to check out my Whizbuzz Book page via the link below for everything you need to know about my new book, The Search for Alice, including my author bio page and links to my website and social media sites!  Thank you!

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Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

@TV_Fanatic_Girl

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I am so excited to announce that my book, The Search for Alice, is now available!  If you enjoy fairy-tale retellings, paranormal romance, horror, and mystery, then this might be the book for you or someone you know!  Thank you for taking the time to check it out and I appreciate any feedback as well.  I hope you enjoy!

When Kallie Bennett, a jaded teenage girl plagued by her alcoholic mother and her peers molded out of sheer bubble gum perfection, chases after Alice in Wonderland herself, she ends up lost in her own version of Wonderland, which forces her to face her utmost fears and introduces her to familiar characters with a dark twist. Among these characters is Ches, a gorgeous vampire with a conflicted conscience, who becomes Kallie’s guide and blossoming love interest. She also crosses paths with Queen Hartley, a manipulative witch who has the power to strip away one’s memories and imagination, which brings a bone chilling new meaning to “off with their heads.” In The Search for Alice, Kallie starts to realize that her Wonderland is just as frightening as her own reality and that she cannot always run away from her problems. She must figure out a way to defeat Queen Hartley and return home before it is too late, but she soon learns that escaping Wonderland means leaving Ches behind forever.

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Ranking the top 5 spin-off television series of all time: Can a spin-off surpass an original?

Is it possible for a spin-off series to surpass the original?  Perhaps not in most cases, but that doesn’t mean that the spin-off can’t branch out into something entertaining and epic on its own.  Creating a spin-off series is always a gamble.  You are relying on the fans from the original series to follow the show and create a fan base with its own separate identity as well.  While many spin-off series have failed to capture this difficult standard, there have been some that are so memorable that you almost forget that there was an original series that started it all.  This really got me thinking about my own favorite spin-off series and why they stand out above the rest.  My top 5 favorite spin-off television series of all time are:

5

The Originals.  This show is a spin-off series of the CW’s successful hit, The Vampire Diaries.  Klaus Mikaelson and his family of original vampires are introduced as dangerous and worthy villains, but their history is so rich and intriguing, not leaving The Vampire Diaries much room to explore it among its own plot.  The Originals is set in New Orleans and fans were pleased to see the Mikaelson family as the center of it all, while introducing new characters as well with just as much complexity.  The Originals does not shy away from its roots and all fans know where it started, however; it takes a darker and more historical approach to vampires, allowing viewers to see the full picture of how everything started.  After years of watching both series, I came to ultimately prefer The Originals because it was fresher and explored darker elements.  Klaus, who was previously shown as a ruthless killer with no remorse, now shows a glimmer of a soul and reveals to us how he became so broken in the midst of family and romantic betrayals.

4

Melrose Place.  This show is a spin-off series of one of my all time favorites, Beverly Hills, 90210.  90210 was such a success and targeted a teenage audience who craved a drama with more depth and complication than your average soap opera.  Some fans don’t remember that the very entertaining Melrose Place was actually a spin-off of 90210.  Jake is introduced as an old friend of Dylan’s and has a fleeting romantic moment with Kelly, only to decide to ride his motorcycle off to a new town to discover a life of his own.  The opening episodes of Melrose Place even feature Kelly coming to find him to see why he had broken their relationship off, strategically hooking in viewers from 90210.  While a lot of the love triangles, betrayals, and outrageous plots seem familiar to 90210, Melrose Place did a good job of capturing an old generation of viewers as well, breaking out of the mold of a high school drama and paving the way for many more shows to come.

3

Angel.   A spin-off of the hit TV series, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Joss Whedon recognized that Buffy and Angel’s story was over…or at least put on pause, leaving fans wondering where Angel would go after Buffy graduated and went off to college.  Lucky for us, Angel was not done with his destiny just yet, traveling to LA with fan-favorite, Cordelia, to help innocents along the way and even start his own business while doing so, taking on one evil lawyer at a time.  In Buffy, Angel’s back story is briefly explored, but his own show allows us to truly see and understand every aspect of his origin.  Also, Angel was not able to shine as much in Buffy since he was obviously not the center of the show.  Angel’s personality and potential were often stifled in Buffy because the focus was on more of the romantic relationship between them, rather than who Angel truly was or meant to be.  This spin-off series did have a strong following and it was lined up right after Buffy on the same night of airings, but Angel did have its own identity and voice, proving that a supporting character could become a principal hero after all.

2

Better Call Saul A spin-off of the hit series, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul is a prequel to the beloved series, focusing primarily on our favorite scheming lawyer, Saul Goodman.  This spin-off is one of the most successful ones I have watched and I adore both series.  What’s so great about the show is that it introduces important elements and characters that fans recognize from Breaking Bad, giving us a chance to further dive into how everything started in Breaking Bad.  However, this does not outshine the incredible acting by Bob Odenkirk who does an excellent job at truly embracing his character.  While fans are pleased with his wit and schemes along the way, we begin to fully learn about his past life and what lead him to the decisions he made later in Breaking Bad.  Saul demonstrates his work ethic and how much he wanted to be a lawyer and prove to his brother and girlfriend that he is capable of being a good man.  This becomes difficult to maintain later on, but it is clear that Saul’s character is deeper and more complex than anyone could have imagined on Breaking Bad, creating something unique and separate from the series it came from.

1

Xena:  Warrior Princess.  Who could forget the fabulous and beautiful Xena, played by the brilliant and gorgeous, Lucy Lawless?  While fans remember that it is a spin-off of Hercules, this series surpasses it in my opinion.  Xena paved the way for strong female leads such as Buffy, proving that a female warrior can be just as dangerous as any man.  Xena fights warriors and gods along the way, refusing to back down.  Her iconic battle cry is still memorable along with her heart-warming and controversial friendship with her side-kick, Gabrielle.  While Xena did air directly after Hercules in the lineup, fans became more excited and hooked by Xena.  I did watch both shows and have to admit that once Xena came on, all bets were off.  While the show was darker and more violent than Hercules, it was the character of Xena that drew me in.  She wasn’t just a hero; she was jaded, and searching for forgiveness.  She masked her vulnerability and weakness behind her sword, but the humanity in her provided viewers with a true connection to her character.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to post your thoughts and comments below along with some of your favorite spin-off television series of all time.  Happy viewing!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl

“Buffy the Vampire Slayer” Ranking the top 5 episodes of the series

Happy Friday TV fans!  I was somewhat uninspired by the shows that aired last night so I decided to return to an old favorite, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Over the years, Buffy still holds up for me as one of my top shows of all time.  Buffy first aired when I was in high school and in desperate need of a female lead to look up to that was strong, resilient, smart, and selfless.  Plus Sarah Michelle Gellar’s wardrobe as Buffy helped my fashion sense tremendously.  Watching Buffy helped shape me into the person I am today and while I have not re-watched the show in several years, the episodes are still fresh in my mind.  I have to say that out of all my top 5 rankings, this was the most difficult show to narrow down my selections.  I adore making lists so when I was brainstorming last night about which episodes I wanted to include, I found myself scratching off some and adding others repeatedly.  There were some that I really wanted to include but I thought it was only fair to pick 5.  I think that goes to show that there are so many amazing episodes of Buffy.  Good job Joss Whedon! My five top episodes from Buffy the Vampire Slayer for are:

5

“Hush” (season 4, episode 10).  

I have to admit that I still have nightmares about “The Gentlemen” from this episode.  They are so well crafted and creepy, that even Freddy and Jason cannot compare.  “The Gentlemen” travel to Sunnydale to collect hearts and steal the voices of everyone so that no one can hear you scream.  I was in college when this episode first came out and I remember being very hesitant to open my dorm-room door after a knock because of this.  Sure that is a little extreme, but that’s how truly scary these demons were.  What really makes this episode stand out is that Buffy and the Scoobies have to find a way to defeat them and communicate with one another without their voices.  This leads to some great comedy along the way balanced with sheer terror.

4

“Fool for Love” (season 5, episode 7).

In this episode, Buffy comes very close to dying and is looking for a way to learn from her mistakes and stay alive.  She decides to go to the vampire, Spike, for help.  She knows that over his lifetime, he has killed two slayers and she wants to know how.  For me, Spike has always been one of my favorite characters.  The development of his back-story was so interesting and necessary to the show.  What really grabs the viewer is when he tells Buffy that “he’s always been bad,” only to flash back to a scene where he is dressed in a dusty suit, reciting poetry.  Who would have thought that one of the most dangerous vampires of all time had a romantic side?  We find out through the episode that he was nicknamed “William the Bloody” because of his “bloody awful poetry.”  While it is interesting to see how Spike is turned into a vampire and how he defeated the other two slayers, what really stands out is his love for Cecily.  He had been crafting his poetry for her and pouring his heart out, only for her to reject him and say that he is “beneath her.”  This moment is what drags Spike’s vulnerability to the surface and comes back to haunt him when Buffy later says the same thing to him.  For me, the end of this episode always stands the test of time.  Spike goes off to kill Buffy for making a fool of him and he sees her crying on her porch steps after she has learned that her mother is very ill.  He goes to sit with her and comfort her in what I think is the purest and most beautiful moment between them.  At this moment, Spike doesn’t have a soul.  Sure, he has a chip in his brain preventing him from hurting others, but he is able to show true compassion and friendship here, which is really beautiful.

3

“The Gift” (season 5, episode 22).  

This is a very powerful season finale and I often thought that the series would end here.  It wasn’t until the UPN network picked up Buffy for seasons 6 and 7 that it continued on.  A lot goes on in this episode and a catastrophic portal opens that can only be closed by the blood of the key, Buffy’s sister Dawn.  Buffy makes the ultimate sacrifice, choosing to jump into the portal to sacrifice herself to save her sister and the world.  A flash-back reveals Buffy reminding Dawn that their blood is the same, which brought tears to my eyes.  Buffy tells Dawn that “the hardest thing in this world is to live in it.  Be brave.  Live.  For me.”   As if this moment couldn’t have been tragic enough, Spike’s reaction to Buffy’s death is so heart-wrenching and real.  He does truly care for her and feels he let her down.

2

“The Zeppo” (season 3, episode 13).  

You may be wondering why I included this episode and why it is ranked so high on my list.  “The Zeppo” is the funniest episode of the entire series, following a series of events through Xander’s perspective.  In the beginning of the episode, Cordelia talks about how everyone in the Scoobies has something to contribute except for him.  He’s like “Jimmy Olsen” or “The Zeppo.”  Xander gets into a never-ending adventure where Buffy and the rest of the gang are simply background noise.  Xander’s reaction to each new challenge is hilarious and the music is spot on, which makes this episode stand out for me as one of my all-time favorites.

Some honorable mentions before revealing my number one episode of Buffy are:

  • “School Hard”
  • “Halloween”
  • “Innocence”
  • “Passion”
  • “I Only Have Eyes For You”
  • “Homecoming”
  • “Lovers Walk”
  • “The Wish”
  • “The Prom”
  • “Living Conditions”
  • “Something Blue”
  • “Who Are You?”
  • “Buffy vs. Dracula”
  • “Triangle”
  • “The Body”
  • “Life Serial”
  • “Once More, With Feeling”
  • “Tabula Rasa”
  • “Conversations with Dead People”
  • “Lies My Parents Told Me”
  • “Chosen”

1

“Becoming Part 2” (season 2, episode 22).  

This has always been my absolute favorite episode of the series.  While the episode has a lot going on, the last moments are what make it so powerful.  Angel has lost his soul and became the evil Angelus and Buffy is fully prepared to put a stop to him, recognizing that the man she fell in love with no longer exists within this soulless demon.  Angelus is opening the mouth of a demon that will swallow the world hold, unleashing hell upon earth.  Just as Buffy is about to strike him down with a sword and save the day, Willow’s spell takes effect, and his soul has now been returned.  Angel doesn’t remember what has happened or where he is.  The damage is done; however, as the demon’s mouth has already been opened and Buffy must destroy the love of her life to close the portal.  Buffy reveals her selflessness again to save the world, losing her true love in the process.  Once the tragic task is completed, Buffy leaves Sunnydale, unable to deal with the tragic consequences.

I hope you enjoyed the list and feel free to comment on some of your own favorite episodes.  Happy viewing and have a wonderful weekend!

Best,

Amy Koto, TV Fanatic Girl