The Life & Times of an Auteur.

Commentary on Pop Culture, and maybe creating some of my own.

Monday, August 23, 2010

W.I.T.C.H.

I finally finished "W.I.T.C.H." I will admit, season one (while it did pleasantly surprise me) was a chore to get through. It took me several days. On the other hand, I watched the entire second season in less than twenty-four hours. And not to kiss his ass, but Weisman's just that good. ;)

I'll confess, I skipped the show when it first aired because of, well... sigh... I'm sure you can guess. The premise just seemed way, way, way too girly.

I mean, look at this:



Then I remembered how I defended "Spectacular Spider-Man" from all the people who didn't want to watch it because of the animation style, and if "Gargoyles" taught me one thing it was not to judge a book by its cover.

I was originally going to skip the first season because I heard it was a bit of a mess and jump into the second season. But a few people, including Greg Weisman, told me to watch the first season, or else I would have been lost watching the second season. I can honestly say that they were right.

I think my big issue with the first season was the pacing, I think that particular story could have been told in thirteen episodes instead of being stretched out over twenty-six. It just felt very repetitive, and I got sick of seeing them constantly kick Cedric's ass. He lost all sense of menace pretty quick.

Season two, well, like I said, I watched it in less than twenty-four hours. I finished "Z Is For Zenith" less than an hour before I began typing this. I think I'll start with the large cast, which seems to be a feature in every series you produce. I don't feel like anybody got the short end of the stick. Will, being the lead, of course got the most time. Everyone else was well balanced also. Casts this big can be pretty hard to juggle. Five main characters, and so many supporting characters, recurring characters, villains, etc.

Irma was probably my favorite of the Guardians. She just had so much spunk. A huge sense of humor. I enjoyed how she often seemed like she would be the most fun to hang out with, but at the same time, probably the meanest when she was in a bad mood. Cornelia at her worst has nothing on a pissed off Irma. Very scary. God help you if you push her to anger. I've known people like that in real life, but I find that TV seldom ever does it well. So I have to commend a series that can take someone so likable and make them nasty without losing their likability. The theme of the season seemed to be growing up. Hay-Lin and Taranee change and grow the most this season. Cornelia does well too, learning to be a better sister to Lillian. Will growing in her powers, as a leader, in her relationship with her parents, and their new love interests, and in her own relationship with Matt.

Ironically, Irma seems to change the least over the course of the season, but that's okay, because she still got a lot of characterization.

Surprising nobody, my favorite character in the series was Nerissa. She always kept me guessing. Going through the series for the second time, I could really see her master plan and all the pipe-laying for her. I probably shouldn't mention season one, but I paid much more attention to Trill this time, as well as the Mage. Nerissa just seemed to be everywhere, pulling everybody's strings. I liked the twist that she wasn't really out for vengeance, which is a twist that made sense. Watching it the first time, I asked myself why would she want to avenge Phobos, she wasn't there. Well, she was, but you know what I mean. The Knights were all a distraction, and the second time, that seemed much more obvious. But I enjoyed how cold and intelligent she was. She was always scheming; always Machiavellian; and two steps ahead of everyone; all the while carrying around a mountain of repressed guilt. I once described her to a friend with the following words: "imagine if Xanatos and Demona had a baby together, that child would be Nerissa." She reminded me quite a bit of Demona at times... mostly the notion of her being unable to accept responsibility for Cassidy's death. And, not to sound like a pervert, but I couldn't help but read some subtext into Nerissa and Cass being lovers (her line "You don't know what Cassidy meant to me" waved a big red flag in my face). I thought Kath Soucie did a magnificent job.

I must also say that the twist that Nerissa was Caleb's mother was brilliant. As I understand it, this was not the case I the original comic book. But I enjoyed it; I thought it worked quite well. It also made things even more chilling in that, when you think about it, she essentially raped Julian. Rape by deception is still rape, and that's not something you see often in a cartoon. It almost reminds me of Merlin helping Uther deceive Igraine in order to create King Arthur.

And then there was Prince Phobos. It's impossible to discuss what was done with him in the second season without talking about the first. I thought he was pretty one note throughout the first season, but season two did something far different with him, and you really felt how this guy could have held the entire world of Meridian under his control for so long.

I felt the same way about Lord Cedric, he got old really fast in the first season, and when he finally gets out of his cell in season two, he's not doing much that he didn't do in the first season until what had to be the shock moment of the entire season. I won't say anymore, but it was nice to see a character I thought so poorly of get that moment. What inspired that twist, I wonder.

The Shagon mini-arc was very well done too. It seems to be a theme in Weisman produced shows to have a character change into something else, all under the control of a villain. David Xanatos turned Derek Maza into Talon; the Green Goblin turned Mark Allan into Molten Man; and Nerissa turns Matt into Shagon. What I also enjoy is just how different each of these scenarios really are. Shagon was a nice personal antagonist towards Will. As I understand it, this is another case where the TV series deviated from the comics for the better. Turning Matt into Shagon just gives that character a lot more chemistry with our heroes than he otherwise would have had.

Would I have liked to see a third season? Sure. But aside from the mystery of who this new teacher was, I thought it was all wrapped up very well, and didn't leave me "needing" to see more the same way "Gargoyles" and "Spectacular Spider-Man" did. It was great television, and I'm sorry I didn't get to see it when it was originally airing. It's not a series I would have watched if Greg Weisman's name wasn't on it, but I enjoyed it a lot. It's good TV, and it was a lot of fun. I'm sorry it took me so long to get past the pixie wings and watch it.
Two more things to note:

1. Will's dad traded down. Will's mom is a total MILF. Nerissa was pretty damn hot once she was de-hagged also.

2. Brenda and Marco made me smile. ;)

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