Wizards of Waverly Place: Who Won the Wizard Competition?

WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: “Who Will Be the Family Wizard?”

Sorry for the delayed post, folks. My computer got a little virus, which meant that reviews had to go on hold. I’m hoping it will be fixed soon.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t have some real reactions to who the new Russo family wizard is. Who was the winner? Well, to avoid any spoilers for those of you not watching Disney Channel at 8:00 on a Friday night, check it out after the break.

Continue reading

‘Wizards’ made me sad tonight

WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: “Wizards vs. Werewolves”

I don’t watch Wizards of Waverly Place regularly. In fact, usually I forget when a new episode will be on–if I ever knew in the first place.

Well, I saw the episode where Alex meets her new boyfriend, and I think when I did, I saw a commercial about “Wizards vs. Werewolves.”

I have to say, I’m rather impressed with Wizards as of late. Somehow, this show has actually made itself a story arc, and not only that, but the writers are actually giving the characters some unhappiness and depth. It’s not your usual ha-ha sitcom where you’re fine in the end. In fact, tonight, I was actually very sad.

It all started when Justin started dating Juliet and started his training as a monster hunter. Then, in order to slow Justin down in his studies, Max released terrible monsters into the world, which killed all the professional monster hunters, leaving Justin on his own, and creating a mummy…a mummy that ends up making Juliet his minion. This is all over probably about, oh, six episodes? Maybe more?

Then, Alex meets Mason, who we find out in this episode is a werewolf. He helps Justin finally track down Juliet, who he’s been trying to find for quite a while. The love that these younger kids are showing is actually pretty powerful, especially for a Disney Channel series.

Sadly, it’s not all hugs and reunions. When Alex finds out that Mason dated Juliet–and he expresses his love for her–Alex’s devastated, and it takes great measures for Alex to let Mason prove his love for her.

Unfortunately, apparently this werewolf is rather upsetting when upset. He begins a fight with Juliet, which ends in a bite from her and a scratch from him. In normal lore, I don’t think this would be a big deal, but here, Mason becomes a wolf for the rest of his life and Juliet loses her powers, only to be the old woman she really is (2000+ years old) for the rest of her life.

In both cases, they can’t be with Justin and Alex. It’s heartbreaking, really. To see Justin spend so much time trying to find his love–the love he let go to save her life–only to have to let her go again because they just couldn’t be together now that her vampy status had changed.

And then Alex. She finally discovers that Mason really loves her, and it’s just too late. In the end, the she and Justin are just sitting alone, lamenting their lost loves and wondering if they’ll ever find normal. But then again, they aren’t normal.

It’s not a note I would have thought the show would end on. I certainly thought we’d see some happiness, or perhaps Alex would rewind time so that Juliet and Mason don’t meet the same fates. After all, it was her fault it all happened, with her insistence on finding the necklace to prove Mason’s love.

And what kind of guilt could that be? Not only did she lose Mason, but Justin lost Juliet? It’s really upsetting.

Despite all this, I have to give the writers credit. They certainly gave an enjoyable episode, despite the hard emotions. Harper and Max really added to a lot of comedy. Even the parents had a few jokes up their sleeves, particularly the one about how Mason’s accent gave him an unfair advantage. Plus, the reunion between Justin and Juliet was just so sweet. It was nice.

So I hope there’s hope for Alex and Justin, and ultimately, I think there is. But that may be a few episodes away, and in the meantime, it’s just a little sad, even if they were just monsters.

‘Wizard’ fashion comes to life

Ok, this was interesting. I happened to come across this link when someone tweeted about this new dress today. It’s called “Renewable Clothing,” where felt-tip markers in the slots create color blobs on the dress. Eventually, it will look like this, for example:

image from designboom.com

Plus, apparently you can wash it and start all over. Now, I haven’t watched the videos to find out whether you’re supposed to continue wearing the markers or whether you take them out (but if you take them out, won’t you have dozens of pockets on your dress? But if you kept the markers, that’s just weird).

Now, you’re probably wondering why I’m bringing this up here…on my TV blog. Well, something about this seemed familiar.

What could it be? Oh, perhaps it was the recent marker dress on Wizards of Waverly Place.

See below. Harper, who’s known for making her own clothes, made her own marker dress. Both she and Justin’s girlfriend wore it (which is why it was so comedic when she turned into a bat and the markers went flying).

image from tinypic.com

Tweens everywhere have seen Alex from Wizards as a fashionista for quite a while now, but Harper? Sure, it’s not the same, but ultimately, we’re looking at two marker dresses, and I saw Harper’s first. Is high fashion turning scary? Could it be that people just might actually wear marker dresses? That’s just crazy.

Now, I don’t know whether people really care for the marker dress or not–either on Wizards or on the website–but I just find it funny that they’re going hand in hand, even if it was inadvertently (and I’m sure it was).

Crazy.

Wizards of Waverly Place: The Movie

WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: The Movie

If you’re wondering, yes, I did enjoy the Wizards of Waverly Place movie. It’s not that I thought it would be bad, but it’s a Disney Channel original movie. I’m not exactly the biggest fan these days.

But I enjoyed it.

Why? Well, honestly, I had no idea this movie would delve into the sibling relationship between Justin and Alex so much. I mean, it did get a little cheesy at times, how much they were confessing so much to each other about their insecurities, but it was nice at the same time. The fact that Justin felt the entire time that Alex would win the wizard training–did that seem new to anyone else? That he felt that he wasn’t anyone without powers, despite how smart he was in every other area. There’s always been a competition between him and Alex, but it seemed new that he said as much out loud.

What interested me the most were the flaws in Justin’s magic. His stone bridge looked so precise, yet a pebble made it collapse. He fell in quicksand. He didn’t win the competition in the end. It was refreshing to see him fall from the magical pedestal.

Yet it was Alex who was able to think on her feet and make things happen (even though it was her fault that they were going through all of this). She won the wizard competition–but you know, then what? All that knowledge might not have helped her win the competition, but then what? She had nothing to keep her going. All the family magic was in her hands, but she was useless. Strengths in both strategies, I guess.

But how heartbreaking was it to see Justin’s face when he lost? More so, when Alex crumbled after she discovered that Justin’s married was gone and then he was swept up in the magic tornado.

I’m curious to see who will really win when they have the next competition. Considering how successful this movie was, I can entirely see this being a feature film (though I have no solid backup on that). Will Justin really win, though? Or will Alex win again? What about Max?

Well, somehow I bet it will be a loophole, where the law changes and all three keep their magic. But then again, we’ll have to see.

Other thoughts on the movie:

  • Interesting to see that Justin’s dad did everything that Justin did–quicksand, rock bridge–but for some reason the rock bridge worked for him. I wonder why.
  • My assumption is that memories were wiped faster the least magic you had. Hence why they went Max then Justin (after he lost all his magic in the competition). If they went in order (like Back to the Future tells us), it’d be Justin, Alex, Max.
  • When Max was swept away, gotta give props to the mom. That was an emotional moment because of her.
  • The parrot part was a little ridiculous. When she turned back into one and coughed up feathers? Or even when she wore the stone as a necklace? How did she not realize it was missing? The minute she turned back around and didn’t have it, I noticed. It wasn’t like it was in her pocket.
  • As much as I enjoyed seeing Steve Valentine back on TV, it did make me sad that he was making his appearance in this movie. Loved him in Crossing Jordan. At least he got a larger role and the street magician bit part wasn’t the whole of it.
  • Would they have really walked off together in the end after Giselle betrayed him? Doubt it.
  • Baaaaad CGI. Bad, bad CGI!
  • The statement “Ready, set, magic” was lame.
  • Only Selena Gomez could make the competition outfit look good. I mean, really. Look at David Henrie.

But overall, a fun movie. While I was surprised at the extremes of brattiness Alex went through at the beginning of the movie, I was moved at how she was brought closer to her family, and hey, I even laughed now and then. So there you go: success.

The ‘Waverly Place’ Vampires, Parts III and IV

WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: “Wizards vs. Vampires: Dream Date”
WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: “Wizards & Vampires vs. Zombies”

The problem with taking a trip (say, like my recent trip to Chicago) is missing some big new episodes of shows that I’ve been keeping track of. Say, my Wizards of Waverly Place vs. Vampires series. Fortunately, through a combination of TiVo and Disney reruns, I was able to catch up.

So I finally get to catch up on my last two posts, to finish the four-parter!

Now, my one complaint is that not much happened in the third part. As advertised, Justin had to decide whether to go on a family vacation with his vampire girlfriend Juliet, but the majority of the episode was about Alex and her boyfriend.

Using the dream hat, Alex set up perfect dates with her long-distance boyfriend (Dean, a boyfriend that we saw multiple episodes where she was trying to get together with him). Now we find out that he’s moved, and she’s still into him. Of course, once he comes into town, we find out that he’s not the Prince Charming that Alex had hoped and that they would break up because of it.

And that’s basically the episode. I think this could easily have been a non-vampires episode, but here it was, in the four-parter.

Meanwhile, the fourth part was right in the thick of it, where Justin was trying to impress Juliet with his prom plan–of course, while Alex was planning the anti-prom with zombies (real zombies unintentional). This fit in much more with the theme, what with Justin trying to figure out how to make his prom special for Juliet when she’s attended 523 other proms, if I recall the number correctly.

His choice was a serenade, which didn’t go over all that well since his nerves got in the way. Oh, and zombies. Did I mention the zombies?

Real zombies accidentally got invited to Alex’s antiprom, which meant havoc for the invitees. The way to beat them? A dance-off, of course!

Sadly, there was no “Thriller,” but the dance-off did show off some vampire teeth, wicked moves, and dismembered limbs. Seriously? The zombies are defeated because most of them couldn’t handle dancing? Their bodies fell apart? Wow.

But hey, at least there was dancing, and that was fun. And I did appreciate all the slow-but-creepy zombie talk. Why are zombies so creepy even though they’re so slow? Hmm.

I don’t know what I think about Wizards falling to the prey of the vampire trend and the zombie fans, but hey at least it’s passed. But then again, Justin’s still with Juliet, so is it really? Will we find out that, like Dean, she’s suddenly moved away? But they’ve said they love each other, so…

Anyway, the series was cute. Not sure why it was a four-parter. I think a two-parter would have done the job, since Juliet’s parents made an appearance in the first two episodes and not the last, but that’s Disney for you. But can you really complain when there’s dancing, new mystical creatures, and a new crush for Harper?

I’m sure some of you can, but I won’t. It’s a cute show. I’ll leave it at that.

Summer Music: Wizards of Waverly Place

So I guess my attempt to do more of a summer music feature on the site didn’t really work. I really didn’t feature all that much, mainly because it’s harder to find new music that’s related to TV unless I want to specifically do a soundtrack. So maybe I’ll just continue this into the fall.

In the meantime, we have the Wizards of Waverly Place soundtrack, which was just released last week.

Now, it took me a couple listens before this one grew on me (ok, ok, you can use the comment box below to make fun of me for listening to it a couple times), but it is cute. If you’re a fan of Radio Disney and the Disney stars, you’ll probably like this. If you’re a fan of classic music, well…

So the CD itself combines three new tracks from Selena Gomez, including the theme song for the show. Beyond that, we’ve got a wide variety of hits from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s covered by Disney stars and bands.

This is where the CD lost me at first. I was appalled at how many covers I was hearing. I was expecting something like that Hannah Montana soundtrack (hey, there’s another summer music post I can do, I’ll work on that), where the majority of the songs were new.

Here, it’s cover-to-cover covers, with the exception of the three songs I mentioned before. You can see more information and the full track list here. Now, I have to admit, for the most part, the covers are close to the classic tunes. I mean, you won’t hear much variation, so it’s not as bad to listen to. There are a couple remixes, but for the most part, it’s the same song, different voice.

But there is a song by Raven. Uggh. You know my issues on Raven. Sadly, I think this song was actually written for That’s So Raven, but was added to this CD just because of the theme.

Yes, all the songs are about magic. In fact, if you’re not a fan of the CD, you should pick it up just because you could have a solid drinking game if you drank every time you heard the word “magic.” You’d be on the floor by track four.

But anyway, the Raven song irritates me just because not only does the song just not fit, but there’s even a spot where she talks in the middle, and it’s very clear she’s talking about her character on That’s So Raven. It just doesn’t fit.

Anyway, the CD is cute enough. Plus, the CD features exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews with Selena Gomez, plus her all-new music video.

So it looks like it’d be a fun one for the kids. For those of you who might remember the songs on the tracklist? Well, consider that drinking game option. Or just buy it for your friend’s kid. They’ll love you forever.

The ‘Waverly Place’ Vampires, Part II

WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: “Wizards vs. Vampires on Waverly Place, Part II”

What’s there to say about the second installment of Wizards of Waverly Place? It wasn’t that dramatic. I guess considering that this is a four-parter, I just expected each episode to be action packed and moving.

But this one seemed rather tame, at least compared to the previews for the episode. Yes, Harper and Alex were at risk of being a vampire meal, but it was rather anticlimactic. I mean, I thought that they were going to somehow trap them there, not just have them there so anyone could walk in and save them.

But it was a funny episode. Definitely more Alex-centric. Add in Max’s silliness with the pumpkin, and there’s a decent episode for the kids. Plus, Justin entered in a tank and the studio audience went wild, so I guess there’s something for the tweens watching, too.

I did appreciate the very very ’80s workout-wear. Those were some intensely neon tights.

Anyway, I guess I probably wouldn’t have noticed this episode if it weren’t so hyped. In fact, it would have been a fine episode if it hadn’t had the previews it did. Hmmm.

In other news, two things. First, the saga isn’t over. We have the third part next week. In fact, I would have thought that that one was the last one. I mean, the first one was really long, so I thought that was just two parts aired together. But no, I just looked at the episode that airs after next week. The one that airs August 14. Wait for it…

Wizards and Vampires vs. Zombies

Do you wish I were kidding? You know, I really should just blame myself. I mean, I did comment in the post for Part I that there is some underappreciated magic creatures. Apparently, those creatures are zombies (though they seem rather appreciated to me).

Anyway, it should be…interesting? That’s a big twist to me. Definitely surprises me.

In other news, did anyone notice how Disney decided to take its own version of vampire lore? The fact that not only garlic repells them, but pumpkins, too. According to the show, pumpkins were originally put outside on Halloween to keep vampires away. If you’ll notice, wikipedia doesn’t concur.

Ironically, in Balkan lore, pumpkins could actually become vampires. How’s that for getting something backwards? I mean, how could they be repelled by what they were originally from. Not that I think Disney really needs to start studying their Balkan vampire lore, but it is an interesting coincidence that these vampires fear what the Balkans claim they once were.

Sorry, that was a bit off topic (but you should read that link, it’s interesting). But in a long-winded way, I’m basically saying that there wasn’t much here of an episode. I’m not sure if I can handle two more episodes with fangs–lisps are starting to become more and more prevalent. But hey, I’ll see how next week goes. Wizards is a fun show. Won’t hurt, right?

The ‘Waverly Place’ Vampires, Part I

WIZARDS OF WAVERLY PLACE: “Wizards vs. Vampires on Waverly Place, Part I”

Much like the rest of the entertainment industry, Disney Channel has fallen to the prey of the vampire obsession. But what show could they put vampires in? If only they had some sort of supernatural show where they’ve featured wizards and werewolves…

Hmm…

Oh, hey, what about Wizards of Waverly Place?

That they did. Vampires have moved in and started their own all-night sandwich shop, which is driving customers away from the Russo’s business. Of course, I wonder, if they sleep during the day (and I’m assuming they do), wouldn’t they be closed then? Wouldn’t the wizards be ok during the day?

Not that that’s really the issue at hand. Though perhaps I can see the compromise that they’ll come to reach later about the sandwich shops–that is if the vampires stick around.

Anyway, the real issue was Justin wanting to date the vampires’ daughter Juliet. (By the way, I don’t now if Shakespeare would have written Romeo and Juliet if he was aware how everyone would butcher the general premise so many centuries later.) Sadly, it didn’t really grab my attention.

I’m a big fan of Alex. Honestly, her delivery of lines and great use of sarcasm really carry the show. And she was really under-used in this first part of the four-hour (what?!)-long episode. It was really about Justin. Not that that’s bad, but usually with Justin’s plots, Alex helps him do something that they have to fix. There was very little that she did.

And there really wasn’t anything original about the premise. Parents don’t like who you’re dating. Then they turn around. The end.

But let’s divert. Let’s talk about the issue of the year: the representation of vampires. What’s most interesting about the various uses of vampires in TV and movies is the different way that the creatures are depicted based on legend. Unfortunately, this show seemed to ignore it. Sure, they sleep in coffins. They drink blood. Apparently, they take a while to grow fangs, since Juliet doesn’t have them yet. And they’re awake at night. And for the most part, they wear black. Oh, and some apparently live in their graves. Oh, and they can put people to sleep with a simple phrase.

That part was new, but nothing else was really discussed. Are they “vegetarian” vampires, only drinking non-human blood? Juliet must be since she drinks out of a glass. Her parents mentioned that they drank a human, but what now? I know this will actually be discussed in the second half (I’ve seen the previews), but I wouldn’t mind knowing more now. There is the idea that their faces look like rot until they drink some blood–that’s new, but again, how do her parents do it? Did they drink someone first thing in the morning? Or a glass of blood?

Personally, I’m actually a little sad that the Twilights and True Bloods have made me curious about how Disney vampires adapt to society. Oh well.

Anyway, I feel like the premise could have been a little more interesting. And I’m not sure why this was four hours long. I think that the next episode could very well be much more interesting–Harper and Alex in danger, Juliet growing her fangs. I almost wish they had just stuck with that half.

But hey, at least we have Anne Ramsay back in TV. Yeah, she played Jamie’s sister in Mad About You. Remember that show, any tweenagers out there? No? Sad.

*Sorry there’s no episode number. That was hard to track down.

What the heart wants

HANNAH MONTANA: 3.18-3.19 “He Could Be the One, Parts 1 and 2″

I didn’t see this episode live. I saw it in rerun a bit after it aired, so sorry for the delayed post. I can never tell when Hannah Montana airs new episodes, now that I tend to avoid the Disney Channel because Demi Lovato is taking over. Not that I’ll avoid it completely. I have to check out the Wizards of Waverly Place movie.

Poor Jackson. He’s older now, yet is still forced to be the comic relief. What’s worse? That means solely partnering him up with Rico, even in the episodes where neither one of them fit. And at first, I really thought their song-and-dance narration was a bit ridiculous. Ok, I still done, but at least they were neat and original by trying to include as many different types of music as possible in their narration. Including Hannah herself at the end.

Does anyone else wonder why Jackson is so comfortable cross-dressing in sparkly gear? I do.

Anyway, this episode was advertised as Hannah dating a bad boy to convince her dad to let her date Jake. That…wasn’t exactly what happened. That was her plan, but instead, she was just stuck in her own love triangle that backfired. Personally, I think that could have worked a little better if she had gone on a “fake” date and fell for him anyway, but that’s just my opinion.

In the end, I didn’t really understand why she chose Jake. They didn’t really make him look better, and I think they tried to play up Jesse a little too much–just to reach the final fakeout. I mean, when the picture fell in her lap, that’s really who we thought she would choose, right? Well, I guess we were wrong.

I’m a big Jake fan, personally. I’ve wanted her with him for a while, so I would have really been irritated to find out after the fact that she chose someone else. But when she was actually starting to choose, where were the reasons we’d choose Jake?

I feel like they really need to rebuild him. I mean, I don’t think we ever left him on a negative note, and his plea to Robbie Ray behind the surfboard was adorable. But beyond that, he just seemed…boring.

Honestly, the highlight of the episode was Lily. Lily’s backtracking after commenting on the other guys–always to put Oliver in a good light–was great. Her slight insults surrounded in padding, the fact that she always like Oliver the most, the fact that Lola was single despite her love for Oliver… All of this was fantastic. She was really the highlight.

The other thing I appreciated was how they referenced past episodes. The kitty sweater. When Miley went to Florida without telling Robbie Ray. It really did feel like a big episode for the series.

Which I guess is why I was so disappointed with the content. I mean, I got what I wanted; Miley is with Jack. Er, well, Hannah is with Jake. Sure, Miley is, too, but to Jesse and anyone else, it’s Hannah who has the boyfriend, not Miley. I wonder if this will cause trouble for the writers later or if they’ll just ignore that little fact. Hmmm. I think it’d be interesting to see the two in the press, but I imagine they’ll just ignore it.

Anyway, it was a ho-hum episode plotwise. Pretty standard. Play boy or old reliable? It’s the neverending teen drama question. And there was new music in the episode, too, you know? So it wasn’t a whole loss.

Just overall ho-hum. Nothing fantastic, nothing bad. I can’t complain. I was still entertained by one-liners and the show itself. But an hour devoted to the episode? I’m not sure it needed that. Maybe that was the problem. An hour tends to mean big events, big drama! I’m not sure it came to that.

Oh and one last question: Why would her mother videotape herself giving Miley advice as if she wasn’t going to be there? Do we know how her mother died? Did she know it was coming? I mean, why else would you make a video assuming your daughter was growing up without you? What a sad thing to think about…

Rant: Things I Hate

JC here with a short post about a few TV related things that I really HATE.

  • Crossovers: So the Disney channel was on in the background the other day (I wasn’t watching, I swear) and they were advertising a Wizards of Waverly Place/Suite Life crossover. Wizards on Deck or something like that. Now, I hate both of those shows, so putting them together is like a double-dose of crap to me, but beyond that… Are crossovers EVER good? I can’t think of a single one that wasn’t a trainwreck. When I hear crossover, I think: last ditch attempt to revive a fading series. Though, sadly, I feel like this might not apply to the two series listed above (damn).
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager: I’ve only watched it once, but I hate this show and it’s self-righteous attitude about sexuality. I hate the cliched dialogue. I hate the completely unrealistic depictions of teenage relationships. I hate the fact that none of these kids have ever heard of safe sex or contraceptives. I hate that people actually like this steaming pile of dog crap. And by the way, I’m not sure there’s much of a secret left in this teenager’s life anymore. Change the name!
  • Reruns in the Middle of a New Season: A couple of years ago, the only new TV I watched, other than live sports, were HBO original series. HBO generally runs a new episode of a series each week until the season is over, so I got used to this schedule. Now that I’m back to watching new cable and network TV, I’m finding myself constantly annoyed by the breaks networks throw in between new episodes. A one to two week break is annoying, though I suppose I could understand it since the networks want to milk more time out of a series. Anymore than two weeks, though, is unacceptable. With that long in between episodes, I start forgetting what happened, and stop caring about the show.
  • American Idol: I know it’s not on right now, but I hate this show, and I hate how it seems to eat up 5 hours of primetime each week. Please stop.
  • Getting Excited: I hate getting excited about a show that I know is going to get axed. It happened with Kings, it’s going to happen to Dollhouse next season (why do you think they slashed the budget so much for season 2?) and it’s going to happen with HBO’s next original series project, which will be based on George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series of fantasy novels. I love HBO, and I love this series, but for some reason, I’m almost sure it’s not going to work. While a pilot has been ordered, I’m sure one of three things will eventually happpen: 1) either the pilot won’t be picked up,  2) it will be, but the show will suck because it’s live action (and would have been so much better if it were animated!), and 3) it’ll be great and subsequently cancelled because it’s too expensive and too niche, even for HBO. I hope I’m wrong about these three possible outcomes, but I don’t think I am. That being said, result #3 would be the most satisfying and heartbreaking at the same time. I’m not sure I could handle it.