Cory and Topanga’s Kid

That’s right. The couple who stole the hearts of nineties kids everywhere is all grown up and having babies. I’m sure you’ve all heard, but I can’t not at least mention the new Boy Meets World spin-off, the oh-so-cleverly titled Girl Meets World.

The show will center around Cory and Topanga’s daughter, Riley, and yesterday it was announced that 11-year-old Rowan Blanchard will play the role. But the best casting news so far about this potentially disappointing new series is that, yes, Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel will be reprising their roles as Cory and Topanga. Back together at last!

130129-shawnNo word on whether or not Rider Strong will be returning to his role as the lovable and dreamy-eyed troublemaker Shawn Hunter, and he has even stated that he has “no official involvement” in the spin-off, but my guess (or hope?) is we’ll at least be seeing a cameo.

It takes all my willpower to keep myself from getting my hopes up about Girl Meets World–hopefully it will go beyond nostalgic indulgence, and actually be able to stand on its own. With all of the garbage on the Disney Channel these days, I’m not so confident this girl will be able to live up to her dad’s legacy, but that doesn’t mean I’m not crossing my fingers.

Do you think Girl Meets World will be able to have the social impact and significance for the adolescents of the 2010s that Boy Meets World did in the ’90s?

[Edit] Check out this awesome article on EW’s PopWatch about the lessons Boy Meets World taught us, and we hope Girl Meets World will teach the next generation of viewers.

‘Boy Meets World’ spin-off: Meet Cory and Topanga’s daughter — EXCLUSIVE
Tanner Stransky @ EW

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“As soon as Rowan walked into the room, I was reminded of why Ben Savage was loved as Cory Matthews,” says Michael Jacobs, who’s producing the Girl Meets World pilot. “Rowan is real and accessible and I am hopeful this girl is about to meet a world that will love growing up with her as well.”

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‘The Following’: Makings of a Macabre Masterpiece

The macabre horror of The Following is perfectly set up by Marilyn Manson’s dark rendition of “Sweet Dreams,” an eerie tune that serves as the bookends for last night’s season premiere episode. James Purefoy menacing performance is superb as the charming professor and serial killer Joe Carroll, and Kevin Bacon’s controlled performance is believable as his counterpart, the utterly flawed ex-FBI agent Ryan Hardy.

The mix of horror and romanticism in this show highlights the two different sides of Carroll, who can be utterly disarming and alluring in one moment, and frighteningly violent in the next. There are some truly terrifying sequences of stalking and murder that are more characteristic of cinema than television, but therefore bring a heightened intensity to the suspense of the show.

But it is Carroll’s intellect that brings sophistication to The Following. Similar to Dr. Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs, Carroll turns Hardy’s interrogations around, and it is the prisoner who reveals himself to be the one in control, the maestro conducting this symphony, with both his adversaries and his many followers–his cultists–mere instruments in his orchestra.

Check out this article on how the literary basis of Carroll’s obsessions translates into the format of the show, both in the sophistication of its premise and references, but also in its structure. What did you think of this much promoted series premiere?

Everybody’s Looking for Something in ‘The Following’
Liz Medendorp @ PopMatters

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The menacing tune of Marilyn Manson’s “Sweet Dreams” cover sets the tone for The Following, a macabre story of murder, mystery, and vengeance. The much promoted premiere, airing 21 January, provides chills and thrills, but it is this series’ complexity, grounded in literary influences, that may lead to a long and exciting run.

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Espenson Brings ‘Once Upon A Time’ to a New Level

I know I talked about Once Upon A Time not that long ago, but after last night’s incredible episode I can’t help but bring it up again, especially to talk about how Jane Espenson‘s writing is this show’s redemption.

First of all, we finally get to learn more about Frankenstein, and Henry actually says something meaningful again, expressing what all of the viewers are thinking: “Frankenstein isn’t in here. It’s not even a fairy tale!” Hopefully the fact that someone in the show finally sees Dr. Whale/Frankenstein’s presence as strange means that this incongruity will soon be explored.

“In the Name of the Brother” seems like a completely different show, rife with witty dialogue and clever quips as opposed to unnatural, awkwardly delivered lines. The entrance of the “outside” world into Storybrooke allowed Espenson to inject her characteristic referential humor into a show that has been bland for quite some time, throwing in a Star Wars ringtone, a joke about posting pictures of food to Twitter, and worries about outsiders wanting to experiment on Storybrooke’s magic inhabitants like in the movies E.T. and Splash.

Not only that, all of the characters seem to have, well, more character in this episode. Mary Margaret’s pluck seen previously in some of her Fairy Tale World exploits is revived, especially in one cheeky aside about the doctor:  “Does anybody else notice that he’s drunk off his ass?” Rumpelstiltskin is also given some particularly biting dialogue, bringing back some of that acerbity that we all so loved in his character in the first season.

Another Espenson staple, no doubt fostered by her time on the Joss Whedon shows Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly, is the supurb–and superbly funny–ensemble scenes. As I’m sure any of you screenwriters out there know, ensemble scenes are exceedingly difficult to write. You need to have the correct balance of participation among all those present, not leaving any characters by the wayside with little or no presence in the scene, otherwise they might as well not be there at all. But on the other hand, no character should speak unless it is truly in their character to interject at that point.

Both Espenson and Whedon are extremely adept at maintaining this balance, and Espenson definitely displays her skill in last night’s Once. There are far too many examples to list here, and if you haven’t seen the episode yet, I don’t want give away too much and keep you from enjoying it as much as I did. But I’ll just give you one classic example of the quick, sharp group dialogue, as they are trying to figure out where the doctor has gone:

CHARMING
Got the scent?

RED
Boozy.

EMMA
Just find him and bring him back. We’ll watch Hook and figure out options if Whale doesn’t come back.

EMMA
Maybe Doc can do it.

GRUMPY
(uncontrollable laughter)
Surgery?!
(a beat)
No!!

SNOW
Maybe he didn’t even run. Maybe Cora grabbed him for some reason.

CHARMING
I don’t think so. He’s been a rough place since he brought Regina’s fiance back to life.

SNOW
Daniel?

EMMA
Back to life?!

CHARMING
And had his arm ripped off and put back on.

GRUMPY
Cool.

SNOW
Wait, Daniel came back?

EMMA
Like some kind of Frankenstein?

CHARMING
That’s Whale. The Doctor. And Daniel was his…

EMMA
What went on here while we were gone??

CHARMING
(exhausted groan)

A testament to the excellence of this episode is the fact that it was trending worldwide on Twitter as it aired, which apparently was right in the middle of some major sporting event that was taking place. Check it out:

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This review has a great summary of some of the greatest moments in this episode. Thank you, Jane Espenson, for such a delightful hour of television!

Once Upon a Time Review: The World Comes to Storybrooke
Christine Orlando @ TV Fanatic

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Back in the Fairy Tale World… First off, Henry was right. Dr. Frankenstein’s Monster is not a fairy tale. I’ve always considered it more of a horror story. I know some will disagree, but I’ve never been thrilled that they’ve incorporated this story into the show.

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