Monday, November 25, 2013

After Thoughts On "Ravenswood"

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And so with 5 episodes behind us, I think it's about time I give my after thoughts on the "Pretty Little Liars" spin-off "Ravenswood". While I will complete the Season, I'm not exactly keen on where the series has gone thus far, and with only 5 episodes in it's wake, QUITE a bit has happened that makes me leery on how well this series will stack up to it's parent series and I list all those reasons after the break.

So early on in my previous article, I (and a co-worker) speculated that "Ravenswood" would be about mysterious disappearances (or kidnappings) going on in town. Personally, I was hoping this would be true and that it would play into "Pretty Little Liars" a bit more (to allow a cross-over episode). But that's not the road "Ravenswood" wanted to travel. I wasn't expecting the show to be supernatural, granted I was expecting it to drop hints here and there, but unfortunately this show has gone above and beyond supernatural now that the concept of reincarnation has been introduced and actual curses and ghosts have been present and accounted for. So last week's episode we found out that Caleb and the now dead Miranda are possibly reincarnations of their former selves brought back to stop the curse...ummm WHAT?!

What is The Curse you ask? Well the curse is, a soldier (who should be dead but somehow survives an ordeal that would assure their death) returns to Ravenswood, and after their return, 5 Ravenswood teenagers die. Stupid? You bet it is! Nonsensical? Of course! But worst of all, it's clunky. For example, what about all the times where there aren't any wars ? In order for a curse to properly BE a curse it has to be reoccurring in a pattern. A curse follows a very simple format, to just make one up on the spot, The Curse Of The Blue Ruby entails that if you touch The Blue Ruby, the person you love the most will die. So if you don't touch it, no one you love dies. But The Curse in "Ravenswood" doesn't seem connected. How is a soldier connected to 5 Ravenswood teens and what caused their fates to become entwined? Is it a "one life for another" kinda deal? If so then why 5?

That's just one aspect of the show that isn't tracking with me, but there are still several other mysteries that have yet to be address or even mentioned and that of course is that Angel Headstone we saw in "Pretty Little Liars" where everyone gathered around it in silence. Is that going to be mentioned or addressed, because it was all over the promotional material.

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In Loving Memory Of A Better Plot...

Putting that aside and getting back to the supernatural aspect of the show, The Curse I can at least deal with as nonsensical as it is, it does pose a challenge to the characters and a mystery for them to over come, in a sort of "Final Destination" way but whatever. No, the most glaring issue how is the other supernatural stuff appears to be COMPLETELY disconnected from The Curse at large. This brings me to the reason I'm writing this article and the thing that makes me think that I maybe done with "Ravenswood" completely...

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This is so bad, you can OBVIOUSLY tell she's NOT ACTUALLY IN THE CEMETERY!  WHY?!

Aside from the HORRIBLE CGI background (seriously though, why?) the ye olde cliche' of The Creepy Little Girl is SUCH a tired trope that I'm in shock that it's 2013 and people still think it's effective. That being said, WHO IS THIS GIRL?! WHAT IS SHE AND WHAT DOES SHE HAVE TO DO WITH THE CURSE?! My guess is nothing since everything going on with her appears to be COMPLETELY disconnected from The Curse. The reason I say this is because Dillon (Olivia's boyfriend) appears to be in cahoots with The Ghost Girl. So does Dillon know about The Curse and does he have a vested interest in making sure The Final Four (Olivia, Luke, Caleb and Remy) succumb to it ? How does he and The Ghost Girl factor into The Curse? Because thus far, no pictures have been found of her (unless she's a ghostly manifestation of The Town, and if so, what's Dillon's connection to her?). What I'm saying is, she seems at this point in time excessive and needless to the overall story of what's going on.

So what is going on? Well, I should start off by saying that I do in fact like the characters and the drama that's set up. Luke and Olivia are brother and sister, their father, the former Mayor of Ravenswood was murdered and all evidence points to their mother being the culprit. While Olivia is trying to save face and support her brother and mother, Luke unfortunately believes that their mom is in fact guilty and is coming to grips with how to process that information. Meanwhile Remy is the daughter of the Ravenswood's news investigator, Remy is (was?) dating Luke, however Remy's father believes Luke to be dangerous (since his investigation pegged Luke's mother as being a murderer). This sets up an environment we're used to on the parent show "Pretty Little Liars" where secrets and lies are the standard currency but adding ghosts, demons and curses to the mix simply confuses things.

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That being said, the show is not without it's redeeming qualities, one of which as I mentioned before, the characters and the drama are well defined and given the proper dramatic weight (proper for ABC Family that is, let's not forget that). And in a surprising twist, Miranda, the character I was almost certain Caleb would end up leaving Hanna for, died in the second episode. Despite my surprise, I'm reluctant to call this ballsy because she's still apart of the a ghost, which I think is pretty cheap now that Caleb has supernatural power on his side and how exactly will his hot, ghost buddy factor into "Pretty Little Liars"? After all, if Miranda can know about Mr. Collins secret room, would it be too much for Caleb to ask her to find out who "A" is by following certain people?

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Miranda Collins, Ghost Private Eye!

Another redeeming quality is Meg Foster, you all may remember her as Evil-Lyn from The He-Man movie. Meg Foster AIN'T  to be flexed with on camera and needless to say is the REAL star of the show. Everyone in the cast is strong in their own right but they pale in comparison to Meg Foster. Carla Grunwald is the connective character we've been introduced to in "Pretty Little Liars", thus making her the glue that links the two series together (outside of Caleb). Ms. Grunwald is the character that functions as a go between for The Final Four and Mr. Collins. And while Ms. Grunwald is more than willing to offer help when needed and advice (even when unsolicited), she remains of unknown motives, but it's clear that she maybe playing for the good guys. Regardless, Meg Foster is a gem for this series, her raspy yet smooth as silk voice and THOSE EYES! It's hard NOT to be immediately fixated on her whenever she enters the picture. Quite frankly, she's killing everyone on screen with her presence alone.

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Hi, I'm Meg Foster and I'll be stealing your scene today.

The only person rivaling Ms. Foster, is a guy I hadn't heard of but WILL be keeping tabs on after this is Steven Cabral as the seemingly sinister Mr. Collins. Steven has GREAT screen presence and is a master of facial expressions in the vein of expressing much while revealing nothing. Maybe it's just my love of fastidious, remarkably dead-pan, characters but I absolutely love Mr. Collins and I love what Steven Cabral is doing with this character. When he and Meg Foster are on screen together, it's a real treat to behold as their respective characters and acting styles compliment each other very nicely. Whatever Mr. Collins' motives are, I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with this character and what exactly he knows about The Curse (if anything at all).

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One of my favorite scenes.

All in all "Ravenswood" is a okay show, BUT I can't ignore it's connection to "Pretty Little Liars" and how different these worlds are. If "Pretty Little Liars" had a hint of the supernatural in it (outside of Halloween episodes) the introduction of ghosts and demons and curses would be much more palatable. Furthermore, "Ravenswood" made the mistake of going from 0 to 60 in a matter of 2 episodes. I understand that they need to introduce the supernatural element immediately, but it this fast and coming off the heels of something that ISN'T supernatural it's a MAJOR adjustment. "Ravenswood" could have been fantastic if the story was simpler and didn't involve HEAVY supernatural forces. Unfortunately, this is the show that "Ravenswood" is and hopefully they can turn it around before this show becomes as stupid as The Creepy Little Girl trope. At the end of the day, I'll finish this Season of "Ravenswood" off, but I have the feeling that Caleb's involvement in this series won't be enough to make me stay.

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Don't you miss the simplicity of "A" now ?

Anyway, that'll do it for me. I'll see you guys back here when "Pretty Little Liars" kicks back into gear. Until then, be on the look out for other articles and such. Laters!

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