Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 2017 End Of The Month Report!

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August allowed us to take a break for a while and review the entirety of The Defenders now that it arrived on Netflix! Despite being a little lighter on output and hits, it was a good month for the blog and it left us excited going into autumn!

We are adapting the Amazon product links as we reference old reviews now. Most of the links have been properly converted and the reviews now have the right products associated with them. We appreciate our readers sticking with us through Amazon reconfiguring, which is likely to be ongoing for a bit longer!

This month, we picked up two new followers on Twitter, but no new subscribers! We are always trying to get people to become regular readers and subscribe, so if you enjoy what you're reading on the blog, please subscribe by clicking on the right side of the blog to get updates with each posting. As well, if you read a review that really affects you, be sure to "share" it! PLEASE share a link to the blog, not the content of the article; this keeps people coming to the site and, hopefully, liking what they find once they are here! We're slowly growing our readership, so sharing and subscribing to the blog is an important way you can help! If you’re subscribing, please tell your friends about the blog!

In August, we updated the index pages every few days, keeping them quite useful to our readers. The primary Index Page, is usually updated daily and lets you know what the featured review is and has an up-to-the-day tally of how many reviews have been reviewed in each category! Check it out and feel free to use that as it is a much more useful and organized index to the reviews I've written!

If you enjoy the reviews, please consider clicking on the links in the reviews and purchasing items. We really appreciate all the purchases made through the blog as that keeps us going. As back to school shopping picks up, if you're going shopping online, please come through the blog to to it. Thank you so much!

At the end of August 2017, I have reviewed the following:
590 - Book Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Star Trek Books
Graphic Novels
959 - Music (Album and Singles) Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Music Reviews By Rating (Best To Worst)
Music Reviews In Alphabetical Order
3292- - Movie and Television Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Movies By Rating (Best Movie to Worst)
Movies In Alphabetical Order
Best Picture Oscar Winner Film Reviews
Television Reviews
The Star Trek Review Index Page (All Star Trek Reviews In Order)!
The Star Trek Review Index Page (All Star Trek Reviews From The Best Of The Franchise To The Worst!)!
The Doctor Who Review Index Page (All Doctor Who Reviews In Order)!
The Doctor Who Review Index Page (All Doctor Who Reviews From The Best Of The Franchise To The Worst!)!
240 - Trading and Gaming Card Reviews
Gaming Cards Reviews
Star Trek Gaming Cards Reviews
Star Wars Gaming Cards Reviews
The Lord Of The Rings Trading Card Game Reviews
Other Gaming Cards Reviews
Trading Cards Reviews
920 - Toy and Christmas Ornament Reviews
with specialized pages for:
Ornament Reviews
Star Trek Toys
Star Wars Toys
Lord Of The Rings Toys
Buffy The Vampire Slayer/Angel Toys
Comic Book, Movie, Television Toys
Plush and Other Toys
1038 - Food, Drink, And Restaurant Reviews
with specialized index pages for:
Cheese and Meats
Ice Cream
Other Food
276 - Pet Product Reviews
Cat Product Reviews
Dog Product Reviews
Rabbit Product Reviews
115 - Travel Reviews
Destinations Reviews
Hotels Reviews
228 - Health And Beauty Product Reviews
214 - Home, Garden, Appliance and Tool Reviews
108 - Electronics, Computers, Computer Games and Software Reviews
62 - Other Product Reviews

The Featured Reviews For The Month of August is my review of: The Defenders - Season 1!
Check it out!

The month of August was packed with new, highly-read reviews, especially because of The Defenders and the Twin Peaks revival! For August, the Top Ten Reviews of the month were:
10. Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Chocolate Bar
9. Game Of Thrones - Season 7
8. Santa Clarita Diet - Season 1
7. "The H Word" - The Defenders
6. Travelers - Season 1
5. "The Return Part 13" - Twin Peaks
4. "The Return Part 15" - Twin Peaks
3. "The Return Part 14" - Twin Peaks
2. "The Return Part 16" - Twin Peaks
1. Friends From College - Season 1

I pride myself on being an exceptionally fair reviewer, but one who is very discriminating. I believe that most reviewers are far too biased toward both what is current and toward unduly praising things. I tend to believe most things actually are average and they ought to follows something around a Bell Curve. Mine is a little lopsided, but not as lopsided as most reviewers I know (who would probably have peak numbers between ten and seven)!

For my reviews, the current count is:
10s - 331 reviews
9s - 524 reviews
8s - 1010 reviews
7s - 1124 reviews
6s - 1049 reviews
5s - 1327 reviews
4s - 999 reviews
3s - 778 reviews
2s - 380 reviews
1s - 251 reviews
0s - 122 reviews
No rating - 141 articles/postings

There was a decent amount of movement this month, but no new additions to the all time Top Ten Reviews, though for some wonderful reason people were reading our #1 review more this month! At the end of August 2017, the most popular reviews/articles are:
10. Oz The Great And Powerful
9. The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bone
8. Lemony Snicket's A Series Of Unfortunate Events - Season 1
7. Warm Bodies
6. Iron Man 3
5. Now You See Me
4. Tyler Perry's Temptation
3. The Burden Of Being Rogue One: A Star Wars Story
2. The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug
1. Man Of Steel

Thank you again, so much, for reading! Please share links to the blog with friends and spread the word!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Ties That Bind Become Clear In Game Of Thrones Season Seven!

The Good: Good character development, Good plot development, Good performances, Sense of focus, Special effects
The Bad: Somewhat predictable, Feels rushed (compressed season - seven episodes - with unclear temporal relation between most events
The Basics: In its seventh season, Game Of Thrones starts to winnow the storylines and characters into a more focused - if, apparently, obvious to those who read the books - story.

I have not been on board Game Of Thrones from the beginning. My wife, who was eager to delve into the show after having read the books, far outstrips my geek cred on the Game Of Thrones front. But, after rewatching the early seasons with her multiple times, I've become interested in how the series might progress beyond the novel series. I found myself finally getting into Game Of Thrones in its sixth season and, with the deadweight of the religious extremist group (The Sparrows) in King's Landing eliminated, I actually found myself quite excited about the seventh season of Game Of Thrones.

Having now watched the entire seventh season of Game Of Thrones at least three times, I figured I was ready to review it. In its seventh season, Game Of Thrones progresses well with the storylines consolidating very well around three essential characters: Jon Snow (and his northern war), Daenerys (and her slow maneuvers now that she is on Westeros), and Cersei, who is desperately attempting to retain her newfound power in King's Landing. The only real strikes against the seventh season of Game Of Thrones are that the season is short and on virtually every front, the show progresses in the most obvious possible ways.

The season's short duration helps to make the inherent argument that Game Of Thrones can work best with an emphasis on quality over quantity. The show tightens up quite a bit in the seventh season by bringing the two biggest conflicts into focus, cutting out a number of lingering subplots and characters and that is a refreshing change of pace for the show.

That said, as the seventh season of Game Of Thrones cuts out some of the fat, it heads in a direction that both works to make explicit long-alluded to character backstories, pay off prior lines and motifs, and belabors the obvious. Indeed, one of the few surprises in the seventh season of Game Of Thrones is that The Wall does not come down in the first episode of the season - the way characters keep referencing how long The Wall has stood and how impenetrable it is, the show very obviously sets up the potential for The Wall to finally collapse. Years of belaboring Daenerys's three dragons comes to a head, but . . . married to a fan of Game Of Thrones, the plight of one of the dragons was, apparently, long-predicted in fan theories and fanfic. So, the few new elements seeded into the seventh season of Game Of Thrones - most notably that Cersei is carrying a new heir by Jaime - seem likely to pay off in the same ways fans and astute viewers are already predicting (i.e. that Cersei is lying about being pregnant or that her unborn child will die/be killed before it can be born, in accordance with the prophecy).

But, the seventh season of Game Of Thrones progresses well as an engaging story of fantasy warfare and political intrigue. The events of the seven episodes of the seventh season of Game Of Thrones go down thus:

"Dragonstone" opens with Arya Stark wiping out House Frey. North of the Wall, the Night King's army of the dead marches south, which Bran observes through his ability to warg. Jon Snow starts to take charge in the North, despite Sansa disagreeing with some of his edicts. While Cersei works to find allies now that she is Queen, she reluctantly takes a meeting with the treacherous Euron Greyjoy. And Sam begins his training in earnest at Oldtown to become a maester.

Daenerys begins planning how best to make inways into Westeros in "Stormborn." After Varys swears loyalty to her, Daenerys agrees to invite Jon Snow to meet with her at Dragonstone. In King's Landing, Cersei gets some of the houses that are on the fence for supporting her to pledge loyalty. Jaime aids Cersei by bringing House Tarly to her side and Caiburn shows his Queen his weapon to be used against the dragons. Samwell meets Jorah, while Daenerys and Tyrion lay out their military plan for their allies at Dragonstone. Unfortunately, while Daenerys's fleet heads to Dorn, it is attacked by Euron Greyjoy's forces.

In "The Queen's Justice," Jon Snow comes to Dragonstone where he is reunited with Tyrion, sees dragons for the first time, and finally meets Daenerys. While Daenerys attempts to get Snow to swear fealty to her, Jon tries to convince Daenerys that the White Walkers and the Army Of The Dead are real and they must ally with one another in order to defeat them and survive. In King's Landing, Euron Greyjoy returns with the captive Ellaria Sand and Cersei promises him everything he wants after the war is won. Cersei is visited by a representative of the Iron Bank, who calls in the crown's debts. Tyrion finds out why Jon Snow is at Dragonstone and tries to convince Daenerys to give him some material support for the northern war.

Having been outflanked on every major maneuver Tyrion has strategized, Daenerys takes a more active role in the fighting in "The Spoils Of War." With Cersei poised to pay off the Iron Bank of Bravos, Arya Stark returns to Winterfell and is reunited with Sansa and Bran. Daenerys is shown the ancient pictographs in the cave where the dragonglass is being mined. Frustrated, Daenerys takes her dragons into battle against the Lannister army.

"Eastwatch" finds Tyrion being troubled by the way Daenerys demands loyalty from her vanquished foes. Jaime returns to King's Landing deeply shaken by seeing the dragons in action. Tyrion encourages Jon Snow to bring a wight to King's Landing to prove to Cersei that they exist.

"Beyond The Wall" is dominated by Jon Snow and his small band of allies traveling north of the wall in an attempt to bring a wight back (alive, or as "alive" as a zombie gets) to use it to convince Daenerys and Cersei of the reality of the threat of the Army Of The Dead.

The season reaches its peak with "The Dragon And The Wolf," which finds Daenerys and her allies arriving in King's Landing with a wight to try to convince Cersei to agree to an armistice so they might fight together against the dead.

In the seventh season of Game Of Thrones, the characters who are essential to the continuing story include:

Tyrion Lannister - The Hand Of The Queen, he supports Daenerys's claim to the throne and advises the queen to take Westeros in a different way than her predecessors. He provides good military counsel to Daenerys, though he is forced to match tactics with Jaime, who knows how he thinks. He tries to reign in Daenerys's temper as she moves to take strategic points on Westeros. He works with Sir Bronn to get access to Jaime to try to get important events arranged,

Jaime Lannister - The head of the Queen's armies, he is wary of Cersei making any alliance with Euron Greyjoy. His counsel is often dismissed by Cersei, though she once again takes him as a lover. He is shocked when he learns the truth of Joffrey's death and it shakes him, making him more malleable to Tyrion's reason,

Cersei Lannister - Now Queen Of Westeros, she finds ruling is much more difficult than simply killing her enemies. She uses Euron Greyjoy to wipe out the rest of the fleet from the Iron Islands and she quickly pays off the Iron Bank Of Bravos in order to consolidate her power and buy a new army. She claims to be pregnant in order to keep Jaime at her side,

Daenerys Targaryen - Marching as the rightful Dragon Queen, she finally makes it to Westeros as she takes up residence in Dragonstone. She starts to patiently advance into Westeros, but becomes frustrated when Jaime and Euron manage to outflank her on land and sea. In her anger, she takes her dragons into battle, once to a significant victory and once in a way that puts her future in serious jeopardy. She is thrilled to have Jorah back by her side, but she starts to have eyes for another,

Jon Snow - Now the King Of The North, he consolidates power by uniting the houses in the North in a commitment to fight against the army of the dead. He turns to Daenerys for help in getting the dragonglass needed to defeat the army of the dead. He remains focused on getting allies and materials for the real war in the north,

Sansa Stark - Outspoken in her opposition to Jon granting clemency to northern traitors who sided with Ramsay, she is put off-guard when Jon leaves her in charge of the North when he leaves to meet Daenerys. She proves herself smart and resourceful as a leader holding the North together in Jon's absence. She is put off by Arya's return and Littlefinger uses her being alone to try to manipulate her,

Lord Petyr Baelish - Kept around in Winterfell by Sansa because his forces helped Jon defeat Ramsay, he begins to plant the seeds of distrust in Sansa's mind to put Sansa on guard around Arya,

Brienne Of Tarth - Reluctant to leave Sansa at Winterfell, she nevertheless follows orders to become the north's emissary in King's Landing. She spars with Arya and is safe in King's Landing because of her relationship with Jaime,

Tormund - Loyal to Jon Snow, he leads the wildlings who came south to the Eastwatch castle to man the wall. He lusts for Brienne,

Sandor Clegane - Traveling with the Brotherhood, he sees the Knight King's army marching on the Wall in a fire. He is incarcerated at the Eastwatch until Jon comes looking for allies to get a wight as evidence and he joins the Fellowship that heads north,

Euron Greyjoy - The psychopath who now rules the Iron Islands, he lusts for Cersei and power. He captures his niece and crushes the Dornish for Cersei,

Varys - Barely in the season, he fights for his right to remain as counsel to Daenerys, but then appears as a supporting character the rest of the season,

Samwell Tarly - Training to be a maester, with Gilly and her son in his care, he quickly learns of the mountain of dragonglass beneath Dragonstone and he works to inform Jon of its existence. He impresses the archmaester by using forbidden tomes to cure Jorah of his greyscale. He learns the truth - thanks to Gilly - of the lineage of the Targaryens and rushes back to Winterfell when his time in the Citidel begins to feel unimportant,

Bran - Now omniscient, he has become mysterious and creepy,

and Arya Stark - Now a full-fledged Faceless Man, she wipes out the Frey family and begins her journey to the capital to kill Cersei. A handful of chance encounters on the road, though, encourage her to return to Winterfell, where she finds herself at odds with Sansa.

The seventh season of Game Of Thrones has all of the performers acting completely comfortably within their well-established characters. The only truly new character in the seventh season of Game Of Thrones is Archmaester Ebrose, played well by Jim Broadbent (perhaps there is some unwritten rule that Game Of Thrones must always have in its cast someone from the cast of Brazil?). Broadbent plays a serene, erudite character who plays off John Bradley with the requisite gravitas of the character.

Of the well-established cast, Sophie Turner shows the greatest growth as Sansa transitions into a leader. When Sansa and Arya are reunited, Sansa starts asking some incredibly relevant questions (though she does not push for answers as much as she ought) and Turner sells them as the work of a young woman whose mind is at work, as opposed to a writer's desire to make some important plot connections.

Ultimately, Game Of Thrones Season Seven is incredibly satisfying, despite its short duration and occasional moments of obvious development.

For other seasons of Game Of Thrones, please check out my reviews of:
Season 1
Season 2
Season 3
Season 4
Season 5
Season 6


For other television season reviews, please check out my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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One Of The Enduring Greats: The Body Shop Limited Edition Chocomania Body Butter Is Worth Stocking Up On!

The Good: Great scent, Decent protectant/moisturizing properties, Feels great on the skin
The Bad: Comparatively expensive.
The Basics: A wonderful body butter that does all it promises, The Body Shop's Limited Edition Chocomania Body Butter hydrates skin and leaves it smelling delicious!

Once upon a time, right around when I first met my wife, I spent a lot more time in shopping malls than I do now. The truth is, I live a couple of hours away from any shopping malls and I get a lot more locally now. But, back in the day, I went to a lot of different shopping malls and they were a place I went a lot with my (now) wife. Quite some time ago, we were at a mall and she expressed a love for products from The Body Shop. This, luckily for me, led to many hours of me massaging her feet and me getting on The Body Shop's e-mail list for exclusive offers. A while back, I stocked up on The Body Shop Limited Edition Chocomania Body Butter through one of their promotions and after quite a bit of use over the years, it is a product that has held up well - and I'm glad I don't have to hang around malls to get it!

The Limited Edition Chocomania Body Butter is a wonderful-smelling product which does exactly what it promises in that it moisturizes skin and leaves it smelling great. In fact, this is such a good product that it easily overcomes the expense of the product, especially when bought in bulk or on sale! This Body Butter truly does hydrate the skin exceptionally well.

Limited Edition Chocomania Body Butter from The Body Shop is designed for normal skin. I have normal skin, as it appears that it takes quite a bit for my skin to break out in hives or rashes and is generally well-moisturized. In fact, the driest skin on my body is in the obvious areas; feet, knees and elbows. Not usually inclined to use a product like this on a daily basis, it has been more of a lark for me having some available to me. I've been using it steadily on those three areas as well as my hands for general moisturizing and after a few days, the access to my wife’s body butter has left my feet perfectly well moisturized. My feet had been cracked and dry, but now the skin there is soft and supple.

As with other body butters, a body butter is a somewhat greasy, near-solid cream (like a pomade) that comes in a disc-like container (like shoe polish) that is designed to protect and/or moisturize skin. Unscrewing the top of the container gives the user ample access to the body butter and this is a very easy product to get out of its container and use. As well, this does seem to go rather far. I've used other containers for months and the last few days with Limited Edition Chocomania Body Butter has left not even a dent in the container. I feel good about that as these have been in the $20.00 range for a 6.75 oz. container, which makes it impossible for me to call this product cheap!

The Limited Edition Chocomania body butter smells like wonderfully like dark chocolate. The cocoa scent is inviting and pleasant, exactly what one might hope for from a chocolate-scented lotion. The scent is not overly sweet - it is more true to a dark chocolate aroma - but given how much I love dark chocolate, that was a good selling point for me.

I have discovered the scent of Limited Edition Chocomania remains on the skin – everywhere but my feet - for about four hours. The scent remains clear and delicious-smelling for the duration of its presence on the skin.

Limited Edition Chocomania Body Butter actually works. This body butter does an excellent job of moisturizing skin that is dried out. As a married person, I have learned the importance of keeping my feet soft, so I was pleased to discover how well the Limited Edition Chocomania Body Butter softens the skin. This is an excellent moisturizer. The body butter moisturized and reinvigorated my skin on my feet, knees and elbows quite well. As well, given all of the typing I do, it was nice to have a moisturizer that kept my fingers and hands soft and supple. This body butter is ideal for slathering on one's feet and then putting socks over them so the body butter can effectively moisturize.

But the cost, not the expense, seemed a bit high. This product goes on greasy and leaves a sensation of being coated. When I've applied it, the The Body Shop Limited Edition Chocomania Body Butter absorbs nicely into the skin. This body butter does not leave consumers feeling like their skin is coated at all.

The body butter is recommended for maintaining skin moisture in addition to restoring skin to a normal moisture level when it has been dried out. So, for example, body butter is recommended for application after taking a shower (the body usually dehydrates some after acclimating to a long shower or bath) to keep moisture in the skin. The The Body Shop Limited Edition Chocomania Body Butter maintains the feeling of cleanliness one has after showering, which is nice.

This particular body butter melts. I have left The Body Shop Limited Edition Chocomania Body Butter in my car and the dark brown container heated up and melted the product. It resolidified when brought inside and left for a day in a cool, dark area, but it seems like this is a liability if it is being carried around by someone in a handbag or such. While this product is not recommended for areas like the lips, it should most definitely not be consumed as it is exceptionally sour and bitter when it hits the tongue.

Limited Edition Chocomania Body Butter from the Body Shop is a wonderful skin hydration product that is well worth the price and stocking up on!

For other The Body Shop body butters, please check out my reviews of:
Pink Grapefruit Body Butter
Passion Fruit Body Butter
Strawberry Body Butter


For other health and beauty product reviews, please visit my Health And Beauty Product Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Monday, August 28, 2017

Despite A Few Charming Moments, The Defenders Season 1 Underwhelms

The Good: Good, if simplistic, plot, Good performances, Decent characters
The Bad: Very simple plot, No big performance moments, Underwhelming use of characters/lack of development, Short season
The Basics: The Defenders Season 1 brings together the four big Marvel Cinematic Universe heroes from the Netflix shows for an unimpressive team-up story that has the group saving New York City from The Hand.

There is something sad about a good idea gone unimpressive. Netflix got off to a pretty impressive start with its additions into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but the series's have become formulaic and predictable. So, as the hype began for The Defenders, many fans of Marvel Comics's dark adaptations for television saw the series as a chance to redeem a slowly sinking ship. When Sigourney Weaver was announced as one of the show's principle antagonists, it instantly elevated the concept of The Defenders. As a fan, it became very easy for people like me to joyfully imagine Weaver squaring off with Krysten Ritter, Charlie Cox and Mike Colter.

Having now watched The Defenders Season 1 twice, it is tough to delude oneself into praising it on the level of many of the prior Netflix Marvel television shows. The Defenders Season 1 is not the natural successor to The Avengers and the show is crippled by being a simple problem with a simple solution, a series of underwhelming villains and a failure to utilize the established protagonists well.

Matt Murdock has given up the mantle of Daredevil and Danny Rand and Colleen Wing have spent months fruitlessly hunting members of The Hand when they are encouraged to return to New York. Jessica Jones, having generally been avoiding her life and work for months, finds herself drawn into a missing persons case when she receives a mysterious call telling her not to take the case. Luke Cage, exonerated finally from prison thanks to Foggy Nelson, returns to Harlem and discovers that neighborhood youth are being used for crime scene cleanup jobs by a mysterious group that later tends to kill them. Jones hunts down the lost architect and discovers he has a stash of C-4 shortly before Elektra arrives and the architect kills himself. Cage finds the man hiring the Harlemites and Danny Rand soon discovers how and where The Hand has regrouped in New York City.

The four heroes of New York converge separately upon the Midland Circle skyscraper - the building now built over the massive pit Daredevil and Elektra once found in Hell's Kitchen - and there they meet the executive leader of The Hand, Alexandra. Fighting their way out of Midland Circle, the quartet holes up at a Chinese restaurant where they compare notes and realize how their cases overlap. The four unite to fight The Hand, with Stick guiding them, while Matt wrestles with the return of Elektra and the conflict that ensues when it becomes clear that The Hand needs the Iron Fist to accomplish its goals in New York City.

The Defenders Season 1 is not all droll; it is a thrill to see more of Jessica Jones and some of the scenes in which secondary characters from the four previous series' interact are quite enjoyable. But at the core, The Defenders Season 1 belabors bringing the four main characters together and then struggles to keep them together in a truly interesting way. In fact, the show seems to recognize the Herculean task they have been given when Luke Cage and Danny Rand have a serious and genuine conversation. Cage comes from a very pragmatic world; Rand is shrouded in mysticism - the two are not natural friends and they are forced together in The Defenders more than organically developed into a realistic pairing.

In a similar fashion, the villains in The Defenders Season 1 fail to be of a magnitude that makes them enduring and impressive adversaries. Madame Gao returns and is as cool as ever, but she is paired with three weak-ass, generic villains and Alexandra, who seems incredibly cool initially, but then fails to dramatically "stick the landing." Alexandra is elevated above Gao right away, has a tragic weakness, but then fails to convincingly be presented as a leader who could have survived as the true leader of The Hand for decades, if not hundreds of years.

Elektra, sadly, is given the same arc in The Defenders Season 1 that she had in her season of Daredevil. The resurrected Elektra is given a lip-service arc that matches her original arc with disturbing parallels.

To better understand the eight-episode season, it helps to know who the main characters are. In the first season of The Defenders, the essential characters are:

Matt Murdock - Having given up his vigilante alter-ego of Daredevil and lost his budding relationship with Karen Page, he spends his days doing pro bono legal work and pining for his lost life. When Elektra turns up, he is torn between his past and his future and he struggles to protect those he loves from his brainwashed, murderous ex,

Jessica Jones - Wisecracking and heavy-drinking, she proves her detective skills are still not to be tangled with. She tracks down the headquarters of The Hand and gets a personal stake in resolving her case when she encounters Elektra. She becomes fully invested in Stick and Rand's story when she manages to track down documents that prove Alexandra is far older than she believed was possible,

Luke Cage - Freed from prison and eagerly reunited with Claire Temple, he is drawn into The Hand's crimes in New York by Misty Knight, who is investigating the missing Harlem youth. He is eager to avoid situations that might put him back in prison and is uncomfortable with the supernatural elements of The Hand. He wants to avoid any possible loss of innocent lives in the group's attempts to thwart The Hand,

Danny Rand - The Iron Fist, he is the person hunted by the Hand. Gao, Alexandra, Elektra and the rest of The Hand need his Iron Fist to open a door and he whines his way around delivering himself,

Alexandra - An ancient leader of The Hand, she is one of the five original founders of the organization and an old adversary of Stick. She has a love of music, is dying as a result of no longer having The Substance (a macguffin that allows the leaders of The Hand to be immortal, provided they can get more of it), and believes that the Black Sky is the means by which The Hand can survive. Like the other leaders, she wants to return to K'un-Lun,

and Elektra - Resurrected and conditioned by Alexandra to believe she is only the Black Sky, she immediately begins to feel conflicted when she encounters Matt Murdock in battle.

The disappointing aspect of The Defenders Season 1 is that the show has generally good components - three of the four main leads are wonderful (Finn Jones plays such an unlikable character that it is tough to tell if he is a horrible actor or just given a craptastic character to perform) and the addition of Sigourney Weaver is a real coup for the show - but fails to give them impressive and good moments to play. The episode directors seldom linger on facial expressions to capture the performers giving great performances . . . arguably because the moments do not exist in the show to capture. Indeed, arguably the most emotional moment of the season is a door frame being shot, with characters watching the open door.

The Defenders Season 1 ends up as a series of missed opportunities as some wonderful characters are brought together as a contrived team-up to fight an enemy that seems far less impressive the more it is fleshed out.

For a better understanding of what this season comprises, please check out my reviews of the individual episodes in the season at:
"The H Word"
"Mean Right Hook"
"Worst Behavior"
"Royal Dragon"
"Take Shelter"
"Ashes, Ashes"
"Fish In The Jailhouse"
"The Defenders"


For other television season and episode reviews, please check out my Television Review Index Page for a listing of those reviews!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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I Finally Get Around To The Delightful 2016 A Girl's Best Friend Tangled Ornament!

The Good: Excellent sculpt, Good balance, Good detailing
The Bad: Comparatively expensive for its size, No function
The Basics: The 2016 "A Girl's Best Friend" from Tangled ornament is a fun Disney ornament, even if it does not quite fit the scale of other Disney ornaments.

2016 was a huge year for me with Hallmark ornament reviews. In fact, it was such a big year that I ended up with a number of reviews that took a while to get around to actually processing. Finally, though, I have ended up at the end of my reviews of Hallmark ornaments from the 2016 season. The last ornament I had to review was the 2016 A Girl's Best Friend Tangled ornament and it is definitely going out on a high note.

For those unfamiliar with Tangled (reviewed here!), it is the musical story of Rapunzel and on her journey out into the larger world, Maximus is one of the guard's horses that is hunting Flynn Rider. Maximus, more diligent and competent than the human guards, is vigilant but ultimately comes to the aid of Rapunzel.

It is Rapunzel, hugging Maximus, that is the subject of the 2016 A Girl's Best Friend Tangled ornament.


The "A Girl's Best Friend" ornament recreates Rapunzel, as she appeared in Tangled with her long hair cascading all around her as and into a coil under her feet as she hugs a seated Maximus, who is nuzzling her back. The ornament, released in 2016, is a well-executed and accurate sculpt of Maximus with his saddle and Rapunzel in her iconic purple dress, with the character and hair looking instantly recognizable. Both characters look recognizable and accurate for the sculpt, which allowed Hallmark to not make it incredibly detailed. Despite that, Hallmark paid attention to such details as the rivets on Maximus's saddle and the buckle on his saddle bag.

Hallmark made a significant effort on A Girl's Best Friend as Rapunzel's hair is sculpted with texture to make it look more realistic - despite its supernatural length. Measuring two and a half inches tall and wide and one and one-quarter inches deep, the "A Girl's Best Friend" ornament is one of the smaller-scale Disney character ornaments from 2016 and it was comparatively expensive at its initial release price of $17.95.

The Hallmark "A Girl's Best Friend" ornament is made of a durable plastic and has Rapunzel hugging the seated horse. A Girl's Best Friend escapes the usual critique about the lack of realism to the skin tones, because Maximus and Rapunzel are both animated characters. Rapunzel's eyes are bright green and wonderfully detailed; she looks truly joyful as she smiles while looking away from Maximus. The paint job on things like the stirrups are incredibly well-executed. Despite the smaller scale, the A Girl's Best Friend was immaculately painted!


As a Hallmark Keepsake ornament, "A Girl's Best Friend" could have a sound or light effect, but it does not. Instead, this is a less-expensive option that is just the two characters in a smaller scale.


As with all ornaments, the intent of the Hallmark Keepsake "A Girl's Best Friend" ornament is to be hung on a Christmas Tree. And for those creating the ultimate Disney movie Christmas Tree, the "A Girl's Best Friend" ornament is a decent Tangled option that can enhance the tree of those who love Disney. The ornament has the standard brass hook loop embedded into the top center of Maximus's arched back. The placement of the hook loop is fairly obvious and necessary for the ornament. A Girl's Best Friend hangs perpendicular to the ground when properly hung from that hook point and while the ornament has a very minor bias in favor of Rapunzel, the ornament has generally good balance. For the scale, the balance is actually quite good.


Hallmark Keepsake began delving into the collectibles market in 1991 with Star Trek when it introduced the exceptionally limited edition original U.S.S. Enterprise ornament (click here for that review!). Within a few years, every major franchise from Star Wars to A Nightmare Before Christmas to Indiana Jones started making Hallmark ornaments. "A Girl's Best Friend" is one of only a few Tangled ornaments on the market and at least the sixth to feature Rapunzel. This ornament is long sold out at every Hallmark, but it has not really appreciated in the secondary market, which suggests that the initial release price was exactly right - or a little high - for the ornament.


Fans of Tangled, Disney, Rapunzel, horses, Mandy Moore, and Hallmark ornaments are likely to be thrilled with the “A Girl's Best Friend” ornament, despite its size; the quality of the sculpt and coloring more than make up for its initial price!

For other Tangled Hallmark ornaments, please check out my reviews of:
2015 Rapunzel And Pascal ornament
2014 Rapunzel's Long Locks ornament
2013 Fierce With A Frying Pan ornament
2012 It's All About The Hair ornament
2011 Rapunzel ornament


For other ornament reviews, please visit my Ornament Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Sunday, August 27, 2017

The Return FINALLY Happens As Twin Peaks Delivers "The Return Part 16!"

The Good: Good performances, Wonderful balance of tension and humor, Great direction, Winnowing of superfluous characters and plotlines
The Bad: Unclear mechanic in Agent Cooper's/Doug Jones's memories.
The Basics: "The Return Part 16" finally returns Agent Dale Cooper to Twin Peaks, even as Cooper uses his own son as a tool to test another's trap.

In the last week, I went back and watched the prior fifteen episodes of the third (the reboot) season of Twin Peaks. The purpose, as I prepared for "The Return Part 16," was to catch connections I had missed with episodes spread out so far as well as basic things like names and (potentially) important details - like time not, apparently, moving in Audrey's subplot, the boiler at the Great Northern being the one The Fireman is listening to in another dimension, and Experiment getting thrown from near the escaping Dale Cooper into the woods near Jack Rabbit's Palace in our world many, many, episodes later. The new season of Twin Peaks is very dense and the odds are quite good that the show will ultimately hold up far better as a season than its individual episodes do. Regardless of that, I went into "The Return Part 16" with a renewed sense of preparation and eagerness.

"The Return Part 16" continues the important Twin Peaks story arcs from "The Return Part 15" (reviewed here!) and has Dale Cooper in Dougie Jones's body moving closer to consciousness, while the Bob-infested Cooper works to avoid being sucked back into the Black Lodge, apparently as part of Phillip Jeffries's machinations. The current season of Twin Peaks features a lot of elements that make sense, as well as a lot of confusing surrealism, but at the core of the season is Dale Cooper's attempt to return to our world and thwart his nemesis, Bob.

Cooper and Richard Horne drive to one of the two locations Cooper has been told about, the coordinates for one of the access points to the other planes of existence. While there, Jerry Horne, having been lost in the woods, sees them. Cooper gives Richard a device meant to register the correct place and the young man does his bidding, which leads Richard Horne to his death. While Cooper's assassins stake out Doug Jones's house, the Las Vegas F.B.I. agents stop by. Doug Jones, in the meantime, is in the hospital with Jane and Sonny Jim at his side, in a coma having electrocuted himself. The Mitchum Brothers arrive and get a key from Jane to stock the Jones house with food.

Hutch and Chantel run afoul of the man in front of whose house they have parked, leading to a gunfight in Jones's neighborhood that takes out the two assassins. Agent Cooper awakens in the hospital, coherent and having all of Doug's memories. He also is given one of the rings needed to pull Cooper back into the Black Lodge and asks a favor of the one-armed man in the Lodge. Cooper asks Bud for help and he calls upon the Mitchum brothers to get his family protected and out to Washington. Diane, having received a text from Cooper, visits Director Cole's room where she steels herself to kill Cole, Preston, and Rosenfeld. Instead, she tells the trio about Cooper's visit twenty-two years ago (three years after Agent Cooper disappeared). Diane tells the agents that Cooper grilled her about F.B.I. investigations, raped her, and took her to an old gas station (the one where Bob lived) before she confesses to sending Cooper the coordinates. When she tries to draw a gun on the agents, Preston and Rosenfeld shoot at her, but she moves with superhuman speed and disappears. Diane, the manufactured version, returns to the Black Lodge where she self-destructs in front of Phillip Gerard. Agent Cooper leaves the Jones family at the casino and tells them that Dougie will return.

The dual nature of Dale Cooper and Doug Jones is not satisfactorily explained in "The Return Part 16." Philip Gerard has a "seed" needed to make another artificial Dale Cooper (the seed is shown in "The Return Part 16" and it was the result of Dougie, having been teleported to the Black Lodge, blowing up there). But why Dale Cooper, now fully mentally restored in Doug Jones's body (the shock last episode apparently worked) has all of Dougie's memories is a bit of a mystery and is somewhat unsatisfying to watch. The fact that Agent Cooper has all of Doug's memories make it convenient and easy for him to leave the hospital and get on a plane, but it is frustrating to invest in the belief that it is fully Agent Cooper who is now back. The inclusion of Diane as a manufactured individual makes Agent Cooper's request to Phillip Gerard make sense even within "The Return Part 16" and one almost has to wonder if David Lynch had figured out by this point in filming (or even the writing process) that viewers would not remember the finer details of Dougie's destruction about a dozen episodes prior.

"The Return Part 16" adds a dark undertone to Twin Peaks. When Richard Horne is killed, Cooper says "good-bye, my son." The implication here is that when Bob, in Cooper's body, escaped the Black Lodge twenty-five years prior and visited the hospital where he was last seen in Twin Peaks, he raped Audrey Horne and impregnated her. This is a sad twist as the chemistry in the original between Dale and Audrey was the stuff of fanfick and Kyle MacLachlan did a great job playing off the much younger Sherilyn Fenn to play realistic desire and heroic restraint.

Twin Peaks is a series that has always had a pretty decent body count to it. Both prior seasons of the show had no problem killing off main characters, even if the climactic first season did not net any real casualties. The moment Diane heads toward the de facto office of the Blue Rose agents, there is the sense that "The Return Part 16" might turn into a bloodbath of characters who are beloved from the prior seasons. It is a weird thing to have a catharsis by having multiple characters shoot at another one, but the fact that all three F.B.I. agents survive Diane is actually emotionally uplifting.

Despite Richard's surprisingly horrific origins, "The Return Part 16" has a lot of humor in it. The Mitchum Brothers being in the wrong place at the right time to see the Hutch's get killed and the F.B.I. watching Jones's house is capped by Robert Knepper delivering a hilarious line. In fact, Knepper's deliveries throughout "The Return Part 16" are funny and incredibly well-executed.

The performances in "The Return Part 16" are impressive and arguably the most refreshing aspect of the episode is seeing Kyle MacLachlan return to playing Agent Dale Cooper. MacLachlan has played villainous and mind-wipe stiffed, but "The Return Part 16" is the first time in the new Twin Peaks when he has fully played Agent Cooper.

Between that and seeing Audrey outside her foyer finally, "The Return Part 16" is a truly delightful episode of Twin Peaks!

For other works with Sherilyn Fenn, be sure to check out my reviews of:
Gilmore Girls - Season Seven
Gilmore Girls - Season Six
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
Twin Peaks

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into Twin Peaks - The Complete Third Season on DVD or Blu-Ray, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the temporally displaced season of the surreal show here!


For other television reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond Chocolate Bars Are A Tough Sell!

The Good: Good dark chocolate flavor, Decent ingredients, Good corporate ethics
The Bad: Expensive, High fat, Nuts are not overly flavorful
The Basics: Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond chocolate bars left me unimpressed as they have good ingredients, but a higher fat content without an accompanying flavor benefit to them.

Green & Blacks seems to be expanding in my local market and that has afforded me the opportunity to review much of its up-scale candy bar line. Tonight, I broke open my Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond chocolate bar. The truth is, I'm not big on candy bars with nuts and the Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond bar does not have a very strong nut flavor to it - save as an aftertaste. The dark chocolate in these bars is appropriately dark and bitter, but it does not blend overly well with the nuts. The result is a high-fat chocolate bar that is more bitter than pleasant.


Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond chocolate bars are one and three-eights inch by one and five-eighths inch rectangles of chocolate that are about three-sixteenths of an inch thick and connected side by side and in rows, to form a bar of ten segments. Each bar comes unified in a foil wrapper. The foil-wrapped chocolate bar is sealed in a cardboard package.

Each chocolate bar is sold in a way that it is easy to segment and control portions. In this form, the 3.17 oz. bar, the chocolate bar represents two and a half servings. Each bar appears solid (the Roasted Almond flakes are embedded, as opposed to acting like a filling) and is stamped with the Green & Black's logo.

Ease Of Preparation

These are candy, so preparing them is as simple as opening the cardboard and then opening the foil wrapper from around the actual chocolate. There is no trick to eating Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond chocolate bars.


The Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond bars are easily one of the most aromatic candy bars I have yet tried. The Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond bars smell strongly of dark chocolate and that is very inviting to people like me who love dark chocolate!

On the tongue, the Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond bars are very dry. The dark chocolate flavor is potent and unrelenting. The almonds in the Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond chocolate bars only make the bars more dry tasting. The dryness does not have a salty component to it; this is a bitter, dry candy bar where the nuts manifest as a crispy texture in it. This is a fairly basic candy bar on the flavor front.

The Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond chocolate bar has a very strong dry, bitter chocolate and almond aftertaste that endures in the mouth for several minutes after the last of it is consumed.


These are candy, so health aspects are seldom one's top concern. That said, the Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond chocolate bars are made of generally good ingredients, justifying their expense. The primary ingredients are bittersweet chocolate and organic roasted almonds. There is nothing unpronounceable in these candies.

A serving from the Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond chocolate bars is considered four rectangles from the overall bar, which is a somewhat silly serving size for a bar that is segmented into ten pieces (as that means one whole bar is two and a half servings). From four squares, one takes in 210 calories, including 170 calories of fat. There is no sodium and 3 grams protein in each serving. There is a decent amount Iron (25% RDA) in each bar, but no significant quantities of any other major nutrients. The biggest nutritional detraction in the Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond are the 19 grams of fat per serving and the 50% RDA of saturated fat that comes from the 10 grams of saturated fat!

These are not Vegan-compliant, nor are they recommended for anyone with a nut allergy as the contain almonds and are manufactured on equipment that processes tree nuts and milk. They are not specifically marked as kosher (I'm not sure why), but Green & Black's uses sustainable cocoa farming for their cocoa, which is nice!


The bars of these Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond chocolate bars remain fresh for quite some time. The bars we picked up a month and a half ago had an expiration date of October 7, 2017, though they will certainly not last that long as I will have consumed mine well before then! One assumes that if they are kept in a cool, dry environment they will not melt or go bad. It is hard to imagine just what it would take for these to go bad outside melting and refreezing.

As for cleanup, just throw the packaging away when you're done! These chocolate bars are made such that there is no real cleanup needed, unless one is eating them in a hot environment. Under that circumstance, it is likely one would need to wash their hands, though these bars do not melt as easily as cheap or milk chocolates. When this chocolate melts into most fabrics, it will stain.


Green & Black's Pure Dark Chocolate Roasted Almond chocolate bars are bitter and fatty and for the price, I hoped for more roasted nut flavor to them.

For Green & Black's chocolate reviews, please check out:
Pure Milk Chocolate Salted Caramel Bar
Pure Dark Chocolate Raspberry & Hazelnut Chocolate Bars
Pure Dark Chocolate Sea Salt chocolate bars


For other chocolate reviews, please visit my Chocolate Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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Blowing Up The Season Finale With "The Defenders"

The Good: Good performances
The Bad: Lousy direction, Obtrusive soundtrack, Virtually non-existent character development, Obvious plot
The Basics: The Defenders reaches its first season finale with its eponymous episode, which does pretty much everything one expects it to.

Before The Defenders began, I had a secret hope for two things that might happen within its first season. The first was that I hoped that Trish Walker would don a costume and become Hellcat to aid The Defenders in their fight, potentially setting up a Heroes For Hire Netflix series with Trish, Colleen Wing, and Misty Knight. Alas, that did not happen. I also hoped that Danny Rand's Iron Fist would die, perhaps going out in a blaze of glory that would have both justified the first season of Iron Fist and perhaps set up a second season with a different incarnation of the Iron Fist (perhaps the female version, maybe have her in the Heroes For Hire series?). My hopes on that second front were dashed in the two days before Netflix released The Defenders when Netflix and Disney announced that they had begun work on the second season of Iron Fist. Given that Finn Jones was part of that announcement, it seemed unlikely that Danny Rand would get killed off in the first season finale of The Defenders, appropriately entitled "The Defenders."

"The Defenders" concludes the events of the first season of The Defenders picking up in the very last moments of "Fish In The Jailhouse" (reviewed here!), which featured Elektra smartly sidestepping the Iron Fist and using her swords to push his fist into the mysterious door. While the three other Defenders prepared to join Danny Rand at the bottom of the Midland Circle pit, the audience saw what appeared to be the skeleton of a K'un-Lun-style dragon on the other side of the door that only the Iron Fist could open.

In the Midland Circle skyscraper, Matt Murdock, Jessica Jones, and Luke Cage debate with Colleen Wing and Claire Temple using the C-4 Wing brought to blow up the skyscraper. While Cage objects to the course of action, Jones turns the vote by observing that The Hand shows no signs of stopping and they have a willingness to kill all their friends and family. Madame Gao joins Elektra in the fossilized remains of an ancient mystical creature at the bottom of the pit. Gao encourages Elektra to remove The Substance from the fossils and get out of New York City before it collapses entirely. While the Defenders head to the now-open door to rescue Danny Rand, Wing and Temple rush to set the C-4 charges. Knight learns that the C-4 was taken and sets to creating a perimeter and trying to find a way into Midland Circle.

Cage, Jones and Daredevil arrive at the bottom of the pit to rescue Danny Rand, while Misty Knight breaks into the upper levels of Midland Circle. Knight rescues Claire Temple from a Hand ninja and stops the swordfight between Wing and Bakuto. As the three women try to hold off The Hand upstairs, The Defenders try to fight their way through the crowd of Hand ninjas to return to the surface. But Matt Murdock's attachment to Elektra may be his undoing!

"The Defenders" does a decent job of at least playing lip service to the idea that the heroes do not kill. Luke Cage refuses to go along with the "blow up the building" plan until the others commit to not allowing any innocents to die. Despite that, after they commit to that, The Defenders do not set off any sort of alarm to get out anyone like janitorial staff who might be working elsewhere in the building. But, at least on the surface, "The Defenders" provides the appearance that the protagonists care about protecting lives of those not in The Hand.

In an episode that leads to a painfully predictable climax and includes the usual overly-choreographed fight scenes and annoying shaking camera direction, the most enjoyable scene actually involves Trish Walker and Karen Page having a quiet discussion about their places in the lives of Jessica Jones and Matt Murdock. The scene features the two secondary characters sharing and withholding and Deborah Ann Woll and Rachael Taylor to play off one another in a way that is delightful to watch.

Unfortunately, that scene is one of the biggest character moments in the entire episode. The writers seem unable or unwilling to recall even the basic characterization of their protagonists. As such, when Daredevil needs a wall smashed to access the elevator down into the pit, he turns to Luke Cage. Sure, Cage has unbreakable skin, but Jones has super-strength that exceeds Cage's. One swift kick from Jones and the wall should have fallen. But, alas, the writers use the hulking Cage for the job instead of giving Jones a moment where she uses her super powers.

The Hand is troublingly represented in "The Defenders." Bakuto has been a terrible milquetoast of a villain in his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the footsoldiers for The Hand seem pathetically disposable, like Stormtroopers in the Star Wars Saga. Similarly, Murakami is a virtual non-entity, making him fairly unbelievable as being on the same level as Alexandra, Elektra and Gao. Madame Gao remains impressive, deriding Danny Rand in their big scene together. Moreover, Gao is smart enough to beat a hasty retreat at a key moment, which sets her up to be the continuing villain she has always had the potential to be (despite an unnecessarily vague final scene later).

"The Defenders" is the necessary conclusion to the rising action of The Defenders as the prior episode opened the door and made obvious the endgame; destroying the Midland Circle building. Surprisingly little else happens in "The Defenders," though there are necessary denouement scenes that set up the next season of Daredevil and give Misty Knight a chance to move in a direction her fans from the source material will love. But the climax of the big battle sequences is undermined by the same thing that ruined my hope of the Iron Fist getting killed in the episode and the only redeeming aspect of the final scenes of the series are that they do not insult the viewer's intelligence or awareness of that. Unlike something like the fifth season finale of Buffy The Vampire Slayer and Joss Whedon's subsequent refusal to discuss over the season break how and when Sarah Michelle Gellar might return to the series, "The Defenders" goes for a big ending that seems to have the heroic sacrifice . . . but leaves the big players in play at the end of the season in an utterly disappointing way.

The result is an entirely anticlimactic season finale that does little to encourage viewers to tune in to the next Netflix Marvel series.

[Knowing that single episodes are an inefficient way to get episodes, it's worth looking into The Defenders - The Complete First Season on DVD or Blu-Ray, which is also a better economical choice than buying individual episodes. Read my review of the debut season of the street-level heroes here!

For other Marvel Cinematic Universe season finales, please check out my reviews of:
"Valediction" - Agent Carter
"World's End"- Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.
"Daredevil" - Daredevil


For other television reviews, please visit my Television Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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It's A Good Thing Benny Loves Greenies Bursting Blueberry Treats . . .

The Good: Benny loves them, Good ingredients, Dental benefits
The Bad: Comparatively expensive
The Basics: Benny's first real treat love are Greenies Bursting Blueberry Treats, which he continues to be thrilled by.

My wife often advises me to be conservative with treats when we get a new pet in our family, but sometimes a deal is too good for me to pass up. When my local discount store was suddenly overstocked with Greenies Bursting Blueberry Treats, I made a risky choice with our new dog, Benny. After Benny showed that he enjoyed one or two of the Greenies Bursting Blueberry Treats, I made the risky decision to buy the store out while the treats were comparatively cheap. The risk was that Benny's initial interest in the Greenies Bursting Blueberry Treats would fade after he had more of them, that the novelty of the treats would wear off too quickly and he would become indifferent to them.

Well, a month after my big purchase, Benny is still entirely enamored with Greenies Bursting Blueberry Treats, making my investment an incredible deal for Benny and I!


The Greenies Bursting Blueberry Treats are a treat that is part of the expanding line of Greenies flavors as the company has diversified from their tradition Greenies dog treats. Made to look like a dark green half-toothbrush, half-bone, the Greenies Large Bursting Blueberry Treats are supposed to be difficult for the dog to chew, which helps them scrape the plaque and tartar off their teeth. Benny eats the Bursting Blueberry Treats properly, which leads them to clean his teeth like they were supposed to.

The Bursting Blueberry Treats Treats are dark green with one end shaped like a bone, the other shaped like a toothbrush, with sides that are flat and the brand name embossed on the side. It is 4 7/8” long and 1 1/4” wide at its widest point and 3/4" thick. Each Large Bursting Blueberry Treats treat comes in an eight-treat bag and is intended for a dog that is 50 - 100 pounds (which Benny has finally reached!). The treat bag lasts for at least a week and at their regular price they would be cost-prohibitive; fortunately, I got an incredible deal on them and at less than $.25/treat, they would absolutely be worth stocking up on. Most people, however, would not be able to get them so inexpensively, making them a little tougher to so eagerly recommend.

Ease Of Preparation

The green pressed wheat flour and glycerine "bone" is designed to help fight plaque and tartar build-up by having a texture to it and being very chewy. The bone-shaped treat is smooth until the dog bites into it and fractures it. Then it becomes very mealy and the texture helps remove matter from a dog's mouth. Because the bone is too big to simply be swallowed, the Bursting Blueberry Treats effectively brushes the dog's teeth and tongue using friction whenever the dog bites into it to split it and swallows it, dragging the bolus across their tongue. And it absolutely works for Benny.

Preparing the treat for consumption is very easy; simply open the bag, extract a single bone treat and give it to your dog. I highly recommend having water nearby for the dog to drink as they eat the Greenies Bursting Blueberry Treats!

Benny’s Reaction

The Greenies Bursting Blueberry Treats smell delightfully of blueberries. The fruit scent is entirely realistic and surprisingly inviting. Benny goes right for them, just on the smell alone!

Benny loves the Greenies Bursting Blueberry Treats. Whenever he hears the bag, Benny comes running for a treat. Whenever the bag is opened, Benny rushes for the treat and when I play with him with a treat in my hand, he is thoroughly engaged and interested by it. It takes Benny about fifteen minutes to go through a single Greenies Bursting Blueberry Treat . . . though he has a strong tendency to save one end of each treat to play with after he is done consuming most of the treat. Each Greenies Bursting Blueberry Treat actually cleans his teeth and these treats have helped give Benny fresh breath and clean teeth, which is very nice for my wife and I, who spend a lot of time with our new dog up in our faces!


These treats are quite good for dogs, beyond their dental benefits. The package recommends that dog owners have clean drinking water available to their dog when they feed them this treat. This treat is a dietary supplement, not a full meal. Bursting Blueberry Treats in the Large size have at least 30% crude protein, 4% crude fat, and no more than 6% crude fiber and 15% moisture, so those looking out for their dog's specific dietary needs, that might help. The Greenies Bursting Blueberry Treats are made primarily of wheat flour, glycerine and wheat protein isolate. Fairly far down the ingredients list there are actual blueberries and apples, so these are great for dogs. There are not a lot of preservatives, so these treats are actually very natural! The Greenies Bursting Blueberry Treats seem to have a decent shelf life despite the lack of a ton of preservatives.


The Greenies Bursting Blueberry Treats might well be Benny's favorite new treat and having stocked up on them, I am thrilled that he likes them so very much!

For other dog treat reviews, please check out my takes on:
Zuke's Clean Berry Crisp Z-Bones
I And Love And You Chicken + Duck Recipe Nice Jerky Bites
Blue Dog Bakery Peanut Butter & Molasses Treats


For other pet product reviews, please click here to visit my index page on the subject!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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