Saturday, December 10, 2016

December 10th's Weekly TV Thoughts

So you'll notice a new show on the list.  That's because, thanks to my brother and sister-in-law, I decided to give This Is Us a try.  While I'm only commenting on the most recent episode, I watched all 10 episodes in the last week.  Love this show.  I don't think I can wait a month to find out what happens next.  If you haven't given the show a chance, I highly recommend it.

Once Upon a Time – Wow!  I was not expecting any of that.  Rumple and Belle’s son grown up.  Regina and Emma trapped in a wish world with Robin.  And Snow and David still trapped in the sleeping curse.  Plus we have to wait until March to find out what happens next?  I thought when they said they weren’t doing the split season we’d get one or two episodes next month.  I can’t wait to find out what happens next!

The Librarians – I do find it fun that two shows talking about the price of magic happen to be on the same night and time.  I enjoyed seeing the characters working at the problem from two different sides; it’s not something we see on the show very often.  The character development hasn’t been outstanding this season, but they tried a little tonight.  Overall, another fun hour.

The Flash – Another prophecy of doom and destruction with that flash forward to Iris dying.  They’d better figure out a way to stop that.  But those last few minutes?  The scenes at Christmas Eve?  Wonderfully sweet stuff, and I loved it.  And yes, I did get a kick out of that stone being the philosopher’s stone with the actor they’ve got playing Alchemy.  BTW, glad to see that secret is out of the bag.  But is it really over, or is he still going to wind up being a villain?

College Team Ninja Warrior – I think this is the first time I remember seeing two teams face each other twice in TNW.  How fitting was it that it was UCLA and USC.  I’ve got to admit I was rooting a tad more for UCLA just because the LA Times Festival of Books was better when it was on their campus.  Yep, that’s all it takes.  Anyway, I was glad to see they won and are moving on.

This Is Us – Definitely a different episode with everyone, including the past, getting their own segment before they all came together at the end.  And yet somehow it worked.  That last scene of everyone together was fun and heartwarming – until the last few minutes.  Not happy about Toby there at the end.  He’s not my favorite character by far, but I don’t want to see that.

Arrow – Even with Felicity’s great line early in the episode, I did not see that ending coming.  We have six weeks to find out what happens next and where they are going with it, too.  I mean, yikes!  And it really was a one, two punch.  At least Oliver was up front about what happened and didn’t try to hide it.  Plus Diggle has been recaptured.  A long six weeks ahead of us indeed.

Survivor – I’d been thinking we had too many people left to go into the season finale next week.  Obviously, I was right since we eliminated two people.  What a wild and crazy ride.  Obviously, their editing is helping keep it unpredictable for us, but this is hardly the traditional steady alliances with maybe one or two people jumping ship over the course of the season.  Makes me very anxious to see how things play out next week.

Lethal Weapon – I was expecting a depressing Christmas episode, but it was good with plenty of emotion to it.  Considering Riggs’s wife’s death wasn’t an accident in the movies, I’m not sure where they are going with this.  That last scene was a bit confusing because it sure sounds like Riggs knows something he shouldn’t and someone is watching him.  But who?

Designated Survivor – Another thrill ride of an episode.  The political drama is fun and entertaining, but couple that with the conspiracy and it makes for a great hour of TV.  I can’t wait to see how things come together sometimes next year.  And I think next week’s winter finale is going to be very explosive.

Legends of Tomorrow – A speedster who can change forms?  That’s interesting, and something I didn’t remember seeing before.  All told another fun episode.  The different time periods certainly adds something to the show.  Plus we got an update on Rip at the end.  I’m wondering how he wound up in that time and place.  Was he blasted there or has he lived 20 years in the past?

The Great Outdoors – They made Emma too smart and Jack too dumb.  Still, it was a basically fun episode.  I think I liked the idea of magic at the bar the best, however.  Throwaway sub-plot, but it was pretty funny.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Movie Review: Kung Fu Panda 3



Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Laughs and adorable new characters
Cons: Plot very familiar
The Bottom Line:
Po back in action
Third film is filled with laughter
And familiar plot




Awesomely Fun Threequel

Up next in my continuing saga of missing movies in the theater comes Kung Fu Panda 3.  Since I’d enjoyed the first two, I really did intend to see it when it came out, but somehow, that didn’t quite happen.  But now that’s it out on Blu-Ray I was able to catch up on the adventures of the Kung Fu Dragon Master Po.  As always, they are fun.

Po (voiced by Jack Black) is about to get the surprise of his life.  His master Shifu (Dustin Hoffman) has decided to retire to pursue the next level of enlightenment through meditation.  He feels that Po is ready to train the rest of the Furious Five.  But when the first training session ends in disaster, Po heads to his father’s noodle restaurant.

And it’s at the restaurant where Po gets another surprise.  In walks Li Shang (Bryan Cranston), his long lost Panda father.  While Po is thrilled to finally meet him and travel to the panda village, his adopted father Mr. Ping (James Hong) is less than happy.

But the timing couldn’t be better.  Kai (J. K. Simmons) has returned from the dead.  This Kung Fu master also desires to master meditation.  While he doesn’t have everything down, he can bend others to his will, something he starts doing to the Kung Fu masters he meets on his travels across China.  The pandas actually hold the secrets, but can Po learn them in time?  And can Po teach them enough Kung Fu to defeat Kai when he shows up?

Let’s get my complaint out of the way first.  We’ve seen this movie before.  Not only is the plot familiar from other similar movies, but it is the basic plot of the first two movies.  Change the villain and what Po must learn, and we have this sequel.  But it is a sequel after all, and that’s what most of them are.

And that’s not to say that it is a bad thing.  The plot still works.  While I wasn’t caught up in every second of it, I was certainly anxious to find out just how Po would wind up defeating the villain.

Naturally, the characters help.  All the old characters are back, and we meet an entire new batch of pandas when we get to the village.  They are adorable and a wonderful addition to the franchise.

But the best part?  The humor.  There are lots of laughs as Po learns the way of the panda and teaches them Kung Fu.  The jokes come effortlessly and are delightful.

While this movie doesn’t have any money shots like Pixar films often do, the animation is great.  The voice actors are just as wonderful as always as well, and it’s easy to get caught up in the characters and the story they are telling.

So if you’ve enjoyed the franchise, don’t hesitate to see Kung Fu Panda 3.  You’ll laugh as you enjoy catching Po’s latest adventures.

December 9th's Book Beginning and Friday 56

Welcome to another edition of Book Beginning and Friday 56.

This week, we are visiting New Hampshire around Christmas.  No, I haven't changed genres.  It's still a mystery.  The title is Live Free or Die, and the book is by Jessie Crockett.




I've got a couple of great quotes from this book, too.  Here's the opening line of the book:

Beulah Price's body looked like a hotdog that had been left on the grill too long.

And here's the first complete sentence from page 56:

I probably should have worried that someone would come along and run me over, but I was so cold and miserable I was thinking dead would be a  nice change of pace.

See what I mean?  Both fun quotes.

I'll be reviewing the book on Monday, so I hope you'll come back and see what I thought of it.

Have a fantastic weekend!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Book Review: Prose and Cons by Amanda Flower (Magical Bookshop Mysteries #2)



Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Charming setting and a good mystery
Cons: Some characters come across a bit flat
The Bottom Line:
Reading turns deadly
Second magical entry
Another fun read




Charming Sequel Book

I am in love with Charming Books, a book store where the proper book chooses you.  I mean, that is every reader’s dream, right?  To pick up a book and know you’ll love it.  That’s why I was so glad to revisit the store in Prose and Cons.

Charming Books is run by Violet Waverly and her grandmother Daisy.  The duo are always looking for ways to draw more people into the store, and they think they’ve hit on a great idea.  During the town’s annual Food and Wine Festival, held in mid-October every year, they will host a Poe-try reading.  They’ve asked the Red Inkers, a critic group that meets in the shop, to dress up in costumes and do readings from the work of Edgar Allan Poe.  And judging from the size of the crowd, they’ve hit upon a winner of an idea.

However, one of the Red Inkers is missing.  Violet sent Anastasia to change into her costume right before the event started, and when Violet goes to check on her, she finds Anastasia dead at the bottom of the shop’s steep back stairs.  But tragic accident soon begins to look like murder, with the police focusing on Sadie, Violet’s friend who provided the costumes.  Violet knows that Sadie couldn’t have done it, but unfortunately, all the evidence points to her.  Anastasia wasn’t a nice person, so there have to be other people with motive to kill her.  Can Violet find these other suspects and figure out which one actually did kill her?

Of course, Poe is a reoccurring theme in the book as the shop keeps trying to give Violet clues based his works.  I am sadly unfamiliar with the inventor of the detective genre, but anything we need to know based on these stories is explained to us.  So don’t let that keep you from jumping into the book.

The mystery is strong, with several viable suspects and motives.  The author keeps us guessing until we reach the climax where everything falls into place for Violet and us.

I do feel like the characters could be a little stronger.  I felt that a couple did get some nice development here.  On a whole, they are real enough for us to care about the outcome, but they are missing that pop that makes them seem real.

Are you wondering where the magic that drives the bookshop comes from?  This book hints at the answer, but it doesn’t explain everything like the first book does.  If that part intrigues you, be sure to back up so you can see just how it all works.  And yes, I really do wish I could visit this shop in person.

There is a hint of a love triangle in the book, although I think it is obvious which direction Violet is going to go.  (I did call it a hint, after all.)  With how this book ended, I am quite curious to see how relationships develop.

It’s rare I delve into the magic end of the cozy spectrum, but I’m glad I made the exception for this series.  Pick up Prose and Cons today and be prepared to be charmed.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book

Giveaway!

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Thursday, December 14th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 12/14.  You will have until midnight on 12/20 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 12/21.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Ornament Review: 12 Little Days of Christmas Set Days 10-12 - 2016 Hallmark Ornament Set



Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: The final three days still looking strong
Cons: All cons found on day 13
The Bottom Line:
Finishing the song
With another collection
Three great ornaments




Wrapping Up the Twelve Days with this Cute Little Set

We’ve made it!  It’s time for the final three days of Christmas.  Or at least it is for this set of the 12 Little Days of Christmas that Hallmark has been releasing in 2016.  The fourth set of three is now out, covering days 10-12, and it’s once again fantastic.

This set picks up with a lord-a-leaping.  It looks like he is leaping over a ball, with a 10 front and center on that ball.  As usual in this set, he is mostly white porcelain with bits of gold highlights, like his cap, a band on each sleeve, stitching on the front of his shirt, and his shoes.  The ball is also gold with the number painted on the front in a darker shade.

Next up is our piper-piping.  He’s standing up straight with his bagpipes in gold across his front.  The 11 is in the bag on the front of his pipes.  There’s also gold on his hat (although not all of it is gold), and on his shoes.  And yes, he is wearing a kilt.

Finally, we have the drummer drumming.  He’s in a band uniform complete with a fancy hat and a gold stripe down his pants.  There is gold in his jacket and around the rim of his drum, which is out in front of him.  And, you guessed it, the 12 is in the middle of his drum.

The word I’ve used most to describe this series is elegant, and hit holds true once again here.  The white and gold look wonderful together, and it certainly helps that light shines off the porcelain they are made from so easily.

These ornaments do not stand on their own, which is no surprise since none of the ornaments in this series do.  However, they are all perfectly balances so they hang straight.

I am delighted by this set, and I know I will be enjoying it for years to come.  I've already added this set to my display; it is December after all.  With the rest of the 12 Little Days, they make a fantastic display.

And really, why wouldn’t you want all of the 12 Little Days of Christmas?

Original Price: $24.95

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Book Review: The Ghosts of Misty Hollow by Sue Ann Jaffarian (Ghost of Granny Apples #6)



Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Strong characters, fun story
Cons: Pacing of the plot is a little off
The Bottom Line:
A trip out of state
Finds Emma with local ghosts
Fun book as always




Ghostly Mission

It’s always fun when a mystery series goes to a new location, and no series has done that more than the Ghost of Granny Apples series.  After all, you have to go to where the ghosts are.  The Ghosts of Misty Hollow takes us to Massachusetts for another fun read.

Emma Whitecastle and her fiancĂ©e Phil Bowers head there at the invitation of Gino Costello, a bestselling mystery author.  He’s planning to include ghosts in his new book, and he wants to get the details right.  While Emma’s daughter, Kelly, and Gino’s daughter, Tanisha, are good friends, this is the first time the adults have met.

Gino is a warm and friendly man; however, his wife Vanessa is cold, and the tension between the two makes Emma and Phil uncomfortable.  Meanwhile, Emma can tell that the place they are staying is filled with a bunch of ghosts – ghosts who are asking for Emma’s help.  Suddenly, this trip is looking like it will be anything but relaxing.

And yes, I’m being even more vague than usual because this is a book you really need to read to watch the plot unfold for yourself.  I did feel the pacing was uneven, but the story itself is very fun and takes a different approach to things.  The closer I got to the end, the harder it was the put down.

Because this book finds Emma and Phil outside of their normal Southern California stomping grounds, they are the only two living regulars we get to spend much time with.  (This being the downside of a book in a series that goes on the road.)  They are their usual strong selves, and they get some nice development here.  Of course, Granny, the ghost of Emma’s great-great-great grandmother, is around and her usual fun self.  And we get a cameo by another series regular before everything is over.

That leaves us with a cast of new characters, both living and ghostly.  They are a strong lot, which is no surprise since author Sue Ann Jaffarian always creates strong characters.

I don’t tend to read paranormal cozies, but I make an exception for this series, and I have never regretted it.  While I don’t believe in ghosts, that is only a part of what happens in each book.  And they are just plain fun.

It’s hard to go wrong with one of Sue Ann Jaffarian’s books, and The Ghosts of Misty Hollow is no exception.  You’ll be delighted to find yourself back in the presence of Emma, Phil, and Granny on another fun ride.

If you need to catch up, here are the rest of the Ghost of Granny Apples Mysteries in order.

NOTE: I received a copy of this book

Giveaway!

Thanks to the publisher, I have one copy of this book to give away.  Because it is a physical book, the contest is limited to residence of the US.

Just leave me a comment with your e-mail address so I can get in touch with you if you win.  I will pick the winner next Tuesday, December 13th, so please leave your comment before 12:01AM Pacific Time on 12/13.  You will have until midnight on 12/18 to get back to me, or I will choose a new winner on 12/19.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Music Review: Home for Christmas by Committed



Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: “Nativity Medley,” Overall fun
Cons: “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” Short
The Bottom Line:
Committed Christmas
Fun takes on familiar songs
On this short EP




This Christmas Release from Committed Has a Home in My Music Collection

As a fan of The Sing-Off, I was rooting for Committed during their time on the show during season two.  So I’m not sure why it took me two years to buy Home for Christmas, their holiday EP.  I mean, I love Christmas music.  While it’s not going to jump to the top in my collection, I certainly do like it.

The disc starts off with their version of “The Chipmunk Song.”  Of course, as they point out early on, they don’t have the budget for Chipmunks.  Actually, I’m okay with that.  Yes, they do run one line in a Chipmunk voice, but the rest of the song is the five guys singing and harmonizing.  They include member Therry trying to tell them what he wants for Christmas, which is actually a lot of fun.

Since I have so many Christmas discs, I love getting original songs to add to my collection.  The closest we come here is “Nativity Melody,” which is filled with Christmas carols we already know and love.  They mix in bits of “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” “Away in a Manger,” “He is Born, the Holy Child,” and “O Holy Night” with just a tad of “Carol of the Bells.”  It’s a lot of fun.

The rest of the disc presents their unique a cappella arrangements of familiar songs.  I especially love their take on “Do You Hear What I Hear” which mixes a couple of verses together in an echo that really works.  As much as I love “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” I find their arrangement doesn’t really work for me.  It’s just got a few moments that are more awkward as they reach for some harmonizes that don’t quite work for me.  Maybe it’s just my ear, but it’s a minor complaint overall.

Being an EP, this disc only has six tracks on it.  But it is priced accordingly, so I can’t complain about that.

If, like me, you’ve been putting off buying Home for Christmas, don’t wait any longer.  While not perfect, it will still find a place in your Christmas music collection.

CD Length: 18:48
Tracks:
1. Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)
2. I’ll be Home for Christmas
3. Do You Hear What I Hear?
4. Nativity Medley
5. Sleigh Ride
6. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Book Review: Adam Raccoon and the Circus Master by Glen Keane


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great story and artwork
Cons: All cons ran away with the circus
The Bottom Line:
Adam leaves his king
Is the circus life worth it?
Retells parable




Parable of a Parable

When you are creating a world of parables, the parables of Jesus are an obvious source material.  That’s what Glen Keane did with Adam Raccoon and the Circus Master.  However, by changing the details, he made it his own and extremely entertaining.

Adam Raccoon works with King Aren in the forest where they live.  The king pays Adam, but Adam has everything he needs provided, so he can just save his money.

One day, the circus comes to town, and Adam can’t wait to go.  He is so enchanted by what he sees that he decides to run away and join the circus.  Will that turn out to be a good idea?

When you are reading the book, it quickly becomes obvious that this book is a retelling of the parable of the Prodigal Son.  Glen has changed a few details, most notably leaving out the older brother, but the heart of the story is still there.

And here’s the thing, even though the adults reading this picture book would know where the story is going and the source material behind it, it is still a great story.  In fact, by expanding it slightly (this is a picture book) and showing what Adam faces in a different context, it brings home Jesus’s point of our sin and God’s willingness to forgive in a new way.  It doesn’t take a look at the point Jesus was making about us judging those who repent, but by focusing on one thing, it makes it more accessible to the young target audience.

Glen Keane’s background in cartooning and animation come through in the pictures.  They are all vibrant and fun and help tell the story.  There isn’t an excess of words on the page, so kid’s attention won’t wander before it is time to turn the page.

My niece and nephew have both really enjoyed this book.  In fact, we reread it on a recent trip home for Thanksgiving, and they were entertained by it yet again.

It’s nice that these books are back in print so a whole new generation of kids can find the fun and lessons of Adam Raccoon.  If your kids are the right age, be sure to check out Adam Raccoon and the Circus Master.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Ornament Review: Winter Fun with Snoopy #7 - Decorating a Tree - 2004 Hallmark Ornament



Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Great scene with a Christmassy feel
Cons: Very bad tip forward
The Bottom Line:
Decorating tree
With this mini ornament
Decorating tree



Christmas is Winter Fun, Too

So far, the ornaments in the Winter Fun with Snoopy series of miniature ornaments from Hallmark have all been outdoor sports activities.  In some ways, it’s surprising that they waited until the seventh in the series to do their first Christmas themed ornament.  But we are finally celebrating the holiday with the 2004 addition to the series.

Since this is a miniature ornament, it is simple.  Snoopy is standing in front of a small Christmas tree.  In the way of decorations, there is one strand of red and gold garland.  Snoopy is reaching up to put the gold star on the top, and Woodstock is flying at the top of the tree, ready to assist him.  The tree is outside, since Snoopy is standing on a white base that is meant to be snow complete with Hallmark’s usual glitter on a snowy surface.

And that white base means you can set this ornament out to be displayed anywhere.  It is small, about an inch tall is all, so you will want it some place where it won’t be lost or forgotten.  You’ll find the seven in a Christmas tree series marker on the bottom as well.

The loop for hanging this ornament is actually on the star Snoopy is holding.  I must admit, I did a double take when I saw that, although I’m not completely sure why.  Because that star is at the back of the ornament, it does tip forward quite a bit, enough to be very annoying.  You’ll really have to be creative to disguise the tip, and it looks rather bad if you don’t.

Obviously, I love Christmas trees that have a wide variety of all kinds of ornaments on them.  (While I don’t review them, I have ornaments I’ve bought as souvenirs as well, so my trees are truly eclectic.)  Having said that, I do appreciate the simplicity of the tree here.  It looks nice with just the one strand of garland on it.  Plus, being a miniature ornament, if they added anything else to the tree, it would just look cluttered.  This was the perfect balance to allow us to know what Snoopy is doing and look wonderful.

I’ve actually been enjoying the fact that the Winter Fun with Snoopy series wasn’t just about Christmas, but I was pleased to see it celebrate the holiday for the seventh entry.  This entry is still fun even with that very bad tip forward.

Be sure to have more fun with the rest of the Winter Fun with Snoopy series.

Original Price: $6.95

December 3rd's Weekly TV Thoughts

This was it, the big DC Crossover week I've been looking forward to all season.  Really, the crossover just stuck to two of the four shows, but I enjoyed all four of them very much.

But I'll have more to say further down.  For now, here's everything I watched this week, including the shows from Thanksgiving I hadn't watched last week.

Survivor (11/23) – I feel so sorry for Jessica.  Ironic that she leaves right after Chris, but I hate to see people leave like that.  I would have much preferred that the people who organized everything were the ones caught in the crossfire.  At least those with immunity were in on the rock draw this time around.  And Dave must be kicking himself for giving his idol to the wrong person.

The Great Indoors (11/24) – Mom coming to work.  Funny.  But there was so truth in that episode.  I’m still waiting for the characters to become more characters and less caricatures, and that includes Jack.  Hopefully that happens soon.

Once Upon a Time – The twists are still strong after how many seasons?  And I buy each of them.  The character moments?  This show is still at the top of its game.  Loving it!  Although did they just write out Blue for who knows how long?  Guess it must be time for her to go back to her other show.  Definitely not happy about that.

The Librarians – I knew they’d have to get Flynn off somewhere since he was just a guest star.  How nice to see someone else from the movies pop up, although I don’t remember how they killed off Bob Newhart’s character (or even that they had).  Definitely looking forward to seeing what other chaos will happen this season.

Supergirl – As I’d heard, this didn’t have much to do with the crossover until the end.  So, does this mean that Lena is really good?  Or will she turn bad late in the season.  Because as of now, she’s definitely looking good, but I just don’t trust her.  It’s the Luther name.

The Flash – Now the crossover event is cooking.  I feel very sorry for those who don’t watch all of the shows set on this Earth (Arrow and Legends) since they are playing with so much stuff happening on all three shows right now.  I think this may be the biggest team up yet from all the shows, too.  I don’t know why I’m so surprised they’ve taken the time for some of the quieter character moments, but I’m absolutely loving all of that, too.  In addition to the action, of course.

College Team Ninja Warrior – I must admit I was rooting for MIT to prove the stereotypes wrong, and boy did they.  What an amazing and impressive performance.  It will be interesting to see if they take it all.  Right now, they have to be the favorites to do that.

Arrow – And this is why I find myself drawn to Arrow the least of these four shows.  Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy it, but the characters just aren’t as rich.  Still, there were a couple of character moments that were amazing.  And the unannounced cameos (and reference to Tommy’s new show) were wonderful.  I’m hearing the next episode sort of acts like a 100th episode as well.  I’ll be interested in how that plays out.

Survivor – You start taking a leading role, you put a target on your back.  Although I do not understand Ken.  How stupid can you be?  And I think that was the most I chocked at the loved one visit ever.  Wow.

Lethal Weapon – At first, I thought Riggs would wind up losing his money in another attempt at the wheel at the end of the episode, but after meeting the witness and her son, I called that ending.  Not that I didn’t like it, but I called it.  I was actually surprised that Murtaugh wound up being as good on a motorcycle as he was.  They were setting it up for him to fail.  However, that scene at the end with his son was pretty funny.

Designated Survivor – Finally, I actually liked what they had going on with Kirkman’s son this week.  It was a good end to that storyline, and I appreciated how the press secretary wised up.  That wouldn’t have been the only time if they kept their relationship going.  And the conspiracy?  It just keeps getting better and better.  This show is definitely living up to my hopes.

Legends of Tomorrow – With everything going on with Flashpoint, Stein is going to keep his daughter and how she came to be secret?  Like that’s going to end well.  This was another strong portion of the crossover.  They even managed to get in time travel, which is a major part of the show.  I wasn’t expecting that.  They’ve set it up so Kara can go back and forth between worlds easier, so I’m happy to see that.  I want more of these crossovers.  But Ray Palmer’s line about Kara looking like his cousin stole the entire four day event.  Wonderful!

The Big Bang Theory – Stuart and Raj fighting over helping was so funny.  And was it me, or has Bernadette gotten very pregnant in a hurry.  I didn’t figure she’d give birth until February, but it looks like it will be the next episode, whenever that may be.  No baby shower?  Sheldon and Leonard’s divorce was pretty good as well.  I can see how it would be hard to figure out stuff like that, but with Sheldon being one of the members splitting things up, it would pretty much go that way.  Loved Leonard’s take on the flag.

The Great Indoors – That no activity challenge was pretty funny!  If they can do more things like that and give the millennials more personality, this show will take off.  Yes, still on the fence about it, but they seem to be finding themselves a bit more with every episode.

Girl Meets World – They worked in both “Gift of the Magi” and A Christmas Carol in ways that worked for their crazy world and show.  I like that.  Fairly predictable where they were going with things, but it was a good Christmas show.  Although I’ve got to say that writing around Shawn’s absence is painfully obvious.  I wish Rider would agree to do a few more episodes to cover things like this.