Melissa Rycroft! Melissa won the super-blinged-out Mirrorball Trophy! This is, perhaps, the biggest shocker of any Dancing with the Stars finale that I’ve watched. Not because it was so unlikely that Melissa would win (see my article yesterday for all the reasons why), but because of the way the final episode was edited. EVERYTHING seemed to point to Shawn Johnson being the winner instead of the runner-up.

The two-hour event started with an encore of the best freestyle – which, naturally was Shawn and Derek’s. They performed their spectacular freestyle, and that already set off the alarm bells – this is the first time there has ever been an encore during a finale. It looked like they were a certain bet.

We were treated to an hour of returned stars performing some of the best dances from the season. Team “Gangnam Style” was as much of a hot mess as the last time, while the “Call Me Maybe” group dance excelled. Bristol Palin shook her hips one way and then the other, while Pamela Anderson performed some kind of stripper routine with lots of hairography (which is a shame, since she’s actually a decent dancer). Kirstie Alley and Helio Costroneves did their favorite dances – Cha Cha and Quickstep, respectively. Joey Fatone performed a time-travel dance with “himself” as a child, while Drew Lachey did a dance with his little daughter. Emmitt did something brightly colored and forgettable. Sabrina Bryan reprised her perfect-30 Rhumba, and Apolo Anton Ohno reprised his perfect-30 waltz, making it clear that they could have done very well in the final had they not been eliminated. Gilles reprised his Bollywood number, which was just as fun the second time around. Throughout the night, we got lots of shots of two-time champ Julianne Hough, cheering on her former partners and her brother. And then it was time for the last round of dancing.

Kelly and Val went first (always a bad sign for a couple) and did a good jive, receiving 28.5. But the real story was the lack of ending to their story. All season they have played up this showmance more than any other couple on the show. Any good story arc must reach its climax. So I expected an epic liplock to seal the deal on this couple, either at the end of their dance, or when they got their scores, or when they were announced as third place… I was certain they were saving a big epic kiss for the finale. Instead, we got their usual waffling about a “beautiful relationship” and “unconditional love…in friendship.” In other words, no payoff for the showmance. Between that, and their instant dance being handily outclassed by the others, I stopped caring about them by the time they were predictably announced as the couple in third place.

Melissa was second to dance, with an instant samba, and she also received 28.5. This samba was better than yesterday’s because it had some actual samba content. It was a very solid effort. Would it be enough?

Shawn’s pre-dance package aired, and it was beautiful. Shawn talked about how much she grew and learned thanks to this experience with Derek, then Derek actually choked up as he talked about how this season has been a dream come true for him. I have to admit, my eyes teared up during this package, just because it had been such a great journey for them, and for me as a viewer.

Then they performed an instant cha-cha and knocked it out of the park. The crowd was on its feet applauding for ages. All the former contestants were holding up ten fingers to clue in the judges…not that the judges needed it. They gave her a perfect 30, naturally, and also the kind of comments that usually mean “you’re gonna win.” It was almost tantamount to Len’s season 10 declaration to Nicole Scherzinger, “There is only one champion of DwtS, and that’s you.” They ended the show with a huge bang, and after something like that, it seemed an inevitability that they would be crowned champions.

Everyone thought they had it in the bag. Even Melissa and Tony clearly thought so – Melissa looked like she was about to cry when waiting for the final result, and both she and Tony seemed ready for disappointment. And then, out of nowhere, Tom announced that Melissa and Tony had won their first Mirrorball Trophy.

And what I talked about yesterday – how badly everyone wants Tony to win – was on full display here. Tony began ricocheting around the ballroom faster than in any Quickstep. Shawn and Derek looked happier than any runners-up I’ve ever seen, since they probably felt that Melissa and Tony deserved to have a win. In a departure from the norm Tony was lifted up on everyone’s shoulders first, and then Melissa. And even though I was very staunchly Team Shawn, having voted for them yesterday every which way, I couldn’t help the huge grin on my face at Melissa and Tony’s hard-won Mirrorball Trophy.

This All-Star season was, in my humble opinion, far and away the best the show has ever done. The only question is where does the show go from here? It’s kind of like, will any Marvel solo movies be that exciting after The Avengers? Surely they’ll need to have some kind of huge hook next season to keep people interested.

In terms of pros, there’s bound to be a shake-up. Now that Tony has won his Mirrorball, the long-time pros will be jockeying for the newly vacant position of sympathetic fan favorite. My money is on Anna Trebunskaya – she has been on ten seasons, but only made the quarterfinals twice (eventually coming in second both times). And she is one of the most popular pros, as evidenced by the fans choosing her a few seasons ago in their “Design-a-Dance.”

Meanwhile, Derek is saying he might leave the show after this. I don’t think this is him being a sore loser. Rather, it feels like he has nothing left to achieve on this show. He’s only missed the semifinals twice in ten seasons, and that was barely. He’s already won it three times (only pro to do so). More importantly, this season was a creative pinnacle for him. Thanks to Shawn’s natural talent, he was able to create many astounding dances. He may feel like he’s left it all on the dance floor this season.

What did you think of the All-Star season? Should they have another one sometime in the future? If they do, how should it be run? What former contestants should return? And what do you think of Melissa Rycroft being crowned the champion of champions on Dancing with the Stars: All Stars?

Cassandra Clare keeps expanding the Shadowhunters’ universe, with the first adult books of the chronicles just announced!

Clare announced via press release this morning that she’ll publish a trilogy about Magnus Bane, the fan-favorite warlock who’s appeared in every single one of her books and already received a collection of eleven spin-off novellas all about him (The Bane Chronicles). There is no word yet on whether the new books will tie in with the stories told in The Bane Chronicles.

Interestingly, this trilogy will be Clare’s first foray into adult literature, after writing extensively in the YA realm. She always pushed the boundaries of YA, though, with the inclusion of “Dirty Sexy Balcony Scenes” and the like. The first Shadowhunter book, City of Bones, was published in 2007, and the teens who picked it up back then will feel right at home in the adult section of a bookstore today.

Also of note, the series will be co-written with Wesley Chu (author of The Lives of Tao). Clare seems to like having co-writers when dealing with Magnus Bane; The Bane Chronicles are the only other Shadowhunter books that have other authors attached.

The first Magnus Bane book is expected to be published in November 2017. This means that Cassandra Clare will have three Shadowhunters series being published concurrently… The Dark Artifices, The Last Hours, and this Magnus Bane series.

If various sources are to be believed, all three will have an installment published in 2017. The second Dark Artifices book, Lord of Shadows, is expected in April. The Magnus Bane book, as mentioned above, is due in November. And the official site of the Shadowhunter Chronicles still says that the first Last Hours book, Chain of Thorns, is expected in 2017. Clare has a sixth series planned after getting some of these finished, The Wicked Powers, so there’ll be more Shadowhunters coming to a bookstore near you at least through the early 2020s.

Perhaps the decision to publish the Magnus Bane trilogy was based on the character’s success on the Shadowhunters TV show, where the fan favorite is portrayed by Harry Shum Jr. Shadowhunters was renewed for a second season by ABC Family, and it looks like they may have many seasons ahead of them.

Clare said, “Over the years writing the Shadowhunter books, Magnus Bane has emerged as one of the most fun and fascinating characters for me to bring to life… There are so many things we don’t know about Magnus, from the story of his first love to the secrets of his parentage, to the beginning of his relationship with Alec. All those are things I was able to touch on in The Bane Chronicles, but I’m excited to dig in even more deeply in these three volumes devoted to Magnus, his past, his future, and his present.”

Are you excited for three books all about Magnus Bane, or is this Shadowhunter overkill?

The Boxcar Children are heading to the big screen for a new movie series.

Many of us grew up with the wonderful Boxcar Children book series when we were kids. The stories by Gertrude Chandler Warner follow Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny, who live in a train boxcar as they search for a home. As kids we all wanted to live in that boxcar (or at least I did — I thought it was so cool to live in a train car with friends!).

According to a press release from Shout! Factory Studios and Legacy Classics, work on a new Boxcar Children animated movie series is well underway, with the first movie aiming for a release in 2017 (which marks the 75th anniversary of Boxcar Children #1). Two more Boxcar Children stories are also in development.

If the animation quality is at the Sunday-morning-cartoon level I probably won’t be very excited about it, but if it’s a more mature animation style (like a Pixar or a Coraline) I can imagine myself loving it.

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The Boxcar Children movie series is poised to do well thanks to the overall success of the books they’re based on. The novels have collectively sold over 70 million copies worldwide, with over 160 books (?!) in its arsenal. The two most recent books are titled The Legend of the Irish Castle and The Celebrity Cat Caper, which were both published this year. Looking through the history of the series, roughly four Boxcar Children books have been published annually. The original author, Gertrude Chandler Warner, only wrote the first 19.

A low-budget animated Boxcar Children film debuted two years ago, but today’s announcement marks a reboot with a new studio at the helm.

Arrested Development‘s fourth season aired three years ago today. To celebrate its legacy (and to try to forget how much we’re missing it right now), let’s rank the best recurring Arrested Development jokes!

It’s really no secret that Arrested Development has some of the best recurring jokes and gags of all time. Even people who don’t watch the show are familiar with things like “There’s always money in the banana stand” and “I’ve made a huge mistake.” The jokes in this show are just so understated and catchy that it would’ve been crazy had they not have caught on. Thanks to Arrested Development‘s recurring jokes, pop culture has never been quite the same.

To celebrate our undying love for Arrested Development, we decided to forgo the banner (sorry, everyone) and instead put together a list of all of the gags and jokes that we think are the best ones the show’s ever done. Not only that, but we’re leaving it up to you to rank them!

How to play: Love a certain joke and think that it should be at the top of the list? Upvote it. Really hate another joke and don’t understand how it got on the list in the first place? Hit that little downward-facing arrow. Don’t care either way for some of these gags? Then you can just leave them untouched. It’s all good! We just want to know what YOU think! With everyone participating we’ll be able to build a definitive list of the best Arrested Development jokes!

So, grab your denim cut-offs and hot ham water, and maybe even do a little chicken dance to get yourself pumped up (but not with the hot ham water in your hand, please). If you’re an Arrested Development fan, you’re sure to love ranking these jokes.

(Just be careful about which arrow you hit. You don’t want to hit the wrong one and find yourself saying “I’ve made a huge mistake.”)

Are there any ‘Arrested Development’ jokes missing from the list? Add them below!

 
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