Tag Archives: Josh Dallas

Manifest Character Review: Saanvi Bahl

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series ManifestRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

Strictly speaking, science is neither bad nor good. It is merely a tool that can be molded to the needs whomever is using it. On Manifest, Saanvi Bahl (Parveen Kaur) is one of the passengers on Flight 828. She is a medical researcher focusing on finding a cure for leukemia. Her laptop is destroyed when the plane is hit by turbulence.

When the plane finally lands five and a half years later, Saanvi discovers that the research she completed prior to getting on the flight has saved lives. She also learns that Cal Stone (Jack Messina) is also cancer free. Curious as to how and why the flight contributed to his sudden remission, Saanvi dives deep into further research with the help of Cal’s father, Ben (Josh Dallas). She also experiences “the callings”, similar to those of other passengers on the flight.

Her work does not go unnoticed. The Major (Elizabeth Marvel) has plans to use the information that Saanvi uncovered. She has the will and the means to obtain the data using less then honorable methods. Saanvi is also targeted by those who believe in conspiracy theories about the people on 828.

If that was not enough, her personal life is a mess. Saanvi was supposed to be traveling with her girlfriend, Alex Bates (Sydney Morton). But Alex never made it to the airport.

To sum it up: There are never one set of challenges in life. Most if not all of us are juggling issues from both our personal and professional lives. It is how we handle what is our plate that matters. What I like about Saanvi is that she forges ahead, regardless of who or what stands in her way. It would be easy to give up, but she doesn’t. Her determination is a lesson that I think we all could learn from.

That is why she is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television

Manifest Character Review: Cal Stone

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series ManifestRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

If we are lucky, our childhood is carefree and easy. Unfortunately, not every child is fortunate enough to have such an experience. On Manifest, Cal Stone (Jack Messina) is one of the children whose young life is marked by misfortune. At the age of nine, he is diagnosed with leukemia. He is given every treatment that the doctors can provide. But none seem to work. Facing the possibility that Cal may not live much longer, his parents, Ben and Grace (Josh Dallas and Athena Karkanis) arrange a family vacation.

That vacation forever changes their lives. Cal, Ben, and Ben’s sister’s Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) return home separately from the rest of the family due to an overbooked flight. That plane, according to the rest of the world, disappears for five and a half years. Those aboard, after a certain amount of time, are presumed to be dead.

When Cal, Ben, and Michaela finally land, they discover that the world they knew has is not the one they left. He and his twin sister Olive (Luna Blaise) look more like an older sister and a younger brother. His cancer is in remission thanks to the work of Saanvi Bahl (Parveen Kaur), a medical researcher who was also on the flight. He also starts to develop a psychic connection to a man who was on the plane but has since disappeared. These visions open the door to questions of what really happened and why they happened.

If that was not enough, there is an element of danger. When Cal is kidnapped just after his aunt’s wedding to Zeke London (Matt Long), he becomes a useful target to those with ill intentions. Cal is rescued by Michaela and Zeke, but not before Zeke dies and then comes back to life. This opens the door to even more questions about the mystery that is Flight 828.

To sum it up: Cal wants to be a regular kid and do everything that he should be doing at the age of eleven. But fate other plans in mind for this young man. He learns to adjust to his new circumstances, a lesson that is important to learn, regardless of age.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, New York City, Television

Manifest Character Review: Grace Stone

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series ManifestRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

When tragedy strikes, we have two choices. We can either let it hold us back or find a way to move on. On Manifest, Grace Stone (Athena Karkanis) went through what no one should go through: the early loss of family. After returning home from vacation, Grace was told that her husband Ben (Josh Dallas), son Cal (Jack Messina), and sister-in-law Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) were on a plane that went messing.

For five and a half years, Grace raised her daughter Olive (Luna Blaise) as a single mother. Doing the best she could to move on, she started seeing Danny (Daniel Sunjata). Then she heard the news that the plane had landed, everyone aboard was safe and alive. But the happy news of the reunification only complicated things.

Torn between the new life she had been building and the life she had before the flight, Grace has to make a choice. That choice leads her back to Ben, a new baby, and another chance for happiness.

To sum it up: No one goes through life without experiencing a few potholes The question is how we react to those potholes. After grieving, she responds with strength and grit, allowing her and the audience to find some sort of inner peace.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television

Manifest Character Review: Michaela Stone

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series ManifestRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

When times are tough, belief is sometimes all we have to get by. On Manifest, Michaela Stone has just survived a very strange plane ride. Arriving back in New York City with her brother Ben (Josh Dallas) and nephew Cal (Jack Messina) five and a half years after getting on a flight home from vacation, she finds that her world has changed. Her mother is dead and her now ex-boyfriend Jared Vasquez (J.R. Ramirez) is married to Michaela’s best friend.

Things get complicated when Michaela has to go back to work as a police officer with Jared as her partner. Then the callings come, guiding her to do things that are not quite explainable. This leads her to Zeke Landon (Matt Long), bringing up Jared’s jealousy after they slept together. Eventually, Zeke and Michaela get married.

Through all of this, she follows the callings, believing in their message. While she goes on belief, her brother Ben goes on logic, looking for some sort of connection for what they have been through.

To sum it up: Some may think that believing is hokey or old fashioned. But it is has the power to give us hope when we have none. Michaela’s belief in following what she knows is right leads her to answer the questions in front of her and find the love of her life.

Which is why she is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Feminism, New York City, Television

Manifest Character Review: Ben Stone

*For the foreseeable future, some Character Review posts may not be published every Thursday as they have in the past.

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about the characters from the television series ManifestRead at your own risk if you have not watched the show.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front of us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

It is amazing how a single moment can forever change the course of our lives. At the point, who we are is divided in half: before that moment and after that moment.

On Manifest, Ben Stone’s (Josh Dallas) journey starts with an ordinary event. Coming home from vacation to his home in New York City with his family, they are greeted with the announcement that their flight is overbooked. Due to the financial concerns with his son Cal’s (Jack Messina) cancer treatment, Ben, Cal, and Ben sister’s Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) agree to take a later flight.

While in the air, the plane hits turbulence. When it finally lands, the passengers are informed that they have been missing for over five years. But while the time has not passed for those on the plane, it has passed for everyone else.

Needless too say, getting back to their pre-flight normal is far from his easy. Ben’s wife, Grace (Athena Karkanis) is torn between her husband and a relationship that has developed in the years since they were separated. Their daughter, Olive (Luna Blaise) is still resentful that her father’s attention was on her brother and has gotten used to being father-less.

On top of that, Ben starts hearing voices (known as the callings), directing him to do things which he is not quite sure about. Pulled into the mystery of what happened on that plane and getting his son back to health, he is not the same man as he was before. He can also be very single minded at certain times, making it difficult to see the rest of the world around him.

To sum it up: Our lives are never static, as much as we would like them to be. Change is happening around us, whether we recognize it or not. It is how we react to that change that shapes us. Ben is one of those characters who is smart enough to recognize that his life is not the same. He knows that it would be foolish to deny what has happened to him, he can only play the cards that he has been dealt.

Which is why he is a memorable character.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, New York City, Television

Manifest Review

The hope is that when we go on vacation, getting to and from our destination will be painless. But like many things, hope often springs eternal

In the new television series, Manifest, the Stone family are an average American family on their way home from a Caribbean vacation. While waiting to board their flight, the airport staff announce that the flight is overbooked and asks if some passengers would be willing to change their flight.

Ben (Josh Dallas), his son Cal (Josh Messina) and his sister Michaela (Melissa Roxburgh) agree to go on the later flight. Ben’s wife, Grace (Athena (Karkanis), their daughter Olive (Luna Blaise) return home on the scheduled flight with his parents. On the rescheduled flight, that carries Ben, Cal and Michaela, there is some unexpected turbulence.  When the plane lands, the passengers discover that their flight has been missing for five and half years and they have been presumed to be dead. What starts out as a simple question as to what happened to the passengers and why opens the door to a mystery that no one can solve.

I really liked this show. It almost reminds me of Lost in terms of an ordinary even that leads to extraordinary questions. It was well written, well acted and I am looking forward to the next episode.

I recommend it.

Manifest airs at 10pm Monday night on NBC. 

Leave a comment

Filed under Television, TV Review

Once Upon A Time Character Review: Emma Swan

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have still not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Every story starts with a hero/ protagonist. In Once Upon A Time, that hero is Emma Swan (Jennifer Morrison). At the beginning of the series, Emma has been on her own for as long as she can remember. Orphaned at a young age, she works as a bail bonds woman. On her 28th birthday, there is a knock on her door.

Opening the door, she finds a young man on the other side. His name is Henry Mills (Jared Gilmore) and he tells Emma that he is the baby she gave up for adoption ten years before. Henry also tells Emma that the book of fairy tales in his bag are not works of fiction, but true stories. Emma is not an orphan, but the daughter of Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and Prince Charming (Josh Dallas). Her parents and the rest of the citizens of Storybrooke are cursed by The Evil Queen (Lana Parilla), they do not know that they are fairy tale characters. It is up to Emma to break the curse and restore their memories.

When the audience meets Emma, she is smart and independent but also very cynical around the world around her. She reluctantly takes Henry home, expecting to immediately turn around and return to her life as if nothing has happened. Emma does not know that she is about to go on a hero’s journey that will forever change the course of her life.

To sum it up: The hero and their hero’s journey is the core of any story. When a writer has done their job, the reader or the audience member is easily able to go along with the hero on their journey. Emma Swan is the perfect hero because not only does she go on a hero’s journey that no one would have ever predicted, but also she comes into the world of Storybrooke as an outsider and leaves as the Savior.

2 Comments

Filed under Character Review, Fairy Tales, Feminism, Once Upon A Time, Television

Once Upon A Time Character Review: Prince Charming

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have still not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Prince Charming has been a stock character since the beginning of storytelling. He is there to rescue the heroine (presumably a princess in her own right or a soon to be princess), sweep her off her feet and live happily ever after with her. The problem is that this character has become such a staple of our stories to the point where we expect nothing more of this character than the standard narrative and character arc.

The writers of Once Upon A Time, have cleverly found a way to flip this stock character on his head, as they do with all of their characters. In Prince Charming’s case, he is not what he seems to be. Charming, as his wife, Snow White, calls him, was born to a poor family. Until he was an adult, he was not aware of the fact that he had a twin. This twin, James, was raised in the palace as the King’s son. When James was killed, Charming took his brother’s place and was nearly forced to marry a princess whom he did not love or care for until fate and Snow White stepped into his path.

In Storybrooke, Prince Charming (Josh Dallas) is known as David Nolan. Like his fairy tale land alter ego, David was not only unaware of the woman whom his heart belonged to, but also of his identity. Even after the curse was broken, it was not always sunshine and rainbows for David and Mary Margaret (Ginnifer Goodwin), Snow White’s Storybrooke alter ego. There were both internal and external forces trying to pulling them apart.  But no matter what, David/Prince Charming and Mary Margaret/Snow White always found their way back to each other.

To sum it up: There is nothing wrong with writing a fairy tale style romance. But, the issue that the writer must contend is that that the romance and the relationship has to feel real and human. The characters must be imperfect and face challenges. If the writer sticks to the standard and predictable narrative and character arc, the reader or audience, will see both a mile away. Unpredictability makes life interesting and makes a story interesting. Interesting stories=interested readers. And interested readers always come back for more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Fairy Tales, Once Upon A Time, Television

Once Upon A Time Character Review: Snow White/ Mary Margaret Blanchard

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have still not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

Snow White is one of the quintessential fairy tales. The jealous stepmother, the poison apple, the handsome prince are all part of the basic narrative and character makeup of the fairy tale genre. But that does not mean that every writer has to stick to the same basic narrative and character arc.

In Once Upon A Time, there are two versions of Snow White  (played by Ginnifer Goodwin). In fairy tale land, Snow White is for the most part, the same character that audiences have come to know, with a few minor and important updates. In Storybrooke, she is Mary Margaret Blanchard, a teacher who in the beginning of the first season, like of most of the characters, were unaware of their true identities due to the curse that brought them to Storybrooke in the first place.

When the curse was lifted at the end of the first season, Snow White and Mary Margaret merged into one character. While she has her true love, Prince Charming/David Nolan (Josh Dallas, Goodwin’s real life husband), she also continually in the cross-hairs of her stepmother, The Evil Queen/Regina Mills).

This Snow White is an interesting mix of the traditional Snow White and characteristics of a modern, independent woman who audiences have come to expect.  She has a good heart and takes care of those around her, but also has no problem being a bad-ass when circumstances arise.

To sum it up: While traditional fairy tale characters (especially female characters) are great, they have been done to death. What the writers Of Once Upon A Time have very smartly done is taking the basic characters and narratives that exist with the fairy tale world and twisted them into new characters and narratives that audiences have not seen before. With Snow White, they have retained the skeleton of the character, but have made her human.

As writers, our job is not to create stock characters, but to use those stock characteristics as a building block for the character arc.  Stock characters are great, but if a writer just uses that stock character without building it up, the reader may feel like they have seen the story before and walk away. We don’t want the reader to walk away, so we must make sure that our characters are built up enough to stand on their own two feet and not rely on the standard stock character that has been seen for far too long.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Fairy Tales, Feminism, Once Upon A Time, Television

Once Upon A Time Character Review: Regina Mills/The Evil Queen

*Warning: This post contains spoilers about Once Upon A Time. I am only writing up to the end of season 6. Read at your own risk if you have not seen the previous seasons.

There is something to be said about a well written, human character. They leap off the page and speak to us as if they were right in front us, as flesh and blood human beings, instead of fictional creations.

In this series of weekly blog posts, I will examine character using the characters from Once Upon A Time to explore how writers can create fully dimensional, human characters that audiences and readers can relate to.

No one goes through life without heartache.  The question is, do we let the heartache consume us or do we let it fade into memory? In the world of fairy tales and Snow White in particular, The Evil Queen is the female villain we love to hate. Her main goal is to kill Snow White, she will stop at nothing to see Snow White dead. On Once Upon A Time, The Evil Queen or Regina Mills as she is known in Storybrooke, is played by Lana Parilla.

As with the original fairy tale, The Evil Queen hates her stepdaughter, Snow White (Ginnifer Goodwin) and will like nothing more than see Snow White in the ground permanently.  But in this version, The Evil Queen/Regina Mills goes beyond the 2D character we think we know.

Regina does not hate Snow for her youth or her beauty, but blames Snow for the death of her first love and her forced marriage to Snow’s widowed father. We are introduced to Regina as she interrupts Snow’s wedding to Charming (Josh Dallas) and curses all of the inhabitants of the realm. Their memories are wiped clean, they remember nothing of their lives before the curse.

But as everyone who watches Once Upon A Time knows, “magic comes with a price”. The price, for Regina is her inability to move forward with her life and not let the past hold her back. She will eventually find love again, with Robin Hood (Sean Maguire), but not before facing her demons and confronting her past. She will also become the mother to Henry (Jared Gilmore) that she was unable to be when she was consumed by anger and grief.

 

 

To sum it up:  The reason that fans have latched onto Regina’s character arc over the first six seasons is because despite the world she lives in, we can relate to her. No one is all good or all bad. A good writer is able to flesh out a character in such a way that both the good parts and the bad parts of the character’s makeup are given the chance to be in the spotlight. While Regina has done some bad things in her life and made some mistakes (and truth be told, haven’t we all?), she has proved to be loyal and loving to those who knew her best. That is why we love her and that is why we remember her.

Leave a comment

Filed under Character Review, Fairy Tales, Life, Once Upon A Time, Television