Sam Heughan: A Romance Hero for the Ages

We’re excited for the premiere of Outlander tomorrow! Here’s a column we wrote about Sam Heughan, the lovely actor who plays Jamie Fraser. 


I’ve been thinking about the Golden Globes, which followed the Emmys in failing to nominate Sam Heughan for Outlander (the show was nominated for Best Drama, and both Caitriona Balfe as Claire and Tobias Menzies as Black Jack scored acting nominations). In criticizing this omission, most people point to the last few episodes of the season which, without getting spoilery, contain emotional and violent scenes which are the classic route to awards attention.

I would also have liked to have seen Heughan nominated, but for a totally different reason. In fact, I haven’t even seen the last two episodes yet. I thought Heughan did something exceptional long before those episodes – and that was to satisfy female viewers with his depiction of a beloved romantic hero.

People think women are simple. Throw a good-looking man on a screen, […]

By | 2017-09-09T17:08:34+00:00 September 9th, 2017|Categories: Caroline AAR, Television|Tags: , , |58 Comments

You need to watch this show. Right now.  

crazy-ex-girlfriend-first-season-38605So I didn’t use the show’s name in the title on purpose, because if you’re like me you’d be put off and wouldn’t even read below the break. Which is fine, except you’d be missing one of the most amazing shows currently on TV.

Still here? Okay: the show’s called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – don’t run away!

If you’re anything like me you won’t have seen it (very likely – the ratings suck), you’ll read that, and you’ll think “not in a bajillion years”. That’s what I thought. Show with a title like that? Probably kooky characters who are adorbs even if they’ve got lots of troubles. Love triangles.  Lots of cringing that comes with artificial situations that only happen on TV. Exhausting and phony.

You wouldn’t necessarily be wrong, because CEG does all of that. Except it’s not exhausting or phony. It takes every one of those situations and turns them on their heads. It approaches all characters with nuance and honesty, maintains a crackerjack sense […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:05+00:00 November 12th, 2016|Categories: Jean AAR, Music, Pop Culture, Television|Tags: , , , |9 Comments

When Romance Dies

caWARNING:  This post has spoilers for the TV shows Castle, Downton Abbey, ER, Robin Hood, and Being Human.

I will admit, I love the television show Castle but I haven’t been as loyal a viewer as I used to be.  For the years it was appointment television I was definitely a CasKett shipper and would find myself cheering every time they got closer or getting upset for each missed opportunity.  When news broke that actress Stana Katic was leaving the show I was quite upset with the online chatter claiming her character Kate Beckett might be killed off in the season finale.  In the fictional world of the show that would be a bombshell to say the least. (This post was written before the final aired.) […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:10+00:00 May 23rd, 2016|Categories: Sara AAR, Television|16 Comments

Outlander, Old Skool Romance, and Female Pleasure: A Guest Post by Kiersten Hallie Krum

I had lunch this past Sunday in Lambertville, New Jersey with my aunt and uncle. It’s a good midway point for me and my mother—they come up from the Philadelphia suburbs and we come down from the northeast corner of New Jersey—plus, who doesn’t like Lambertville? While we do this every six weeks or so, it was special this time around as we were having a small celebration for the publication of my romantic suspense novel, Wild on the Rocks.

We were chatting about my book, and my aunt cheerfully brought up how an old friend of hers who I’d met in my childhood, read “those books” back in the day. She name checked The Wolf and the Dove and I immediately did the adult professional writer, lifelong romance reader version of SQUEE!

Sara Shares Her Love of Outlander

Outlander Season 2Readers, it’s time for a confession.

“Hello, my name is Sara and I didn’t like the book Outlander.”

Please, before you click away, give me a moment to explain. When I first read Outlander, I was just shy of eighteen years old and had just begun to read Romance. (I was die hard Sci-Fi/Fantasy reader). I had no favorite writers, no genre I preferred and I based a lot of my choices on what my friends were reading. I finally went to my mother, a long time Romance reader, and asked for a recommendation. The first book she pulled off the shelf was Outlander. […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:11+00:00 April 9th, 2016|Categories: Sara AAR, Television|Tags: , , |9 Comments

On “Say Yes to the Dress”

Say-Yes-to-the-Dress-350x230I’ve watched almost no reality TV. I watched the finals of the first four seasons of American Idol, some scenes from the two Survivor seasons my niece’s husband was on, and the episodes of The Voice when a kid who went to school with my twins performed. I’ve never seen a cooking show, a home show, or a this family is completely crazy show.

Today, as part of an assignment for a journalism class I’m taking, I’m going watch two episodes of Say Yes to the Dress and live blog as I do. (Live blogging means I’ll be writing in real time as the show runs.) I picked this show because a wedding is so often part of the HEA we love in romance. I’ve read descriptions of hundreds of wedding dresses in the books but other than planning my own (I wore an altered version of my grandmother’s dress.) and going with my sister when she picked out hers, I’ve never been privy to […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:16+00:00 October 25th, 2015|Categories: Dabney AAR, Television|Tags: , , , |11 Comments

Twenty years ago, Colin Firth Jumped Into a Lake

ppPride and Prejudice turns twenty this year. Not that Pride and Prejudice, the other one. Colin Firth Darcy Pride and Prejudice. Colin Firth Darcy gazing at Jennifer Ehle Lizzy playing the piano Pride and Prejudice. Colin Firth Darcy wet shirt Pride and Prejudice. That one. 

(Apparently Colin Firth has resigned himself to his forever-Darcy status, telling a reporter, “I’m fully aware that if I were to change professions tomorrow, become an astronaut, and be the first man to land on Mars, the headlines in all the newspapers would read, ‘Mr. Darcy Lands On Mars.” Is this another reason to love him, or what?)

Caz, our resident Brit, was at the center of […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:16+00:00 September 30th, 2015|Categories: Caroline AAR, Television|Tags: , |42 Comments

Ruminations on Re-watching Downton Abbey

Downton AbbyIn preparation for the coming (and final) season of Downton Abbey I’ve been binging on the previous seasons. My first thought as I watched those early episodes was that this is an easy show to binge. Every installment is a pleasure, not only is it a superb bit of television in terms of acting and scripting but it’s a complete visual feast. The setting and costuming is so delightful it would be worth watching even if the sound is off.

Here are some of my other thoughts as I watched 42 hours of one of the best shows the small screen has ever seen:

(spoilers about earlier seasons are possible)

To me, Lady Mary is an uppity minx who is the author of her own misfortunes. Those are the words of Mrs. Hughes but they echo my own feelings. Mary can be nice enough to people she likes but for the most part she is an uppity minx, to put it politely. Too few people […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:16+00:00 September 25th, 2015|Categories: Maggie AAR, Television|Tags: |21 Comments

The Wrong Man

NicholasHigginsThe first time I fell in love with the wrong man, I was a teenager, and the man was Victor Laszlo.

Now, Laszlo is only “the wrong man” by weird convoluted cinema logic. He’s been thwarting the Nazis across Europe for years; he’s articulate, bold, dedicated, noble, loyal, and let’s face it, a heck of a lot better looking than Humphrey Bogart. That’s a good man by any standards. He’s only “wrong” in the sense that he’s not the perfect match for Ilsa. Which is fine. Stay with Rick, Ilsa. I’d be more than happy to help your husband rebound.

I thought of Laszlo when I was rewatching North and South and found myself once again in love with the wrong man. Richard Armitage as John Thornton is universally acknowledged as a heartthrob, and I do understand the heroine’s attraction to him. I think Thornton is a great match […]

By | 2017-06-23T08:30:19+00:00 July 17th, 2015|Categories: Caroline AAR, Characters, Heroes, Television|Tags: |24 Comments

The Sweet Raunchy Joy of “Catastrophe”

Over the past week my almost 18 year old niece–she’s living with me for a month, brave soul–and I watched all six episodes of Amazon’s original show Catastrophe. And original it is.

In the show’s first few scenes, Rob and Sharon–played with comic finesse by British star Sharon Hogan and American comic Rob Delaney–meet at bar, stumble into bed (overcome by lust and booze), have crazy sex for the next six days–Rob’s in London on a business trip–and amicably part. The two like each other and really enjoy knocking boots together but neither is looking for a relationship and, well, Rob lives in Boston. (You can see the trailer here.)

We next see Rob, 32 days later, on a date with a very attractive woman. As he’s flirting with her, his phone rings. The screen reads “Sharon (London Sex)”. She tells him she’s pregnant and it’s there the show begins to surprise. Rob’s not angry or particularly upset–he’s supportive. He tells her he’s coming to London […]

By | 2017-05-24T17:09:14+00:00 June 26th, 2015|Categories: Dabney AAR, Television|Tags: |7 Comments